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openBliSSART installation instructions
Felix Weninger <>
Alexander Lehmann <>
These instructions cover the compilation and installation of openBliSSART on
various platforms.
For the impatient Linux user, we have provided a sequence of commands that
install the system provided that the required libraries are installed.
For compilation under Unix-like systems, we provide a configure script (GNU
autotools). The Unix build process has been tested on various operating systems,
including different versions of openSUSE, Ubuntu, and Mac OS X.
For Microsoft Windows, we prepared Visual Studio 2008 solution files. As the
project file format and the build process change with each version, we
currently do not support other versions of Visual Studio. We will probably add
support for VS 2010 in the future. The Windows build process has been tested
under Windows XP and Windows 7.
Prior to compiling openBliSSART, make sure you have the required libraries
installed (Section 1).
Section 2 describes the compilation process under Linux and Windows.
Section 3 covers the integration of Matlab BLAS libraries for enhanced
performance (optional, and experimental).
Finally, Section 4 describes some common pitfalls, and how to avoid them.
In case of installation problems or application crashes, please consult this
0. Installation for the Impatient Linux User
Given that you have recent versions of FFTW3, SDL, SDL_sound, Poco, Qt, and
ATLAS (and the corresponding "developer" packages, or whatever your
distribution calls it) installed in standard locations, the following commands
are sufficient for installation ($ indicates the shell prompt):
$ mkdir -p ~/src
$ tar xzf openBliSSART-1.2.tar.gz -C ~/src
$ cd ~/src/openBliSSART-1.2
$ ./ # usually not necessary if "configure" already exists
$ ./configure --prefix=${HOME}/blissart
$ make
$ make install
Ensure that your linker finds the openBliSSART libraries. On many
distributions (e.g. Ubuntu and openSUSE), the following works:
$ sudo sh -c "echo ${HOME}/blissart/lib > /etc/"
$ sudo ldconfig
If not, check Section 2.1.2 for details on the linker configuration.
You should now be able to run the browser GUI:
$ ~/blissart/bin/browser
If not, please go through the detailed instructions below.
1. Dependencies
openBliSSART depends on several open source libraries. These include:
- FFTW3 (Fastest Fourier Transform in the West)
- SDL (>= 1.2.12) and SDL_sound for support of audio input from various formats
(WAV, OGG, FLAC, etc., depending on the capabilities of the library)
- Poco (Portable Components) Complete Edition >= 1.3.6 for a general-purpose
application framework and database access (bundled with SQLite)
- Qt (>= 4.4.3) for the browser GUI
Furthermore, for fast operation, installation of the ATLAS (Automatically Tuned
Linear Algebra Software) library is highly recommended, but is in fact
The following section will provide hints on how to install these libraries on
popular Linux distributions (Section 1.1), as well as Microsoft Windows
(Section 1.2). If you want to compile all libraries from source, check Section
1.1 Instructions for specific Linux distributions
1.1.1 Ubuntu 12.04
Installation under 12.04 is very easy, as this distribution has pre-built
packages for all libraries required by openBliSSART.
Make sure that the following packages are installed prior to the compilation of
Login as superuser (root), and use "apt-get install <packagename>" to install
these packages.
1.1.2 Ubuntu 8.10
Same as above, but the Poco package coming with this distribution is too old.
Install all of the packages listed above, except libpoco-dev. Then, proceed as
indicated in Section to compile and install a recent Poco version
(>= 1.3.6).
1.1.3 openSUSE (>= 11.1)
The following packages will provide the libraries required to compile and run
openBliSSART, except Poco which you will have to compile from source (see
- fftw3
- fftw3-devel
- libqt4
- libqt4-devel
- libSDL
- libSDL-devel
- libSDL_sound-1_0-1
- libSDL_sound-devel
- libatlas3
- libatlas3-devel
You might also need the following GNU development tools packages in case you
have not already installed them during installation of the SuSE distribution on
your system:
- make
- autoconf
- automake
- libtool
The following instructions are specific to openSUSE 11.2. For openSUSE 11.1, the
steps might be slightly different.
