BRL-CAD is a powerful open source cross-platform solid modeling system

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             Release 7.32.6

BRL-CAD is a powerful cross-platform open source combinatorial solid modeling system that includes an interactive 3D solid geometry editor, a network-distributed symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) high-performance ray-tracer with support for rendering and geometric analysis, image and signal-processing tools, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, a flexible geometry scripting interface, and a high-performance geometric representation and analysis library.


Introduction Table of Contents Getting Started Compile and Install Benchmark Communication Bug Reports/Feature Requests Distribution Details Background Information


This README file exists only to provide you a brief roadmap to the contents of the BRL-CAD distribution.

Some platforms have additional platform-specific documentation that should be consulted after reading this file:

doc/README.BSD -- FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, etc. doc/README.Linux -- Various Linux distributions doc/README.MacOSX -- Apple Mac OS X doc/README.Solaris -- Oracle Solaris, OpenIndiana (Illumos), etc. doc/README.VAX -- VAX (original benchmark baseline platform) doc/README.Windows -- Microsoft Windows

The information on how to install and operate the software, to become involved with the development of the package, or to run the benchmark performance test suite have each become sufficiently large that their details are covered in more detail in standalone documents. For more details on what BRL-CAD provides, see the documentation provided on the website at

Information relevant to those interested in the source code is contained in the HACKING and COPYING files. See doc/ file for benchmark suite information. There is a variety of other documentation and information also available in the doc/ directory.

Please note that this distribution package does not include the various military-specific model analysis tools such as MUVES, GIFT, SAR, SLAVE, VAST, etc., nor does it include any military geometry databases. If you desire to have access to this material, please contact one of the BRL-CAD developers.


In order to compile and install BRL-CAD from a source distribution, the CMake ( ) configuration tool is requird.

The following steps should result in a successful install:

tar -xvzf brlcad-VERSION.tar.gz mkdir brlcad-VERSION/build cd brlcad-VERSION/build cmake .. -DBRLCAD_ENABLE_STRICT=OFF -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release make -j4 make install

See the INSTALL file for explanation of the various configuration options available when building BRL-CAD.

Once the build completes and assuming you have proper filesystem permissions, you should be able to begin the installation by running the "make install" . By default, the package is configured to install entirely into /usr/brlcad/.

You will need to add /usr/brlcad/bin to your path (or whatever path the variable CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX was set to during configure) in order for the BRL-CAD binaries to be in your path.


After the build successfully completes, you will be able to verify basic functionality by running the BRL-CAD Benchmark. Running the benchmark suite is integrated into the build system such that any time after running CMake (in the cmake gui, configure and generate must both be performed) you may run:

make benchmark

If the build is successful, you will see "CORRECT" numbers and a performance summary at the end. The "vgr" line effectively shows you approximately how much faster your machine is to a VAX 11/780. After installing BRL-CAD, you may run the 'benchmark' tool as well to run the BRL-CAD Benchmark.

See the paper in doc/ for information on analyzing and comparing the results of the benchmark tests in more detail.


There are various BRL-CAD mailing lists available including three developer-oriented lists, a user list, and a read-only news announcement list:

For interactive discussion, there is Zulip chat and IRC available:


Please submit all bugs, support requests, and feature requests to:


BRL-CAD releases are available at:

Assets stored for each release will always include source archives, and usually binary compilations for commonly used operating systems.

For developers, BRL-CAD is available via Git version control cloning:


BRL-CAD is the primary tri-service solid modeling CAD system used by the U.S. military to model weapons systems for vulnerability and lethality analyses. The solid modeling system is frequently used in a wide range of military and industrial application including in the design and analysis of vehicles, mechanical parts, and architecture. The package has also been used in radiation dose planning, medical visualization, computer graphics education, CSG concepts and modeling education, and system performance benchmark testing among other purposes.

Actively developed since 1979, BRL-CAD is a collection of more than 400 tools, utilities, and applications comprising more than a million lines of source code. BRL-CAD supports a great variety of geometric representations including an extensive set of traditional CSG primitive implicit solids such as boxes, ellipsoids, cones, and tori, as well as explicit solids made from closed collections of Uniform B-Spline Surfaces, Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline (NURBS) surfaces, n-Manifold Geometry (NMG), and purely faceted mesh geometry. All geometric objects may be combined using boolean set-theoretic CSG operations including union, intersection, and difference.

BRL-CAD has been under active development for more than 20 years with a portability heritage that includes systems such as a DEC VAX-11/780 running 4.3 BSD; DECStations running ULTRIX; Silicon Graphics 3030, 4D "IRIS", O2, Onyx, and Origin systems running various versions of IRIX; Sun Microsystems Sun-3 and Sun-4 Sparcs running SunOS; the Cray 1, Cray X-MP, Cray Y-MP, and Cray 2 running UNICOS; DEC Alpha AXP running OSF/1; Apple Macintosh II running A/UX; iPSC/860 Hypercube running NX/2; the Alliant FX/8, FX/80, and FX/2800; Gould/Encore SEL PowerNode 6000/9000 and NP1; NeXT workstations; IBM RS/6000; HPPA 9000/700 running HPUX; Ardent/Stardent; Encore Multi-Max; and much much more. BRL-CAD's extensive portability of course also includes a plethora of common desktop and server versions of BSD, IRIX, Solaris, Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows.

The BRL-CAD package is intentionally designed to be extensively cross-platform and is actively developed on and maintained for many common operating system environments including various BSD distributions, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Windows. The entire package is distributed in binary and source code form as free open source software (FOSS), provided under Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved license terms. BRL-CAD was released as open source in December 2004. See the COPYING file for more details.

Best Wishes, The BRL-CAD Development Team

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