Homebrew tap for SuperNEMO Software Stack
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Homebrew tap for SuperNEMO

Linux/Homebrew Tap for formulae and commands for installing/managing SuperNEMO software. Whilst aiming towards being a general tap with binary bottles, it currently only use bottles on macOS for upstream Homebrew packages. All formulae on Linux need to built from source at present due to their heavy reliance on system graphics libraries (and consequent glibc conflicts).

Please note: development is currently working on migrating from use of a forked Linuxbrew to use of "pure" upstream. If you want to make a new install of SuperNEMO software, please refer to the instructions and comments in Issue #56.


To install brew and the needed development tools for the SuperNEMO software, simply do

$ git clone https://github.com/SuperNEMO-DBD/brew.git cadfaelbrew
$ cd cadfaelbrew
$ ./bin/brew cadfael-bootstrap

The cadfael-bootstrap command will check for system prerequisites, and inform you of any missing system packages and how to install these. This step is only done for the following systems:

  • RHEL/CentOS/Scientific Linux 6, 7
  • Ubuntu Linux 16.04LTS, 18.04LTS (beta support)
  • macOS 10.12 (Sierra), 10.13 (High Sierra), 10.14 (Mojave, in development)

Running on a non-supported system will still proceed, but you may encounter issues (see Troubleshooting). As the bootstrap step may include the install of the GCC compiler, it will take some time to complete.

Once bootstrapping is completed, the main Falaise software for SuperNEMO may be installed and tested:

$ ./bin/brew install falaise
$ ./bin/brew test falaise

As above, this will take some time to complete due to the need to install large dependencies such as CERN ROOT and Geant4. Should any step fail to complete, see the Troubleshooting Guide for help.

Once installed, no specific environment settings should be required, but you may wish to set PATH, MANPATH and INFOPATH so that programs and documentation can be run/read without using absolute paths. For example, if you have installed brew in $HOME/cadfaelbrew, add

export PATH=$HOME/cadfaelbrew/bin:$PATH
export MANPATH=$HOME/cadfaelbrew/share/man:$MANPATH
export INFOPATH=$HOME/cadfaelbrew/share/info:$INFOPATH

to your sh profile or rc file (e.g. .bashrc for the Bash shell). For C-shell, use the setenv equivalents, e.g. setenv PATH $HOME/cadfaelbrew/bin:$PATH, in your .(t)cshrc file. If you require use of brew's python (brew only install versioned python executables) and ROOT's pyroot module, then add:

export PATH=$HOME/cadfaelbrew/opt/python/libexec/bin:$PATH
export PYTHONPATH=$HOME/cadfaelbrew/lib/root${PYTHONPATH:+:$PYTHONPATH}

See also brew info python for details on install python packages through pip.

Once installed, documentation on using Falaise is available online and with the offline installation. In the later case, this is installed under the share/Falaise-<VERSION>/Documentation/API/html subdirectory of your brew installation. To view it, simply point your web browser to the index.html file under that directory.

If you wish to contribute to Falaise development, information is available on the project page.

Use with existing Home/Linuxbrew Installations

If you have an existing Homebrew (macOS) install, this tap may be used directly if you don't have existing brewed versions of Qt, Boost, CERN ROOT and Geant4. In this case, you simply need to add this tap and then follow the bootstrap/install proceedure:

$ brew tap supernemo-dbd/cadfael
$ brew tap-pin supernemo-dbd/cadfael
$ brew cadfael-bootstrap-toolchain
$ brew install falaise
$ brew test falaise

If you see issues in the last two steps, review the list of Formulae supplied by this tap and remove any listed here and rerun brew install falaise.

Use this tap with an existing Linuxbrew installation is currently not supported as there may be ABI incompatibilities between Linuxbrew's install of gcc/glibc/libstdc++ and the requirement for C++11 . On Linux, it's therefore recommended to use SuperNEMO's fork of brew as described at the start of this section.


In general, upgrading packages in brew should be a simple case of running

$ brew update
$ brew upgrade

If you have an existing install of falaise version 2 or below (run brew info falaise to get this information), then the following steps are needed to upgrade to version 3:

$ brew unlink root5
$ brew rm falaise bayeux
$ brew update
$ brew upgrade

Development Versions

The falaise formula supplies a HEAD version which allows installation from the tip of the current development branch so that the latest patches and updates can be used. Please note that whilst every effort is made to keep this branch stable, functionality and validity is not guaranteed. If you wish to install this version, simply do

$ brew upgrade falaise --HEAD

To return to a stable release version, use brew switch:

$ brew switch falaise <VERSION>

where <VERSION> is the version number you wish to use. Available installed versions may be queried by doing:

$ brew info falaise

HEAD versions are installed into brew's Cellar using a "version" of HEAD-<commithash>, so you can switch to a HEAD version by doing

$ brew switch falaise HEAD-<hash>

Again, brew info falaise will report on available HEAD versions. The hash can be cross-referenced against the commit history of main Falaise repository to see what it contains. Updated versions of the HEAD may be installed by doing

$ brew upgrade falaise --HEAD

In general, you should clean up older versions of HEAD installs as these accumulate. This can be done by running

$ brew cleanup falaise


Whilst Falaise is tested on the supported platforms listed above, it cannot cover all possible system configurations or setups. The sections below list the most common issues, but if these do not solve the problem or if you are in any doubt, raise an issue.

