Installing the WFDB Software Package

George B. Moody

Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

This appendix briefly describes how to install the WFDB Software Package on a new system. The package includes C-language sources for the WFDB library and for most of the applications described in this manual, sources for this manual, the WFDB Programmer's Guide, and the WAVE User's Guide, and a one-minute sample record (100s).

The latest version of the package can always be downloaded in source form from, the WFDB home page on PhysioNet. Binaries for popular operating systems and development snapshots are also usually available there.

The process for installing the package is the same on all platforms, and is documented in detail in the quick-start guides for the popular platforms that can be found on the WFDB home page. In brief:

  1. Install any prerequisites needed for your platform. These include gcc (the GNU Compiler Collection), related software development tools such as make, a supported HTTP client library (either libcurl or libwww; this can be omitted if NETFILES support is not desired), the XView libraries (needed for WAVE only), and X11 (needed by XView). All of these components are free (open-source) software available for all popular platforms, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, MS Windows, and Unix. The quick start guides list recommended packages and where to find them.

  2. Download and unpack the WFDB Software Package. Versions for all platforms are built from a single package of portable sources; the most recent package is always available at

  3. Configure the package for your system. The configure script creates a customized building procedure for your system and allows you a few choices about where to install the package.

  4. Make and verify a test build. The package includes a set of test scripts that are run to verify basic operations of the WFDB library and many of the applications, permitting them to be tested before installation.

  5. Make, install, and test a final build.

See the quick start guide for your platform for detailed step-by-step instructions.

Important: Although you may be able to compile the WFDB Software Package using a proprietary compiler, this is not supported.

Up: WFDB Applications Guide

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Updated 8 March 2019