Debian package for Mono on Beaglebone Black (ARMhf)

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 — Programming Troubleshooting Hardware

It is frustrating to discover that at the time of writing Mono cannot be installed on Debian or Ubuntu using the standard package sources and the Beaglebone Black. It seems the only packages which exist are targeting ARMel architecture, rather than ARMhf (hard-float) of the BBB.

$ sudo apt-get install mono-complete
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable distribution that some required packages have not yet been created or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 mono-complete:armel : Depends: mono-runtime:armel (= but it is not going to be installed
                       Depends: mono-runtime-sgen:armel (= but it is not going to be installed
                       Depends: mono-utils:armel (= but it is not going to be installed
                       Depends: mono-devel:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: mono-mcs:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: mono-gmcs:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: mono-dmcs:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: mono-csharp-shell:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: mono-2.0-gac:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: mono-4.0-gac:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: mono-2.0-service:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: mono-4.0-service:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: monodoc-base:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: monodoc-manual:armel (= but it is not installable
                       Depends: libmono-cil-dev:armel (= but it is not installable
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

Compiling from source seemed to be the next sensible option. I started by downloading specific releases but the build failed each time (I tried versions 3.10.0, 3.8.0 and 3.6.0). It seems that unless you have the mono-devel package already installed on your system, the tarballs are missing dependencies required for a full build (see compiling mono on linux).

After no success with the tarballs I tried to clone the relevant branch from git and tried again. Currently the 3.10.0-branch of Mono isn’t building, so until that is fixed, I’ve used 3.8.0-branch. Cloning the branch also isn’t enough to pull all of the dependencies for a full compile, but git submodule can fix this.

$ apt-get install git autoconf libtool automake build-essential gettext
$ cd /usr/src
$ git clone git://
$ cd mono
$ git checkout mono-3.8.0-branch
$ git submodule init
$ git submodule update --recursive
$ git submodule

The full source tree occupies a little over 2GB of space in order to build, and compiling takes several hours on the BBB…

$ ./ --prefix=/usr/local --with-sgen=yes --with-large-heap=yes --with-xen_opt=no --enable-parallel-mark --with-libgdiplus=/usr/local/lib
$ make get-monolite-latest
$ make EXTERNAL_MCS="${PWD}/mcs/class/lib/monolite/gmcs.exe"
$ make
$ sudo make install 

If the installation completed successfully running mono --version should produce something like this. Notice the most recent commit I’ve built against - [e451fb2…].

$ mono --version
Mono JIT compiler version 3.8.0 (mono-3.8.0-branch/e451fb2 Wed Oct 22 16:25:10 UTC 2014)
Copyright (C) 2002-2014 Novell, Inc, Xamarin Inc and Contributors.
        TLS:           __thread
        SIGSEGV:       normal
        Notifications: epoll
        Architecture:  armel,vfp+hard
        Disabled:      none
        Misc:          softdebug
        LLVM:          supported, not enabled.
        GC:            sgen

I didn’t fancy running through this process each time I needed Mono on a fresh BBB so used checkinstall, which hooks the make install process to produce a .deb package. This is then as simple as dpkg -i to install elsewhere.

To do this yourself pull the dependencies for checkinstall, and run it after running make. It will create a reusable package, and install it for you too.

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential automake autoconf libtool pkg-config libcurl4-openssl-dev intltool libxml2-dev libgtk2.0-dev libnotify-dev libglib2.0-dev libevent-dev checkinstall
$ sudo checkinstall

Hopefully following these steps others will get up and running with Mono until the main sources contain ARMhf builds, but YMMV so you can download the .deb package I’ve built here:

comments powered by Disqus