Build current FPC and Lazarus for Raspbian

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Raspbian Buster (based on Debian 10 Buster) has FPC and Lazarus available in the repositories, but they suffer from the same "design decisions" that don't allow for a nice experience, namely the smooth IDE rebuilding capability based on source packages that is possible with FPC/Lazarus official .deb packages vs the crippled experience with the official Debian/Raspbian packages. One wishes there were official FPC/Lazarus packages for Raspbian as there are for Intel Debian/Ubuntu, which are also frequently updated; not being that the case (at least for now), this page shows the steps for building your own FPC, FPC-source and Lazarus packages for Raspbian. Example shows steps for Lazarus 2.0.6 which includes FPC 3.0.4, most recent at the time of writing. Adjust accordingly.

Requirements:

  • Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, 4 GB (less memory models would require swap), with appropriate cooling (author uses aluminum case that doubles as heatsink) to avoid throttling due to excessive heat
  • Latest Raspbian Buster fully updated

Steps:

  1. Install subversion: sudo apt install subversion
  2. Get bootstrap FPC compiler. The latest compiler is compiled with the previous version of itself.
  3. Extract compiler. This will create a fpc-3.0.2.arm-linux directory. (NOTE: this folder must be on a linux FS [like Documents folder] as FAT doesn't allow the next step to work).
  4. In this directory, as pi user, run ./install.sh
  5. At the four prompts, answer Enter, n, n, n: this is, accept suggested directory /home/pi/fpc-3.0.2, no Textmode IDE, no documentation, no demos. Ignore tar warnings. Note the additional files written to /home/pi: .fpc.cfg, .config/fppkg.cfg, .fppkg/config/default. When the build is done, to delete this temporary bootstrap compiler these files and the /home/pi/fpc-3.0.2 install directory need to be deleted.
  6. Temporarily add FPC install directory to PATH: export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/fpc-3.0.2/bin. If you have to reboot for any reason before completing the FPC build, you have to do this step again.
  7. Test if all ok: fpc abcd. This invokes the just installed compiler trying to compile a non-existent file (abcd). A multiline message will be shown including the compiler version.
  8. Non-step note: the following steps are mostly based on this
  9. Install development libraries: sudo apt install libgtk2.0-dev libgpm-dev libncurses-dev
  10. mkdir ~/pascal
  11. cd ~/pascal
  12. svn co https://svn.freepascal.org/svn/fpc/tags/release_3_0_4 fpc, you have to be online for this and the next step to work.
  13. svn co https://svn.freepascal.org/svn/lazarus/tags/lazarus_2_0_6 lazarus
  14. cd lazarus/tools/install
  15. Edit create_fpc_deb.sh, look for line with the following content: arm) ppcbin=arm; FPCArch=arm;;, (currently line 109). Copy and paste this line below itself, so it will appear twice. Edit this copy to read like this: armhf) ppcbin=arm; FPCArch=arm;;. Now save the changes and exit.
  16. Run the script: ./create_fpc_deb.sh fpc ~/pascal/fpc/. This will compile the latest compiler with the bootstrap compiler. It takes about 11 minutes. A .deb file will be created: fpc-laz_3.0.4-yymmdd_armhf.deb; the exact name will be shown at the end of the compilation. Rename the file with (NOTE: do not type the brackets): mv [file name shown at end of compilation] fpc-laz_3.0.4_armhf.deb
  17. You have completed the FPC build. Reboot the Pi to get rid of the temporary PATH.
  18. Uninstall the bootstrap FPC: rm -rf ~/.fpc.cfg ~/.config/fppkg.cfg ~/.fppkg ~/fpc-3.0.2 ~/tmp. Check what you just did: fpc abcd should say command is not found.
  19. Install the just created FPC Debian package: sudo dpkg -i ~/pascal/lazarus/tools/install/fpc-laz_3.0.4_armhf.deb. Check if it works: fpc abcd should show the newly installed FPC compiler.
  20. cd ~/pascal/lazarus/tools/install
  21. ./create_fpc_deb.sh fpc-src ~/pascal/fpc/. This builds the FPC source package in about 3 minutes: fpc-src_3.0.4-yymmdd_armhf.deb. Rename with: mv fpc-src_3.0.4-yymmdd_armhf.deb fpc-src_3.0.4_armhf.deb
  22. Edit create_lazarus_deb.sh, look for line with the following content: echo "$Arch is not supported.", (currently line 86). Copy the 3 lines above it and paste them just below themselves: at this time it is copy lines 83 to 85 and paste them between lines 85 and 86. In the just pasted lines (lines 86-88), replace sparc with armhf, and ppcsparc with ppcarm. Look for the first fi just below; copy and paste it below itself (copy line 91 below itself, so line 91 and 92 read the same). For you coders out there, you are adding another if to a nested if, with its corresponding fi. Now save and exit.
  23. ./create_lazarus_deb.sh. This will build the Lazarus IDE Debian package lazarus-project_2.0.6-0_armhf.deb. It will take about 15 minutes.
  24. Install the FPC source and Lazarus packages: sudo dpkg -i fpc-src_3.0.4_armhf.deb lazarus-project_2.0.6-0_armhf.deb
  25. Save *.deb to another location, to reinstall later if needed or to share with friends: remember this is free software.
  26. cd, rm -rf ~/pascal ~/tmp

You can now finally enjoy your fully working, fully up to date Lazarus. Find it in the Programming section of the Raspberry menu. A message titled "Error in EditorMacroScript" will be shown on first run; this also appears in the Raspbian Lazarus, reason still unknown to the original author of this page. Now try to install a package, for example lazreport; it will work!

Want to help the FPC/Lazarus community? Host the resulting .deb packages somewhere on the Internet and drop a note on the forum to let everyone know; rinse and repeat for every release.