[wpe-webkit] AArch64 builds in AUR

Adrian Perez de Castro aperez at igalia.com
Wed Feb 20 09:43:48 PST 2019

Hello Andrea!

On Wed, 20 Feb 2019 14:29:59 +0100, Andrea Giammarchi <andrea.giammarchi at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear WPE WebKit team,
>   I've just recently discovered your project and I'm the author of the
> defunct project Benja [1] and also the post about having a minimalistic
> WebKitGTK+ kiosk mode on the Raspberry Pi 3.
> I've always preferred WebKit on ARM for the simple reason that Chromium
> never cared much to be there or, in general, to support Wayland where
> possible.
> The reason I am here is Sam Decrock and his recent post on how to build WPE
> for the RPi3 via Buildroot.
> You probably know already that AUR contains already libwpe +
> libwpe-git, wpewebkit, and wpebackend-fdo, which I believe is the whole
> stack needed to start WPE.

As a matter of fact, I am pretty much aware of the AUR packages, because
I am the one maintaining them :-)

On top of those three packages (libwpe, wpebackend-fdo, and wpewebkit) you
will need an actual “web browser” or, as we prefer to call something that
is not a full-fledged browser, a WPE “launcher”. Given that your goal is to
have a kiosk mode browser, I would recommend Cog [1] — for which there is
a package in the AUR as well [2].

> However, none of those packages target also aarch64, and on top of that,
> none of them is already built for the RPi3.

The reason why none of the packages are marked as available for AArch64 is
simple: lack of testing. Personally I am not particularly comfortable to add
the platform as supported if I have not built and tried the packages for a
new architecture. Which is also the reason why there is no “wpebackend-rdk”
package yet (my main focus is the “-fdo” backend).

While I am quite confident that things *should* work on AArch64 because now
and then I do builds for the Raspberry Pi 3 myself using Buildroot, I do not
have spare time right now to do the same for the AUR packages. If anyone would
be willing to help out building and testing them for AArch64 (or other
architectures), then I would be super happy give some guidance and to add
AArch64 as supported.

> Having a pre built, up-to-date version, of your stack, would make
> prototyping in the most used embedded device a no brainer, and it will also
> help projects being updates, without the need to create yet another
> distribution platform to update non official stable releases.
> Accordingly, for the sake of providing the best browser out there for IoT &
> DYI related projects, and for an officially declared LTS platform as the
> RPi3 is, I wonder if there is any interest in publishing these "bricks" as
> AUR aarch64 packages that will make the creation of anything Web based via
> ArchLinux finally a reality.

I completely agree with you: having prebuilt packages (or images) for popular
platforms like the Raspberry Pi would definitely help people who want to try
out things quickly and tinker with WPE WebKit. Having packages readily
available for Raspbian (which is a very popular option) would be great as

One of my long term plans has been having ready-to-use images built using
Buildroot for the Raspberry Pi 3 built automatically for official releases,
and maybe even some kind of “tech preview” monthly builds. Just last week
we got the base packages and Cog into the “next” branch [3], so prebuilt
images are getting closer to being a reality.

> I'm here to help as I can or, if you can tell me how to build from a PC all
> the needed parts using system libraries so that I can produce such
> packages, I'd love to create rpi3-libwpe, rpi3-wpewebkit, and
> rpi3-wpebackend-fdo for the already awesome ArchLinuxARM community.

The main issue I see here is that in particular the “wpewebkit” package
would take ages to build on the Raspberry Pi, and it could even be that the
linker would fail due to running out of memory. Ideally one would cross
compile from a powerful machine, which apparently is possible using distcc,
according to the Arch Linux ARM wiki [4]. That would still need a “master”
ARM device to distribute compilation to other machine(s), and the linker
would run on the master ARM device and running out of memory is still a
possibility :-\

Do you have any idea if cross compiling an Arch Linux package is possible
without needing a “master” ARM device? That would be helpful.

> Thank you in advance for any sort of outcome.
> [1] http://benja.io
> [2] https://medium.com/@WebReflection/a-minimalistic-64-bit-web-kiosk-for-rpi-3-98e460419b47
> [3] https://medium.com/@decrocksam/building-web-applications-for-wpe-webkit-using-node-js-3347146013f3

I hope the above helps out a bit, at least to understand the situation.


[1] https://github.com/Igalia/cog
[2] https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/cog/
[3] e.g. https://git.busybox.net/buildroot/tree/package/wpewebkit?h=next
[4] https://archlinuxarm.org/wiki/Distcc_Cross-Compiling
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