3. Compiling the DPDK Target from Source

3.1. System Requirements

Building the DPDK and its applications requires one of the following environments:

  • The Clang-LLVM C compiler and Microsoft MSVC linker.
  • The MinGW-w64 toolchain (either native or cross).

The Meson Build system is used to prepare the sources for compilation with the Ninja backend. The installation of these tools is covered in this section.

3.2. Option 1. Clang-LLVM C Compiler and Microsoft MSVC Linker

3.2.1. Install the Compiler

Download and install the clang compiler from LLVM website. For example, Clang-LLVM direct download link:


3.2.2. Install the Linker

Download and install the Build Tools for Visual Studio to link and build the files on windows, from Microsoft website. When installing build tools, select the “Visual C++ build tools” option and ensure the Windows SDK is selected.

3.3. Option 2. MinGW-w64 Toolchain

On Linux, i.e. for cross-compilation, install MinGW-w64 via a package manager. Version 4.0.4 for Ubuntu 16.04 cannot be used due to a MinGW-w64 bug.

On Windows, obtain the latest version installer from MinGW-w64 repository. Any thread model (POSIX or Win32) can be chosen, DPDK does not rely on it. Install to a folder without spaces in its name, like C:\MinGW. This path is assumed for the rest of this guide.

3.4. Install the Build System

Download and install the build system from Meson website. A good option to choose is the MSI installer for both meson and ninja together:


Recommended version is Meson 0.57.

Versions starting from 0.58 are unusable with LLVM toolchain because of a Meson issue.

3.5. Install the Backend

If using Ninja, download and install the backend from Ninja website or install along with the meson build system.

3.6. Build the code

The build environment is setup to build the EAL and the helloworld example by default.

3.6.1. Option 1. Native Build on Windows

When using Clang-LLVM, specifying the compiler might be required to complete the meson command:

set CC=clang

When using MinGW-w64, it is sufficient to have toolchain executables in PATH:

set PATH=C:\MinGW\mingw64\bin;%PATH%

To compile the examples, the flag -Dexamples is required.

cd C:\Users\me\dpdk
meson setup -Dexamples=helloworld build
ninja -C build

3.6.2. Option 2. Cross-Compile with MinGW-w64

The cross-file option must be specified for Meson. Depending on the distribution, paths in this file may need adjustments.

meson setup --cross-file config/x86/cross-mingw -Dexamples=helloworld build
ninja -C build