Hello neighbours. Another dry one today, intended first and foremost for myself before I wrote this post, and secondly for anyone coming after me in a similar boat.

Due to working on a reproducibility study, it was necessary for me to build some old compiler versions, that no longer existed on package repositories.

I encountered a number of build errors during this time, and have documented how I solved them. As a post, it isn’t bringing many insights, and serves as a curation of disparate Stack Overflow and other sources that I used to solve my issues.

This guide was created via a Debian-based distribution, but you should be able to apply it to others. I’m running on an x86 system, and due to some errors was forced to use the configure flag --disable-multilib. Only use this if you encounter the relevant error described below.

First, you need to download the gcc source code using svn. For example, to get version 4.5.1, use

svn co svn://gcc.gnu.org/svn/gcc/tags/gcc_4_5_1_release gcc

For other versions, see the gcc docs. The SVN tag for GCC X.Y.Z is of the form gcc_X_Y_Z_release.

Make the gcc directory your working directory, and run

./configure --prefix=$(pwd) --enable-languages=c,c++,fortran --disable-werror

When this suceeds, you can then run:

make bootstrap-lean -j4

Ultimately, I wanted an installable .deb package, so once compiling was finsihed, I ran checkinstall. Make sure to set a version number during configuration.

Now, here are the errors I encountered, and how I fixed them. Solutions were discovered via search-engine-fu, and trial & error.

The errors and their solutions


configure: error: Building GCC requires GMP 4.2+, MPFR 2.3.1+ and MPC 0.8.0+.


Install these packages from your package manager:

apt-get install libmpfr-dev libmpfr-doc libmpfr4
apt-get install libgmp-dev
apt-get install libmpc3 libmpc-dev


gcc: error: gengtype-lex.c: No such file or directory


Install the flex program, which “Generates programs that perform pattern-matching on text.” Something something flexing on these mfs.

apt-get install flex

The error may occur again. If so, rerun the ./configure stage, but dropping the --disable-werror flag.

./configure --prefix=$(pwd) --enable-languages=c,c++,fortran --disable-werror

Then compile again.

make bootstrap-lean -j4

To me, this was just a magic heuristic I guessed, trying to figure out why it works was not productive for me.


/usr/include/features.h:364:25: fatal error: sys/cdefs.h: No such file or directory


Install the package

apt-get install g++-multilib

Packaged with it is some tool which is includes sys/cdefs.h.


In file included from ../../.././libgcc/../gcc/unwind-dw2.c:333:0:
../../.././libgcc/../gcc/config/i386/linux-unwind.h: In function 'x86_fallback_frame_state':
../../.././libgcc/../gcc/config/i386/linux-unwind.h:138:17: error: field 'info' has incomplete type


In the file gcc/config/i386/linux-unwind.h, line 138, replace struct siginfo info; with siginfo_t info;.

Or, more easily, you could run the patch command, with a diff I promise isn’t malicious!

I can only guarantee this will work for 4.5.1 (not a guarantee).

wget https://gist.githubusercontent.com/Wheest/bdd5bc7d487061e5c973f0fba4b96c47/raw/31033a6c5e8d7811ae0a81c2e4c9adea2359a822/unwind.patch -O /tmp/unwind.patch

patch -p0 -b --ignore-whitespace --fuzz 3   < /tmp/unwind.patch


/usr/bin/ld: cannot find crti.o: No such file or directory


Disable multi-lib support. Defintely think about whether or not this solution is right for you.

./configure --prefix=$(pwd) --enable-languages=c,c++,fortran --disable-werror --disable-multilib

You may also need to run:



../.././gcc/double-int.h:24:17: fatal error: gmp.h: No such file or directory

../.././gcc/real.h:26:17: fatal error: gmp.h: No such file or directory


Install the following packages:

apt-get install libgmp3-dev libgmp-dev

Make a symbolic link to the header file:

ln -s /usr/include/x86_64-linux-gnu/gmp.h /usr/include/gmp.h

You may also need to rerun ./configure


Hopefully this solved all of the issues you had, but I’m sure are that weren’t listed here could be corrected through other means.

I was finally able to get my .deb package and continue on my merry way.

Update 2021-09

I was recently contacted by a reader Ali Abdul-Kareem who experienced some of these issues, even on the latest version of gcc. They shared some additional steps that were necessary for their success, which I got permission to paraphrase here:

When you fix an error like: gcc: error: gengtype-lex.c: No such file or directory, or any other error really, and you run make again, it will (probably) report an error with something along the lines of: make recipe failed, and it will exit the program. I encountered it multiple times and the easiest solution for me was remove everything and start again. Or you can simply remove the cached files (it will report which cached files, but it will be much earlier in the terminal output). I simply removed the build directory and started again. I experienced an error recipe for target bootstrab lean failed, if you read the output there is almost nothing but scrolling way up will read (error cached files doesn't match for gmp or something similar). Removing the cached files seemed to fix this.