Installation Instructions

EPICS Base Release 3.15.*

Table of Contents

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 LICENSE file included in the distribution for legal terms of usage.

Supported platforms

The list of platforms supported by this version of EPICS base is given in the configure/CONFIG_SITE file. If you are trying to build EPICS Base on an unlisted host or for a different target machine you must have 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.

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 work for all cross-compiled targets. You may need the C and C++ compilers to be in your search path to do EPICS builds; check the definitions of CC and CCC in base/configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.<host> if you have problems.

Software requirements

GNU make
You must use GNU make, gnumake, for any EPICS builds. Set your path so that a gnumake version 3.81 or later is available.

You must have Perl version 5.8.1 or later installed. The EPICS configuration files do not specify the perl full pathname, so the perl executable must be found through your normal search path.

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

Target systems
EPICS supports IOCs running on embedded platforms such as VxWorks and RTEMS built using a cross-compiler, and also supports soft IOCs running as processes on the host platform.

You must have vxWorks 5.5.x or 6.x installed if any of your target systems are vxWorks systems; the C++ compiler for vxWorks 5.4 is now too old to support. The vxWorks installation provides the cross-compiler and header files needed to build for these targets. The absolute path to and the version number of the vxWorks installation must be set in the base/configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.Common.vxWorksCommon file or in one of its target-specific overrides.

Consult the vxWorks 5.x or vxWorks 6.x EPICS web pages about and the vxWorks documentation for information about configuring your vxWorks operating system for use with EPICS.

For RTEMS targets, you need RTEMS core and toolset version 4.9.2 or later.

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 library is used instead.

Host system storage requirements

The GNU zipped tar file is approximately 1.5 MB in size. The unzipped untarred distribution source tree is approximately 9.0 MB. The build created files for each host take approximately 37 MB and the build created files for each cross target take approximately 15 MB.


EPICS documentation is available through the EPICS website at Argonne.

Release specific documenataion can also be found in the base/documentation directory of the distribution.

Directory Structure

Distribution directory structure:

        base                         Root directory of the base distribution
        base/configure               Operating system independent build config files
        base/configure/os            Operating system dependent build config files
        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/cap5                Channel Access client interface for Perl 5
        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 (camacDev, softDev, and testDev)
        base/src/excas               Example channel access server
        base/src/gdd                 General data descriptor
        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 API
        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/tools               Perl scripts used during the builds
        base/src/toolsComm           Code for the build tools antelope and e_flex
        base/src/util                Utilities (ca_test, iocLogServer, startCArepeater)
        base/startup                 Scripts for setting up path and environment

Install directories created by the build:

        bin                     Installed scripts and executables in subdirs
        cfg                     Installed build configuration files
        db                      Installed data bases
        dbd                     Installed data base definitions
        doc                     Installed documentation files
        html                    Installed html documentation
        include                 Installed header files
        include/os              Installed os specific header files in subdirs
        javalib                 Installed java class and jar files
        lib                     Installed libraries in arch subdirectories
        lib/perl                Installed perl modules
        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
        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
        RELEASE               Location of external products
        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_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/src/tools directory - contains Perl scripts used for the build

        Makefile                Makefile for installing the scripts into cfg dir       Performs consistancy checks on RELEASE files             Remove all .#* files in directory tree             Converts text file from DOS CR/LF to unix ISO           Tool to expand @VAR@ variables while copying a file         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         Generates a test harness $target.t file                 Generates dependencies from include stmnts                Creates a ctdt.c file for vxWorks targets           Changes CapFast VAR(xxx) to $(xxx) notation      Use MS VC++ version to set usage of Manifest Tool

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 R3.15, 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 "-mingw" for MinGW 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.

R3.15 shared libraries and executables normally contain the full path to any libraries they require. However, if you move the EPICS files or directories from their build-time location then in order for the shared libraries to be found at runtime LD_LIBRARY_PATH must include the full pathname to $(INSTALL_LOCATION)/lib/$(EPICS_HOST_ARCH) when invoking executables, or some equivalent OS-specific mechanism (such as /etc/ on Linux) must be used. Shared libraries are now built by default on all Unix type hosts.

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          TORNADO2 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 common 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. This step is necessary even if the host system is the only target system.
        configure/os/CONFIG.Common.<target>     Target common settings
        configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.<target>     Host-target settings

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.

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.

Instructions for building and executing the 3.15 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 as a process on the host system. By running the example application as a host-based IOC, you will be able to quickly implement a complete EPICS system and be able to run channel access clients on the host system.

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.

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.