A special note for users of openSUSE 11.0 32-bit: There have been problems
reported with the libatlas3 version that comes with this distribution, causing
program abort due to an illegal instruction on Pentium 4 systems. In this case
you probably want to compile ATLAS yourself (see
To install the packages, start the software installation component of YaST
(check your SuSE documentation if you are unsure about YaST). Make sure that
"Options / Show -devel packages" is enabled, otherwise you will not be able to
see the development packages required for the building process.
Furthermore, the ATLAS libraries are not included on the SuSE DVD, hence they
must be obtained from the Web (via "Configuration" / "Search packages on the
web". Alternatively, specify the "Education" repository which can be found
under the URL:
by selecting "Configuration / Repositories / Add / Specify URL".
There might be a significant number of dependent packages which are
automatically selected by YaST. They might also include the C++ compiler if it
has not yet been installed.
1.2 Microsoft Windows
If you want to build the browser GUI, you need Qt for Windows, which you can
obtain from (choose the LGPL license). You have
to download the open-source framework version for VS2008 (NOT the SDK), as the
SDK seems to be incompatible with Visual Studio 2008. Anyway, check if the
"lib" directory contains "*.lib" files, which Visual Studio needs for linking.
Install Qt, and add the directory <Qt-install-dir>\bin to your PATH environment
variable. This directory should contain the file qmake.exe. To set the PATH
variable, open the dialog My Computer / Properties / Advanced / Environment
variables. Edit the PATH (or Path) variable, and append the directory,
separated by a semicolon.
Regarding the other libraries, obtaining them as binaries for Windows can be
quite tedious, hence we provide a ZIP compressed archive that contains the
Poco, FFTW3, ATLAS, SDL, and SDL_sound libraries (binaries, export files, and
header files) to build and run openBliSSART:
Unzip this file to a location like "C:\devel", so that you have the directories
"C:\devel\lib", "C:\devel\bin", and "C:\devel\include". In most cases, this
should be sufficient, and you can proceed with Section 1.2.3 "Setting
environment variables" below.
Only if for some reason you want to obtain the Windows binaries and header
files for the openBliSSART dependencies by yourself, consult the following
Sections (1.2.1 and 1.2.2).
1.2.1 Obtain Windows binaries and header files
Furthermore, binaries and header files for most of the required libraries can
be obtained from their project homepages:
- SDL:
- SDL_sound:
- ATLAS: - select the version
that is most appropriate for your processor architecture. These versions are
old, but still work very well on any modern computer and OS.
- Qt:
Note that precompiled Windows binaries for ATLAS and SDL are currently only
available in 32-bit. The Poco project currently does _not_ provide binaries for
Windows, but Poco can be compiled very easily with Visual Studio (see Section
Also note that the binaries provided by ATLAS are static libraries that are
to be handled like DLL export files (*.lib). In the archives, they may have the
extension *.a, but they can be safely renamed to *.lib.
1.2.2. Create directories for binaries and header files
To facilitate configuration of the Visual Studio environment, it is recommended
to create directories for the DLLs (*.dll), export files (*.lib), and header
files (*.h) provided by these libraries, e.g.
- C:\devel\bin for DLL files (*.dll),
- C:\devel\lib for export files (*.lib), and
- C:\devel\include for header files (*.h).
For FFTW, you have to create the *.lib files yourself. To this end, start the
Visual Studio command line from the "Visual Studio Tools" folder in the Start
menu, change to the directory where you extracted the FFTW ZIP file and issue
the following command:
lib /def:libfftw3-3.def
Then, a file named "libbfftw3-3.lib" should be created which you should place
in "C:\devel\lib" (or whatever you called this directory).
Now copy the binaries and header from FFTW, SDL, SDL_sound (located in the
visualc\win32bin and visualc\win32lib) and ATLAS to directories listed above.
The SDL include files should all be placed in a directory "SDL" under the main
include directory, e.g. "C:\devel\include\SDL".
1.2.3 Setting environment variables
Finally, you have to set some environment variables (assuming the above paths):
- add C:\devel\bin to the PATH variable: open the dialog My Computer /
Properties / Advanced / Environment variables. Edit the PATH (or Path)
variable, and append the directory, separated by a semicolon.
