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How do I use CMake?

Posted by: admin November 30, 2017 Leave a comment


I am trying to use CMake in order to compile opencv.

I am reading the tutorial but can’t understand what is CMakeLists files and how is it connected to the gui of CMake?

Also couldn’t understand what are makefiles, are they the same is CMakeLists?

And which file is it which I in the end open with visual-studio?


CMake takes a CMakeList file, and outputs it to a platform-specific build format, e.g. a Makefile, Visual Studio, etc.

You run CMake on the CMakeList first. If you’re on Visual Studio, you can then load the output project/solution.


I don’t know about Windows (never used it), but on a Linux system you just have to create a build directory (in the top source directory)

mkdir build-dir

go inside it

cd build-dir

then run cmake and point to the parent directory

cmake ..

and finally run make


Notice that make and cmake are different programs. cmake is a Makefile generator, and the make utility is governed by a Makefile textual file. See cmake & make wikipedia pages.


Yes, cmake and make are different programs. cmake is a Makefile generator (and Makefile-s are the files driving the make utility). There are other Makefile generators (in particular configure and autoconf etc…).