Installation Instructions

EPICS base

Release 3.14.*

What is EPICS base?

The Experimental Physics and Industrial Control Systems (EPICS) is an extensible set of software components and tools with which application developers can create a control system. This control system can be used to control accelerators, detectors, telescopes, or other scientific experimental equipment. EPICS base is the set of core software, i.e. the components of EPICS without which EPICS would not function. EPICS base allows an arbitrary number of target systems, IOCs (input/output controllers), and host systems, OPIs (operator interfaces) of various types.

What is new in this release?

Please check the RELEASE_NOTES file in the distribution for description of changes and release migration details.


Please review the COPYRIGHT* files included in the distribution for legal terms of usage.

Supported platforms

Currently this version of EPICS base has been built on the following hosts for the following targets. If you are trying to build EPICS base on a different host or for a different target machine you must get the proper host/target cross compiler and header files, and you will have to create and add the appropriate new configure files to the base/configure/os/directory. You can start by copying existing configuration files in the configure/os directory and then make changes for your new platforms.
Host platforms (operating system - architecture - <alternate c++ compiler>)
darwin-ppc (Mac OS X)
Debugging builds

Cross compile target platforms (operating system - architecture)

linux-386 (linux-x86 host)
linux-486 (linux-x86 host)
linux-586 (linux-x86 host)
linux-686 (linux-x86 host)
linux-althon (linux-x86 host)
Debugging builds

Supported compilers

This version of EPICS base has been built and tested using the host vendor's C and C++ compilers as well as the GNU gcc and g++ compilers. The GNU cross-compilers have been used for all cross-compiled targets. You may need the host vendor's C++ compiler in your search path to do EPICS builds. Check definitions of CC and CCC in base/configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.<host>.

Software requirements

GNU make
You must use GNU make, gnumake, for any EPICS builds. Set your path so that a gnumake version 3.78.1 or later is available.

You must have gcc version 3.4.2 or later.

You must have perl version 5.0 or later installed. The configure files do not specify the perl full pathname. You need the perl executable in your search path.

Unzip and tar (Winzip on WIN32 systems)
You must have tools available to unzip and untar the EPICS base distribution file.

Tornado 2
You must have Tornado 2 installed if any of your target systems are vxWorks systems. Tornado 2 provides the cross-compiler and header files needed to build for these target systems. The full path location to Tornado 2 should be specified in the base/configure/RELEASE or base/configure/RELEASE.<hostarch> file. You will also need one or more board support packages. Consult the vxWorks documentation for details.

GNU readline or Tecla library
GNU readline and Tecla librararies can be used by the IOC shell to provide command line editing and command line history recall and edit. GNU readline (or Tecla library) must be installed on your target system when COMMANDLINE_LIBRARY is set to READLINE (or TECLA) for that target. EPICS (EPICS shell) is the default specified in CONFIG_COMMON. A READLINE override is defined for linux-x86 in the EPICS distribution. Comment out COMMANDLINE_LIBRARY=READLINE in configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.Common.linux-x86 if readline is not installed on linux-x86. Command-line editing and history will then be those supplied by the os. On vxWorks the ledLib command-line input libraries are used.

Host system storage requirements

The GNU zipped tar file is approximately 1.4 MB in size. The unzipped untarred distribution source tree is approximately 7.3 MB. The build created files for each host take approximately 40 MB and the build created files for each target take approximately 10 MB.


EPICS documentation is available on the WWW via the EPICS home page at APS: URL available on the IOC software, Base R3.14, release number, web page which can be accessed from the APS EPICS home page.

WWW pages

EPICS home page at APS

Other WWW sites

Additional information on EPICS can be found at the various other WWW links on the EPICS home page at APS.

Mailing List

There is an EPICS mailing list called tech-talk which is hosted at APS with a list repeater at BESSY. See the EPICS home page for subscription instructions.

