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Subject[PATCH v2 2/2] kbuild: support LLVM=1 to switch the default tools to Clang/LLVM
As Documentation/kbuild/llvm.rst implies, building the kernel with a
full set of LLVM tools gets very verbose and unwieldy.

Provide a single switch LLVM=1 to use Clang and LLVM tools instead
of GCC and Binutils. You can pass it from the command line or as an
environment variable.

Please note LLVM=1 does not turn on the integrated assembler. You need
to pass LLVM_IA=1 to use it. When the upstream kernel is ready for the
integrated assembler, I think we can make it default.

We discussed what we need, and we agreed to go with a simple boolean
flag that switches both target and host tools:

Some items discussed, but not adopted:


When multiple versions of LLVM are installed, I just thought supporting
LLVM_DIR=/path/to/my/llvm/bin/ might be useful.

CC = $(LLVM_DIR)clang
LD = $(LLVM_DIR)ld.lld

However, we can handle this by modifying PATH. So, we decided to not do


Some distributions (e.g. Debian) package specific versions of LLVM with
naming conventions that use the version as a suffix.

CC = clang$(LLVM_SUFFIX)
LD = ld.lld(LLVM_SUFFIX)

will allow a user to pass LLVM_SUFFIX=-11 to use clang-11 etc.,
but the suffixed versions in /usr/bin/ are symlinks to binaries in
/usr/lib/llvm-#/bin/, so this can also be handled by PATH.

Signed-off-by: Masahiro Yamada <>
Reviewed-by: Nathan Chancellor <>
Tested-by: Nathan Chancellor <> # build
Tested-by: Nick Desaulniers <>

Changes in v2:
- Switch host compilers as well as requested

Documentation/kbuild/kbuild.rst | 5 +++++
Documentation/kbuild/llvm.rst | 8 ++++++--
Makefile | 29 +++++++++++++++++++++++------
tools/objtool/Makefile | 6 ++++++
4 files changed, 40 insertions(+), 8 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/kbuild/kbuild.rst b/Documentation/kbuild/kbuild.rst
index 510f38d7e78a..2d1fc03d346e 100644
--- a/Documentation/kbuild/kbuild.rst
+++ b/Documentation/kbuild/kbuild.rst
These two variables allow to override the user@host string displayed during
boot and in /proc/version. The default value is the output of the commands
whoami and host, respectively.
+If this variable is set to 1, Kbuild will use Clang and LLVM utilities instead
+of GCC and GNU binutils to build the kernel.
diff --git a/Documentation/kbuild/llvm.rst b/Documentation/kbuild/llvm.rst
index 2b40afa58049..81f915c02c4c 100644
--- a/Documentation/kbuild/llvm.rst
+++ b/Documentation/kbuild/llvm.rst
@@ -47,8 +47,12 @@ example:
LLVM Utilities

-LLVM has substitutes for GNU binutils utilities. These can be invoked as
-additional parameters to `make`.
+LLVM has substitutes for GNU binutils utilities. Kbuild supports `LLVM=1`
+to enable them.
+ make LLVM=1
+They can be enabled individually. The full list of the parameters:

make CC=clang LD=ld.lld AR=llvm-ar NM=llvm-nm STRIP=llvm-strip \\
OBJCOPY=llvm-objcopy OBJDUMP=llvm-objdump OBJSIZE=llvm-size \\
diff --git a/Makefile b/Makefile
index f9beb696d6d3..ffc1d2c618a7 100644
--- a/Makefile
+++ b/Makefile
@@ -399,8 +399,13 @@ HOST_LFS_CFLAGS := $(shell getconf LFS_CFLAGS 2>/dev/null)
HOST_LFS_LDFLAGS := $(shell getconf LFS_LDFLAGS 2>/dev/null)
HOST_LFS_LIBS := $(shell getconf LFS_LIBS 2>/dev/null)

-HOSTCC = gcc
-HOSTCXX = g++
+ifneq ($(LLVM),)
+HOSTCC = clang
+HOSTCXX = clang++
+HOSTCC = gcc
+HOSTCXX = g++
KBUILD_HOSTCFLAGS := -Wall -Wmissing-prototypes -Wstrict-prototypes -O2 \
-fomit-frame-pointer -std=gnu89 $(HOST_LFS_CFLAGS) \

# Make variables (CC, etc...)
CPP = $(CC) -E
+ifneq ($(LLVM),)
+CC = clang
+LD = ld.lld
+AR = llvm-ar
+NM = llvm-nm
+OBJCOPY = llvm-objcopy
+OBJDUMP = llvm-objdump
+READELF = llvm-readelf
+OBJSIZE = llvm-size
+STRIP = llvm-strip
PAHOLE = pahole
LEX = flex
YACC = bison
diff --git a/tools/objtool/Makefile b/tools/objtool/Makefile
index ee08aeff30a1..f591c4d1b6fe 100644
--- a/tools/objtool/Makefile
+++ b/tools/objtool/Makefile
@@ -3,9 +3,15 @@ include ../scripts/Makefile.include
include ../scripts/Makefile.arch

# always use the host compiler
+ifneq ($(LLVM),)
+HOSTAR ?= llvm-ar
+HOSTCC ?= clang
+HOSTLD ?= ld.lld
HOSTAR ?= ar
HOSTCC ?= gcc
HOSTLD ?= ld
 \ /
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