- add C:\devel\bin on top of the "Executable directories" in Visual Studio
("Tools" / "Options" / "Projects and Solutions" / "VC++ Directories") - this
is mainly needed for building the installer (see Section 2.2 below)
- add C:\devel\lib to the "Library directories" in Visual Studio ("Tools" /
"Options" / "Projects and Solutions" / "VC++ Directories")
- add C:\devel\include to the "Include directories" in Visual Studio ("Tools" /
"Options" / "Projects and Solutions" / "VC++ Directories")
1.3 Compiling libraries from source
Obtain the following source packages:
- FFTW3 from
- SDL from
- SDL_sound from
- Qt from
- ATLAS from
- Poco from
It is out of the scope of these installation instructions to provide detailed
information about the configuration and compilation of all these packages,
hence we restrict to some hints which might be useful for compiling Poco, as
this library is currently not included e.g. in openSUSE.
1.3.1 Compiling and Installing Poco
Download Poco Complete Edition from
For Unix/Linux, you will want the .tar.gz archive while for Windows you need
the .zip archive. Unix/Linux
After extracting the Poco (Complete Edition) source archive, the configure
script should be called with the following parameters:
./configure --omit=Crypto,Net,NetSSL_OpenSSL,Data/ODBC,Data/MySQL \
--no-tests --no-samples
This line avoids building the parts of Poco which are dependent on third-party
libraries, and are not required for openBliSSART.
You can also specify a prefix where Poco should be installed, but in most cases
you should leave the default /usr/local.
Then, type "make" to compile and "make install" to install. If you are not
logged in as root, try "sudo make install".
Depending on where you have installed Poco, you may have to set the
LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable to contain the Poco "lib" directory,
or run the ldconfig tool. The following lines work with Ubuntu and openSUSE
($ indicates the shell prompt):
$ sudo sh -c 'echo <prefix>/lib > /etc/'
$ sudo ldconfig
where <prefix> is the Poco install prefix (by default /usr/local).
Also, if you installed Poco in a non-standard location, you have to set the
--with-poco-prefix option of the openBliSSART configure script (see Section Microsoft Windows
After extracting the Poco Complete Edition from the ZIP file, open the file
"components". To avoid building the parts of Poco which are dependent on
third-party libraries, and are not required for openBliSSART, remove all lines
but the following:
Start the Visual Studio command line from the "Visual Studio Tools" folder in
the Start menu. Change to the directory where the "components" file is located,
and type "build_vs71" (Visual Studio .Net 2003), "build_vs80" (Visual Studio
2005) or "build_vs90" (Visual Studio 2008).
After the build process has finished, copy the files from the "bin"
directory to a directory that is part of your PATH environment variable, and
the lib files from the "lib" directory to a directory which is listed in your
Visual Studio Library Directories.
Unfortunately, under Windows you have to install the Poco include files
yourself. To this end, copy the "Poco" directory within the "include"
subdirectories of each of the "Foundation", "Data", "Data\SQLite", and "Util"
directories to a common path such as "C:\devel\include". Check that this
directory has the following subdirectories:
Then, add "C:\devel\include" (or whatever directory you choose) to your Visual
Studio Include directories, in case it is not already there.
2. Configure, compile, and install openBliSSART
2.1 Unix/Linux
The following installation instructions have been tested using the Ubuntu and
openSUSE distributions, but should work on any Linux system, and theoretically
on most Unix variants.
The "$ " at the beginning indicates the shell prompt, which might look
different on your system.
2.1.1 Configuration and installation
Unpack the openBliSSART archive, e.g.
$ mkdir -p ~/src
$ tar xzf openBliSSART-1.2.tar.gz -C ~/src
$ cd ~/src/openBliSSART-1.2
Next you would typically run the `configure' script that comes with the
sources. If there is no such file, you can create one yourself by typing
$ ./
at the command line, however make sure that you have both `automake' and
`libtool' packages installed.
The configure script can now be used to configure various parameters (type
"./configure --help" for an overview), one of which is the installation prefix
of openBliSSART. This prefix can be set via the --prefix option:
./configure --prefix=<prefix>
The prefix defaults to /usr/local/blissart.
