Documentation/Nightly/Developers/Build Instructions/Prerequisites

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The prerequisites listed below are required to be able to configure/build/package/test Slicer.


  • CMake >= 3.7-rc02
  • Git >= 1.7.10
  • Svn >= 1.7
  • Qt 4.8.6. See details here. See some history here (Note that any version >= Qt 4.7.4 can be used only for Ubuntu < 12.04)


  • Debian squeeze/wheezy/testing(jessie) users, start by pasting the following lines in a terminal
sudo apt-get install subversion git-core git-svn
sudo apt-get install make gcc g++ libx11-dev libxt-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libosmesa6-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libfontconfig-dev libxrender-dev libncurses5-dev
sudo apt-get install cmake
sudo apt-get install qt-sdk


Common Prerequisites
sudo apt-get install subversion git-core git-svn
sudo apt-get install make gcc g++ libx11-dev libxt-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libfontconfig-dev libxrender-dev libncurses5-dev
sudo apt-get install libosmesa6-dev  # Only for Ubuntu < 14.04.3
  1. On Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS, attempting to install libosmesa6-dev results in an error.
    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
     libosmesa6-dev : Depends: libosmesa6 (= 10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4) but it is not going to be installed
     E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    For more details, see Bug 1424059.

  1. Slicer compiles successfully without that package, but VTK_OPENGL_HAS_OSMESA is disabled.
  • For Qt5.5 on Ubuntu 16.04
sudo apt-get install libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-dev
  1. Open a terminal and copy the command reported below
  2. Download stable version of CMake and extract the archive:
    mkdir ~/Support && cd ~/Support
    curl -O
    tar -xzvf cmake-3.5.2-Linux-x86_64.tar.gz
  3. Create symbolic links into ~/bin
    mkdir -p ~/bin
    for name in cmake ctest cpack ccmake cmake-gui; do
      ln -s ~/Support/cmake-3.5.2-Linux-x86_64/bin/$name ~/bin/$name
  1. You MUST download the standard CMake binary because the distributed version of CMake cannot be used to build slicer.
    See here for more details.

Ubuntu 14.04 and above: Qt 4 == 4.8.7 MUST be used.


or on ubuntu 16.04 and 16.10, you can also install qt4.8.7 with:

sudo apt-get install qt4-dev-tools libqt4-dev libqt4-core libqt4-gui libqtwebkit-dev

Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10: Qt 4 >= 4.8.5 MUST be used.

cd ~/Support   # This is where we will build Qt and dependent libraries
# Keep track of our working directory

# This will download, then build zlib and openssl in the current folder
rm -f
chmod u+x 

# This will download Qt source in the current folder
md5=`md5sum ./qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.6.tar.gz | awk '{ print $1 }'` &&
[ $md5 == "2edbe4d6c2eff33ef91732602f3518eb" ] || echo "MD5 mismatch. Problem downloading Qt"

# This will configure and build Qt in RELEASE against the zlib and openssl previously built
tar -xzvf qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.6.tar.gz
mv qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.6 qt-everywhere-opensource-release-src-4.8.6
mkdir qt-everywhere-opensource-release-build-4.8.6
cd qt-everywhere-opensource-release-src-4.8.6
./configure -prefix $cwd/qt-everywhere-opensource-release-build-4.8.6    \
                   -release \
                   -opensource -confirm-license \
                   -no-qt3support \
                   -webkit \
                   -nomake examples -nomake demos \
                   -openssl -I $cwd/openssl-1.0.1e/include   -L $cwd/openssl-1.0.1e \
&& make -j7 && make install

For more details, consider reading the FAQ entry: Why Qt 4 >= 4.8.5 should be used on Ubuntu 12.04 and above ?


  • CentOS user type:
yum install make gcc-c++ libX11-devel libXt-devel libXrender-devel libXext-devel libGLU-devel mesa-libOSMesa-devel mesa-libGL-devel mesa-libGLU-devel ncurses


  • El Capitan is what most developers use.
  • CMake 3.7-rc02 is recommended.

MacOSX 10.9.4 (Mavericks)

(1) Make sure to install this update:

(2) Use CMake 3.0.1 - it is known to be working and is supported (if you want to use CMake already installed on your system, is known to work on Mac OS X 10.9.5)

$ curl -O
$ tar -xzvf cmake-2.8.11-Darwin64-universal.tar.gz --strip-components=1
$ CMake\ --version
cmake version 2.8.11
  • Git >= 1.7.10
  • Svn >= 1.7
  • XCode (for the SDK libs)
    • After installing XCode, install XCode command line developer tools:
xcode-select --install

Mac OSX 10.11 (El Capitan)

XCode up to version 7 is known to work for Slicer compilation. XCode 8 breaks things on several levels for now. Remember to install XCode command line tools (see above) if a reinstall for XCode is needed.

The standard Qt4 installers fail on this version and the 4.8.6 source code won't build. But as described on the slicer-devel mailing list it is possible to install the homebrew version of qt4 which patches it to work on El Capitan (see below).

  • Install the OS, Xcode, and XQuartz (see MacOSX 10.10 above)
  • Install Qt4 by running the following two commands:
brew install qt4
xcode-select --install
  • TCL does not build correctly on El Capitan as of 2015-12-03, so when building Slicer turn `Slicer_USE_PYTHONQT_WITH_TCL` off.

Mac OSX 10.12 (Sierra)

Similar to 10.11 (El Capitan), there are new issues with Qt4 (caused by Phonon). The GitHub user Cartr offered a patch to the brew team, and even though it was not integrated (the homebrew team decided to stop patching their recipe to encourage people to use Qt5), he turned his formula into a tap that can be installed (see below).

Follow instructions for 10.11 (Installing Xcode, XQuartz, run without TCL) but install Qt4 like shown below instead:

brew install cartr/qt4/qt
xcode-select --install

Confirmed with Xcode: Version 8.1 (8B62) and cmake version 3.4.20151021-g8fbc8e


Common Prerequisites

  • CMake >= 3.0 (3.7.1 recommended)
  • Git >= 1.7.10
    • Note For convenience, you could update the PATH variable so that git can be automatically discovered when configuring Slicer. If not, you will have to specify the GIT_EXECUTABLE at configure time.
  • SlikSvn . If using TortoiseSVN (versions that support command line tools), make sure you install Command line tools (disabled by default)
  • NSIS (optional): Needed if packaging Slicer - Click here to download.
  • Qt: See details here.

Tested and recommended build environment

  • Visual Studio 2013 with Update 5, as of commit 7160260: Slicer compilation is successful, with some caveats.
    • CMake >= 3.3.1
    • Build Qt 4.8.7 with SSL support using qt-easy-build.
    • For Debug mode, disable Slicer_USE_SimpleITK in CMake.

Note: be sure to pick the version of qmake that you built in the earlier steps if applicable (CMake may pick a different qmake, for example if installed with anaconda)

Experimental/deprecated build environments