Building CVC4 from source

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IMPORTANT: The following instructions only apply to CVC4 1.6 and older. For newer versions, refer to included with the source.

To compile CVC4 from a source package you must do the following:

  1. Install antlr
  2. Configure cvc4
  3. Compile cvc4
  4. Install cvc4 [optional]

To do so run the following commands in the CVC4 directory:

   cd contrib
   cd ..
   ./configure --with-antlr-dir=`pwd`/antlr-3.4 ANTLR=`pwd`/antlr-3.4/bin/antlr3
   make check   [recommended]
   make install [optional]

Below are more details instructions about the various dependencies and options.

Common make Options

  • "make install" will install into the "--prefix" option you gave to

the configure script (/usr/local by default).

   ./configure --prefix=~/install_targets/cvc4 ...
   make install
  • You should run "make check" before installation to ensure that CVC4 has been

built correctly. In particular, GCC version 4.5.1 seems to have a bug in the optimizer that results in incorrect behavior (and wrong results) in many builds. This is a known problem for Minisat, and since Minisat is at the core of CVC4, a problem for CVC4. "make check" easily detects this problem (by showing a number of FAILed test cases). It is ok if the unit tests aren't run as part of "make check", but all system tests and regression tests should pass without incident.

  • To build API documentation, use "make doc". Documentation is produced

under builds/doc/ but is not installed by "make install".

Examples and tutorials are not installed with "make install." See below.

For more information about the build system itself (probably not necessary for casual users), see the Appendix at the bottom of this file.

Common configure Options

  • --prefix=PREFIX install architecture-independent files in PREFIX (by default /usr/local)
  • --with-build={production,debug,default,competition}
  • --with-antlr-dir=PATH
  • --with-cln/--with-gmp selects the numbers package to use by default (#Optional requirements)
  • --enable-static-binary build a fully statically-linked binary. (This is recommended for Mac OS X users that want to be able to use gdb.)
  • ANTLR=PATH location of the antlr3 script
  • --with-boost=DIR installation location of the boost libraries (most users will not need this)

See ./configure --help for more.

Build dependencies

The following tools and libraries are required to run CVC4. Versions given are minimum versions; more recent versions should be compatible.

  • GNU C and C++ (gcc and g++), reasonably recent versions
  • GNU Make
  • GNU Bash
  • GMP v4.2 (GNU Multi-Precision arithmetic library)
  • libantlr3c v3.2 or v3.4 (ANTLR parser generator C support library)
  • The Boost C++ base libraries
  • MacPorts [highly recommended if on a Mac; see #MacPorts]

The hardest to obtain and install is the libantlr3c requirement, and is explained next.

If "make" is non-GNU on your system, make sure to invoke "gmake" (or whatever GNU Make is installed as). If your usual shell is not Bash, the configure script should auto-correct this. If it does not, you'll see strange shell syntax errors, and you may need to explicitly set SHELL or CONFIG_SHELL to the location of bash on your system.

Installing libantlr3c: ANTLR parser generator C support library

For libantlr3c, you can use the convenience script in contrib/get-antlr-3.4 in the source distribution---this will download, patch, compile and install libantlr3c into your cvc4 directory as cvc4/antlr-3.4/.

 cd contrib

CVC4 must be configured with the antlr library installation directory, --with-antlr-dir, and an antlr executable script file, ANTLR. If libantlr3c was installed via get-antlr-3.4, the following configure line should suffice for CVC44

 ./configure --with-antlr-dir=`pwd`/antlr-3.4 ANTLR=`pwd`/antlr-3.4/bin/antlr3

For 64 bit machines, libantlr3c needs to be configured with 64 bit explicitly

 ./configure --enable-64bit ...

The get-antlr-3.4 script makes a guess at whether the machine is 64 bit and adds the appropriate flag. To force the script to compile 32 bit:

 MACHINE_TYPE="x86" ./get-antlr-3.4

To force the script to compile 64 bit:

 MACHINE_TYPE="x86_64" ./get-antlr-3.4

For a longer discussion, instructions for manual installation, and more in depth troubleshooting, see Developer's Guide#ANTLR3.


