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Building FreeCAD and dependencies with conda

With conda only the most general dependencies are used from the system. Therefor nearly all dependencies of FreeCAD have to be build. conda-forge is a github-organization containing many dependencies of FreeCAD. With this channel added to the condarc-channels-section the number of packages we have to maintain for freecad is not that high.

Most of the freecad-relevant packages are now conda-forge-feedstocks and listed as subrepos of FreeCAD_Conda.

All conda-forge-feedstocks are build automatically by ci's for osx, linux and windows. This way it's easy to collaborate and fix build-problems. So if you encounter any problem which can be fixed by build-instructions, or if you want a newer version of a library please navigate to the corresponding feedstock, fork this feedstock on github and add changes. Once done create a pullrequenst and see if the build succeeds on all plattforms.

Conda-forge uses build-tools from anaconda. These tools (compiler, build-environments, ...) are also changing. To keep a feedstock updated conda-smithy should be used. This can be easily done in a PR by following the instructions listed here:

To build packages locally (not with ci's) we use conda-build. conda-build is the tool to create a package from a conda-recipe. A conda-recipe is part of a conda-forge feedstock and includes all the instructions to create a conda-package. A recipe is a simple directory containing a meta.yaml file which includes all the specifications of a library like name, version, dependencies, test-specifications, license. More difficult libraries (like most of the FreeeCAD-dependencies) will also contain a for unix and bld.bat-file for windows. Both are scripts which contain instructions for the compilation (like calling cmake, make, ...) To build a conda-recipe, simple call conda build . -m .ci_support/<plattform_and_version_specific_file>.yaml. If no such plattform_and_version_specific_file is available, you can also call conda build without this option. (But then conda build will try to build all the supported dependency-trees. For example this will result in packages which are dependent on different python versions. (This can be prevente by using eg.: conda build . --python=3.7

To setup a system to work correctly with conda-build some installations are mandatory:


  1. Download the MacOSX10.9.sdk
  2. Extract files to /opt/MacOSX10.9.sdk
  3. add a file in the user-home-directory named conda_build_config.yaml containing these lines:
      - /opt/MacOSX10.9.sdk        # [osx]


For linux the simplest way to create a conda-package locally is docker.

  • install Docker for ubuntu. But there also installation-guides for other distros available.

  • conda-forge docker image:

sudo docker run -i -t -v ~/projects/:/home/conda/projects  --name conda-forge condaforge/linux-anvil-comp7
/usr/bin/sudo yum install -y mesa-libGL-devel
conda update --all

-v: mount a local path into the docker host -i: Keep STDIN open even if not attached -t: Allocate a pseudo-TTY

reuse container

sudo docker stop <name>
sudo docker start <name> -i

remove all containers

sudo docker stop $(sudo docker ps -a -q)
sudo docker rm $(sudo docker ps -a -q)

copy files to local host

sudo docker cp <name of running docker>:<file> <local_file_path>

Build conda packages with windows

create a new recipe


  • meta.yaml
  • (linux, mac)
  • build.bat (windows)

additional informations

  • export enviroment To create a reproduceable enviroment, we can create a yaml-file containing all the information of the packages and versions currently installed in an enviroment.
conda env export > environment.yml

We host packages on

conda update --all
conda update conda
anaconda login
  • local packages: building packages make them locally (on the machine which build the package) available. For example if the package simage was build, conda will use this package. It's also possible to use a cloud service to store packages. This is very useful if you want to use your packages on multiple machines. There are two things to remember:

    1. the directory structure should be the same as in conda/conda-bld For linux-64 it looks like this.
│   ├── linux-64
│   │   ├── coin3d-4.0.0-5.tar.bz2
  1. use conda index conda-packages/linux-64 to add newly added packages to the conda index.
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