Copyright 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Institut fuer Neuroinformatik, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Germany

This file is part of cedar.

cedar is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

cedar is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License along with cedar. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.


Welcome to cedar!

While being an open source library, cedar is developed primarily by the Autonomous Robotics group at the Institut fuer Neuroinformatik, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum in Germany. If you would like to contact us, write an email to cedar@ini.rub.de.

Our postal address is:

Autonomous Robotics Group
Institut fuer Neuroinformatik
Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum
Universitaetsstr. 150
D-44801 Bochum

You can also reach us by phone +49 234 32-25564.

The current release of cedar as well as documentation can be found on our official website. Our repositories and issue trackers are hosted on bitbucket.

Installing cedar

Supported operating systems

For now, Ubuntu Linux is the only fully supported operating system for cedar. The following manual for installing cedar is geared toward Ubuntu Linux and other Debian-based Linux distributions. That being said, we have successfully installed cedar on all major operating systems (other Linux distributions, MacOS, and Windows). In a lot of cases, the installation is not as easy and you will have to get creative here and there - but it is possible. Bear with us as we try to make cedar more platform independent.

Supported compilers

In general, we support GCC versions >= 4.4.5 (including MinGW ports) and MSVC versions >= 2012. You might also use Clang on Mac OS, but its support is provisional. As mentioned above, our main priority is the Linux operating system, so we cannot guarantee that compiling cedar on a different operating system / with a different compiler works out of the box. We are, however, able to help you with the most common problems when trying out non-Linux solutions, so just drop us a message if you are experiencing any problems.

Install all dependencies


We provide a Debian meta-package, which installs all dependencies you need to compile cedar under Ubuntu. Please pick a download from below that fits to your Ubuntu version. (these packages also work on different Linux derivates of similar recency, e.g., Mint and Debian)

For versions < 12.04, the following package can be downloaded from our bitbucket page:

wget https://bitbucket.org/cedar/dependencies/downloads/cedar-dependencies.deb

For the versions 12.04, 12.10, and 13.04, the following package can be downloaded from our bitbucket page:

wget https://bitbucket.org/cedar/dependencies/downloads/cedar-dependencies-ubuntu12.xx.deb

For versions 13.10 - 15.04, the following package can be downloaded from our bitbucket page:

wget https://bitbucket.org/cedar/dependencies/downloads/cedar-dependencies-ubuntu13.10.deb

For version 15.10, you need a different package since the depending package names have changed:

wget https://bitbucket.org/cedar/dependencies/downloads/cedar-dependencies-ubuntu15.10.deb

You will need a program like gdebi to install the package. gdebi is able to install local Debian packages while taking into consideration its dependencies - apt cannot do this at the moment. If you do not have gdebi installed, get it now.

sudo apt-get install gdebi

Now you can install all of cedar's dependencies using gdebi and the Debian package you downloaded earlier.

sudo gdebi cedar-dependencies.deb

As part of the installation, the Debian package will download, compile, and install a patched version of qwtplot3d (0.3), which sadly is no longer available anywhere else on the web. We are working on removing this dependency from cedar but for now it is necessary for 3D plotting of data.

Mac OS X 10.8.x & 10.9.x

We highly recommend using homebrew to install the above dependencies. Homebrew has recipes for all of cedar's dependencies except for qwtplot3d. qwtplot3d does not compile on 10.9.x.

Your Clang version should be up to date, i.e. Apple LLVM version 5.x (based on LLVM 3.3svn) or newer. Just install the most recent XCode and you should be good to go.

Installing qwtplot3d on OS X 10.8.x

Download the source code of qwtplot3d from our repository then open a terminal and go to the folder containing the downloaded file. Run

tar xvf qwtplot3d-0.3.0-patched.tar.gz

Switch into the extracted folder qwtplot3d and run

qmake && make

followed by

sudo make install

if qwtplot3d compiled successfully.

cedar currently does not support Mac frameworks. Therefore you have to create symbolic links to the frameworks so that cedar can find the installed dependencies. If you have installed the dependencies with homebrew, you can simply copy the following statement, fill in the appropriate version numbers, and execute it. Otherwise you may have to adapt the paths to fit your system environment.

sudo ln -s "/usr/local/Cellar/libqglviewer/[__VERSION__]/QGLViewer.framework" "/Library/Frameworks/QGLViewer.framework"

sudo ln -s "/Library/Frameworks/QGLViewer.framework/QGLViewer" "/Library/Frameworks/QGLViewer.framework/libQGLViewer.dylib"

sudo ln -s "/usr/local/Cellar/qwt/[__VERSION__]/lib/qwt.framework/Versions/6/Headers" "/usr/local/Cellar/qwt/[__VERSION__]/lib/qwt.framework/Headers"

sudo ln -s "/usr/local/Cellar/qwt/[__VERSION__]/lib/qwt.framework/Versions/6/qwt" "/usr/local/Cellar/qwt/[__VERSION__]/lib/qwt.framework/qwt"

Do use homebrew

As afore-mentioned we highly recommend to use homebrew to install all of cedar's dependencies. If you do that installing cedar is a breeze. If you do run into trouble it's because your system isn't ready to brew. brew doctor will help you with that. Just enter brew doctor into your shell and follow the instructions until the doctor tells you that your system is ready to brew.

