Visual Servoing Platform  version 3.3.0 under development (2020-02-17)
Tutorial: Installation from source for Linux Ubuntu or Debian

In this tutorial you will learn how to install ViSP from source on Linux Ubuntu. These steps have been tested with Ubuntu 16.04 64bits LTS, 17.04 64bits, 18.04 64bits LTS, 18.10 64bits and Debian 9.6.0 64bits distributions, but should work with any other distribution as well.

Concerning ViSP installation, we provide also other Tutorials for ViSP users.

Install prerequisites

Prior to build and install ViSP from source, you may install GNU g++ compiler, CMake, git and subversion. This can be achieved running:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake-curses-gui git subversion wget

Create a workspace

First create a workspace that will contain all ViSP source, build, data set and optional 3rd parties. This workspace is here set to $HOME/visp-ws folder, but it could be set to any other location.

In a terminal, run:

$ echo "export VISP_WS=$HOME/visp-ws" >> ~/.bashrc
$ source ~/.bashrc
$ mkdir -p $VISP_WS

Quick ViSP installation

In this section, we give minimal instructions to build ViSP from source just to try ViSP without entering in Advanced ViSP installation.

  • Install a small number of recommended 3rd parties
    $ sudo apt-get install libopencv-dev libx11-dev liblapack-dev libeigen3-dev libdc1394-22-dev libv4l-dev libzbar-dev libpthread-stubs0-dev libjpeg-dev libpng-dev
  • Get ViSP source code
    $ cd $VISP_WS
    $ git clone
  • Create a build folder and build ViSP
    $ mkdir -p $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ cmake ../visp
    $ make -j4
  • Set VISP_DIR environment variable
    $ echo "export VISP_DIR=$VISP_WS/visp-build" >> ~/.bashrc
    $ source ~/.bashrc

To have a trial, just jump to Install ViSP data set before running some binaries that you just build or jump to Next tutorial. You can later come back to the Advanced ViSP installation.

Advanced ViSP installation

Install 3rd parties

ViSP is interfaced with several optional 3rd party libraries. The complete list is provided here.

ViSP can be used without any third-party since all of them are optional. But obviously in this case, as we do not want to reinvent the wheel, some features implemented in third-party libraries will not be exploitable through ViSP. It is therefore possible to skip in a first time this section and start directly to Quick ViSP installation. Later, if you realize that a third-party library is missing, you can still install it, go back to the build folder, configure ViSP with CMake to detect the newly installed third-party library and build ViSP again as explained in How to take into account a newly installed 3rd party.

Recommended 3rd parties

We recommend to install the following 3rd parties:

  • OpenCV
  • libX11 to be able to open a window to display images
  • lapack and eigen to benefit from optimized mathematical capabilities
  • libdc1394 to grab images from firewire cameras
  • libv4l to grab images from usb or analogic cameras
  • libzbar to be able to detect QR codes
  • pthread library

Installation of recommended 3rd parties could be performed running:

$ sudo apt-get install libopencv-dev libx11-dev liblapack-dev libeigen3-dev libdc1394-22-dev libv4l-dev libzbar-dev libpthread-stubs0-dev

librealsense 2.x 3rd party

I you have an Intel RealSense Depth camera (SR300 or D400 series), you may install librealsense 2.x in order to use vpRealSense2 class. Otherwise you can skip this section.

Installation instructions are given in the tutorial.

Since our kernel is 4.12+ streaming Depth/IR/Color is supported and is provided out of the box. This means that the patches are not needed.

Following the tutorial, we recall the main steps here:

  1. Get librealsense from github:
     $ cd $VISP_WS
     $ git clone
     $ cd librealsense
  2. Ensure no Intel RealSense cameras are plugged in.
  3. Install udev rules located in librealsense source directory:
     $ sudo cp config/99-realsense-libusb.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/
     $ sudo udevadm control --reload-rules && udevadm trigger
  4. Install the packages required for librealsense build:
     $ sudo apt-get install libssl-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev pkg-config libgtk-3-dev
  5. Install distribution-specific packages:
     $ sudo apt-get install libglfw3-dev (Ubuntu 16.04)
     $ sudo apt-get install libglfw3-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev (Ubuntu 18.04)
  6. Build and install librealsense
     $ mkdir build
     $ cd build
     $ make -j4
     $ sudo make install
  7. Connect the Realsense SR300 or D400 series camera and check if you are able to acquire images running:
     $ ./examples/capture/rs-capture

If you are able to visualize the images, it means that you succeed in librealsense installation.

