On recent linux distributions, FreeCAD is generally easy to build, since all dependencies are usually provided by the package manager. Basically, you'll just need to get the FreeCAD source, then install the dependencies listed below, then issue:
./autogen.sh && ./configure && make
./cmake . && make
to get FreeCAD built, depending on what build system you prefer to use (autotools or cmake). Below, you'll find detailed explanations of the whole process and particularities you might encounter. There are automatic scripts located at the end of this section for Popular Distributions. There is also a general shellscript that you can use to follow along for a general Debian-based Distribution. If you find anything wrong in it or here below, please help us correcting it.
Getting the source
Before you can compile FreeCAD, you must get the source code. This used to be done only by subversion, but now development has shifted to using git. The subversion trunk is periodically updated from the git master branch. If you are just interested in building a set version, you can probably get the source from either system, but if you wish to explore or help develop, you should use git. For more information, see Source code management.
The quickest way to get the code is to clone the read-only git repository:
git clone git://free-cad.git.sourceforge.net/gitroot/free-cad/free-cad (read-only) cd REPONAME
The first time you try connecting to the free-cad.git.sourceforge.net host, you should see a message similar to the following:
The authenticity of host 'free-cad.git.sourceforge.net (22.214.171.124)' can't be established. RSA key fingerprint is 86:7b:1b:12:85:35:8a:b7:98:b6:d2:97:5e:96:58:1d. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
Before typing 'yes' to accept the host fingerprint, ensure the fingerprint is correct for the host. You can find a listing of SSH host keys in the SSH Host Key Fingerprints list. If you receive a host key warning, please contact the SourceForge.net team.
First install subversion. Then, from the directory of your choice (for example your user directory), do:
svn co https://free-cad.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/free-cad/trunk freecad
This will perform an anonymous checkout of the current development version in a new directory called "freecad". Alternatively you can download a source tarball but they could be already quite old so it's probably better to always get the latest sources via subversion. Note, though, that the subversion version is the FreeCAD version currently being worked on, and it might contain bugs or even fail to compile.
To compile FreeCAD under Linux you have to install all libraries mentioned in Third Party Libraries first. You also need the GNU gcc compiler version equal or above 3.0.0. g++ is also needed because FreeCAD is completely written in C++. Both gcc and g++ are included in the build-essential package listed below. During the compilation some Python scripts get executed. So the Python interpreter has to work properly.
To avoid any linker problems during the build process it would be a good idea to have the library paths either in your LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable or in your ld.so.conf file. This is normally already the case in recent distributions.
For more details have also a look to README.Linux in your sources.
Debian/Ubuntu and most recent distributions
On Debian based systems it is quite easy to get all needed dependencies installed. Most of the libraries are available via apt-get or synaptic package manager. Below are listed all packgages you need to install. On other distributions, the package names can vary, but usually you'll be able to find them all too:
build-essential python libtool libcoin60-dev libsoqt4-dev libxerces-c2-dev (or libxerces28-dev depending on your system) libboost-dev libboost-date-time-dev libboost-filesystem-dev libboost-graph-dev libboost-iostreams-dev libboost-program-options-dev libboost-serialization-dev libboost-signals-dev libboost-regex-dev libboost-thread-dev libqt4-dev qt4-dev-tools python2.5-dev (or higher version if available) libopencascade-dev libf2c2-dev gfortran libeigen3-dev libqtwebkit-dev
To simply install all these libraries in one step, just copy/paste the following text in a terminal (only for debian/ubuntu based systems) as root:
On Ubuntu-based systems, substitute 'aptitude' for 'sudo apt-get install' as it's the preferred way.