Directory Structure

Distribution directory structure:
     base                         Root directory of the base distribution
     base/config                  R3.13 compatibility build configuration files
     base/config/tools            Perl and shell scripts used in the R3.13 build
     base/configure               Operating system independent build config files
     base/configure/os            Operating system dependent build config files
     base/configure/tools         Perl and shell scripts used in the build
     base/documentation           Distributation documentation
     base/src                     All epics base source code in subdirectories
     base/src/RTEMS               Code to configure RTEMS for EPICS
     base/src/as                  Access security
     base/src/bpt                 Break point table
     base/src/ca                  Channel access
     base/src/cas                 Channel access server library and examples
     base/src/catools             Channel access tools caget, cainfo, camonitor, caput
     base/src/db                  Database access
     base/src/db/test             Database access tests
     base/src/dbStatic            Static database access
     base/src/dbtools             Database dbLoadTemplate tools
     base/src/dev                 Device support (softDev and testDev)
     base/src/excas               Example channel access server
     base/src/gdd                 General data descriptor
     base/src/iocsh               Ioc shell command interpreter
     base/src/libCom              General purpose library code in subdirectories
     base/src/libCom/bucketLib    Hash bucket
     base/src/libCom/calc         Algebraic expression interpreter
     base/src/libCom/cppStd       Support for C++ standard template library
     base/src/libCom/cvtFast      Fast number to string conversion
     base/src/libCom/cxxTemplates C++ templates and templates tests
     base/src/libCom/dbmf         Memory management for frequent alloc/free
     base/src/libCom/ellLib       EPICS double linked list
     base/src/libCom/env          Default EPICS environment settings
     base/src/libCom/error        Error handling definitions and routines
     base/src/libCom/fdmgr        File descriptor manager
     base/src/libCom/freeList     Memory management using free lists
     base/src/libCom/gpHash       General purpose hash table
     base/src/libCom/logClient    Logging client
     base/src/libCom/macLib       Macro substitution handler
     base/src/libCom/misc         Miscellaneous utilities
     base/src/libCom/osi          Operating system independent code
     base/src/libCom/osi/os       Operating system dependant code in subdirectories
     base/src/libCom/ring         Methods for creating and using ring buffers
     base/src/libCom/taskwd       Task watchdog
     base/src/libCom/test         Test tools (timer, semBinary, semMutex,fdmgr, ...)
     base/src/libCom/timer        Timer
     base/src/libCom/tsDefs       R3.13 time stamp definitions and routines
     base/src/makeBaseApp         Perl tool+templates to create ioc app dvl tree
     base/src/makeBaseExt         Perl tool+templates to create extension dvl tree
     base/src/misc                Miscellaneous (coreRelease, iocInit, asSub*)
     base/src/rec                 Record support
     base/src/registry            EPICS support function registry
     base/src/rsrv                Channel access ioc resource server library
     base/src/softIoc             Example softIoc
     base/src/toolsComm           Code for the build tools antelope and e_flex
     base/src/util                Utilities (ca_test, iocLogServer, startCArepeater)
     base/src/vxWorks             R3.13 compatibility code specific to vxWorks
     base/startup                 Scripts for setting up path and environment

     Install directories created by the build:

     base/bin                     Installed scripts and executables in subdirs
     base/db                      Installed data bases
     base/dbd                     Installed data base definitions
     base/html                    Installed html documentation
     base/include                 Installed header files
     base/include/os              Installed os specific header files
     base/javalib                 Installed java class and jar files
     base/lib                     Installed libraries in arch subdirectories
     base/templates               Installed templates

Build related components

  • base/documentation/README* files

  • README.1st           Instructions for setup and building epics base
    README.html          html version of README.1st
    README.WIN32         Microsoft WIN32 specific instructions
    README.cxxTemplates  Information about C++ templates in EPICS base
    README.niCpu030      NI cpu030 specific instructions
    README.darwin        Installation notes for Mac OS X (Darwin)
    RELEASE_NOTES.html   Notes on release changes
    KnownProblems.html   List of known problems and workarounds
    Converting*To*.html  Release specific conversion instructions
    Building*With*.html  Release specific build instructions
  • base/startup directory - contains scripts to set environment and path

  • EpicsHostArch       c shell script to set EPICS_HOST_ARCH env variable    perl script to set EPICS_HOST_ARCH env variable
    Site.profile        bourne shell script to set path and env variables
    Site.cshrc          c shell script to set path and env variables
    borland.bat         WIN32 bat file to set borland path and env variables
    cygwin.bat          WIN32 bat file to set cygwin path and env variables
    win32.bat           WIN32 bat file to set path and env variables
    win32-debug.bat     WIN32 debug bat file to set debug path and env variables
  • base/configure  directory - contains build definitions and rules

