Building OVITO on Linux

The following instructions have been written for Ubuntu Linux 20.04 and compatible Debian-based distributions. Other Linux distributions may require slightly different build steps.

Installing dependencies

First, install the required build tools and third-party libraries:

Linux distribution


Ubuntu / Debian

sudo apt-get install build-essential git cmake-curses-gui qt5-default libqt5svg5-dev \
      libboost-dev libavcodec-dev libavdevice-dev libavfilter-dev libavformat-dev \
      libavresample-dev libavutil-dev libswscale-dev libnetcdf-dev libhdf5-dev \
      libhdf5-serial-dev libssh-dev python3-sphinx python3-sphinx-rtd-theme


sudo zypper install git cmake gcc-c++ libQt5Concurrent-devel libQt5Core-devel libQt5Gui-devel \
       libQt5Network-devel libQt5DBus-devel libQt5OpenGL-devel libQt5PrintSupport-devel \
       libQt5Widgets-devel libQt5Xml-devel libQt5Svg-devel libavutil-devel libavresample-devel \
       libavfilter-devel libavcodec-devel libavdevice-devel netcdf-devel libssh-devel \
       boost-devel hdf5-devel libswscale-devel


# Activate the RPMfusion repository providing the ffmpeg package (optional):
sudo dnf install \$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm \$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm

sudo dnf install git cmake g++ qt5-qtbase-devel qt5-qtsvg-devel boost-devel zlib-devel \
                 ffmpeg-devel netcdf-devel libssh-devel python3-sphinx python3-sphinx_rtd_theme


sudo yum install epel-release
sudo yum install git gcc gcc-c++ cmake qt5-qtbase-devel qt5-qtsvg-devel qt5-qttools-devel \
                     boost-devel netcdf-devel hdf5-devel libssh-devel

These packages allow building only a basic version of OVITO without video encoding support and documentation. In order to build a complete version, other dependencies must be installed manually.

Getting the source code

Download the source repository of OVITO into a new subdirectory named ovito/:

git clone

Compiling OVITO

Create a build directory and let CMake generate a Makefile:

cd ovito
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..

If this step fails, you can now run ccmake . to start up the CMake configuration program and adjust the build options as needed.

To build OVITO run:

make -j4

If this step is successful, the ovito executable can be found in the directory ovito/build/bin/. The command make documentation builds the HTML pages of the user manual (requires Sphinx Python package and Sphinx RTD theme).