Assembly of foreign architectures (e.g. assembling Sparc shellcode on Mac OS X) requires cross-compiled versions of binutils to be installed. We’ve made this process as smooth as we can.

In these examples, replace $ARCH with your target architecture (e.g., arm, mips64, vax, etc.).

Building binutils from source takes about 60 seconds on a modern 8-core machine.


For Ubuntu 12.04 through 15.10, you must first add the pwntools Personal Package Archive repository.

Ubuntu Xenial (16.04) has official packages for most architectures, and does not require this step.

$ apt-get install software-properties-common
$ apt-add-repository ppa:pwntools/binutils
$ apt-get update

Then, install the binutils for your architecture.

$ apt-get install binutils-$ARCH-linux-gnu

Mac OS X

Mac OS X is just as easy, but requires building binutils from source. However, we’ve made homebrew recipes to make this a single command. After installing brew, grab the appropriate recipe from our binutils repo.

$ brew install$ARCH.rb

Alternate OSes

If you want to build everything by hand, or don’t use any of the above OSes, binutils is simple to build by hand.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

V=2.25   # Binutils Version
ARCH=arm # Target architecture

cd /tmp
wget -nc$V.tar.gz
wget -nc$V.tar.gz.sig

gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 4AE55E93
gpg --verify binutils-$V.tar.gz.sig

tar xf binutils-$V.tar.gz

mkdir binutils-build
cd binutils-build

export AR=ar
export AS=as

../binutils-$V/configure \
    --prefix=/usr/local \
    --target=$ARCH-unknown-linux-gnu \
    --disable-static \
    --disable-multilib \
    --disable-werror \

hash gmake || MAKE=make

$MAKE -j clean all
sudo $MAKE install