  • CONFIG                Includes configure files and allows variable overrides
    CONFIG.CrossCommon    Cross build definitions
    CONFIG.gnuCommon      Gnu compiler build definitions for all archs
    CONFIG_ADDONS         Definitions for <osclass> and DEFAULT options
    CONFIG_BASE           EPICS base tool and location definitions
    CONFIG_BASE_VERSION   Definitions for EPICS base version number
    CONFIG_COMMON         Definitions common to all builds
    CONFIG_ENV            Definitions of EPICS environment variables
    CONFIG_SITE           Site specific make defintions
    CONFIG_SITE_ENV       Site defaults for EPICS environment variables
    MAKEFILE              Installs CONFIG* RULES* creates CONFIG_APP_INCLUDE
    RELEASE               Location of external products such as Tornado II
    RULES                 Includes appropriate rules file
    RULES.Db              Rules for database and database definition files
    RULES.ioc             Rules for application iocBoot/ioc* directory
    RULES_ARCHS           Definitions and rules for building architectures
    RULES_BUILD           Build and install rules and definitions
    RULES_DIRS            Definitions and rules for building subdirectories
    RULES_JAVA            Definitions and rules for java jars and classes
    RULES_TOP             Rules specific to a <top> dir (uninstall and tar)
    Sample.Makefile       Sample makefile with comments
  • base/configure/os directory - contains os-arch specific definitions

  • CONFIG.<host>.<target>      Specific host-target build definitions
    CONFIG.Common.<target>      Specific target definitions for all hosts
    CONFIG.<host>.Common        Specific host definitions for all targets
    CONFIG.UnixCommon.Common    Definitions for Unix hosts and all targets
    CONFIG.Common.UnixCommon    Definitions for Unix targets and all hosts
    CONFIG.Common.vxWorksCommon Specific host definitions for all vx targets
    CONFIG_COMPAT               R3.13 arch compatibility definitions
    CONFIG_SITE.<host>.<target> Site specific host-target definitions
    CONFIG_SITE.Common.<target> Site specific target defs for all hosts
    CONFIG_SITE.<host>.Common   Site specific host defs for all targets
  • base/configure/tools directory - contains Perl scripts used for the build

  •       Performs consistancy checks on RELEASE files                   This Perl script copies an existing file             Remove all .#* files in directory tree             Converts text file from DOS CR/LF to unix ISO       Filters warning messages during HP builds         Returns fullpath name of directory arg         Installs built files into install directories       Creates *Include.dbd file from filename args files         Creates a Makefile in O.<arch> dirs  Creates file to be included by Makefile                Creates a directory (like Unix mkdir)                 Generates dependencies from include stmnts                Creates a ctdt.c file for vxWorks targets                   Renames an existing file.           Changes CapFast VAR(xxx) to $(xxx) notation                   Quietly removes an existing file

    Building EPICS base (Unix and Win32)

    Unpack file
    Unzip and untar the distribution file. Use WinZip on Windows systems.
    Set environment variables
    Files in the base/startup directory have been provided to help set required path and other environment variables .

    Before you can build or use EPICS R3.14, the environment variable EPICS_HOST_ARCH must be defined. A perl script in the base/startup directory has been provided to help set EPICS_HOST_ARCH. You should have EPICS_HOST_ARCH set to your host operating system followed by a dash and then your host architecture, e.g. solaris-sparc. If you are not using the OS vendor's c/c++ compiler for host builds, you will need another dash followed by the alternate compiler name (e.g. "-gnu" for GNU c/c++ compilers on a solaris host or "-borland" for Borland c/c++ compilers on a WIN32 host). See configure/CONFIG_SITE for a list of supported EPICS_HOST_ARCH values.

    On WIN32, some versions of Perl require that the environment variable PERLLIB be set to <perl directory location>.