The configure script will check if you have the required libraries installed,
and exit with an error if you do not. The "config.log" file provides a hint to
the source of error in that case (in most cases, libraries installed in a
non-standard location). If you have obtained Qt and/or Poco from the Internet
and installed manually, you may have to set the --with-qt-prefix and
--with-poco-prefix parameters (see Section
Particularly, the configure script will automatically determine if you have the
ATLAS libraries installed. It will output a message like "Checking for cblas.h
presence". If it says "no", you should check the config.log file, otherwise
openBliSSART will be compiled without the ATLAS libraries and show low
Note that openBliSSART requires its own directory hierarchy and that every user
working with openBliSSART needs write access to the <prefix>/etc and
<prefix>/db subdirectories of the installation.
Hence you have to choose between a shared and a user-specific installation. Shared Installation
For this, we will be using the default prefix of /usr/local/blissart and install
the software at this location. Then we will create a corresponding group and set
the necessary access rights.
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ sudo groupadd blissart
$ cd /usr/local/blissart
$ sudo mkdir db etc storage
$ sudo chown -R :blissart .
$ sudo chmod -R g+w db etc storage
What remains is adding the respective users to the group which e.g. can be done
$ sudo gpasswd -a <username> blissart
You may have to re-login for the new permissions to take effect. User-Specific Installation
Aside from the shared installation which requires superuser privileges,
a user-specific installation is maybe easier to perform. It suffices to specify
an installation prefix within the user's home directory.
$ ./configure --prefix=${HOME}/blissart
$ make
$ make install Other configure parameters
Depending on your system configuration, you might find the following configure
parameters helpful:
--with-poco-prefix=<prefix> specifies the directory where your Poco
installation can be found. This directory should contain the subdirectories
"lib" and "include".
--with-qt-prefix=<prefix> specifies your Qt installation directory. This option
might be helpful if you obtained the Qt SDK from the Qt website instead of
using your distribution's Qt packages. The directory should contain the "bin",
"lib", and "include" subdirectories.
As with any configure script, it is possible to set environment variables for
the C compiler and linker:
CPPFLAGS sets additional options for the C preprocessor, typically include
./configure <options> 'CPPFLAGS=-I=/path/to/my/includes'
Conversely, LDFLAGS sets directories where the linker looks for libraries, and
additional libraries that should be linked:
./configure <options> 'LDFLAGS=-L/path/to/my/libs -lmylib'
On some systems, it might be necessary to explicitly specify the math library:
./configure <options> 'LDFLAGS=-lm'
2.1.2 Running openBliSSART
During the compilation process, a number of libraries were created which are
required for openBliSSART to run. Since your operating system needs to know
where to find these libraries, you have to choose between the following three
options (where you have to replace the `<prefix>' placeholder with your chosen
installation prefix, respectively):
First, you can provide the library path every time when you are
executing one of openBliSSART's binaries, e.g.
$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=<prefix>/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH <prefix>/bin/browser
Second, you can alter your .profile file so as to export the
corresponding variable, i.e. add the line
to your .profile.
Third, you can configure the system-wide tool `ldconfig' such that it
automatically knows where to find the libraries. For this, you need
administrator privileges though. Under openSUSE and Ubuntu, the following
lines should work:
$ sudo sh -c 'echo <prefix>/lib > /etc/'
$ sudo ldconfig
Otherwise, check your distribution's manual.
2.2 Microsoft Windows (Visual Studio 2008)
2.2.1 Preparing the solution file
To compile openBliSSART using Visual Studio 2008, open the provided solution
file ("openBliSSART.sln").
VERY IMPORTANT: The next step must be executed while the solution file is opened
in Visual Studio, otherwise the installer project will not work.
You will need to adjust the paths used by the browser project file,
as they depend on your Qt installation location. To this end, execute the
"make_vcproj.bat" file in the "src\browser" directory.
If you have older versions of Visual Studio (e.g. 2005) installed, the project
file will be built for the lowest version you have. To avoid this, start the
make_vcproj.bat from the Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt which can be found
in the Start menu in the "Visual Studio 2008 Tools" folder. Otherwise, the
project will be automatically converted and should work fine.
After executing make_vcproj.bat, a message will appear in the Visual Studio
solution window that "browser.vcproj" has changed. Click on "Reload" to accept
the new browser project file.
2.2.2 Preparing the build process
Ensure you have set the paths to external libraries in the Visual Studio
environment correctly (see Section 1.2).