aptitude install build-essential python libtool libcoin60-dev libsoqt4-dev libxerces-c2-dev libboost-dev libboost-date-time-dev libboost-filesystem-dev libboost-graph-dev libboost-iostreams-dev libboost-program-options-dev libboost-serialization-dev libboost-signals-dev libboost-regex-dev libboost-thread-dev libqt4-dev qt4-dev-tools python2.5-dev libopencascade-dev libf2c2-dev gfortran libeigen3-dev libqtwebkit-dev
Another simple way, if your debian-based distribution already has a freecad package, is to do:
apt-get build-dep freecad
which will fetch all packages needed to build freecad. Beware that some new packages might be needed since last version, that you still need to install manually.
optionally you can also install
libsimage-dev (to make Coin to support additional image file formats) checkinstall (to register your installed files into your system's package manager, so yo can easily uninstall later) python-pivy (needed for the 2D Drafting module) python-qt4 (needed for the 2D Drafting module) doxygen and libcoin60-doc (if you intend to generate source code documentation) libspnav-dev (for 3Dconnexion devices support like the Space Navigator or Space Pilot)
To build & install FreeCAD on Fedora 13, a few tips and tricks are needed:
- Install a bunch of required packages, most are available from the Fedora 13 repositories
- Download and build xerces
- Download and build OpenCascade. Need to point it to xmu: ./configure --with-xmu-include=/usr/include/X11/Xmu --with-xmu-library=/usr/lib
- Download and build Pivy. You have to remove 2 references to non existent "SoQtSpaceball.h" from pivy/interfaces/soqt.i Commenting out those two lines allow the build & install to work.
- Configure Freecad. You will need to point it to a few things: ./configure --with-qt4-include=/usr/include --with-qt4-bin=/usr/lib/qt4/bin --with-occ-lib=/usr/local/lib --with-occ-include=/usr/local/inc --with-xercesc-lib=/usr/local/lib
- make - hits a problem where the build is breaking because the ldflags for soqt are set to "-LNONE" which made libtool barf. My hackish workaround was to modify /usr/lib/Coin2/conf/soqt-default.cfg so that the ldflags are "" instead of "-LNONE". After this -> success !
- make install
Older and non-conventional distributions
On older distributions, however you might not find the following libraries:
Not all Linux distributions have an official OpenCASCADE package in their repositories. You have to check yourself for your distribution if one is available. At least from Debian Lenny and Ubuntu Intrepid on an official .deb package is provided. For older Debian or Ubuntu releases you may get unofficial packages from here. To build your own private .deb packages follow these steps:
wget http://lyre.mit.edu/~powell/opencascade/opencascade_6.2.0.orig.tar.gz wget http://lyre.mit.edu/~powell/opencascade/opencascade_6.2.0-7.dsc wget http://lyre.mit.edu/~powell/opencascade/opencascade_6.2.0-7.diff.gz
dpkg-source -x opencascade_6.2.0-7.dsc
# Install OCC build-deps sudo apt-get install build-essential devscripts debhelper autoconf automake libtool bison libx11-dev tcl8.4-dev tk8.4-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev java-gcj-compat-dev libxmu-dev
#Build Opencascade packages. This takes hours and requires # at least 8 GB of free disk space cd opencascade-6.2.0 ; debuild
# Install the resulting library debs sudo dpkg -i libopencascade6.2-0_6.2.0-7_i386.deb libopencascade6.2-dev_6.2.0-7_i386.deb
Alternatively, you can download and compile the latest version from opencascade.org:
Install the package normally, be aware that the installer is a java program that requires the official java runtime edition from Sun (package name: sun-java6-jre), not the open-source java (gij) that is bundled with Ubuntu. Install it if needed:
sudo apt-get remove gij sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre
Be careful, if you use gij java with other things like a browser plugin, they won't work anymore. If the installer doesn't work, try:
java -cp path_to_file_setup.jar <-Dtemp.dir=path_to_tmp_directory> run
Once the package is installed, go into the "ros" directory inside the opencascade dir, and do
./configure --with-tcl=/usr/lib/tcl8.4 --with-tk=/usr/lib/tk8.4
Now you can build. Go back to the ros folder and do:
It will take a long time, maybe several hours.
