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wxWidgets for Motif installation
If you experience problems installing, please re-read these
instructions and other related files (todo.txt, bugs.txt and
osname.txt for your platform if it exists) carefully before
mailing wx-users or the author. Preferably, try to fix the
problem first and then send a patch to the author.
When sending bug reports tell us what version of wxWidgets you are
using (including the beta) and what compiler on what system. One
example: wxMotif 2.8.1, gcc 2.95.4, Redhat 6.1
First steps
- Prerequisites: Motif 1.2 or above, or Lesstif. Motif 2.0 and
above may also be suitable.
- Download wxX11-x.y.z.tgz, where x.y.z is the version number.
(wxMotif is included in the wxX11 distribution).
Download documentation in a preferred format, such as or
- Make a directory such as ~/wx and unarchive the files into this
- It is recommended that you install bison and flex; using yacc
and lex may require tweaking of the makefiles. You also need
libXpm (see comments in the Notes section below) if you want to have
XPM support in wxWidgets (recommended).
- You can now use configure to build wxWidgets and the samples.
Using configure is the only way to build the library. If it doesn't
work for you for whatever reason, please report it (together with detailed
information about your platform and the (relevant part of) contents of
config.log file) to
* The simplest case
If you compile wxWidgets on Linux for the first time and don't like to read
install instructions just do (in the base dir):
> ./configure --with-motif
> make
> su <type root password>
> make install
> ldconfig
> exit
Afterwards you can continue with
> make
> su <type root password>
> make install
> ldconfig
> exit
If you want to remove wxWidgets on Unix you can do this:
> su <type root password>
> make uninstall
> ldconfig
> exit
* The expert case
If you want to do some more serious cross-platform programming with wxWidgets,
such as for GTK and Motif, you can now build two complete libraries and use
them concurrently. For this end, you have to create a directory for each build
of wxWidgets - you may also want to create different versions of wxWidgets
and test them concurrently. Most typically, this would be a version configured
with --enable-debug and one without.
For building three versions (one GTK, one Motif and a debug version of the GTK
source) you'd do this:
mkdir buildmotif
cd buildmotif
../configure --with-motif
cd ..
mkdir buildgtk
cd buildgtk
../configure --with-gtk
cd ..
mkdir buildgtkd
cd buildgtkd
../configure --with-gtk --enable-debug
cd ..
Note that since wxWidgets-2.6.0 you can install all those libraries
concurrently, you just need to pass the appropriate flags when using them.
* The simplest errors
You get errors during compilation: The reason is that you probably have a
broken compiler. GCC 2.8 and earlier versions and egcs are likely to cause
problems due to incomplete support for C++ and optimisation bugs. Best to use
GCC 2.95 or later.
You get immediate segfault when starting any sample or application: This is
either due to having compiled the library with different flags or options than
your program - typically you might have the __WXDEBUG__ option set for the
library but not for your program - or due to using a compiler with optimisation
* The simplest program
Now create your super-application and compile anywhere with
g++ myfoo.cpp `wx-config --libs --cxxflags` -o myfoo
* General
The Unix variants of wxWidgets use GNU configure. If you have problems with
your make use GNU make instead.
If you have general problems with installation, see the wxWidgets website at
for newest information. If you still don't have any success, please send a bug
report to one of our mailing lists (see my homepage) INCLUDING A DESCRIPTION OF
but I tried...
* GUI libraries
wxWidgets/Motif requires the Motif library to be installed on your system. As
an alternative, you may also use the free library "lesstif" which implements
most of the Motif API without the licence restrictions of Motif.
You can get the newest version of the Lesstif from the lesstif homepage at:
* Additional libraries
wxWidgets/Motif requires a thread library and X libraries known to work with
threads. This is the case on all commercial Unix-Variants and all
Linux-Versions that are based on glibc 2 except RedHat 5.0 which is broken in
many aspects. As of writing this, virtually all Linux distributions have
correct glibc 2 support.
You can disable thread support by running
./configure --disable-threads
su <type root password>
make install
* Building wxMotif on OS/2
Please send comments and question about the OS/2 installation
to Stefan Neis <> and patches to
the wxWidgets mailing list.
In the following list, the version numbers indicate the configuration that
was actually used by myself, newer version should cause no problems and
even older ones are expected to work most of the time.
You'll need OS/2 Warp (4.51) or eCS(1.0), X-Free86/2 (3.3.6 or newer),
Lesstif (0.92.7 or newer), emx (0.9d fix 4), a Unix like shell (pdksh-5.2.14
or ash), Autoconf (2.57), GNU file utilities (3.13), GNU text utilities (1.19),
GNU shell utilites (1.12), m4 (1.4), sed (2.05), grep (2.0), Awk (3.0.3),
GNU Make (3.75).
Preferably, you should have Posix/2 installed and C(PLUS)_INCLUDE_PATH and
LIBRARY_PATH set up accordingly, however, wxGTK will even work without it.