On a Mac, it is highly recommended that you use MacPorts (see Doing so is easy. Then, simply run the script contrib/mac-build, which installs a few ports from the MacPorts repository, then compiles and installs antlr3c using the get-antlr-3.4 script. The mac-build script should set you up with all requirements, and will tell you how to configure CVC4 when it completes successfully.

Installing the Boost C++ base libraries

A Boost package is available on most Linux distributions; check yours for a package named something like libboost-dev or boost-devel. There are a number of additional Boost packages in some distributions, but this "basic" one should be sufficient for building CVC4.

Should you want to install Boost manually, or to learn more about the Boost project, please visit

Building on FreeBSD

CVC4's build process currently makes extensive use of bash, sed, and other common *nix tools. It has recently come to our attention by Kostas Oikonomou that some of these are problematic outside of the GNU toolkit. Users of systems that do not assume GNU implementation like FreeBSD may experience issues building CVC4. Until we have a more permanent solution, here are Kostas Oikonomou's notes on how to modify CVC4's source to get it to compile on such systems:

   0. export CONFIG_SHELL=/usr/local/bin/bash
      Edit 'configure' to set # !/usr/local/bin/bash
   1. configure --prefix=/opt/cvc4 --enable-gpl --with-readline CC=clang CXX=clang++ LDFLAGS=-L/usr/local/lib CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/local/include
   2a. Edit src/mksubdirs, src/theory/{mkrewriter,mktheorytraits} to change
      !#/bin/bash to !#/usr/local/bin/bash
      Similarly for src/base/{mktags,mktagheaders}, src/expr/{mkexpr,mkkind,mkmetakind}.
   2b. src/options/mkoptions: same as above, plus all occurrences of expr -> gexpr.
   3. Edit src/main/util.cpp:
     stack_t ss;
     ss.ss_sp = (char *) malloc(SIGSTKSZ);
   4. make -j2
   5. Edit test/regress/run_regression to fix the bash business.
   6. make check
   7. sudo gmake install

Optional requirements

None of these is required, but can improve CVC4 as described below:

  • Optional: SWIG 2.0.x (Simplified Wrapper and Interface Generator)
  • Optional: CLN v1.3 or newer (Class Library for Numbers)
  • Optional: CUDD v2.4.2 or newer (Colorado University Decision Diagram package)
  • Optional: GNU Readline library (for an improved interactive experience)
  • Optional: The Boost C++ threading library (libboost_thread)
  • Optional: CxxTest unit testing framework

SWIG is necessary to build the Java API (and of course a JDK is necessary, too). SWIG 1.x won't work; you'll need 2.0, and the more recent the better. On Mac, we've seen SWIG segfault when generating CVC4 language bindings; version 2.0.8 or higher is recommended to avoid this. See Language bindings below for build instructions.

CLN is an alternative multiprecision arithmetic package that can offer better performance and memory footprint than GMP. CLN is covered by the GNU General Public License, version 3; so if you choose to use CVC4 with CLN support, you are licensing CVC4 under that same license. (Usually CVC4's license is more permissive than GPL is; see the file COPYING in the CVC4 source distribution for details.) Please visit for more details about CLN.

CUDD is a decision diagram package that changes the behavior of the CVC4 arithmetic solver in some cases; it may or may not improve the arithmetic solver's performance. See below for instructions on obtaining and building CUDD.

The GNU Readline library is optionally used to provide command editing, tab completion, and history functionality at the CVC prompt (when running in interactive mode). Check your distribution for a package named "libreadline-dev" or "readline-devel" or similar.

The Boost C++ threading library (often packaged independently of the Boost base library) is needed to run CVC4 in "portfolio" (multithreaded) mode. Check your distribution for a package named "libboost-thread-dev" or similar.

CxxTest is necessary to run CVC4's unit tests (included with the distribution). Running these is not really required for users of CVC4; "make check" will skip unit tests if CxxTest isn't available, and go on to run the extensive system- and regression-tests in the source tree. However, if you're interested, you can download CxxTest at .

Building with custom CLN installations (optional)

One option for compiling against a custom CLN installation is to provide the CLN_LIBS and CLN_CFLAGS arguments at configuration. Supposing you installed cln into CLN_DIR the following provides the necessary locations of the header and linking information.

