Cloning the repository

Mitsuba depends on several external dependencies, and its repository directly refers to specific versions of them using a Git feature called submodules. Cloning Mitsuba’s repository will recursively fetch these dependencies, which are subsequently compiled using a single unified build system. This dramatically reduces the number steps needed to set up the renderer compared to previous versions of Mitsuba.

For all of this to work out properly, you will have to specify the --recursive flag when cloning the repository:

git clone --recursive

If you already cloned the repository and forgot to specify this flag, it’s possible to fix the repository in retrospect using the following command:

git submodule update --init --recursive

Staying up-to-date

Unfortunately, pulling from the main repository won’t automatically keep the submodules in sync, which can lead to various problems. The following command installs a git alias named pullall that automates these two steps.

git config --global alias.pullall '!f(){ git pull "$@" && git submodule update --init --recursive; }; f'

Afterwards, simply write

git pullall

to fetch the latest version of Mitsuba 2.