FreeSurfer CMake

Initial Setup

The freesurfer cmake scripts require cmake 3.5 or greater. Unfortunately, /usr/bin/cmake is quite old, so you'll have to use /usr/pubsw/bin/cmake. If it's not in your path already, add the following to your .cshrc:

setenv PATH /usr/pubsw/bin:$PATH

Installing cmake 3.10

If you don't have /usr/pubsw/bin, you can follow

This tells you to...

sudo -i
cd /tmp
mkdir cmake
cd cmake
tar -xzf cmake-$version.$build.tar.gz
cd cmake-$version.$build/
make -j4
make install

Configuring a Simple Build

CMake replaces the setup_configure and configure build steps. A build can be configured in the working directory by running cmake </path/to/repo>. So, assuming you have a freesurfer repository stored in ~/dev/freesurfer (and you're developing on the Martinos filesystem), you could set up a simple in-source build with:

note: if this is your first time transitioning from an automake configuration, you might need to run make clean before building with cmake. Some of the previously generated freeview moc files might interfere with the configuration.

cd ~/dev/freesurfer
cmake .

Aside from this initial cmake step, which really only needs to be run once, and fact that make check is now make test, the rest of the build process is exactly the same. Previously, if a new freesurfer binary was added to the autotools config, you'd have to run ./configure again. With cmake, there is no need to run the initialization command more than once (unless to modify build options), since make now automatically checks for modifications to the build scripts.

Alternatively, ccmake can be used instead of cmake to configure/edit cached variables in a terminal GUI. Out-of-source builds are also possible.

note: the make output is more condensed now, but make VERBOSE=1 will output everything.

Configuration Options

CMake variables are set on the command line with the -D flag. For example, the standard way to configure a build with an install prefix is

cmake . -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX="/path/to/install/destination"

You can define any variable on the command line this way, even if the variable is never used in the CMakeLists.txt scripts. Boolean variables added with the option() function can be turned on/off on the command line as well. See, for instance, BUILD_GUIS in the Making the non-GUI section below.

Making the third party packages

To make the rest of Freesurfer, you may have to make and install the third party packages. 'vtk' and 'kwwidgets' might not be buildable on systems that don't build the GUI.

cd /path/to/your/repository/packages
find . -type l -exec git annex get {} \;
./ --no-vtk --no-kwwidgets  /path/to/install/freesurfer/packages

Making the non-GUI

Once this is done...

cmake . \
    -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX="/path/to/install/destination" \
    -DFS_PACKAGES_DIR="/path/to/installed/freesurfer/packages" \

Adding a binary

All freesurfer binaries should contain a CMakeLists.txt file (replacing in their corresponding subdirectory, and the name of the subdirectory should be added to the large list at the end of the top-level CMakeLists.txt. As an example, the CMakeLists.txt for a standard freesurfer executable (called my_program) that only links to the utils library would look something like this:



add_executable(my_program my_program.c)
target_link_libraries(my_program utils)

install(TARGETS my_program DESTINATION bin)

A more complex CMakeLists.txt might be required for binaries that depend on other libraries. For example, here's the configuration file for mris_mesh_subdivide, which requires VTK.


Q. I've messed up my build and I'm getting weird cmake messages... how do I 'reset' cmake?

A. rm -Rf CMakeFiles CMakeCache.txt

Suggestion Box

CMake (last edited 2018-08-13 22:24:55 by BevinBrett)