FlyCapture 3rd party

FlyCapture is the SDK provided by FLIR (previously Point Grey) to work with FLIR USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet or FireWire cameras. If you don't have such a camera you can skip this section.

  1. Download FlyCapture2 SDK from the FLIR Downloads web page. You will need a downloads account to access the Download links.
  2. Unpack the software in a temporary directory.
  3. Follow instructions provided in README file to install required dependencies (libraw1394-11, libgtkmm-2.4-dev, libglademm-2.4-dev, libgtkglextmm-x11-1.2-dev, libusb-1.0). For example, for Ubuntu 18.04 run:
     $ sudo apt-get install libraw1394-11 libavcodec57 libavformat57  \
     libswscale4 libswresample2 libavutil55 libgtkmm-2.4-1v5          \
     libglademm-2.4-1v5 libgtkglextmm-x11-1.2-0v5 libgtkmm-2.4-dev    \
     libglademm-2.4-dev libgtkglextmm-x11-1.2-dev libusb-1.0-0
  4. Run the install script in the same directory into which you unpacked the software.
     $ sudo sh
  5. Follow the instructions of the script. This installs all the FlyCapture2 libraries, example code, sample applications, and documentation. The script prompts you to configure udev so that devices can be used by a particular user. If you choose to configure devices, the script changes permissions on the nodes by overwriting the default Ubuntu permissions and giving the user full read and write access to the device nodes.
  6. Restart your computer for the user permissions to take effect.

Pylon 3rd party

The Pylon Camera Software Suite is a collection of drivers and tools for operating any Basler camera (IEEE1394, Camera Link, GigE or USB3.0 interface). If you don't have a Basler camera you can skip this section.

To install Pylon, visit Basler Software Download page to download and install the SDK corresponding to your platform.

Pylon Camera Software Suite installation enables vpPylonGrabber class usage.

libfranka 3rd party

I you have a Panda robot from Franka Emika, you may install libfranka in order to use vpRobotFranka class. Otherwise you can skip this section.

Installation instructions are provided following Install Franka library. There is also the Tutorial: PBVS with Panda 7-dof robot from Franka Emika that explains how to install a real-time Linux kernel requested to control the robot by Setting up a real-time kernel.

Other optional 3rd parties

We give also the way to install other 3rd party libraries to enable specific capabilities.

  • If you have an Intel Realsense RGB-D camera (R200, F200, LR200, RZ300) you may install librealsense 1.12.1 following these installation instructions.
  • You may also install PCL library using:
    $ sudo apt-get install libpcl-dev
  • Coin, to be able to support vrml cad model used by the model-based trackers. If you are using Ubuntu 19.04 or a more recent version use
    $ sudo apt-get install libcoin-dev
    otherwise use rather:
    $ sudo apt-get install libcoin80-dev
  • libjpeg and libpng to support jpeg and png images respectively (only useful if OpenCV is not installed)
    $ sudo apt-get install libjpeg-dev libpng-dev
  • Ogre 3D if you want to do augmented reality or simulation
    $ sudo apt-get install libogre-1.9-dev libois-dev
  • Datamatrix code detection
    $ sudo apt-get install libdmtx-dev
  • Gnu Scientific Library for addtional mathematics capabilities
    $ sudo apt-get install libgsl-dev

Get ViSP source code

There are different ways to get ViSP source code:

  • You can download the latest release as a zip or a tarball. Once downloaded, uncompress the file using either
    $ tar xvzf visp-x.y.z.tar.gz -C $VISP_WS
    $ unzip -d $VISP_WS
  • You can also download a daily snapshot. Once downloaded, uncompress the file using
    $ tar xvzf visp-snapshot-yyyy-mm-dd.tar.gz -C $VISP_WS
  • Or you get the cutting-edge ViSP from GitHub repository using the following command
    $ cd $VISP_WS
    $ git clone

We suppose now that ViSP source is in the directory $VISP_WS/visp. The following should be adapted if you downloaded ViSP from a zip or tarball. In that case, the source is rather in something like $VISP_WS/visp-x.y.z.

