Getting the source code

You have two ways of getting the most recent source code:

Using darcs

This is the recommended way of installing Basilisk.

This is useful if you want to modify the code (because everything is version-controlled) and also if you want to maintain your version up-to-date.

On a Debian-like system (i.e. Debian, Ubuntu etc…) installing darcs is as easy as

sudo apt-get install darcs flex make

To get the latest Basilisk source code do

darcs get

If later you want to update the source code, you just need to do

cd basilisk
darcs pull

and recompile using

make clean

Note that the Basilisk View installation may also need separate recompilation.

Using a tarball

If for some reason you can’t use darcs, you can use this instead. You will get exactly the same version as with darcs, but the code will not be version-controlled.

tar xzf basilisk.tar.gz

If you don’t have wget, just follow the link, save the file or extract the archive where you want to install it.


For compilation, the only requirement is a C99-compliant compiler and the make utility (a version of make compatible with GNU make is recommended but not essential).

If you are using gcc on a UNIX-like system, this should work:

cd basilisk/src
export PATH=$PATH:$PWD
ln -s config.gcc config
make -k

Note that on 32-bits systems you need to use config.gcc.32bits instead.

If you are using another system/compiler (for example Mac OSX), find a config file which looks close to yours, then try

cd basilisk/src
ls config.*
cp config.[your pick] config

You can also edit this file to customise things for your system (please also consider sharing your new config file).

To avoid having to re-type the two export commands above everytime you login, you should also add them to your $HOME/.bashrc file. You can either edit $HOME/.bashrc manually or do

cd basilisk/src
echo "export BASILISK=$PWD" >> ~/.bashrc
echo "export PATH=\$PATH:$BASILISK" >> ~/.bashrc

Useful additional packages

  • gnuplot (> 4.2)
  • imagemagick
  • libav-tools
  • smpeg-plaympeg
  • graphviz
  • valgrind
  • gifsicle

and also gprof2dot. On a Debian-like system (i.e. Debian, Ubuntu, Mint etc…) you just need to do

sudo apt-get install gnuplot imagemagick libav-tools smpeg-plaympeg graphviz valgrind gifsicle


Online visualisation with Basilisk View requires a separate installation.

Offline (interactive) visualisation requires the installation of the Basilisk View servers.

Using Basilisk with python

You will need SWIG which can easily be installed with

sudo apt-get install swig

You also need to setup the MDFLAGS and PYTHONINCLUDE variables in your config file.

Getting started

The best place to start is the tutorial.