Presence of Posix/2 will be auto-detected.
Open an OS/2 prompt and switch to the directory above.
Set MAKESHELL or MAKE_SHELL (which one is needed depends on the version of
make) to a Unix like shell, e.g.
If you have a really deficient version of GNU make, it might even be
necessary to set SHELL or even COMSPEC to a unix like shell as well.
Depending on your installation you might want to also set INSTALL, for me
it tends to try to use the system's tcpip\pcomos\install.exe which causes
problems, e.g.
SET INSTALL=<path_to_src_directory>/install-sh -c
Notice that the delivered configure scripts are fully OS/2 aware, so you
can simply run
ash -c "configure --with-motif"
and make and possibly make install as described above.
To verify Lesstif installation, configure will try to compile a
sample program that requires X headers/libraries to be either
available via C_INCLUDE_PATH and LIBRARY_PATH or you need to
explicitly set CFLAGS prior to running configure.
* Building wxMotif on SGI
Using the SGI native compilers, it is recommended that you
also set CFLAGS and CXXFLAGS before running configure. These
should be set to :
CFLAGS="-mips3 -n32"
CXXFLAGS="-mips3 -n32"
This is essential if you want to use the resultant binaries
on any other machine than the one it was compiled on. If you
have a 64bit machine (Octane) you should also do this to ensure
you don't accidently build the libraries as 64bit (which is
The SGI native compiler support has only been tested on Irix 6.5.
* Building wxMotif on Cygwin
The normal build instructions should work fine on Cygwin. The one difference
with Cygwin is that when using the "--enable-shared" configure option (which
is the default) the API is exported explicitly using __declspec(dllexport)
rather than all global symbols being available.
This shouldn't make a difference using the library and should be a little
more efficient. However if an export attribute has been missed somewhere you
will see linking errors. If this happens then you can work around the
problem by setting LDFLAGS=-Wl,--export-all-symbols. Please also let us know
about it on the wx-dev mailing list.
* Create your configuration
./configure [options]
If you want to use system's C and C++ compiler,
set environment variables CXX and CC as
% setenv CC cc
% setenv CXX CC
% ./configure options
to see all the options please use:
./configure --help
The basic philosophy is that if you want to use different
configurations, like a debug and a release version,
or use the same source tree on different systems,
you have only to change the environment variable OSTYPE.
(Sadly this variable is not set by default on some systems
in some shells - on SGI's for example). So you will have to
set it there. This variable HAS to be set before starting
configure, so that it knows which system it tries to
configure for.
Configure will complain if the system variable OSTYPE has
not been defined. And Make in some circumstances as well...
* General options
Given below are the commands to change the default behaviour,
i.e. if it says "--disable-threads" it means that threads
are enabled by default.
Many of the configure options have been thoroughly tested
in wxWidgets snapshot 6, but not yet all (ODBC not).
You have to add --with-motif on platforms, where Motif is
not the default (on Linux, configure will default to GTK).
--with-motif Use either Motif or Lesstif
Configure will look for both.
The following options handle the kind of library you want to build.
--disable-threads Compile without thread support. Threads
support is also required for the
socket code to work.
--disable-shared Do not create shared libraries.
--enable-monolithic Build wxWidgets as single library instead
of as several smaller libraries (which is
the default since wxWidgets 2.5.0).
--disable-optimise Do not optimise the code. Can
sometimes be useful for debugging
and is required on some architectures
such as Sun with gcc 2.8.X which
would otherwise produce segvs.
--enable-profile Add profiling info to the object
files. Currently broken, I think.
--enable-no_rtti Enable compilation without creation of
C++ RTTI information in object files.
This will speed-up compilation and reduce
binary size.
--enable-no_exceptions Enable compilation without creation of
C++ exception information in object files.
This will speed-up compilation and reduce
binary size. Also fewer crashes during the
actual compilation...
--enable-no_deps Enable compilation without creation of
dependency information.
--enable-permissive Enable compilation without checking for strict
ANSI conformance. Useful to prevent the build
dying with errors as soon as you compile with
Solaris' ANSI-defying headers.
--enable-mem_tracing Add built-in memory tracing.
--enable-dmalloc Use the dmalloc memory debugger.
--enable-debug Equivalent to --enable-debug_info plus
--enable-debug_info Add debug info to object files and
executables for use with debuggers
such as gdb (or its many frontends).
--enable-debug_flag Define __DEBUG__ and __WXDEBUG__ when
compiling. This enable wxWidgets' very
useful internal debugging tricks (such
as automatically reporting illegal calls)
to work. Note that program and library
must be compiled with the same debug
* Feature Options
Many of the configure options have been thoroughly tested
in wxWidgets snapshot 6, but not yet all (ODBC not).
When producing an executable that is linked statically with wxGTK
you'll be surprised at its immense size. This can sometimes be
drastically reduced by removing features from wxWidgets that
are not used in your program. The most relevant such features
--without-libpng Disables PNG image format code.
