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Install iCub software from source manually installing each software package

The page contains instructions for compiling YARP and the iCub software. We recommend you get the required dependencies from the binary packages.

Getting all dependencies

Install the required dependencies:

sudo apt install libace-dev libc6 python libgsl0-dev libncurses5-dev libsdl1.2-dev subversion git gfortran libxmu-dev libode-dev wget unzip qtbase5-dev qtdeclarative5-dev qtmultimedia5-dev libqt5svg5 libqt5opengl5-dev libopencv-dev freeglut3-dev libtinyxml-dev libblas-dev coinor-libipopt-dev liblapack-dev libmumps-dev qml-module-qtmultimedia qml-module-qtquick-dialogs qml-module-qtquick-controls libedit-dev libeigen3-dev libjpeg-dev libsimbody-dev libxml2-dev libjs-underscore

Setting up revision control systems

To download sources from our repositories you need to set up a revision control system client. The git client was already installed in the previous step.

Compile YCM

To compile YCM, clone and build the tag associated with the distro at hand as specified in Software Versioning Table.

git clone -b vxx.yy.zz
cd ycm && mkdir -p build && cd build
ccmake ../
sudo make install

Compile YARP

Follow instructions provided in the official YARP documentation, follow the section Install from sources -- Compiling YARP (skip installation of packages).

Importantly, for use with the iCub robot when compiling YARP make sure that: * you check out the correct tag of YARP according to the Software Versioning Table. * you set to on the CMake options CREATE_OPTIONAL_CARRIERS and ENABLE_yarpcar_bayer.

Compile icub-main

Download icub-main source code

In the rest of the tutorial, it will be assumed that you will downloaded the code in the /home/user.

To download the icub-main source code, just use git:

cd /home/user
git clone

This command will create the /home/user/icub-main directory, containing the icub-main source code.

Checkout the correct tag

Pick up the correct tag vxx.yy.zz from Software Versioning Table that is compatible with the compiled version of YARP and do:

cd icub-main
git checkout vxx.yy.zz

Create iCub makefiles

Pick a build directory to store makefiles and binaries, e.g. /home/user/icub-main/build .

Run CMake to generate makefiles:

cd  /home/user/icub-main
mkdir build
cd build
ccmake ../

Hit 'c' to configure the project.

Select options:

ENABLE_icubmod_cartesiancontrollerclient ON
ENABLE_icubmod_cartesiancontrollerserver ON
ENABLE_icubmod_gazecontrollerclient      ON

Leave all other options to default (unless you know what you are doing).

Note : You can optionally change CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX, this is the directory where you would like to install icub-main (default is /usr/local). If you set it to a different prefix than YARP's, you will then need to set up the environment accordingly (see Configure your environment section below).

Compile icub-main

cd  /home/user/icub-main/build
sudo make install

Setup ICUBcontrib (optional)

First, you need to download the sources.

cd /home/user/
git clone

Second, make sure you have the correct release according to Software Versioning Table.

cd /home/user/icub-contrib-common/
git checkout <tag>
Set up the ICUBcontrib meta-package, which allows to properly configure your modules/libraries so that they share the same installation prefix.

cd /home/user/icub-contrib-common/
mkdir build && cd build
ccmake ../

At this stage you must change CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX entry here to the path of your liking, preferably in your home; hit 'g' to generate the project. If you do not change the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX you will need to constantly use sudo for any subsequent action, eg: run module with administrative rights.


make install

Once you have installed the ICUBcontrib package you can compile the other modules individually.

Configure your environment

If you installed YARP and/or iCub or ICUBcontrib to non-default directories, you need to set your environment.

  • Set the ICUBcontrib_DIR env var to point to the installation directory.
  • Append $ICUBcontrib_DIR/bin to your PATH.
  • Set the CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH env var to point to the installation directory $ICUBcontrib_DIR.
  • Modify the variable YARP_DATA_DIRS accordingly, i.e.: YARP_DATA_DIRS=/share/yarp:/share/iCub:/share/ICUBcontrib.

Check your installation

After you followed the installation instructions, you can check if your installation was successful by following the instructions in the Check your installation page.