Configure ViSP from source

These are the steps to configure ViSP from source with CMake:

  • In the workspace, create first a directory named visp-build that will contain all the build material; generated Makefiles, object files, output libraries and binaries.
    $ mkdir $VISP_WS/visp-build
  • Enter the visp-build folder and configure the build:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ cmake ../visp
    A more versatile way to configure the build is to use ccmake, the CMake GUI:
    $ ccmake ../visp
    The following image shows that this command allows to configure (just by pressing [c] key) the build in a more advanced way where some options could be easily turned ON/OFF. It allows also to see which are the 3rd parties that will be used. To generate the makefiles, just press [g] key in the ccmake gui.
    Snapshot of the ccmake ../visp command used to configure ViSP.

Build ViSP libraries

To build ViSP libraries proceed with:

$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ make -j4

Build ViSP documentation

To build ViSP documentation, you have first to install Doxygen package:

$ sudo apt-get install doxygen graphviz texlive-latex-base

Then you can proceed with:

$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ cmake ../visp
$ make -j4 visp_doc

The generated documentation is then available in $VISP_WS/visp-build/doc/html/index.html

It is also possible to generate a more complete documentation that includes also all the internal classes. This could be achieved setting CMake var ENABLE_FULL_DOC to ON like:
$ cmake ../visp -DENABLE_FULL_DOC=ON
$ make -j4 visp_doc

Set VISP_DIR environment var

In order to ease ViSP detection by CMake when ViSP is used as a 3rd party in an external project, like the one described in the Tutorial: How to create and build a CMake project that uses ViSP on Unix or Windows, you may set VISP_DIR environment variable with the path to the VISPConfig.cmake file:

$ echo "export VISP_DIR=$VISP_WS/visp-build" >> ~/.bashrc
$ source ~/.bashrc

Install ViSP data set

Some ViSP examples and tests require a data set that contains images, video, models that is not part of ViSP source code. This data set is available in Github ( or as a release in a separate archive named This archive could be downloaded from page. Note that ViSP tutorials are not using ViSP data set.

We give hereafter the two ways to get this data set:

1. Get data set release

  • Download from and uncompress it in your workspace %VISP_WS%:
    $ unzip ~/Downloads/ -d $VISP_WS
  • We suppose now that the data are located in $VISP_WS/visp-images-3.3.0.
    $ ls $VISP_WS/visp-images-3.3.0
    3dmodel LICENSE.txt circle ellipse-1 iv mbt-depth video
    AprilTag cube endianness line mire warp
    Klimt calibration ellipse faces mbt mire-2 xml
  • Once downloaded, you need to set VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH environment variable to help ViSP examples and tests to detect automatically the location of the requested data. In our case, this variable should be set to $VISP_WS/visp-images-3.3.0. It is more convenient if this environment variables is automatically added to your bash session every time a new shell is launched:
    $ echo "export VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH=$VISP_WS/visp-images-3.3.0" >> ~/.bashrc
    $ source ~/.bashrc

2. Get data set from github

  • Use git to get the data set latest version:
    C:\> cd $VISP_WS
    C:\> git clone
  • Once cloned, you need to set VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH environment variable to help ViSP examples and tests to detect automatically the location of the requested data. In our case, this variable should be set to $VISP_WS%/visp-images. In a shell run:
    $ echo "export VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH=$VISP_WS/visp-images" >> ~/.bashrc
    $ source ~/.bashrc

Test data set usage

  • From now, you can try to run ViSP examples and tests. For example you can run displayX example that should open a windows with Klimt painting image and some overlay drawings:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ ./example/device/display/displayX
    A click to close the windows...
    A click to display a cross...
    Cross position: 201, 441
    A click to exit the program...

