OpenSpace has been tested on version 18.04 of ubuntu.

Please note that as of May 2020, the current version of OpenSpace runs but is not rendering correctly on Ubuntu (see github issues for more information).

Developer Tools

Install the following tools:

  • Git 2.7+
  • GCC 8+
  • CMake 3.12+


You can install gcc-8 using the following commands. At the time of this writing, gcc-8 is not the default version in ubuntu, so this involves some additional steps. The final commands configure ubuntu’s “update-alternatives”, which allows a user to select among multiple installations of gcc:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install build-essential software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-toolchain-r/test
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gcc-8 g++-8
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/gcc gcc /usr/bin/gcc-8 60 --slave /usr/bin/g++ g++ /usr/bin/g++-8
sudo update-alternatives --config gcc

If you don’t want to install GCC 8 globally (e.g. leave gcc 7 as the default for ubuntu), you can overwrite the CMake options instead:


If you do want to change the defaults: here

The CMake CXX flags variable should be set to: CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS:STRING=-std=gnu++17 -DGLM_ENABLE_EXPERIMENTAL

It is recommended to create a new CMake string variable OPENGL_GL_PREFERENCE and set its value to GLVND.


Install the following libraries:

  • GLEW (sudo apt-get install glew-utils)
  • freeglut (sudo apt-get install freeglut3-dev)
  • SOIL is the recommended image library for Linux (sudo apt-get install libsoil1). While FreeImage seems to work well with OpenSpace on other platforms, problems have been encountered while using this on Linux
  • Install other libraries using sudo apt-get install <libname>:
    • libxrandr-dev
    • libxinerama-dev
    • xorg-dev
    • libcurl4-openssl-dev (use libcurl4-ssl-dev for other linux distros)
    • libgdal-dev
    • libxcursor-dev


Obtain the source code (develop branch in this case)

  • git clone --recursive --branch linux
  • cd OpenSpace

Set up the build and run CMake

Basic steps:

  • mkdir build
  • cd build
  • CMake step (see section below)
  • make

CMake step

This can be one of the following:

  • cmake .. The simplest way if there are no CMake issues to resolve or build options to set.
  • ccmake .. A curses pseudo-gui version of CMake (run sudo apt install cmake-curses-gui if not installed).
  • cmake-gui .. A Qt GUI version of CMake.

With any of these methods, CMake is first configured, then (if no errors) the generate step creates the build files.


Make sure that you are using the correct version of gcc/g++

  • Double check CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER and /usr/bin/c++ --version to be sure. It should be at least 8.0

Error: could not read symbols: Missing DSO from command line

  • Try using g++ instead of gcc.

Error: GLSL 3.00 is not supported. Supported versions are: 1.10, 1.20, 1.30, 1.00 ES, and 3.00 ES

  • Enter the following line in the terminal before running, or add this to ~/.bashrc or ~/.profile: export MESA_GL_VERSION_OVERRIDE=4.3

It may be necessary to install boost if trying to build some of the older branches.