OpenSceneGraph git repository
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Welcome to the OpenSceneGraph (OSG).

For up-to-date information on the project, in-depth details on how to compile and run libraries and examples, see the documentation on the OpenSceneGraph website:

For support subscribe to our public mailing list or forum, details at:

For the impatient, we've included quick build instructions below, these are are broken down is three parts:

1) General notes on building the OpenSceneGraph 2) OSX release notes 3) iOS release notes

If details below are not sufficient then head over to the to the Documentation/GettingStarted and Documentation/PlatformSpecifics sections for more indepth instructions.

Robert Osfield. Project Lead. 7th October 2016.

Section 1. How to build the OpenSceneGraph

The OpenSceneGraph uses the CMake build system to generate a platform-specific build environment. CMake reads the CMakeLists.txt files that you'll find throughout the OpenSceneGraph directories, checks for installed dependenciesand then generates the appropriate build system.

If you don't already have CMake installed on your system you can grab it from, use version 2.8.0 or later. Details on the OpenSceneGraph's CMake build can be found at:

Under unices (i.e. Linux, IRIX, Solaris, Free-BSD, HP-Ux, AIX, OSX) use the cmake or ccmake command-line utils. Note that cmake . defaults to building Release to ensure that you get the best performance from your final libraries/applications.

cd OpenSceneGraph
cmake .
sudo make install

Alternatively, you can create an out-of-source build directory and run cmake or ccmake from there. The advantage to this approach is that the temporary files created by CMake won't clutter the OpenSceneGraph source directory, and also makes it possible to have multiple independent build targets by creating multiple build directories. In a directory alongside the OpenSceneGraph use:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ../OpenSceneGraph
sudo make install

Under Windows use the GUI tool CMakeSetup to build your VisualStudio files. The following page on our wiki dedicated to the CMake build system should help guide you through the process:

Under OSX you can either use the CMake build system above, or use the Xcode projects that you will find in the OpenSceneGraph/Xcode directory. See release notes on OSX CMake build below.

For further details on compilation, installation and platform-specific information read "Getting Started" guide:

Section 2. Release notes on OSX build, by Eric Sokolowsky, August 5, 2008

There are several ways to compile OpenSceneGraph under OSX. The recommended way is to use CMake 2.6 to generate Xcode projects, then use Xcode to build the library. The default project will be able to build Debug or Release libraries, examples, and sample applications. Here are some key settings to consider when using CMake:

BUILD_OSG_EXAMPLES - By default this is turned off. Turn this setting on to compile many great example programs.

CMAKE_OSX_ARCHITECTURES - Xcode can create applications, executables, libraries, and frameworks that can be run on more than one architecture. Use this setting to indicate the architectures on which to build OSG. Possibilities include ppc, ppc64, i386, and x86_64. Building OSG using either of the 64-bit options (ppc64 and x86_64) has its own caveats below.

OSG_BUILD_APPLICATION_BUNDLES - Normally only executable binaries are created for the examples and sample applications. Turn this option on if you want to create real OSX .app bundles. There are caveats to creating .app bundles, see below.

OSG_WINDOWING_SYSTEM - You have the choice to use Carbon or X11 when building applications on OSX. Under Leopard and later, X11 applications, when started, will automatically launch X11 when needed. However, full-screen X11 applications will still show the menu bar at the top of the screen. Since many parts of the Carbon user interface are not 64-bit, X11 is the only supported option for OSX applications compiled for ppc64 or x86_64.

There is an Xcode directory in the base of the OSG software distribution, but its future is limited, and will be discontinued once the CMake project generator completely implements its functionality.


The example programs when built as application bundles only contain the executable file. They do not contain the dependent libraries as would a normal bundle, so they are not generally portable to other machines. They also do not know where to find plugins. An environmental variable OSG_LIBRARY_PATH may be set to point to the location where the plugin .so files are located. OSG_FILE_PATH may be set to point to the location where data files are located. Setting OSG_FILE_PATH to the OpenSceneGraph-Data directory is very useful when testing OSG by running the example programs.

Many of the example programs use command-line arguments. When double-clicking on an application (or using the equivalent "open" command on the command line) only those examples and applications that do not require command-line arguments will successfully run. The executable file within the .app bundle can be run from the command-line if command-line arguments are needed.


OpenSceneGraph will not compile successfully when OSG_WINDOWING_SYSTEM is Carbon and either x86_64 or ppc64 is selected under CMAKE_OSX_ARCHITECTURES, as Carbon is a 32bit only API. A version of the osgviewer library written in Cocoa is needed. However, OSG may be compiled under 64-bits if the X11 windowing system is selected. However, Two parts of the OSG default distribution will not work with 64-bit X11: the osgviewerWX example program and the osgdb_qt (Quicktime) plugin. These must be removed from the Xcode project after Cmake generates it in order to compile with 64-bit architectures. The lack of the latter means that images such as jpeg, tiff, png, and gif will not work, nor will animations dependent on Quicktime. A new ImageIO-based plugin is being developed to handle the still images, and a QTKit plugin will need to be developed to handle animations.

Section 3. Release notes on iOS build, by Thomas Hoghart

  • Check that CMAKE_OSX_ARCHITECTURE is i386 for the simulator or armv6;armv7 for the device
  • Disable DYNAMIC_OPENSCENEGRAPH, DYNAMIC_OPENTHREADS This will give us the static build we need for iPhone.
  • Ensure OSG_WINDOWING_SYSTEM is set to IOS
  • Change FREETYPE include and library paths to an iPhone version (OpenFrameworks has one bundled with its distribution)
  • Ensure that CMake_OSX_SYSROOT points to your iOS SDK.
  • Generate the Xcode project
  • Open the Xcode project $ open OpenSceneGraph.xcodeproj
  • Under Sources -> osgDB, select FileUtils.cpp and open the 'Get Info' panel, change File Type to source.cpp.objcpp

Here's an example for the command-line:

$ cmake -G Xcode \
-D CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS:STRING="-ftree-vectorize -fvisibility-inlines-hidden -mno-thumb -arch armv6 -pipe -no-cpp-precomp -miphoneos-version-min=3.1 -mno-thumb" \
-D CMAKE_OSX_SYSROOT:STRING=/Developer/Platforms/iPhoneOS.platform/Developer/SDKs/iPhoneOS4.2.sdk \

Known issues:

  • When Linking final app against ive plugin, you need to add -lz to the 'Other linker flags' list.
  • Apps and exes don't get created
  • You can only select Simulator, or Device projects. In the XCode project you will see both types but the sdk they link will be the same.