Tips and tricks

How to take into account a newly installed 3rd party

Since all 3rd parties are optional you may have started to install only some of them. Imagine that you just installed a new third-party, or that you upgraded the version of this 3rd party. The next step is to go back to the build folder, configure ViSP with CMake to detect the newly installed third-party library and build again ViSP. This could be achieved with:

$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ cmake ../visp

Here you can check the content of the ViSP-third-party.txt file and see if the newly installed 3rd party is well detected (see Which are the 3rd party libraries that are used in ViSP ?).

Finally, you need to rebuild ViSP with:

$ make -j4

How to install ViSP

Installing ViSP is optional and not recommended, since ViSP could be used as a 3rd party without installation. If you still want to proceed with the installation run:

$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ sudo make install
The default install location is set to /usr/local. This location could be changed modifying CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX var:
$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ cmake ../visp -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr
$ make -j4
$ sudo make install
If you proceed to ViSP installation in a system folder like /usr or /usr/local there is no need to Set VISP_DIR environment var that helps CMake to find ViSP libraries in an external project that uses ViSP as a 3rd party. If you rather install ViSP in a non "standard" folder, let say /my/install/folder, you have to set VISP_DIR to /my/install/folder/lib/cmake/visp that contains the VISPConfig.cmake file:
$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ cmake ../visp -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/my/install/folder
$ make -j4
$ sudo make install
$ echo "export VISP_DIR=/my/install/folder/lib/cmake/visp" >> ~/.bashrc
$ source ~/.bashrc

How to uninstall ViSP

After ViSP installation, you can remove installed material using:

$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ sudo make uninstall

How to build only ViSP libraries

If you want to build only ViSP modules libraries, nor the examples, tutorials and tests:

$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ make -j4 visp_modules

How to build a ViSP specific module

If you want to build a given module and all the dependencies:

$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ make -j4 visp_<module_name>

For example to build the model-based tracker module named mbt, run:

$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ make -j4 visp_mbt

Which are the targets that could be run with make ?

To know which are the target available with make:

$ make help | grep visp
... visp_doc
... visp_examples
... visp_tests
... visp_modules
... visp_demos
... visp_tutorials
... visp_clipper
... visp_apriltag
... visp_qbdevice
... visp_pugixml
... visp_core
... visp_gui
... visp_imgproc
... visp_io
... gen_visp_java_source
... visp_klt
... visp_me
... visp_sensor
... visp_ar
... visp_blob
... visp_robot
... visp_visual_features
... visp_vs
... visp_vision
... visp_detection
... visp_mbt
... visp_tt
... visp_tt_mi
... visp_java
... visp_java_jar_source_copy
... visp_java_jar

Which are the 3rd party libraries that are used in ViSP ?

To see which are the optional 3rd parties that are found during the configuration stage and that will be used by ViSP during the build you can have a look to the text file named ViSP-third-party.txt and located in $VISP_WS/visp-build. We provide hereafter an example of a possible content of this file that contains also build info.

