file: INSTALL G. Moody 30 January 2000
Last revised: 19 May 2022
WFDB Software Package installation notes
These notes are infrequently updated, but are included here for those who may
not have ready access to the World Wide Web. For those who do, please visit
PhysioNet, where up-to-date quick-start guides including installation notes
for popular operating systems are available (find a guide for your platform at
Although ready-to-run binaries are available for several popular platforms,
we strongly recommend building the WFDB Software Package from sources. Doing
so is the best way to ensure that the components of the package will work
together properly on your system, and that your software is up-to-date. The
process of building the package is simple and quick.
The GNU C compiler (gcc) is available freely for all platforms, and it is
strongly recommended. We will help you to solve any problems you may encounter
in building the WFDB Software Package using gcc on your platform; our
experience has been that such builds are trouble-free if you follow the
instructions in our quick-start guides (see above).
Some users have reported success in compiling the WFDB Software Package, except
for WAVE, using various commercial compilers. We don't use or recommend these
compilers, and we offer no instructions or support for doing so whatsoever. If
you choose to use one of these unsupported compilers, you are on your own!
The following are required for a complete build. All are free, open-source
software available for all popular platforms:
* Software development tools (make, gcc, standard C header files, etc.)
* The libFLAC library (including *.h files)
* The libcurl library (including *.h files)
On Debian, Ubuntu, or similar operating systems, open a terminal and run the
sudo apt-get install gcc make libflac-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev
On Fedora, Red Hat, or similar operating systems, open a terminal and run the
sudo dnf install gcc make flac-devel libcurl-devel
On Mac OS X, install Homebrew (https://brew.sh/), and run the command:
brew install flac
On MS-Windows, install Cygwin (https://cygwin.com/), including (at least) the
following optional packages: diffutils, flac-devel, gcc, libcurl-devel, make.
(Other required packages will be installed automatically if those listed are
On other GNU/Linux or Unix-like operating systems, if these packages are not
included in your distribution's package manager, you may need to compile and
install them yourself:
Detailed instructions for obtaining and installing these prerequisites are
included in the WFDB quick-start guides for the popular platforms (see above).
Brief notes about other platforms are at the end of this file.
BUILDING AND INSTALLING
Once you have installed the necessary prerequisites, the WFDB installation
process is the same on all platforms:
1. Open a terminal emulator window and navigate to the top-level directory
of the WFDB sources (the directory that contains this file).
2. Configure the package by typing:
You will normally need root permissions (on MS-Windows, administrator
permissions) to run 'make install'. If you don't have root/administrator
permissions, use configure's --prefix option to specify a directory
in which you have permission to write, like this:
3. Build and install the WFDB library and applications by typing:
4. Test the installation by typing:
If there are any errors, look in the checkpkg directory for details.
Once you have successfully compiled and installed the WFDB Software Package,
you will find a great deal of information about using it on PhysioNet; begin
by looking in http://physionet.org/physiotools/manuals.shtml.
Many frequently asked questions about this software are answered in the
PhysioNet FAQ (http://physionet.org/faq.shtml).
If for any reason you wish to uninstall the WFDB Software Package, type:
from this directory. You will need root permissions to uninstall unless
you changed WFDBROOT before installing the package.
Under MS-DOS, MacOS 9 and earlier, or other operating systems
Sorry, but you are on your own here. Previous versions of the WFDB library
and some of the applications have been compiled successfully by MS-DOS and
Macintosh users (and on OS/2 and VMS, among other environments). The sources
are written in highly portable C and should not be difficult to port to any
environment where an ANSI/ISO or K&R C compiler and the standard C library are
Often vendors of proprietary compilers and operating systems provide little or
no documentation about how to build libraries (especially shared/dynamically
linked libraries), although there may be clear and simple instructions for
compiling C programs that use the vendor's own libraries only. If this
describes your situation, you may find it easiest to compile the WFDB library
sources as ordinary source files together with the programs that use the WFDB
library functions. This approach won't yield the benefits of reduced
compilation time and reduced executable size available on platforms that
support shared libraries, but it should allow you to compile and run the WFDB
software (except for WAVE) with a minimum of difficulty.
If you find that changes are necessary in order to compile this software
successfully on your platform, please send details to the author
(firstname.lastname@example.org) so that others can benefit from your experience.
Contributions of working binaries are welcome, but please write first before
sending them to me. Thanks!