It is STRONGLY advised to read through this entire doc page before getting started.
Preconfigured Docker image
We provide preconfigured Docker images based on Ubuntu or Fedora.
These images contain all the tools and dependencies needed to build SOFA.
Feel free to use them and to propose your own versions on Docker Hub!
Supported Linux version
SOFA policy is to support only the latest Ubuntu LTS.
SOFA requires a C++17 compatible compiler.
On Linux, we officially support GCC >= 7 and Clang >= 5.
First, install the standard compilation toolkit with this command:
sudo apt install build-essential software-properties-common
To know which GCC versions are available for your distribution, run this command:
apt-cache search '^gcc-[0-9.]+$'
Then, install the latest one with the usual command (example with gcc-11):
sudo apt install gcc-11
Clang is an alternative to GCC. It compiles approximately two times faster!
We recommend to install Clang 5 or newer.
To know which Clang versions are available for your distribution, run this command:
apt-cache search '^clang-[0-9.]+$'
Then, install the latest one with the usual command (example with clang-12):
sudo apt install clang-12
CMake: Makefile generator
CMake will be required to configure the SOFA project before compiling it. Note that SOFA requires at least CMake 3.12.
sudo apt install cmake cmake-gui
[optional] Ninja: build system
Ninja is an alternative to Make. It has a better handling of incremental builds.
sudo apt install ninja-build
[optional] CCache: caching system
We advise you to use ccache. It is by no means mandatory, but it will dramatically improve the compilation time if you make changes to SOFA.
sudo apt install ccache
SOFA requires some libraries:
Qt (>= 5.12.0) with Charts and WebEngine
We recommend to install Qt in your user directory with the unified installer.
Make sure to enable Charts and WebEngine components.
bash sudo apt install libopengl0
Boost (>= 1.65.1)
bash sudo apt install libboost-all-dev
Python 3.8 + pip + numpy + scipy
bash sudo apt install python3.8-dev
bash sudo apt-get install python3-distutils \ && curl -L https://bootstrap.pypa.io/pip/get-pip.py --output /tmp/get-pip3.py \ && python3.8 /tmp/get-pip3.py \ && python3.8 -m pip install --upgrade pip \ && python3.8 -m pip install numpy scipy
Additional libraries: libPNG, libJPEG, libTIFF, Glew, Zlib
bash sudo apt install libpng-dev libjpeg-dev libtiff-dev libglew-dev zlib1g-dev
SOFA v20.06 and newer also need Eigen (>= 3.2.10)
bash sudo apt install libeigen3-dev
SOFA plugins depend on libraries that are available in the official repositories.
You probably don’t need them all, but you might find it convenient to install them all and not worry about it later.
This list does not cover all available SOFA plugins, only the ones that are built by our continuous integration platform.
sudo apt install libcgal-dev libcgal-qt5-dev
sudo apt install liboce-ocaf-dev
sudo apt install libassimp-dev
sudo apt install nvidia-cuda-toolkit
sudo apt install libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libavutil-dev libswscale-dev
sudo apt install libblas-dev liblapack-dev
Setup your source and build directories
To set up clean repositories, we recommend to arrange the SOFA directories as follows:
sofa/ ├── build/ │ ├── master/ │ └── v23.06/ └── src/ └── < SOFA sources here >
First, checkout the sources from Git repository:
Get the current stable version on the v23.06 branch:
git clone -b v23.06 https://github.com/sofa-framework/sofa.git sofa/src
OR get the development unstable version on the master branch:
git clone -b master https://github.com/sofa-framework/sofa.git sofa/src
Generate a Makefile with CMake
Create build directories respecting the arrangement above.
Run CMake-GUI and set source folder and build folder.
Run Configure. A popup will ask you to specify the generator for the project.
- If you installed Ninja, select “CodeBlocks – Ninja”.
- Otherwise, select “CodeBlocks – Unix Makefile”.
Choose “Specify native compilers” and press “Next”
Set the C compiler to
Set the C++ compiler to
Fix eventual dependency errors by following CMake messages (see Troubleshooting section below). Do not worry about warnings.
(optional) Customize SOFA via CMake variables
- choose the build type by setting CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE to “Release” or “RelWithDebInfo” (recommended) or “Debug”
- activate or deactivate plugins: see PLUGIN_XXX variables
- activate or deactivate functionalities: see SOFA_XXX variables
Do not forget to Configure again to check if your changes are valid.
When you are ready, run Generate.
To compile, open a terminal in your build directory and run
ninja depending on the generator you chose during CMake configuration.
Time for a coffee!
Troubleshooting CMake errors
Qt detection error
To solve Qt detection errors, click on Add Entry and add
CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH with path
/home/YOUR_USERNAME/Qt/QT_VERSION/COMPILER matching your Qt installation.
Then, Configure again.
A further dev warning may appear:
CMake Warning (dev) at YOUR_QT_PATH/lib/cmake/Qt5Core/Qt5CoreMacros.cmake:224 (configure_file): configure_file called with unknown argument(s): COPY_ONLY Call Stack (most recent call first): applications/projects/Modeler/exec/CMakeLists.txt:14 (qt5_add_resources)
This is just a typo with Qt5CoreMacros.cmake file. It uses COPY_ONLY instead of COPYONLY. Simply edit your Qt5CoreMacros.cmake, replace COPY_ONLY with COPYONLY and Configure again.
See our page presenting video tutorial for compilation on Linux.
Last modified: 26 October 2023