Install Vowpal Wabbit on CentOS machine

Vowpal Wabbit is a fast machine learning engine. Here are the steps to install Vowpal Wabbit on a CentOS machine. My machine is CentOS 6.5. Problem in some of the CentOS machines is that they have older versions of g++ while vowpal wabbit requires newer updated versions.

=>Step 1: Install cmake, libtool and git
#  yum install  git   cmake   libtool

=>Step 2: Install boost and boost-devel
# yum  -y  install boost
# yum  -y  install boost-devel

==> Step 3: Check g++ version. Should be 4.8+
$ g++  –version

If g++ version is not 4.8 then install devtools as follows:

First create repo file:

# gedit  /etc/yum.repos.d/DevToolset.repo

And write to this file the following five lines and save:

name=RedHat DevToolset v2 $releasever – $basearch

Next, download and install higher version of g++ :

# yum install devtoolset-2-gcc devtoolset-2-binutils devtoolset-2-gcc-c++

Your just installed g++ should be at: /opt/rh/devtoolset-2/root/usr/bin/g++. Rename your existing g++ file in /usr/bin/ folder to say /usr/bin/oldg++ . Then create a link at /usr/bin/ folder to just installed g++ file:

# ln  -s  /opt/rh/devtoolset-2/root/usr/bin/g++   /usr/bin/g++

=> Step 4: Download as follows vowpal wabbit from github to a localuser home folder (not necessarily root). A folder vowpal_wabbit will be created to contain all downloaded files.

$ git clone

=> Step 5: Install vowpal wabbit as:

$ cd  /home/localuser/vowpal_wabbit/
$ ./
$ ./configure
$ make
# make install      (as root)

This should finish installation of Vowpal Wabbit. If an error occurs and if any package is still to be installed that deficiency will be indicated by ./configure command above.

=> Step 6: Test your installation as:
$ vw   -h

This finishes installation of Vowpal Wabbit on CentOS machine. By and large installation is smooth. You can now rename just downloaded /usr/bin/g++ file and restore the earlier g++ file back in /usr/bin.

We have used Vowpal Wabbit in Click Through Rate prediction and in Handwritten digits recognition. See this blog and also this blog.


2 Responses to “Install Vowpal Wabbit on CentOS machine”

  1. cyinll Says:

    thx,very useful

  2. Jenna Kwon Says:

    I obtained a copy of a pre-compiled vw binary file, after countless hours of trying to install it on my RHEL machine and failing. If I just use this binary file, would there be a performance difference when using the library?

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