    As already mentioned, you must have the perl executable and you may need C and C++ compilers in your search path. For building base you also must have echo in your search path. For Unix host builds you also need ln, cpp, cp, rm, mv, and mkdir in your search path and /bin/chmod must exist. On some Unix systems you may also need ar and ranlib in your path, and the c compiler may require as and ld in your path. On solaris systems you need uname in your path.

    It is no longer necessary to have LD_LIBRARY_PATH include EPICS directories on a Unix type system. R3.14 shared libraries and executables will contain the full path name to libraries they require. However, if you move the EPICS directories from their build-time location then in order for libraries to be found at runtime LD_LIBRARY_PATH must include the full pathname to $(INSTALL_LOCATION)/lib/$(EPICS_HOST_ARCH) when invoking executables. Building shared libraries is now the default setting for all Unix type hosts. NOTE: You will still need LD_LIBRARY_PATH for R3.13 extension shared libraries even if the R3.13 extensions are built with R3.14 base.

    Win32 PATH
    On WIN32 systems, for R3.14.7 and later, it is no longer necessary to add fullpathname to $(INSTALL_LOCATION)/bin/$(EPICS_HOST_ARCH) to your path for finding dlls during EPICS builds. The win32 configure files in base now add this directory to the path definition.

    Do site-specific build configuration
    Site configuration
    To configure EPICS, you may want to modify the default definitions in the following files:
    configure/CONFIG_SITE     Build choices. Specify target archs. configure/CONFIG_SITE_ENV Environment variable defaults configure/RELEASE          TORNADO 2 full path location
    Host configuration
    To configure each host system, you may override the default definitions by adding a new file in the configure/os directory with override definitions. The new file should have the same name as the distribution file to be overridden except with CONFIG in the name changed to CONFIG_SITE.
    configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.<host>        Host build settings
    configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.Common        Host cross build settings
    Target configuration
    To configure each target system, you may override the default definitions by adding a new file in the configure/os directory with override definitions. The new file should have the same name as the distribution file to be overridden except with CONFIG in the name replaced by CONFIG_SITE.
    configure/os/CONFIG.Common.<target>   Target cross settings
    configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.<target>  Host-target settings
    R3.13 compatibility configuration
    To configure EPICS base for building with R3.13 extensions and ioc applications , you must modify the default definitions in the base/config/CONFIG_SITE* files to agree with definitions you made in base/configure and base/configure/os files.

    Build EPICS base

    After configuring the build you should be able to build EPICS base by issuing the following commands in the distribution's root directory (base)
    gnumake clean uninstall
    The command "gnumake clean uninstall" will remove all files and directories generated by a previous build. The command "gnumake" will build and install everything for the configured host and targets.
    It is recommended that you do a "gnumake clean uninstall" at the root directory of an EPICS directory structure before each complete rebuild to ensure that all components will be rebuilt.

    Multiple host platforms

    You can build using a single EPICS directory structure on multiple host systems and for multiple cross target systems. The intermediate and binary files generated by the build will be created in separate subdirectories and installed into the appropriate separate host/target install directories. EPICS executables and perl scripts are installed into the $(INSTALL_LOCATION)/bin/<arch> directories. Libraries are installed into $(INSTALL_LOCATION)/lib/<arch>. The default definition for $(INSTALL_LOCATION) is $(TOP) which is the root directory in the distribution directory structure, base. Created object files are stored in O.<arch> source subdirectories, This allows objects for multiple cross target architectures to be maintained at the same time. To build EPICS base for a specific host/target combination you must have the proper host/target c/c++ cross compiler and target header files and the base/configure/os directory must have the appropriate configure files.

    Example application and extension

    A perl tool, is included in the distribution file. This script will create a sample application that can be built and then executed to try out this release of base. Also, a perl script,, is included in the distribution file. This script will create a sample extension that can be built and executed. The and scripts are installed into the install location bin/<hostarch> directory during the base build.
    Instructions for building and executing the 3.14 example application can be found in the section "Example Application" of Chapter 2, "Getting Started", in the "IOC Application Developer's Guide" for this release. The "Example IOC Application" section briefly explains how to create and build an example application in a user created <top> directory. It also explains how to run the example application on a vxWorks ioc or a host system and run an example channel access client on the host system.