When it is done, just install by doing
sudo make install
The library files will be copied into /usr/local/lib which is fine because there they will be found automatically by any program. Alternatively, you can also do
which will do the same as make install but create an entry in your package management system so you can easily uninstall later. Now clean up the enormous temporary compilation files by doing
Possible error 1: If you are using OCC version 6.2, it is likely that the compiler will stop right after the beginning of the "make" operation. If it happens, edit the "configure" script, locate the CXXFLAGS="$CXXFLAGS " statement, and replace it by CXXFLAGS="$CXXFLAGS -ffriend-injection -fpermissive". Then do the configure step again.
Possible error 2: Possibly several modules (WOKSH, WOKLibs, TKWOKTcl, TKViewerTest and TKDraw) will complain that they couldn't find the tcl/tk headers. In that case, since the option is not offered in the configure script, you will have to edit manually the makefile of each of those modules: Go into adm/make and into each of the bad modules folders. Edit the Makefile, and locate the lines CSF_TclLibs_INCLUDES = -I/usr/include and CSF_TclTkLibs_INCLUDES = -I/usr/include and add /tcl8.4 and /tk8.4 to it so they read: CSF_TclLibs_INCLUDES = -I/usr/include/tcl8.4 and CSF_TclTkLibs_INCLUDES = -I/usr/include/tk8.4
The SoQt library must be compiled against Qt4, which is the case in most recent distributions. But at the time of writing this article there were only SoQt4 packages for Debian itself available but not for all Ubuntu versions. To get the packages built do the following steps:
wget http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/pool/main/s/soqt/soqt_1.4.1.orig.tar.gz wget http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/pool/main/s/soqt/soqt_1.4.1-6.dsc wget http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/pool/main/s/soqt/soqt_1.4.1-6.diff.gz dpkg-source -x soqt_1.4.1-6.dsc sudo apt-get install doxygen devscripts fakeroot debhelper libqt3-mt-dev qt3-dev-tools libqt4-opengl-dev cd soqt-1.4.1 debuild sudo dpkg -i libsoqt4-20_1.4.1-6_i386.deb libsoqt4-dev_1.4.1-6_i386.deb libsoqt-dev-common_1.4.1-6_i386.deb
If you are on a 64bit system, you will probably need to change i386 by amd64.
Pivy is not needed to build FreeCAD or to run it, but it is needed for the 2D Drafting module to work. If you are not going to use that module, you won't need pivy. At the time of writing, Pivy is very new and might not have made its way into your distribution repository. If you cannot find Pivy in your distribution's packages repository, you can grab debian/ubuntu packages on the FreeCAD download page:
or compile pivy yourself:
The autotools way
You must have automake and libtool installed on your system; on Debian/Ubuntu:
aptitude install automake libtool
If you got the sources with subversion then the very first step must be
that creates the configure script and more. For the build process itself we provide a configure script. Just type
To get everything configured. If you want an overview of all options you can specify, you can type
Normally you need none of them - unless you have one of your libraries installed in a really uncommon directory. After configuration has finished, compiling FreeCAD is as simple as
If any error occurs while building from sources, please double-check this page and README.Linux file, then you could jump to the Bug Tracker on SourceForge, choose Any for status and click the Browse button to see previous reports on compile problems. After having built FreeCAD successfully, do
to install it onto your machine. The default install directory is
It will be installed in a FreeCAD folder in your home folder, so you don't need root privileges. Instead of make install, you can also do
In this way FreeCAD will be installed by your package management system, so you can uninstall it easily later. But since all of FreeCAD installation resides into one single directory, just removing the FreeCAD directory is a valid way to uninstall too.
The cMake way
cMake is a newer build system which has the big advantage of being common for different target systems (Linux, Windows, MacOSX, etc). FreeCAD is progressively switching to the cMake system, and you can already build FreeCAD in that way. Like with autotools, the process goes in two steps : first you configure the source, and then you build the program proper.