If you do not have the ATLAS library installed on your system (you do if you
used the file), please remove
the "HAVE_CBLAS_H" preprocessor definition from the LibLinAlg project file
(right-click the LibLinAlg project in the solution tree, click on "C/C++ /
Preprocessor", then change the line of definitions from
"BUILD_LIBLINALG;HAVE_CBLAS_H" to "BUILD_LIBLINALG" only). However performance
will be very slow if you do this.
2.2.3 Building and installing openBliSSART
Make sure that "Release" / "Win32" (NOT "Debug") is selected as configuration
in the Visual Studio toolbar, and click "Build" / "Build solution".
After compiling, openBliSSART libraries and tools will be available in the
"bin\release" subdirectory. If you have Visual Studio 2008 Professional, you
can also use the "Setup_openBliSSART" installer project to create an installer
that automatically copies the openBliSSART binaries to a location on your file
system, and creates an entry in the Start menu for the Browser. To make sure
the installer copies the right versions of the libraries, add the Qt binary
directory (where the qmake.exe file resides) on *top* of the Visual Studio
Executable directories (under Tools / Settings / Projects and Solutions / VC++
Directories). Then right-click on the "Setup_openBliSSART" project and click
"Make". In the "win32\Setup_openBliSSART\Release" subdirectory of the source
tree, an installer file (setup.exe) will be created which should be
straightforward to use, lets you choose the installation directory, and copies
external libraries to the openBliSSART installation directory. This installer
should work fine even on Windows Vista / Windows 7.
If you cannot build the installer, copy the files from "bin\release" into a
suitable location where your have write access to, such as "My
Documents\openBliSSART". Under Windows XP, it is probably fine to install in
"C:\Program Files", but under Windows 7 this is likely to cause problems due to
the intransparent security policies of this system.
3. Integrate Matlab libraries (experimental!)
For increased performance, Matlab BLAS libraries can be used for linear algebra
operations. However, since Matlab versions differ significantly in their API,
this support is currently experimental. In case of problems, please use the
ATLAS libraries.
A major problem with Matlab is that it provides own versions of the FFTW and Qt
libraries which may be incompatible with the ones that openBliSSART was linked
against. In that case, it is recommended to copy the files from the Matlab
libraries directory (like <Matlab dir>/bin/<architecture>) to a separate
directory (say "/lib/matlab" or "C:\matlab-lib") and remove the Qt and FFTW
files (Windows: Qt*.dll and libfftw*.dll, Unix: libQt*.so, libfftw*.so) from
that directory. Make sure the linker can find the files in this by adjusting
the %PATH% (Windows) or $LD_LIBRARY_PATH (Linux) environment varibles.
3.1 Unix
You need to pass the following parameters to the configure script:
--with-matlab --with-matlab-lib=<dir> --with-matlab-include=<dir>
--with-matlab tells the configure script to compile with Matlab support.
It will try to guess the Matlab integer type (varying from version to version).
In case of compile errors, check the MATLAB_INT_TYPE definition in the
"config.h" file against your Matlab BLAS include file (typically
--with-matlab-lib points to the directory where the Matlab libraries reside
(usually <Matlab-dir>/bin/<arch>, but see the comment on conflicting libraries
--with-matlab-include points to the directory where the Matlab include files
reside (usually <Matlab-dir>/extern/include).
3.2 Microsoft Windows
Make sure that the directory where your Matlab libraries reside (usually
<Matlab dir>\bin\win32) is in your %PATH%, the directory where Matlab export
files are located (typically <Matlab dir>\extern\lib\win32\microsoft) is listed
in your Visual Studio library paths, and the directory where the Matlab
includes are located (usually <Matlab dir>\extern\include) is listed in your
Visual Studio include paths.
Next, identify the correct integer type for the Matlab API. For example, this
is ptrdiff_t for Matlab R2009b, and int for Matlab R2008. The correct type
can be found in the Matlab BLAS header file
(<Matlab dir>\extern\include\blas.h) by looking at the function definitions,
e.g. the type of the "m" parameter to the "dgemm" function.
