Compile faster with Ccache and Distcc


You need to be connected to a high speed network to actually improve your build time

Installation on hosts and clients

sudo apt install distcc* ccache distccmon-gnome

Build server configuration

On every build computer, you need to install distcc and ccache and update the configuration :

sudo nano /etc/default/distcc

Then set he following variables :


# Which networks/hosts should be allowed to connect to the daemon?
# You can list multiple hosts/networks separated by spaces.
# Networks have to be in CIDR notation, f.e.
# Hosts are represented by a single IP Adress
# This means allow from myself and computers from to

Restart the distcc deamon and you are all setup ! sudo service distcc restart.

Client configuration

export CCACHE_PREFIX="distcc"
# Use gcc 4.8 on 14.04
export CC="ccache gcc-4.8" CXX="ccache g++-4.8"
# Use gcc 5 on 16.04
export CC="ccache gcc-5" CXX="ccache g++-5"
# If you want only distcc use this
#export CC="distcc gcc-4.8" CXX="distcc g++-4.8"
#export CC="distcc gcc-5" CXX="distcc g++-5"

# List here all the known distcc servers/number of threads
export DISTCC_HOSTS='localhost/4 kuka-viz/6 kuka-viz2/6'
# Build your workspace with
catkin build -p$(distcc -j) -j$(distcc -j) --no-jobserver


Put this alias in your ~/.bashrc: alias cdistcc="catkin build -p$(distcc -j) -j$(distcc -j) --no-jobserver"


The command in CC and CXX are the commands sent over the network. In order to avoid compiler conflicts, put the compiler version (ex: gcc-4.8) !

Building a catkin workspace with Distcc

If you’ve already built your workspace without distcc, you’ll need to clean it first catkin clean -y. Then, verify you have the variables set correctly (as above) : echo $CXX && echo $CC.

Now you can use catkin build -p$(distcc -j) -j$(distcc -j) --no-jobserver to build your workspace.


You can use distccmon-gnome to visualize the distribution.