In the first step, cMake checks that every needed programs and libraries are present on your system and sets up all that's necessary for the subsequent compilation. You are given a few alternatives detailed below, but FreeCAD comes with sensible defaults and, assuming cMake is installed on your system, for a first compilation you can just switch to your FreeCAD source folder and issue:
to have the source configured (Don't forget the dot! It's a parameter to the cmake command). Then issue:
to have FreeCAD built. A proper system-wide installation of FreeCAD still cannot be made with cmake, but you can run FreeCAD simply by issuing
- Out of source build:
If you intend to follow the fast evolving SVN versions and maybe contribute to the code, cMake allows for out of source builds. Just create a build directory distinct from your freecad root folder, switch to this directory and there issue:
cmake path-to-freecad-root make
The effect is that every file generated at configure time goes in your build directory, and does not get mixed with the sources checked-out from SVN. The management of your local copy of the sources is greatly eased.
- Configuration options:
There are a number of experimental or unfinished modules you may have to build if you want to work on them. To do so, you need to set the proper options for the configuration phase. Do it either on the command line, passing -D <var>:<type>=<value> options to cMake or using one of the availables gui-frontends (eg for Debian, packages cmake-qt-gui or cmake-curses-gui).
As an example, to configure on the command line with the Assembly module built, issue:
cmake -D FREECAD_BUILD_ASSEMBLY:BOOL=ON path-to-freecad-root
Possible options are listed in FreeCAD's root CmakeLists.txt file.
Qt designer plugin
- If you want to develop Qt stuff for FreeCAD, you'll need the Qt Designer plugin that provides all custom widgets of FreeCAD. Go to
So far we don't provide a makefile -- but calling
creates it. Once that's done, calling
will create the library libFreeCAD_widgets.so. To make this library known to Qt Designer you have to copy the file to
- If you feel bold enough to dive in the code, you could take advantage to build and consult Doxygen generated FreeCAD's Source documentation
Note for 64bit systems
When building FreeCAD for 64-bit there is a known issue with the OpenCASCADE 64-bit package. To get FreeCAD running properly you might need to run the ./configure script with the additional define _OCC64 set:
For Debian based systems this workaround is not needed when using the prebuilt package because there the OpenCASCADE package is built to set internally this define. Now you just need to compile FreeCAD the same way as described above.
The configure script of FreeCAD makes use of several automake macros that are sometimes not installed with their packages: bnv_have_qt.m4, coin.m4, and gts.m4. If needed (error while configuring), google for them and you will find them easily. They are just simple scripts that you need to put in your /usr/share/aclocal folder.
Making a debian package
If you plan to build a Debian package out of the sources you need to install those packages first:
dh-make devscripts lintian (optional, used for checking if packages are standard-compliant)
To build a package open a console, simply go to the FreeCAD directory and call
Once the package is built, you can use lintian to check if the package contains errors
lintian your-fresh-new-freecad-package.deb (replace by the name of the package you just created)
Automatic build scripts
Here is all what you need for a complete build of FreeCAD. It's a one-script-approach and works on a fresh installed distro. The commands will ask for root password (for installation of packages) and sometime to acknowledge a fingerprint for an external repository server or https-subversion repository. This scripts should run on 32 and 64 bit versions. They are written for distinct version, but are also likely to run on a later version with or without minor changes.
If you have such a script for your preferred distro, please send it! We will incorporate it into this article.
Note that this script starts by adding the FreeCAD Daily Builds PPA repository so it can proceed with the Eigen3 library (libeigen3-dev) installation. If you already have this library installed on your system, you can remove the first line.
