C and C++ Compiler (see below for recommended compilers)

CMake (

Qt 4.5 or higher (

OPTIONAL (recommended):

Python -- installers are located in win32 folder

GNU Octave (optional) -- download the installer from


IF you want to automatically create the Windows installer and/or upload the installer to Sourceforce (developers),

then you will also need to install Inno Setup and WinSCP. You will also need to specify the location of

these executables in the CMake GUI (details given in step 12 below)


Several libraries have been moved from /urs/lib to  /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu or /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu (for 32-bit and 64-bit, respectively). If you get link errors, try copying them into /usr/lib. Some of these libraries include libSM, libz, libICE, libX11. However, the latest CMake should include these directories in the list of link directories.


XCode on Mac

MinGW in Windows

GCC in Linux


1. Install the following libraries or packages: python, subversion, octave (optional)

In Linux, just use apt-get install libx11-dev python-dev subversion octave octave-headers

In Linux, you might also need to install libssl-dev because some versions do not have it by default

In some Linux distros, octave-headers has been replaced with liboctave-dev

2. Install cmake, available from

In Linux, use apt-get install cmake cmake-qt-gui

3. Install Qt (4.5 or above)

In Linux, use apt-get install libqt4-core libqt4-gui libqt4-xml libqt4-opengl qt4-dev-tools

In Windows and Mac, download the QtSDK installer and just follow the normal installation process

On all other platforms, do the following:

3a. download and install Qt 4.5.0 (or later) from

3b. extract the Qt compressed file and inside the folder, run the following command:

3c. ./configure -debug-and-release -no-accessibility -no-sql-db2 -no-sql-ibase -no-sql-mysql -no-sql-oci -no-sql-odbc -no-sql-psql -no-sql-sqlite -no-sql-sqlite2 -no-sql-tds -no-mmx -no-3dnow -no-sse -no-sse2 -qt-zlib -qt-gif -qt-libtiff -qt-libpng -qt-libmng -qt-libjpeg -no-openssl -no-qdbus -opengl -no-sm -no-xshape -no-xinerama -no-xcursor -no-xfixes -no-xrandr -no-xrender -no-fontconfig -no-xkb

3d. make (this will take time)

3e. make install (this will also take time)

4. Run cmake-gui (in Windows, double click on the CMake icon on the desktop)

5. In the CMake window,

set tinkercell/trunk folder for the source folder

set tinkercell/trunk/BUILD as the binary folder

change the "Simple View" to "Grouped View" (located next to the search box)

6. Inside the cmake-gui, click the "Configure" button.

When you run this for the first time, you will be asked to select a compiler of your choice.

Suggested compilers: GCC for Linux and Mac (aka. Unix default), MinGW for Windows

7. (optional) This step only applies if you want enable Octave, Python, or Ruby.

This will help you identify whether or not all the directories or libraries that are needed were found.

If you want embedded Python and Octave, enable them under the EMBED group.

In the PYTHON group, check that the libraries and include directories are found.

If they are not found, you will have to set them. Do that same for the OCTAVE group.

Octave headers are problematic in Windows; see the "win32 problems" section near the end of this document

8. (optional) Select one of the TinkerCell lite versions from the TINKERCELL group if you are interested in a different variant of Tinkercell

9. If the "Generate" button is disabled, click the "Configure" button again

10. After Configure is done, click the "Generate" button.

This will create the makefile or the project file, depending on the compiler you selected in step 7.

Pay attention to the messages in red in the CMake window (not all of them are errors)

THE REST OF THE STEPS DEPEND ON YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM. Follow steps in one of the sections below

--------------------- Linux ------------------------------------

12. Be sure that CPACK_TGZ is selected in the CMake gui

13. Go to BUILD/

14. Run "make package"

15. Run BUILD/_CPack_Packages/Linux/TGZ/

--------------------- Max ------------------------------------

12. Run BUILD/bin/

The program will be visible on the desktop

--------------------- Windows ------------------------------------

If you want to create an installer, then pick option 12(a). If you just want to run TinkerCell, select option 12(b)

12(a). If you want to create the TinkerCell installation file using Inno setup, be sure that the check the TINKERCELL_INSTALLER checkbox in the TINKERCELL group located in the CMake GUI window

In the CMake window, under CPack, check CPACK_BINARY_ZIP and uncheck all the other options (unless you are planning to build TinkerCell a different way).

If you want to upload the installer to Sourceforge automatically, check the TINKERCELL_INSTALLER_UPLOAD

You must also have Python installed, because a Python script is used to generate the Inno setup file.

Run BUILD/win32/CreateInstaller.bat

12(b). Go to the BUILD folder are run "mingw32-make package"

Run TinkerCell executable located inside /BUILD/_CPack_Packages/.../TinkerCell

--------------------- Other operating systems ------------------------------------

12. Go to BUILD/

13. Run "make package"

14. Go to _CPack_Packages folder and find the TinkerCell subfolder.

Create the following script and save it as "run_tinkercell"


export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=<tinkercell folder>:<tinkercell folder>/plugins:<octave libraries folder>:<python libraries folder>

<tinkercell folder>/TinkerCell

15. Run run_tinkercell


Problem: CMake is not able to find MinGW.

Solution: Look for a field in the CMake GUI called CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER.

Set the compiler manually by locating the mingw32-make.exe.

Click "configure" again.

Problem: CMake is not able to find qmake.

Solution: Look for a field in the CMake GUI called QT_QMAKE_EXECUTABLE.

Set the compiler manually by locating the qmake.exe.

Click "configure" again.

Problem: compile issues due to octave header files

Solution: open the config.h find in the Octave include folder and comment

the #define HAVE_HDF5 and HAVE_REGEX lines (unless you have these packages

installed, which is not included with MinGW).

Problem: Visual Studio is giving link errors

Solution: TinkerCellCore should build find with VisualStudio, but the TinkerCell app itself will cause trouble. I don’t why - let me know if you find a solution!


Main: the main executable and qss style file

icons: all icons used inside the Core library. The qrc file in Core is generated using the perl script in icons/

Core = TinkerCellCore library

Core/plots = plotting classes in the Core library

Core/plugins = some basic plugins such as alignment tools and slider windows

Core/fileIO = classes for reading and writing TinkerCell files (generic)

Core/interpreters = classes for embedding Python or Octave inside TinkerCell

Core/coding = classes that use the Core/interpreters to enable C, Python, and Octave within TinkerCell and provide a nice coding window

python = contains C code for embedding python (required by Python interpreter in Core library)

             also contains all the python scripts used in the final program (not as important)

octave = contains C++ code for embedding Octave (required by Octave interpreter in Core library)

             also contains all the octave scripts used in the final program (not as important)

plugins folders:


BasicTools = inserting, selecting, appearance dialog, etc.

NodesTree = nodes and connections catalog files and supporting classes

GeneticNetwork = classes that are specific for genetic networks and aligning parts (linear or circular)

ImportExportTools = classes that import or export TinkerCell models (SBML, Copasi, Antimony, plain English, Matlab)

OtherTools = classes which don't belong to any other category

NodeGraphics = graphics drawing program used to generate everything in Graphics

Graphics = folder containing all graphical files used in TinkerCell