You may not find all dependencies you need in the default homebrew formula repository, you will have to brew tap homebrew/sciences and maybe brew tap homebrew/versions. Usually homebrew can help you to find what you need, please refer to the homebrew manual for that.

Also be attentive to which version of a dependency you install. A common pitfall is that brew install vtk will install vtk 6.x while we recommend to use vtk 5.10 which has a separate formula vtk5 which will not show up until you have tapped homebrew/versions. An easy way to find out the version a formula will install is to call brew info [formula-name] without the brackets.

Other operating systems

If you are using a different operating system, unfortunately you will have to install all dependencies manually, using either the package manager of your system or compiling the dependencies from source. Here is what you have to install before you can compile cedar. The version numbers are the oldest versions supported.

  • CMake
  • Boost >= 1.47 (except version 1.49, which apparently does not work with c++11)
  • OpenCV >= 2.2
  • Qt >= 4.6.2 (Qt5 may work, but is not yet supported officially)

optional dependencies:

  • qwt 5.2.1
  • libqglviewer 2.3.6
  • YARP 2.3.6 (for YARP features like network connectivity)
  • libDC1394 (for firewire cameras)
  • fftw-3.2.2 (for FFT-based convolutions)
  • Doxygen (to generate HTML or LaTeX documentation)
  • qwtplot3d 0.3 (to display surface plots)
  • VTK 5.6 (alternative library for surface and line plots)

We depend on a particular version of qwtplot3d, which we had to patch to fit our needs. You can get the source code of this library from our dependencies repository.

To use VTK you need to install the VTK Library with Qt support and the C++ Header files. The latter is usually included in a VTK-Dev package. The former can be achieved by building VTK from source with Qt-Support enabled or by installing a VTK and a VTK-Qt package, given your package manager provides one. If you were to use apt-get for instance, you'd have to install the following packages: libvtk5.8 libvtk5.8-qt4 libvtk5-dev libvtk5-qt4-dev

Clone the cedar repository

There are two ways to get the cedar sources.

  1. You can use Mercurial, a distributed version control system (similar to Git). Install it through your package manager

    sudo apt-get install mercurial

    and then clone our official repository. Replace [your cedar directory] with a meaningful name for the folder in which the repository will be cloned (e.g., cedar or cedar.release)

    hg clone https://bitbucket.org/cedar/release [your cedar directory]
  2. If you do not want to use Mercurial, you can simply download a tarball containing the cedar sources from our bitbucket page

    wget https://bitbucket.org/cedar/release/get/tip.tar.gz

    unpack it

    tar xzf tip.tar.gz

    and rename the resulting directory. In the following command, replace [random characters] with whatever the uncompressed tarball is called (it is randomly generated by bitbucket). Replace [your cedar directory] with a meaningful name for the folder (e.g., cedar or cedar.release).

    mv cedar-release-[random characters] [your cedar directory]


  1. Change into the cedar directory.

    cd [your cedar directory]
  2. Create a copy of cedar.conf.example (in this folder) and name it cedar.conf.

    cp cedar.conf.example cedar.conf
  3. By default, cedar.conf is set up to work on Ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10. If you are running Ubuntu, skip this step. If you are running a different system, take a look at the file and make any changes for your individual system (e.g., installation prefix, external include paths) with an editor of your choosing (e.g., vim).

    vim cedar.conf
  4. Create an out-of-source build folder and change into it:

    mkdir build
    cd build
  5. Generate makefiles specific for your platform to be able to compile cedar:

    cmake ..
  6. Compile cedar. You can save some time by compiling in multiple threads in parallel. To split the compilation process into n threads, add the optional parameter -j n to the following command:

    make [-j n]
  7. (optional) Run all unit tests to check whether everything works:

    make test
  8. (optional) (only works when doxygen is installed) Create the documentation. It will be generated in the folder build/doc:

    make doc

    Note that this may generate some warnings that you can usually ignore safely.

  9. (optional) Install cedar

    sudo make install

First steps

If you don't want to start coding right away, you can have a look at our GUI:

  1. Go into the binary folder of the cedar repository:

    cd [your cedar directory]/bin
  2. Start cedar's GUI:

  3. Now, drag and drop elements from the top onto the working area and connect them up.

Have fun!

Reporting issues

Our repositories and issue trackers are hosted on bitbucket.

We always welcome any features, bug-reports and other things.

Note: we try to be warning-free. If you encounter warnings when compiling cedar on your system, let us know!