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS - Lucid Lynx / Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat / Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:freecad-maintainers/freecad-daily && sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install build-essential python libcoin60-dev libsoqt4-dev \ libxerces-c2-dev libboost-dev libboost-date-time-dev libboost-filesystem-dev \ libboost-graph-dev libboost-iostreams-dev libboost-program-options-dev \ libboost-serialization-dev libboost-signals-dev libboost-regex-dev libboost-thread-dev \ libqt4-dev qt4-dev-tools python2.6-dev libopencascade-dev libsoqt4-dev \ libode-dev subversion cmake libeigen2-dev libsimage-dev python-qt4 \ libtool autotools-dev automake bison flex libf2c2-dev gfortran libeigen3-dev libqtwebkit-dev # checkout the latest source svn co https://free-cad.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/free-cad/trunk freecad # go to source dir cd freecad # build configuration cmake . # build FreeCAD make # test FreeCAD cd bin ./FreeCAD -t 0
# use FreeCAD ./FreeCAD
# Update latest version
# go to source dir cd freecad # Update source svn update # build configuration cmake . # build FreeCAD make
For FreeCAD 0.13 unstable you need to add Eigen3 and swig libraries, that don't seem to be in standard repos. You can get them with one-click install here:
# install needed packages for development sudo zypper install gcc cmake OpenCASCADE-devel libXerces-c-devel \ python-devel libqt4-devel python-qt4 Coin-devel SoQt-devel boost-devel \ libode-devel libQtWebKit-devel libeigen3-devel gcc-fortran f2c git # create new dir, and go into it mkdir FreeCAD-Compiled cd FreeCAD-Compiled # get the source git clone git://free-cad.git.sourceforge.net/gitroot/free-cad/free-cad # you will have new dir in this location called free-cad. #it contains the source # make another dir for compilation, and go into it mkdir FreeCAD-Build1 cd FreeCAD-Build1 # build configuration cmake ../free-cad # build FreeCAD make # test FreeCAD cd bin ./FreeCAD -t 0
Since you are using git, next time you wish to compile you do not have to clone everithing, just pull from git and compile once more
# go into free-cad dir created earlier cd free-cad # pull git pull # make another dir for compilation, and go into it mkdir FreeCAD-Build2 cd FreeCAD-Build2 # build configuration cmake ../free-cad # build FreeCAD make # test FreeCAD cd bin ./FreeCAD -t 0
This script is not working at the moment because:
- libXerces-c-devel seams to be disappeared ....
# install needed packages for development sudo zypper install gcc cmake subversion OpenCASCADE-devel \ libXerces-c-devel python-devel libqt4-devel python-qt4 \ Coin-devel SoQt-devel boost-devel libode-devel libQtWebKit-devel \ libeigen2-devel gcc-fortran f2c # get the source svn co https://free-cad.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/free-cad/trunk freecad # go to source dir cd freecad # build configuration cmake . # build FreeCAD nice make # test FreeCAD cd bin ./FreeCAD -t 0
# additional repository (for OpenCascade) sudo zypper -p http://packman.unixheads.com/suse/11.1/ # install needed packages for development sudo zypper install gcc cmake subversion OpenCASCADE-devel \ libXerces-c-devel python-devel libqt4-devel python-qt4 \ Coin-devel SoQt-devel boost-devel libode-devel libQtWebKit-devel \ libeigen2-devel # get the source svn co https://free-cad.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/free-cad/trunk freecad # go to source dir cd freecad # build configuration cmake . # build FreeCAD nice make # test FreeCAD cd bin ./FreeCAD -t 0
# get the needed tools and libs sudo apt-get install build-essential python libcoin60-dev libsoqt4-dev \ libxerces-c2-dev libboost-dev libboost-date-time-dev libboost-filesystem-dev \ libboost-graph-dev libboost-iostreams-dev libboost-program-options-dev \ libboost-serialization-dev libboost-signals-dev libboost-regex-dev \ libqt4-dev qt4-dev-tools python2.5-dev \ libsimage-dev libopencascade-dev \ libsoqt4-dev libode-dev subversion cmake libeigen2-dev python-pivy \ libtool autotools-dev automake libf2c2-dev gfortran # checkout the latest source svn co https://free-cad.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/free-cad/trunk freecad # go to source dir cd freecad # build configuration cmake . # build FreeCAD make # test FreeCAD cd bin ./FreeCAD -t 0