--without-libjpeg Disables JPEG image format code.
--without-odbc Disables ODBC code.
--without-libtiff Disables TIFF image format code.
--without-expat Disable XML classes based on Expat parser.
--disable-threads Disables threads. Will also
disable sockets.
--disable-sockets Disables sockets.
--disable-dnd Disables Drag'n'Drop.
--disable-clipboard Disables Clipboard.
--disable-streams Disables the wxStream classes.
--disable-file Disables the wxFile class.
--disable-textfile Disables the wxTextFile class.
--disable-intl Disables the internationalisation.
--disable-validators Disables validators.
--disable-accel Disables accel.
Apart from disabling certain features you can very often "strip"
the program of its debugging information resulting in a significant
reduction in size.
Please see the output of "./configure --help" for comprehensive list
of all configurable options.
* Compiling
The following must be done in the base directory (e.g. ~/wxMotif
or ~/wxWin or whatever)
Now the makefiles are created (by configure) and you can compile
the library by typing:
make yourself some coffee, as it will take some time. On an old
Pentium 200 around 40 minutes. During compilation, you may get a few
warning messages depending in your compiler.
If you want to be more selective, you can change into a specific
directory and type "make" there.
Then you may install the library and its header files under
/usr/local/include/wx and /usr/local/lib respectively. You
have to log in as root (i.e. run "su" and enter the root
password) and type
make install
You can remove any traces of wxWidgets by typing
make uninstall
If you want to save disk space by removing unnecessary
make clean
in the various directories will do the work for you.
* Creating a new Project
1) The first way uses the installed libraries and header files
automatically using wx-config
g++ myfoo.cpp `wx-config --libs` `wx-config --cxxflags` -o myfoo
Using this way, a make file for the minimal sample would look
like this
CXX = g++
minimal: minimal.o
$(CXX) -o minimal minimal.o `wx-config --libs`
minimal.o: minimal.cpp mondrian.xpm
$(CXX) `wx-config --cxxflags` -c minimal.cpp -o minimal.o
rm -f *.o minimal
This is certain to become the standard way unless we decide
to stick to tmake.
If your application uses only some of wxWidgets libraries, you can
specify required libraries when running wx-config. For example,
`wx-config --libs=html,core` will only output link command to link
with libraries required by core GUI classes and wxHTML classes. See
the manual for more information on the libraries.
2) The other way creates a project within the source code
directories of wxWidgets. For this endeavour, you'll need
GNU autoconf version 2.14 and add an entry to your
to the bottom of the script and run autoconf
and configure before you can type make.
* Further notes by Julian Smart
- You may find the following script useful for compiling wxMotif,
especially if installing from zips (which don't preserve file
permissions). Make this script executable with the command
chmod a+x makewxmotif.
-------:x-----Cut here-----:x-----
# makewxmotif
# Sets permissions (in case we extracted wxMotif from zip files)
# and makes wxMotif.
# Call from top-level wxWidgets directory.
# Note that this uses standard (but commonly-used) configure options;
# if you're feeling brave, you may wish to compile with threads:
# if they're not supported by the target platform, they will be disabled
# anyhow
# -- Julian Smart
chmod a+x configure config.sub config.guess
./configure --with-shared --with-motif --with-debug_flag --with-debug_info --enable-debug --without-threads --without-sockets --without-odbc
-------:x-----Cut here-----:x-----
This script will build wxMotif using shared libraries. If you want to build
a static wxWidgets library, use --disable-shared.
- Solaris compilation with gcc: if the compiler has problems with the variable
argument functions, try putting the gcc fixinclude file paths early in the
include path.
- If you operator-related compile errors or strange memory problems
(for example in deletion of string arrays), set wxUSE_GLOBAL_MEMORY_OPERATORS
and wxUSE_MEMORY_TRACING to 0 in setup.h, and recompile.
- If you get an internal compiler error in gcc, turn off optimisations.
- Problems with XtDestroyWidget crashing in ~wxWindow have been
reported on SGI IRIX 6.4. This has not yet been resolved, so
any advice here would be very welcome. See bugs.txt for a
possible temporary workaround (comment out the final
XtDestroyWidget from ~wxWindow in window.cpp).
- Some compilers, such as Sun C++, may give a lot of warnings about
virtual functions being hidden. Please ignore these, it's correct C++ syntax.
If you find any incorrect instances, though, such as a
missing 'const' in an overridden function, please let us know.
Other Notes
- Using configure will create a release build of the library by
default: it's recommended to use --enable-debug configure switch
while developing your application. To compile in non-debug mode, use
--disable-debug configure switch.
Bug reports
Please send bug reports with a description of your environment,
compiler and the error message(s) to the wxwin-developers mailing list at:
Julian Smart, Robert Roebling and Vadim Zeitlin, November 1999.