A very popular and advertised tool for programming ARM microcontrollers is Keil MDK-ARM. The evaluation version can be downloaded here. However there is a code-size limitation of 32 kB for using the evaluation version of Keil. After some searching I found out that the CooCox IDE is a free alternative to Keil and similar software.

So my question, given that CooCox is absolutely free is... Is CooCox an alternative with no such limitations of code-size, etc.?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The 32KB limitation applies to the compiler,linker,debugger and simulator. You can use the MDK-Lite Keil uVision IDE without the code size limitations for compiling, linking and programming GCC projects. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tut
    Aug 5, 2014 at 10:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tut - Can you please point me to some resource that explains how to use MDK-Lite Keil uVision IDE with GCC projects, without code size limtitations ? And also the download link fo that particular version. In fact you could turn it into an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – James C
    Aug 5, 2014 at 10:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll give it to you in a nutshell. If you need more, we can go to chat. I used Sourcery CodeBench Lite for ARM EABI available here. For the project in uVision4, go to Project-Manage-Components,Environment,Books... and select the Folders/Extensions tab. Check "Use GCC". The tool prefix I have is "arm-none-eabi-" and the GNU-Tool Folder is the base folder of the installed toolchain, in my case: "C:\Program Files (x86)\CodeSourcery\Sourcery_CodeBench_Lite_for_ARM_EABI\". \$\endgroup\$
    – Tut
    Aug 5, 2014 at 11:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @JamesC the MDK-Lite 32KB limit still applies for debugging, even if you use GCC, so it's pretty much useless for debugging anything non-trivial because the 32KB is calculated from the sum of code & data, not just code. \$\endgroup\$
    – markt
    Aug 5, 2014 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


CooCox (by default, at least) uses the GCC compiler (tautology alert!), which is completely free. I've been using CooCox for postgrad work and, although there are a few issues with the IDE (because it's Eclipse-based - make of that what you will...) I have found it to be very usable when compared to MDK-ARM (which I use at my day job).

CooCox (and GCC) have no code size limitations that I am aware of, and CooCox integrates very nicely with the STLINKv2 (including the built-in STLINKv2 on the ST32F Disco boards) for cheap STM32F debugging.


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