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Build and test


If you just want to install bali-phy, please visit the release page. If you want to compile BAli-phy from source, the quick start instructions are below.


You will need a C++ compiler that understands C++20.

  • gcc 10 (or higher) works
  • clang 13 (or higher) works
  • XCode 14 (or higher) works

Install Prerequisites

On Ubuntu, you can use apt-get:

sudo apt-get install g++ libcairo2-dev meson libboost-all-dev

On Mac (or Linux, actually) you can use homebrew:

brew install cairo meson boost pkg-config

On miniconda, you can use:

conda create -n devel -c conda-forge --strict-channel-priority
conda activate devel
conda install meson gxx boost-cpp cmake pkg-config cairo

Meson version

After installing prerequisites above, check that the meson version is at least 1.1.

meson --version

If your version of meson is less than 1.1, you need to install the most recent version of meson into a python virtual environment:

python3 -m venv meson_venv
source meson_venv/bin/activate
pip install meson ninja

Build BAli-Phy

This will build the latest unreleased beta version of BAli-Phy, which fixes some memory issues in 3.6. There are some changes to the model language. Check the NEWS file for the details.

git clone
cd BAli-Phy
meson setup build --prefix=$HOME/Applications/bali-phy
ninja -C build install
ninja -C build test

Adding bali-phy to your $PATH

In order to run the installed software, you should add bali-phy to your $PATH.

Installed locations

If you installed in $HOME/Applications/bali-phy/ as recommended above, then files will be in:

Location Files
~/Applications/bali-phy/bin Binary executables.
~/Applications/bali-phy/share/bali-phy/examples/sequences Example files.
~/Applications/bali-phy/share/doc/bali-phy/ Documentation.

Further Documentation

The Manual describes how to install bali-phy in greater detail.