• A C++11 conformant compiler (currently tested with GCC>=4.7 and Clang>=3.4)
  • CMake. Sailfish uses the CMake build system to check, fetch and install dependencies, and to compile and install Sailfish. CMake is available for all major platforms (though Sailfish is currently unsupported on Windows.)


After downloading the Sailfish source distribution and unpacking it, change into the top-level directory:

> cd Sailfish

Then, create and out-of-source build directory and change into it:

> mkdir build
> cd build

Sailfish makes extensive use of Boost. We recommend installing the most recent version (1.55) systemwide if possible. If Boost is not installed on your system, the build process will fetch, compile and install it locally. However, if you already have a recent version of Boost available on your system, it make sense to tell the build system to use that.

If you have Boost installed you can tell CMake where to look for it. Likewise, if you already have Intel’s Threading Building Blocks library installed, you can tell CMake where it is as well. The flags for CMake are as follows:

  • -DFETCH_BOOST=TRUE – If you don’t have Boost installed (or have an older version of it), you can provide the FETCH_BOOST flag instead of the BOOST_ROOT variable, which will cause CMake to fetch and build Boost locally.
  • -DBOOST_ROOT=<boostdir> – Tells CMake where an existing installtion of Boost resides, and looks for the appropritate version in <boostdir>. This is the top-level directory where Boost is installed (e.g. /opt/local).
  • -DTBB_INSTALL_DIR=<tbbroot> – Tells CMake where an existing installation of Intel’s TBB is installed (<tbbroot>), and looks for the apropriate headers and libraries there. This is the top-level directory where TBB is installed (e.g. /opt/local).
  • -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=<install_dir> – <install_dir> is the directory to which you wish Sailfish to be installed. If you don’t specify this option, it will be installed locally in the top-level directory (i.e. the directory directly above “build”).

Setting the appropriate flags, you can then run the CMake configure step as follows:

> cmake [FLAGS] ..

The above command is the cmake configuration step, which should complain if anything goes wrong. Next, you have to run the build step. Depending on what libraries need to be fetched and installed, this could take a while (specifically if the installation needs to install Boost). To start the build, just run make.

> make

If the build is successful, the appropriate executables and libraries should be created. There are two points to note about the build process. First, if the build system is downloading and compiling boost, you may see a large number of warnings during compilation; these are normal. Second, note that CMake has colored output by default, and the steps which create or link libraries are printed in red. This is the color chosen by CMake for linking messages, and does not denote an error in the build process.

Finally, after everything is built, the libraries and executable can be installed with:

> make install

To ensure that Sailfish has access to the appropriate libraries you should ensure that the PATH variabile contains <install_dir>/bin, and that LD_LIBRARY_PATH (or DYLD_FALLBACK_LIBRARY_PATH on OSX) contains <install_dir>/lib.

After the paths are set, you can test the installation by running

> make test

This should run a simple test and tell you if it succeeded or not.