Add the "HAVE_MATLAB", and possibly remove the "HAVE_CBLAS_H" preprocessor
definition from the LibLinAlg project file (right-click the LibLinAlg project
in the solution tree, click on "C/C++ / Preprocessor", then change the line of
definitions to "BUILD_LIBLINALG;HAVE_MATLAB"). This preprocessor definition will
also cause the required libraries to be linked in.
If your integer type is _NOT_ ptrdiff_t, add a definition of the form
"MATLAB_INT_TYPE=<type>" to the definition list, so that it looks like
4. Troubleshooting
Here are some of the problems that have been reported by system users, and
how they can be fixed:
Problem: Under openSUSE, the separation tool crashes, giving no error message
but "Aborted".
Cause: This might be caused by a erroneous ATLAS library shipped with openSUSE.
Solution: Build ATLAS from source, and compile again. You can also build
without ATLAS (by commenting out "HAVE_CBLAS_H" in config.h), but this will
likely cause a significant performance loss.
Problem: Under Unix/Linux, most of the tools immediately crash with the error
message: "Access to file denied: /usr/local/blissart/etc/"
Cause: Insufficient permissions. The openBliSSART toolbox needs write access
to the configuration, database, and storage directories (etc, db, storage)
within the openBliSSART install directory.
Solution: Make sure that you have write permissions to the openBliSSART install
directory. Follow the procedure outlined in Section for shared
installations, or re-install in another directory (e.g. ${HOME}/blissart) where
you have write permissions.
Problem: Most of the tools, including the testsuite, but not the icatool, crash
instantly under Microsoft Windows, without an error message on the console.
Cause: This is probably caused by incompatibilities of the Poco binaries
with your Visual Studio runtime.
Solution: Compile Poco from source (Section, then build openBliSSART
Problem: Most of the tools exit with an error message like "Cannot write to
database" under Windows.
Cause: This is probably due to some "fancy" security policies of newer Windows
versions (Vista, 7) that block file system access even for administrator users.
Solution: Install openBliSSART in a directory like "My Documents" and try
again. If you have Visual Studio 2008 Professional, you can also build a
Windows Installer package using the "Setup_openBliSSART" deployment project
shipped with the openBliSSART source archive.
Problem: Under Windows, the Browser reports something like "Procedure entry
point not found in QtXXX.dll".
Cause: A version of Qt is in your PATH variable (e.g. from Matlab, or MikTeX)
that is incompatible to the one that the Browser was linked against. A second
reason could be that the installer copied a wrong version of the library.
Solution: Build and use the Windows installer if you have Visual Studio 2008
Professional. The installer will copy the right version of the Qt DLLs into the
openBliSSART application directory, making sure that these are used at runtime.
Otherwise, check your PATH variable and the "bin" directory of openBliSSART. If
the PATH variable contains multiple directories where Qt libraries are found,
copy the version you used to build openBliSSART to the "bin" directory. Check
that the Visual Studio executable directories contain the same Qt version as
the Visual Studio library directories, and rebuild and reinstall if necessary.
Problem: When executing the "make_vcproj.bat" in the "src\browser" directory
(under Windows), an error message like "Unable to generate output" appears.
Cause: A common problem with Qt.
Solution: Check that you have the right Qt version (which contains the Visual
Studio export definitions for DLLs (*.lib) in the "lib" directory). Try to
execute the following in the "src\browser" directory:
set QMAKESPEC=win32-msvc2008
qmake -tp vc
Problem: When compiling under Visual Studio, an error message appears that
"MOC xxx.h" or "UIC xxx.ui" fails.
Cause: The browser project shipped with the source archive contains default
paths to the Qt utilities (MOC, UIC), which probably must be adjusted to your
Solution: Make sure that you have executed "make_vcproj.bat" in the
"src\browser" directory, and that the file "src\browser\browser.vcproj" has
been updated (check the file modification time).
Problem: Visual Studio reports a linking error: XXXd.lib could not be found.
Cause: You try to compile the debug version, but have no debug libraries
Solution: Make sure you have selected the "Release/Win32" configuration in the
Visual Studio toolbar.
Problem: Visual Studio reports a linking error (qtmain.lib could not be found).
Cause: Incorrect Qt version.
Solution: Check that you have installed the VS2008 version of Qt, which should
contain Visual Studio 2008 DLL export files ("*.lib") in its "lib" directory.
You can’t perform that action at this time.