Linux for Synopsys ARC Processors

Linux for Synopsys ARC® processors (ARC Linux) offers all of the benefits of open source software, including complete source code and a large install base. ARC Linux allows software developers to leverage a large amount of Linux-compatible application software to quickly build complex systems using open source components. It runs on the ARC HS38 processor, which includes a memory management unit (MMU). The latest version of ARC Linux is available from the official Linux Kernel Archives at and older versions are available from Synopsys via GitHub.

ARC Linux is tested and verified using (among others) the Linux Test Project (LTP) test suite, the LMBench benchmarking suite, Stream memory benchmarks and NTTCP network throughput test. Features include:

  • Buildroot support to automate and ease the build process
  • KGDB support for kernel debugging
  • Strace, Kprobes, Oprofile, Perf support for profiling

ARC core features:

  • Little and Big Endian support
  • Support for ARC core performance counters (configurable hardware extension)
  • Automatic detection of instruction cache and data cache configuration
  • Support for ARC SIMD, DMA and extensions
  • ARC architecture-specific features and optimizations to leverage efficient ARC hardware
  • All standard kernel features, including
    • High-resolution timers
    • Tickless idle (for lower power)
    • Devicetree support
    • Multi-platform image support
    • Busybox for building a tiny system

ARC Linux is integrated, built and tested with the GNU Tool Chain for Synopsys ARC processors (ARC GNU Tool Chain). This tool chain is provided pre-built and as source packages that can be built to run on the user’s host system. Synopsys maintains and supports the Synopsys ARC Linux kernel and ARC GNU Tool Chain.

The tool chain and ARC Linux are supported by the Buildroot system. This open source tool can be used to build a complete tool chain and Linux distribution for use on ARC processors. The tool automates the building process and eases the cross-compilation process.


  • ARC Linux now part of official Linux Kernel Archives
  • Allows developers to leverage a wide range of Linux compatible applications
  • Complete GNU Toolchain available
  • Buildroot support available to build complete Linux distributions
  • Maintained and tested by Synopsys