   ./configure <other arguments> --with-cln CLN_LIBS="-L<CLN_DIR>/lib -lcln" \

Building with CUDD (optional)

CUDD, if desired, must be installed delicately. The CVC4 configure script attempts to auto-detect the locations and names of CUDD headers and libraries the way that the Fedora RPMs install them, the way that our NYU-provided Debian packages install them, and the way they exist when you download and build the CUDD sources directly. If you install from Fedora RPMs or our Debian packages, the process should be completely automatic, since the libraries and headers are installed in a standard location. If you download the sources yourself, you need to build them in a special way. Fortunately, the "contrib/" script in the CVC4 source tree does exactly what you need: it patches the CUDD makefiles to use libtool, builds the libtool libraries, then reverses the patch to leave the makefiles as they were. Once you run this script on an unpacked CUDD 2.4.2 source distribution, then CVC4's configure script should pick up the libraries if you provide --with-cudd-dir=/PATH/TO/CUDD/SOURCES.

If you want to force linking to CUDD, provide --with-cudd to the configure script; this makes it a hard requirement rather than an optional add-on.

The NYU-provided Debian packaging of CUDD 2.4.2 and CUDD 2.5.0 are here (along with the CVC4 Debian packages):

 deb unstable/

On Debian (and Debian-derived distributions like Ubuntu), you only need to drop that one line in your /etc/apt/sources.list file, then install with your favorite package manager.

The Debian source package "cudd", available from the same repository, includes a diff of all changes made to cudd makefiles.

Language bindings

There are several options available for using CVC4 from the API.

First, CVC4 offers a complete and flexible API for manipulating expressions, maintaining a stack of assertions, and checking satisfiability, and related things. The C++ libraries ( and and required headers are installed normally via a "make install". This API is also available from Java (via CVC4.jar and by configuring with --enable-language-bindings=java. You'll also need SWIG 2.0 installed (and you might need to help configure find it if you installed it in a nonstandard place with --with-swig-dir=/path/to/swig/installation). You may also need to give the configure script the path to your Java headers (in particular, jni.h). You might do so with (for example):

 ./configure --enable-language-bindings=java \

There is also a "C++ compatibility API" (#include <cvc4/cvc3_compat.h> and link against that attempts to maintain source-level backwards-compatibility with the CVC3 C++ API. The compatibility library is built by default, and --enable-language-bindings=java enables the Java compatibility library (CVC4compat.jar and --enable-language-bindings=c enables the C compatibility library (#include <cvc4/bindings/compat/c/c_interface.h> and link against, and if you want both C and Java bindings, use --enable-language-bindings=c,java. These compatibility language bindings do NOT require SWIG.

The examples/ directory in the source distribution includes some basic examples (the "simple vc" and "simple vc compat" family of examples) of all these interfaces.

In principle, since we use SWIG to generate the native Java API, we could support other languages as well. However, using CVC4 from other languages is not supported, nor expected to work, at this time. If you're interested in helping to develop, maintain, and test a language binding, please contact us via the users' mailing list at

Building CVC4 from a repository checkout

The following tools and libraries are additionally required to build CVC4 from from a repository checkout rather than from a prepared source tarball.

  • Automake v1.11
  • Autoconf v2.61
  • Libtool v2.2
  • ANTLR3 v3.2 or v3.4
  • Java Development Kit (required for ANTLR3)

First, use "./" to create the configure script. Then proceed as normal for any distribution tarball. The parsers are pre-generated for the tarballs, but don't exist in the repository; hence the extra ANTLR3 and JDK requirements to generate the source code for the parsers, when building from the repository.

Examples and tutorials are not built or installed

Examples are not built by "make" or "make install". See examples/README in the source distribution for information on what to find in the examples/ directory, as well as information about building and installing them.

Appendix: Build architecture

The build system is generated by automake, libtool, and autoconf. It is somewhat nonstandard, though, which (for one thing) requires that GNU Make be used. If you ./configure in the top-level source directory, the objects will actually all appear in builds/${arch}/${build_id}. This is to allow multiple, separate builds in the same place (e.g., an assertions-enabled debugging build alongside a production build), without changing directories at the shell. The "current" build is maintained, and you can still use (e.g.) "make -C src/main" to rebuild objects in just one subdirectory.

You can also create your own build directory inside or outside of the source tree and configure from there. All objects will then be built in that directory, and you'll ultimately find the "cvc4" binary in src/main/, and the libraries under src/ and src/parser/.