$ cat $VISP_WS/visp-build/ViSP-third-party.txt
General configuration information for ViSP 3.3.0
Version control: 3.2.0-796-gc26c51bfe
Timestamp: 2020-02-11T07:06:58Z
Host: Linux 5.3.0-28-generic x86_64
CMake: 3.16.4
CMake generator: Unix Makefiles
CMake build tool: /usr/bin/make
Configuration: Release
Built as dynamic libs?: yes
C++ Compiler: /usr/bin/c++ (ver 7.4.0)
C++ flags (Release): -Wall -Wextra -fopenmp -std=c++11 -fvisibility=hidden -msse2 -msse3 -mssse3 -fPIC -O3 -DNDEBUG
C++ flags (Debug): -Wall -Wextra -fopenmp -std=c++11 -fvisibility=hidden -msse2 -msse3 -mssse3 -fPIC -g
C Compiler: /usr/bin/cc
C flags (Release): -Wall -Wextra -fopenmp -std=c++11 -fvisibility=hidden -msse2 -msse3 -mssse3 -fPIC -O3 -DNDEBUG
C flags (Debug): -Wall -Wextra -fopenmp -std=c++11 -fvisibility=hidden -msse2 -msse3 -mssse3 -fPIC -g
Linker flags (Release):
Linker flags (Debug):
ViSP modules:
To be built: core gui imgproc io java_bindings_generator klt me sensor ar blob robot visual_features vs vision detection mbt tt tt_mi java
Disabled: -
Disabled by dependency: -
Unavailable: -
Python (for build): /usr/bin/python2.7
ant: /usr/bin/ant (ver 1.10.5)
JNI: /home/fspindle/visp_ws/java/jdk-11.0.6/include /home/fspindle/visp_ws/java/jdk-11.0.6/include/linux /home/fspindle/visp_ws/java/jdk-11.0.6/include
Build options:
Build deprecated: yes
Build with moment combine: no
Use MKL: no
Use OpenBLAS: no
Use Atlas: no
Use Netlib Lapack: yes (ver 3.7.1)
Use Lapack (built-in): no
Use Eigen3: yes (ver 3.3.4)
Use OpenCV: yes (ver 3.2.0)
Use GSL: no
Ogre simulator:
\- Use Ogre3D: yes (ver 1.9.0)
\- Use OIS: yes (ver 1.3.0)
Coin simulator:
\- Use Coin3D: yes (ver 4.0.0)
\- Use SoWin: no
\- Use SoXt: no
\- Use SoQt: no
\- Use Qt5: no
\- Use Qt4: no
\- Use Qt3: no
Media I/O:
Use JPEG: yes (ver 80)
Use PNG: yes (ver 1.6.34)
\- Use ZLIB: yes (ver 1.2.11)
Use OpenCV: yes (ver 3.2.0)
Use stb_image (built-in): no
Real robots:
Use Afma4: no
Use Afma6: no
Use Franka: yes (ver 0.7.1)
Use Viper650: no
Use Viper850: no
Use aria (Pioneer): no
Use PTU46: no
Use Biclops PTU: no
Use Flir PTU SDK: no
Use Parrot ARSDK: yes
\-Use ffmpeg: yes
Use Virtuose: no
Use qbdevice (built-in): yes (ver 2.6.0)
Use X11: yes
Use GTK: no
Use OpenCV: yes (ver 3.2.0)
Use GDI: no
Use Direct3D: no
Use DC1394-2.x: yes (ver 2.2.5)
Use CMU 1394: no
Use V4L2: yes (ver 1.14.2)
Use directshow: no
Use OpenCV: yes (ver 3.2.0)
Use Flycapture: yes
Use Pylon: no
RGB-D sensors:
Use Realsense: no
Use Realsense2: yes (ver 2.32.1)
Use Kinect: no
\- Use libfreenect: no
\- Use libusb-1: yes (ver 1.0.21)
\- Use pthread: yes
Use PCL: yes (ver 1.8.1)
\- Use VTK: yes (ver 6.3.0)
F/T sensors:
Use atidaq (built-in): no
Use comedi: no
Use IIT SDK: no
Use zbar: yes (ver 0.10)
Use dmtx: yes (ver 0.7.4)
Use AprilTag (built-in): yes (ver 3.1.1)
\- Use AprilTag big family: no
Use Clipper (built-in): yes (ver 6.4.2)
Use pugixml (built-in): yes (ver 1.9.0)
Use libxml2: yes (ver 2.9.4)
Use OpenMP: yes
Use pthread: yes
Use pthread (built-in): no
Use cxx standard: 11
Use doxygen: yes
Tests and samples:
Use catch2 (built-in): yes (ver 2.9.2)
Tests: yes
Demos: yes
Examples: yes
Tutorials: yes
Install path: /usr/local

Next tutorial

You are now ready to see the next Tutorial: How to create and build a CMake project that uses ViSP on Unix or Windows that will show you how to use ViSP as a 3rd party to build your own project.