Installation Instructions

EPICS Base Release 7.0.x

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 documentation/ file 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 the GNU version of make for EPICS builds. Set your path so that version 4.1 or later is available. The macOS version of make is older but does still work.


You must have Perl version 5.10.1 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 6.8 or later installed if any of your target systems are vxWorks systems; the C++ compiler from older versions cannot compile recently developed code. 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 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.x or 4.10.x. RTEMS 5 is experimental in EPICS 7.0.6.

Command Line Editing

GNU readline and other similar libraries can be used by the IOC shell to provide command line editing and command line history recall. The GNU readline development package (or Apple's emulator on macOS) must be installed for a target when its build configuration variable COMMANDLINE_LIBRARY is set to READLINE. The default specified in CONFIG_COMMON is EPICS, but most linux target builds can detect if readline is available and will then use it. RTEMS targets may be configured to use LIBTECLA if available, and on vxWorks the OS's ledLib line-editing library is normally used.

Host system storage requirements

The compressed tar file is approximately 3 MB in size. The distribution source tree takes up approximately 21 MB. A 64-bit host architecture may need around 610 MB to compile, while cross-compiled targets are somewhat smaller.


EPICS documentation is available through the EPICS website at Argonne.

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

Directory Structure

Distribution directory structure

    base                Root directory of the distribution
    base/configure      Build rules and OS-independent config files
    base/configure/os   OS-dependent build config files
    base/documentation  Distribution documentation
    base/src            Source code in various subdirectories
    base/startup        Scripts for setting up path and environment

Directories created by the build

These are created in the root directory of the installation (base above) or under the directory pointed to by the INSTALL_LOCATION configuration variable if that has been set.

    bin               Installed scripts and executables in subdirs
    cfg               Installed build configuration files
    db                Installed database files
    dbd               Installed database definition files
    html              Installed html documentation
    include           Installed header files
    include/os        Installed OS-specific header files in subdirs
    include/compiler  Installed compiler-specific header files
    lib               Installed libraries in arch subdirectories
    lib/perl          Installed perl modules
    templates         Installed templates

base/documentation Directory

This contains documents on how to setup, build, and install EPICS.           This file    Notes on release changes
    KnownProblems.html  List of known problems and workarounds

base/startup Directory

This contains several example scripts that show how to set up the build environment and PATH for using EPICS. Sites would usually copy and/or modify these files as appropriate for their environment; they are not used by the build system at all.

    EpicsHostArch  Shell script to set EPICS_HOST_ARCH env variable
    unix.csh       C shell script to set path and env variables        Bourne shell script to set path and env variables
    win32.bat      Bat file example to configure win32-x86 target
    windows.bat    Bat file example to configure windows-x64 target

base/configure directory

This contains build-system files providing definitions and rules required by GNU Make to build EPICS. Users should only need to modify the CONFIG_SITE files to configure the EPICS build.

    CONFIG               Main entry point for building EPICS
    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 definitions
    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_TOP            Rules specific to a <top> dir only
    Sample.Makefile      Sample makefile with comments

base/configure/os Directory

Files in here provide definitions that are shared by or specific to particular host and/or target architectures. Users should only need to modify the CONFIG_SITE files in this directory to configure the EPICS build.

    CONFIG.<host>.<target>            Definitions for a specific host-target combination
    CONFIG.Common.<target>            Definitions for a specific target, any host
    CONFIG.<host>.Common              Definitions for a specific host, any target
    CONFIG.UnixCommon.Common          Definitions for Unix hosts, any target
    CONFIG.Common.UnixCommon          Definitions for Unix targets, any host
    CONFIG.Common.RTEMS               Definitions for all RTEMS targets, any host
    CONFIG.Common.vxWorksCommon       Definitions for all vxWorks targets, any host
    CONFIG_SITE.<host>.<target>       Local settings for a specific host-target combination
    CONFIG_SITE.Common.<target>       Local settings for a specific target, any host
    CONFIG_SITE.<host>.Common         Local settings for a specific host, any target
    CONFIG_SITE.Common.RTEMS          Local settings for all RTEMS targets, any host
    CONFIG_SITE.Common.vxWorksCommon  Local settings for all vxWorks targets, any host

Building EPICS base

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.

Some host builds of EPICS require that the environment variable EPICS_HOST_ARCH be defined. The perl script in the base/startup directory prints the value which the build will use if the variable is not set before the build starts. Architecture names start with the operating system followed by a dash and the host CPU architecture, e.g. linux-x86_64. Some architecture names have another dash followed by another keyword, for example when building for Windows but using the MinGW compiler the name must be windows-x64-mingw. See configure/CONFIG_SITE for a list of supported host architecture names.

Site-specific build configuration

Site configuration

To configure EPICS, you may want to modify some values set in the following files:


    configure/CONFIG_SITE      Build settings. Specify target archs.
    configure/CONFIG_SITE_ENV  Environment variable defaults

Host configuration

To configure each host system, you can override the default definitions by adding a new settings file (or editing an existing settings file) in the configure/os directory with your override definitions. The settings file has the same name as the definitions file to be overridden except with CONFIG in the name changed to CONFIG_SITE.

    configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.<host>       Host self-build definitions
    configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.Common       Host common build definitions
    configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.<host>.<host>  Host self-build overrides
    configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.<host>.Common  Host common build overrides

Target configuration

To configure each target system, you may override the default definitions by adding a new settings file (or editing an existing settings file) in the configure/os directory with your override definitions. The settings file has the same name as the definitions file to be overridden except with CONFIG in the name changed to CONFIG_SITE.

    configure/os/CONFIG.Common.<target>       Target common definitions
    configure/os/CONFIG.<host>.<target>       Host-target definitions
    configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.Common.<target>  Target common overrides
    configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.<host>.<target>  Host-target overrides

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):

    make distclean

The command make distclean will remove all files and directories generated by a previous build. The command make will build and install everything for the configured host and targets.

It is recommended that you do a make distclean at the root directory of an EPICS directory structure before each complete rebuild to ensure that all components will be rebuilt.

In some cases GNU Make may have been installed as gmake or gnumake, in which case the above commands will have to be adjusted to match.

Example application and extension

A perl tool and several template applications are included in the distribution. This script instantiates the selected template into an empty directory to provide an example application that can be built and then executed to try out this release of base.

Instructions for building and executing the EPICS example application can be found in the section "Example Application" of Chapter 2, "Getting Started", in the "EPICS Application Developer's Guide". 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.

Another perl script is also included in the distribution file for creating an extensions tree and sample application that can also be built and executed. Both these 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. Intermediate object files are stored in O.<arch> source subdirectories during the build process, to allow 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.