Compiling xoreos

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This page gives a few tips and pointers on how to compile xoreos on various platforms.

Compiler and build system

xoreos is written in C++, so a C++ compiler, like GCC or clang is required. xoreos follows the C++14 standard. It has two build systems: Autotools (Autoconf, Automake and Libtool) and CMake. Use whichever you feel more comfortable with.


On Debian-based distributions (including Ubuntu), you should be able to install the required compiler and build system packages with

sudo apt-get install libc6-dev g++ make autoconf automake libtool gettext cmake

On Arch Linux, you can install the necessary packages with

sudo pacman -S base-devel cmake

On other distributions, it should work similarily.

Mac OS X

Due to the dependency on SDL2 (see below), you need at least Mac OS X 10.5 if you use a precompiled SDL2 library, and at least Mac OS X 10.7 if you're compiling SDL2 yourself.


Since Visual Studio does not work with autotools, you have to use the CMake build system if you want to compile xoreos with Visual Studio. If you're using MinGW, however, you're free to choose either build system.

On Windows, it is recommended that instead of Visual Studio, you use MSYS2 together with Mingw-w64 (which can produce both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries). MSYS2 provides a package manager, with which you can install xoreos' library dependencies very easily.

You can install the 32-bit toolchain in MSYS2 with

pacman -S base-devel git mingw-w64-i686-toolchain mingw-w64-i686-cmake

You can install the 64-bit toolchain in MSYS2 with

pacman -S base-devel git mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain mingw-w64-x86_64-cmake


xoreos uses the following libraries to function:

On Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution (including Ubuntu), you should be able to install these libraries and their development packages with

sudo apt-get install zlib1g-dev liblzma-dev libxml2-dev libboost-all-dev libsdl2-dev \
    libfreetype6-dev libopenal-dev libmad0-dev libogg-dev libvorbis-dev libfaad-dev \
    libxvidcore-dev libvpx-dev

On Arch Linux, you can install these dependencies with

sudo pacman -S zlib xz libxml2 boost boost-libs sdl2 freetype2 openal libmad libogg \
    libvorbis faad2 xvidcore libvpx

Other GNU/Linux distributions should work similarily.

On Windows, if you're using MSYS2, you can install these dependencies for 32-bit with

 pacman -S mingw-w64-i686-zlib mingw-w64-i686-xz mingw-w64-i686-libxml2 \
    mingw-w64-i686-boost mingw-w64-i686-SDL2 mingw-w64-i686-freetype \
    mingw-w64-i686-openal mingw-w64-i686-libmad mingw-w64-i686-libogg \
    mingw-w64-i686-libvorbis  mingw-w64-i686-faad2 mingw-w64-i686-xvidcore \

On Windows, if you're using MSYS2, you can install these dependencies for 64-bit with

 pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-zlib mingw-w64-x86_64-xz mingw-w64-x86_64-libxml2 \
    mingw-w64-x86_64-boost mingw-w64-x86_64-SDL2 mingw-w64-x86_64-freetype \
    mingw-w64-x86_64-openal mingw-w64-x86_64-libmad mingw-w64-x86_64-libogg \
    mingw-w64-x86_64-libvorbis  mingw-w64-x86_64-faad2 mingw-w64-x86_64-xvidcore \

Windows users not using MSYS2 will have to visit each website manually and download a precompiled version, or, if not available, download the source and compile the library themselves. Alternatively, vcpkg can be used to install most of these libraries.

A note on OpenAL

On Mac OS X, we're using Apple's OpenAL implementation, so OpenAL does not need to be installed separately there.

On both GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows, we require OpenAL Soft. There is a propriety OpenAL implementation by Creative Labs, Inc. for Microsoft Windows, which can be found at, but it's unfortunately old, outdated and abandoned. We do not recommend its use.

Likewise, on NetBSD and other systems using pkgsrc, you should use openal-soft instead of openal.

Compiling xoreos

Make sure you have your compiler, build system and libraries installed correctly. Then open a terminal and change into the directory of your sources.



./ && ./configure && make

The binary can be found in the src subdirectory, called "xoreos" or, on Windows, "xoreos.exe".

Optional, non-conventional ./configure flags:

  • --with-werror  
Compile with -Werror
  • --without-warnings  
Compile without the extra warnings enabled
  • --with-lto  
Compile with link-time optimization
  • --disable-external-glew  
Always compile against the internal GLEW libraries



cmake . && make

The binary can be found in the bin subdirectory, called "xoreos" or, on Windows, "xoreos.exe".

This builds xoreos without any optimizations, so you might want to use

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release . && make

(optimized, no debug information) or

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo . && make

(optimized, with debug information) instead.

Please read Running CMake on the CMake website for in-depth information on invoking CMake.

Optional, non-conventional cmake flags:

  • -DBoost_USE_STATIC_LIBS=on  
Link Boost statically instead of dynamically
Always use internal GLEW library

Note: The CMake's stock FindBoost.cmake doesn't correctly detect dependencies when linking statically. In this case, xoreos might fail to link, missing symbols for ICU, when linking Boost statically.

Moreover, if you're running GNU/Linux and have wrapper scripts installed that force the building of "hardened" binaries (often called "hardening-wrapper", but differs between Linux distributions), compiling xoreos might fail during the linking stage, when using statically linking Boost libraries. This is due to those static Boost libraries being incompatible with the compiler option "-fPIE", which is often added by hardening wrapper scripts. A workaround is to disable -fPIE for this compilation (which is distribution-specific).

Unit tests

On both build systems,

make check

compiles and runs our unit tests.

Running xoreos

Please have a look at the Running xoreos page.