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ARM Compiler toolchain and DS-5 terminology and versioning

Applies to: DS-5, RealView Development Suite (RVDS)


This article describes the ARM compilation tools' terminology and release numbering scheme.


RVCT (RealView Compilation Tools) is the term used for legacy ARM Compiler releases that were included in RVDS. RVCT 4.0 was the final toolchain release using the term RVCT. The term ARM Compiler replaces it from release 4.1 onwards.

RVCT and ARM Compiler 4.1 releases are either version releases or patch releases. Version releases are identified by single digit major and minor version numbers. Patch releases of ARM Compiler 4.1 and later RVCT 4.0, 3.1 and 2.2 releases are identified by a patch number. These releases use the release numbering scheme X.YpN, where:

A version release is followed by a sequence of patch releases. A patch release may contain new features, enhancements and fixes.

For example, ARM Compiler 4.1p1 refers to a patch release of ARM Compiler 4.1.

Note that all patch releases are uniquely identified by the version and build number.

ARM Compiler, ARM Compiler toolchain

ARM Compiler is the term used for the compilation tools produced by ARM. This term replaces RVCT from release 4.1 onwards.

ARM Compiler toolchain is an alternative term for ARM Compiler, used where there is a need to distinguish between the compiler alone and the whole toolchain, which includes the assembler, linker, librarian, and fromelf.

Version 5 of the ARM Compiler uses the release numbering scheme X.YYuN, where:

ARM Compiler releases are either feature releases or update releases. Feature releases are identified by a single digit major version number and two digit minor version number, for example 5.00, 5.01. A change of major or minor version number indicates a new feature release. Feature releases provide new features or changes to existing features.

Changes to the major version number, which are expected to occur infrequently, generally indicate significant changes in functionality.

In addition to feature releases, ARM provides update releases. They differ from feature releases in the following ways:

For example, ARM Compiler 5.01 refers to a feature release of ARM Compiler 5. ARM Compiler 5.01u1 refers to an update release of ARM Compiler 5.01.

Note that the term ARM Compiler 5 refers to any release of ARM Compiler 5.

Version 6 of the ARM Compiler refers to a new type of compiler called armclang instead of armcc and uses the release numbering scheme X.Y, where:


RVDS (RealView Development Suite) is the legacy suite of software development tools that DS-5 has replaced.

RVDS releases use the same major and minor version numbers as the RVCT or ARM Compiler version they include. For example, RVDS 4.1 includes ARM Compiler 4.1. RVDS 4.1 is expected to be the final release of RVDS.


DS-5 (ARM Development Studio 5) is the replacement for RVDS as the reference software development toolkit for all ARM processors.

Different editions of DS-5 are available, from Community Edition to Ultimate Edition. DS-5 has a different numbering scheme from ARM Compiler because it incorporates many other components, including Platform Configuration Editor, Snapshot Viewer, and many others. Users can manually add different versions of the ARM and GCC compilers to the compilation toolchain in certain DS-5 editions. Each DS-5 release is numbered 5.X.Y where X is the major version number and Y is the minor version number.

For example, DS-5 version 5.24.0 Ultimate Edition includes ARM Compiler 5.06u2, ARM Compiler 6.4, and GCC 4.x.

Article last edited on: 2016-04-29 22:50:01

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