Linux:Installation from sources

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These instructions only apply to YARP > 2.3.23 and iCub > 1.1.13 software versions

See Linux: installation from sources old for older instructions


The page contains instructions for compiling YARP and the iCub software. We recommend you get the required dependencies from the binary packages.

Getting all dependencies

Most of the dependencies are already available in the Linux distributions, in some cases (e.g. ipopt or ode in some distributions) we provide our own packages. Follow the steps on this page to configure the sources.list.

Install only the package icub-common:

sudo apt-get install icub-common

Install CMake:

 sudo apt-get install cmake cmake-curses-gui

the second package installs the curses based interface (ccmake).

If you want to install all packages yourself, this is the list of packages you have to install (Linux: dependencies).

Setting up revision control systems

To download sources from our repositories you need to set up a revision control system client (subversion and/or git).

YARP can be obtained using git or subversion.

The iCub software can be obtained using subversion.

Getting git

Install git:

 sudo apt-get install git

Learning git: to get sources you don't need to understand git in detail (just follow our instructions). However you can follow this link if you are willing to learn more Learning more about git.

Getting Subversion

Install subversion:

 sudo apt-get install subversion

If you are not familiar with svn we suggest at least you learn the basics. Some instructions are available from the sourceforge website:

A lot of more details (including a quick introduction) can be found instead here:

Important: if you are a developer and are planning to commit to the repository don't forget to configure svn. Follow this link: Subversion_client_flags.

Getting the YARP and iCub sources

Get the YARP sources. Pick a directory where you would like to install the sources, e.g. /home/user

 cd /home/user

Using subversion:

 svn co yarp 

or (preferred) using GIT, cloning the repository from one of these addresses:

for example:

 cd /home/user
 sudo apt-get install git
 git clone

This will create a directory called yarp with all the sources.

  • Set the YARP_ROOT environment variable in your .bashrc to point to /home/user/yarp.

Get the iCub sources

You can download the whole repository from svn. In the same directory /home/user (or elsewhere):

 svn co

This will create a directory iCub with all the sources.

Notice that this may take some time. Alternatively you can download individual modules (i.e. main and contrib or firmware)

 cd /home/user
 mkdir iCub
 svn co iCub/main
 svn co iCub/contrib

This will create only the directories iCub/main and iCub/contrib with all the sources.

Compile YARP

Create YARP makefiles

Pick up a build directory. E.g. $YARP_ROOT/build and run CMake.

 mkdir $YARP_ROOT/build
 cd $YARP_ROOT/build
 ccmake $YARP_ROOT

(ccmake is an interactive version of cmake)

Hit 'c' to configure. Choose the following options:

CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE to "Release" 
ENABLE_yarpcar_bayer_carrier, set to ON

(leave default values as they are unless you know better)

Makefiles generation is an iterative process, hit "c" until the option "Generate" becomes available. Then hit "g" and quit.

Note 1: You can optionally change CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX, this is the directory where you would like to install YARP (default is /usr/local). If you do so, you will then need to set up the environment accordingly (see Configure your environment below).

Note 2: CREATE_GUIS and CREATE_LIB_MATH require you have installed the libraries gtk and gsl (you have, if you have followed the instructions above).

Note 3: Do not select other options unless you know what you are doing.

Note 4: Depending on the hardware on your system you might want to compile additional device drivers. This is done for example on the pc104. Instruction for doing this are reported elsewhere.

Compile YARP

If you have completed the previous step you have makefiles ready in your build directory.

 cd $YARP_ROOT/build
 sudo make install

Compile iCub

In the following we will call ICUB_REPOSITORY the top directory of the repository (i.e. the iCub containing the files AUTHORS, README and ChangeLog).

Create iCub makefiles

Pick a build directory to store makefiles and binaries, e.g. /home/user/iCub/main/build

Run CMake to generate makefiles:

 cd /home/user/iCub/main
 mkdir build
 cd build
 ccmake ../

Hit 'c' to configure the project.

Select options:

 CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE to "Release"
 ENABLE_icubmod_cartesiancontrollerclient ON
 ENABLE_icubmod_cartesiancontrollerserver ON
 ENABLE_icubmod_gazecontrollerclient      ON
 ENABLE_icubmod_debug_InterfaceClient     ON

Leave all other options to default (unless you know what you are doing).

Note 1: You can optionally change CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX, this is the directory where you would like to install iCub (default is /usr/local). If you set it to a different prefix than YARP's, you will then need to set up the environment accordingly (see Configure your environment below).

Compile iCub

 cd /home/user/iCub/main/build
 sudo make install

Configure your environment

If you installed YARP and/or iCub to non-default directories, you need to set the environment variable YARP_DATA_DIRS accordingly, i.e.:


Check your installation

Now you are ready to check your installation.