[Buildroot] [PATCH v7 7/8] docs/manual: add details about top-level parallel build support

Thomas Petazzoni thomas.petazzoni at bootlin.com
Fri Dec 28 10:43:34 UTC 2018

Signed-off-by: Thomas Petazzoni <thomas.petazzoni at bootlin.com>
 docs/manual/common-usage.txt        | 44 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 docs/manual/faq-troubleshooting.txt |  3 ++
 docs/manual/quickstart.txt          |  8 +++---
 3 files changed, 51 insertions(+), 4 deletions(-)

diff --git a/docs/manual/common-usage.txt b/docs/manual/common-usage.txt
index e3d7578c85..ebe3238e38 100644
--- a/docs/manual/common-usage.txt
+++ b/docs/manual/common-usage.txt
@@ -329,6 +329,50 @@ Refer to the help text of this script for more details:
 utils/size-stats-compare -h
+=== Top-level parallel build
+Buildroot has always been capable of using parallel build on a per
+package basis: each package is built by Buildroot using +make -jN+ (or
+the equivalent invocation for non-make-based build systems). The level
+of parallelism is by default number of CPUs + 1, but it can be
+adjusted using the +BR2_JLEVEL+ configuration option.
+Until 2019.02, Buildroot was however building packages in a serial
+fashion: each package was built one after the other, without
+parallelization of the build between packages. As of 2019.02,
+Buildroot has experimental support for *top-level parallel build*,
+which allows some signicant build time savings by building packages
+that have no dependency relationship in parallel. This feature is
+however marked as experimental and is known to not work in all
+In order to use top-level parallel build, one must:
+. Enable the option +BR2_PER_PACKAGE_DIRECTORIES+ in the Buildroot
+. Use +make -jN+ when starting the Buildroot build
+Internally, the +BR2_PER_PACKAGE_DIRECTORIES+ will enable a mechanism
+called *per-package directories*, which will have the following
+* Instead of a global _target_ directory and a global _host_ directory
+  common to all packages, per-package _target_ and _host_ directories
+  will be used, in +$(O)/per-package/<pkg>/target/+ and
+  +$(O)/per-package/<pkg>/host/+ respectively. Those folders will be
+  populated from the corresponding folders of the package dependencies
+  at the beginning of +<pkg>+ build. The compiler and all other tools
+  will therefore only be able to see and access files installed by
+  dependencies explicitly listed by +<pkg>+.
+* At the end of the build, the global _target_ and _host_ directories
+  will be populated, located in +$(O)/target+ and +$(O)/host+
+  respectively. This means that during the build, those folders will
+  be empty and it's only at the very end of the build that they will
+  be populated.
diff --git a/docs/manual/faq-troubleshooting.txt b/docs/manual/faq-troubleshooting.txt
index b144c9e7f0..5adf3fa6ce 100644
--- a/docs/manual/faq-troubleshooting.txt
+++ b/docs/manual/faq-troubleshooting.txt
@@ -239,3 +239,6 @@ help reduce the build time:
  * Buy new hardware. SSDs and lots of RAM are key to speeding up the
+ * Experiment with top-level parallel build, see
+   xref:top-level-parallel-build[].
diff --git a/docs/manual/quickstart.txt b/docs/manual/quickstart.txt
index 74158ae249..77b73ef116 100644
--- a/docs/manual/quickstart.txt
+++ b/docs/manual/quickstart.txt
@@ -60,10 +60,10 @@ To start the build process, simply run:
  $ make
-You *should never* use +make -jN+ with Buildroot: top-level parallel
-make is currently not supported. Instead, use the +BR2_JLEVEL+ option
-to tell Buildroot to run the compilation of each individual package
-with +make -jN+.
+By default, Buildroot does not support top-level parallel build, so
+running +make -jN+ is not necessary. There is however experimental
+support for top-level parallel build, see
 The `make` command will generally perform the following steps:

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