Building from SVN

Revision as of 15:03, 2 December 2019 by Sean (talk | contribs) (Install)

Obtain the sources via Subversion

For Linux/Mac/BSD:

svn checkout brlcad

Note: If you do not yet have an SVN client installed, go to for information on obtaining an appropriate SVN client for your platform. Most modern Linux/BSD/UNIX distributions will also have SVN available in their package repositories.

For Windows:

Install a Subversion client for Windows, such as TortoiseSVN:

To get a checkout after installing TortoiseSVN, right-click in a folder where you want to download the sources, select SVN Checkout and specify for the repository URL.

Configure the build system with CMake

BRL-CAD also requires the build tool CMake. Most Linux/BSD/UNIX systems provide a package for CMake. For platforms that do not, CMake is available from

Once installed, create a directory where you will compile BRL-CAD and run CMake.

For Linux/Mac/BSD, this looks like:

cd brlcad
mkdir build
cd build
cmake .. (for a default build)
cmake .. -DBRLCAD_BUNDLED_LIBS=ON -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release (for a release build)

For Windows, you can use the CMake GUI where you specify build and source directories:

Running CMake GUI on Windows

Compile and test your build

On Linux/Mac/BSD, run this in your build directory:


At this point, you should have a fully installed and working system. You can test things by doing:

make test
make benchmark

Both the test and benchmark should report successfully if everything is working correctly. Report any failures to the BRL-CAD bug tracker.

On Windows, open the BRLCAD solution and Compile.

Doxygen (OPTIONAL)

If you have doxygen installed somewhere CMake can find it, then you can build a browsable HTML documentation of the source code. This is useful if you want to use BRL-CAD's libraries directly, or if you just want a better overview of how things are structured.

To build the HTML files on a UNIX system, run (from your build directory)

make dox

and then open doc/doxygen_output/html/index.xhtml with your web browser of choice.


On all systems, you can simply run directly from the build directory without installing.

That said, by default BRL-CAD installs into /usr/brlcad or /opt/brlcad on Linux/Mac/BSD and into the standard program directory on Windows. To check your build or install of BRL-CAD, browse to the "bin" directory from the GUI or from cmd.exe and run "mged".

Setup environment (optional)

At this point, everything should be ready for use. If the default prefix of /usr/brlcad was used or if the corresponding symbolic links were created, users should only need to add /usr/brlcad/bin to their PATH in order to find binaries for the package (optionally setting their MANPATH as well):

For bash:

export PATH=/usr/brlcad/bin:$PATH
export MANPATH=/usr/brlcad/man:$MANPATH

For csh/tcsh:

set path=( /usr/brlcad/bin $path )
setenv MANPATH /usr/brlcd/man:$MANPATH

If users do not want to modify their PATH, they can get by providing the full path to the binaries (e.g. /usr/brlcad/bin/mged). To find BRL-CAD manual pages without setting your MANPATH, use the provided "brlman" binary instead of "man".

Test installation

If everything went well, there should now be more than 400 command-line applications at your disposal for processing images and geometry. A quick test of functionality (and performance) is to run the BRL-CAD benchmark again, which is installed as the benchmark tool:


Additionally, you can run the MGED solid modeler: