Cross-compile 64-bit code on 32-bit machine

Daniele Esposti's Blog
, in 12 August 2013

Now that I have a spare machine where I can do all my experiments, I can start again to write posts about Disassembly C code for fun but, wait, my current hardware is a 32-bit Pentium-M CPU and I want to build and disassembly 64-bit code!

Let’s set up my Ubuntu for 64-bit cross-compilation.

The trick is to install the gcc and gdb packages to do cross-compilation. On an Ubuntu system you can just issue:

$ sudo apt-get install gcc-multilib gdb-multiarch

After the installation of the packages you can build an disassembly your 64-bit even on a 32-bit hardware. For example this code:

int main {
    return 0;

will be compiled and disassembled with this:

$ cc -g -m64 main.c
$ gdb-multiarch a.out
GNU gdb (Ubuntu/Linaro 7.4-2012.04-0ubuntu2.1) 7.4-2012.04
Copyright (C) 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
and "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "i686-linux-gnu".
For bug reporting instructions, please see:
Reading symbols from /home/expo/a.out...done.
(gdb) disas main
Dump of assembler code for function main:
   0x00000000004004b4 <+0>: push   %rbp
   0x00000000004004b5 <+1>: mov    %rsp,%rbp
   0x00000000004004b8 <+4>: mov    $0x0,%eax
   0x00000000004004bd <+9>: pop    %rbp
   0x00000000004004be <+10>:    retq
End of assembler dump.

Note the extra -m64 argument of cc which tells the compiler to produce 64-bit code and the use of gdb-multiarch instead of the plain gdb to be able to interpreter the 64-bit debug symbols.