Missing System Requirements

Both brew and the homebrew-cadfael tap require a base set of system packages. Missing packages on the supported platforms will be identified by running brew cadfael-bootstrap, and the error message will give instructions on the commands needed to install whats's needed. If you do not have the needed permissions on your system (root or sudo), request an administrator to add them. All requirements are distributed and signed either by the vendor or CERN, so there should be no issue with adding them.

On non-supported systems no checks are performed as the list of packages isn't known. The list of requirements for Ubuntu 16.04 is listed below and may be used as a guide to what programs, headers and libraries are needed:

  • lsb-release
  • iputils-ping
  • build-essential
  • curl
  • file
  • git
  • ruby
  • m4
  • libbz2-dev
  • libcurl4-openssl-dev
  • libexpat1-dev
  • libncurses5-dev
  • texinfo
  • zlib1g-dev
  • libx11-dev
  • libxpm-dev
  • libxft-dev
  • libxext-dev
  • libpng12-dev
  • libjpeg-dev
  • libegl1-mesa-dev
  • libgl1-mesa-dev
  • libglu1-mesa-dev
  • libgles2-mesa-dev

In general, formulae will fail to configure or build should a system requirement be missing. We'll make every effort to support other systems, so please raise an issue if you need help here. However, all work in this case will only be on a best effort basis.

Formulae Fail to Install

On supported platforms, installation failures may occur if you have the PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH (or DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH on macOS) environment variables containing any custom installed software other than brew itself. Though brew is quite good at building and installing in a pristine environment, it is best to use it within a default setup.

Generally, it is LD_LIBRARY_PATH (or DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH on macOS) that cause the issue, so ensure these are unset.

Supplied Formulae


Formulae from this tap are preferred over those in the homebrew-core tap. Installing the falaise formula will install the core SuperNEMO software packages

  • Bayeux C++ Core Foundation Library
  • Falaise C++ Simulation/Reconstruction/Analysis Applications

plus their upstream dependencies:


Several additional Formulae are provided which are not installed by default. These are intended for use by Bayeux/Falaise developers to integrate new functionality or move to newer, API incompatible, versions of dependent packages.


Installing Falaise will also install (via the ROOT dependency) a brewed copy of Python. This includes the pip and setuptools packages, so you may also install any compatible Python package from PyPI if you need this.


A wide range of packages are available through brew, and you can search for these via the search subcommand, e.g.

$ brew search foo

If you find a package you need is not present, add a request for it in the Issue Tracker

Note on C/C++ Standards

Bayeux/Falaise require the C++11 standard or better (NB: C++17 compatibility is not yet tested or guaranteed)

Installing Bayeux/Falaise will automatically install all their dependencies against the same standard. However, if you are installing other Formulae from the homebrew-core or other taps that use C++, you should ensure these are compiled against C++11 (or 14) to guarantee binary compatibility. In most cases, Formulae supply a --c++11 flag to activate the standard. This may be checked by running

$ brew info <formulaname>

before installing. If you expect a C++ Formulae to become a core dependency of SuperNEMO and it does not supply a C++11/14 option, please request it be added to this tap by opening an Issue or Pull Request.



Cadfael-supplied implementation of the old versions subcommand. This has been removed the boneyard upstream, but we'd like to keep the functionality so that formula version histories can be queried. This is needed to reliably produce versioned snapshot releases.

The command will automatically be available to brew once this repository is tapped. It is used by passing a formula name(s) to the command:

$ brew versions cmake
cmake 3.2.3    2b43509 Library/Formula/cmake.rb
cmake 3.2.2    a5392d6 Library/Formula/cmake.rb

Each output line shows the formula name, version (including any revisions), last commit to touch the formula at this version and the Formula filepath (relative to HOMEBREW_REPOSITORY).

A complete history of the version/commits touching the formula may be viewed by passing the --all argument. This can be useful for resolving potential conflicts caused by version reverts or merges from Homebrew to Linuxbrew as the merge commit may not show as the one where the version changed.


Installs needed and recommended compiler/development tools:

  • Linux Only
    • GCC 4.9
    • patchelf
  • All Platforms
    • python
    • cmake
    • ninja
    • git-flow-avh

GCC is only installed if the system does not provide GCC 4.9 or better. GCC in this tap is supplied as a versioned formulae to allow easier future upgrades, and the system compiler is preferred if possible to give the simplest integration.

This command is used instead of a formula as Homebrew doesn't directly support "dependency only" formulae, and we also want precise control over the installation order.