CMake 3.2 Release Notes

Changes made since CMake 3.1 include the following.

New Features


  • CMake learned to support unicode characters encoded as UTF-8 on Windows. This was already supported on platforms whose system APIs accept UTF-8 encoded strings. Unicode characters may now be used in CMake code, paths to source files, configured files such as files, and other files read and written by CMake. Note that because CMake interoperates with many other tools, there may still be some limitations when using certain unicode characters.


  • The add_custom_command() and add_custom_target() commands learned a new BYPRODUCTS option to specify files produced as side effects of the custom commands. These are not outputs because they do not always have to be newer than inputs.
  • The add_custom_command() and add_custom_target() commands learned a new USES_TERMINAL option to request that the command be given direct access to the terminal if possible. The Ninja generator will places such commands in the console pool. Build targets provided by CMake that are meant for individual interactive use, such as install, are now placed in this pool.
  • A new continue() command was added that can be called inside loop contexts to end the current iteration and start the next one at the top of the loop block.
  • The file(LOCK) subcommand was created to allow CMake processes to synchronize through file and directory locks.
  • The file(STRINGS) now supports UTF-16LE, UTF-16BE, UTF-32LE, UTF-32BE as ENCODING options.
  • The install(EXPORT) command now works with an absolute DESTINATION even if targets in the export set are installed with a destination or usage requirements specified relative to the install prefix. The value of the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX variable is hard-coded into the installed export file as the base for relative references.
  • The try_compile() command source file signature now honors link flags (e.g. CMAKE_EXE_LINKER_FLAGS) in the generated test project. See policy CMP0056.
  • The try_run() command learned to honor the LINK_LIBRARIES option just as try_compile() already does.
  • The file(GENERATE) command now generates the output file with the same permissions as the input file if set.
  • The file(GENERATE) command can now generate files which are used as source files for buildsystem targets. Generated files automatically get their GENERATED property set to TRUE.


  • The CMAKE_MATCH_COUNT variable was introduced to record the number of matches made in the last regular expression matched in an if() command or a string() command.


  • An ANDROID_API_MIN target property was introduced to specify the minimum version to be targeted by the toolchain.
  • A VS_SHADER_FLAGS source file property was added to specify additional shader flags to .hlsl files, for the Visual Studio generators.


  • The ExternalData module learned to support Custom Fetch Scripts. This allows projects to specify custom .cmake scripts for fetching data objects during the build.
  • The ExternalProject module learned options to create independent external project step targets that do not depend on the builtin steps.
  • The ExternalProject module ExternalProject_Add() command learned a new CMAKE_CACHE_DEFAULT_ARGS option to initialize cache values in the external project without setting them on future builds.
  • The ExternalProject module ExternalProject_Add() command learned a new TEST_EXCLUDE_FROM_MAIN option to exclude tests from the main build.
  • The ExternalProject module ExternalProject_Add() command learned a new UPDATE_DISCONNECTED option to avoid automatically updating the source tree checkout from version control.
  • The FindCUDA module learned about the cusolver library in CUDA 7.0.
  • The FindGit module learned to find the git command-line tool that comes with GitHub for Windows installed in user home directories.
  • A FindGSL module was introduced to find the GNU Scientific Library.
  • A FindIntl module was introduced to find the Gettext libintl library.
  • The FindLATEX module learned to support components.
  • The FindMPI module learned to find MS-MPI on Windows.
  • The FindOpenSSL module now reports crypto and ssl libraries separately in OPENSSL_CRYPTO_LIBRARY and OPENSSL_SSL_LIBRARY, respectively, to allow applications to link to one without the other.
  • The WriteCompilerDetectionHeader module learned to create a define for portability of the cxx_thread_local feature. The define expands to either the C++11 thread_local keyword, or a pre-standardization compiler-specific equivalent, as appropriate.
  • The WriteCompilerDetectionHeader module learned to create multiple output files per compiler and per language, instead of creating one large file.




  • The cmake(1) -E tar command now supports creating .xz-compressed archives with the J flag.
  • The cmake(1) -E tar command learned a new --files-from=<file> option to specify file names using lines in a file to overcome command-line length limits.
  • The cmake(1) -E tar command learned a new --mtime=<date> option to specify the modification time recorded in tarball entries.
  • The Compile Features functionality is now aware of features supported by more compilers, including:
    • Apple Clang (AppleClang) for Xcode versions 4.4 though 6.1.
    • GNU compiler versions 4.4 through 5.0 on UNIX and Apple (GNU).
    • Microsoft Visual Studio (MSVC) for versions 2010 through 2015.
    • Oracle SolarisStudio (SunPro) version 12.4.
  • The AUTORCC feature now tracks files listed in .qrc files as dependencies. If an input file to the rcc tool is changed, the tool is automatically re-run.

New Diagnostics

  • The break() command now rejects calls outside of a loop context or that pass arguments to the command. See policy CMP0055.

Deprecated and Removed Features

  • Files written in the cmake-language(7), such as CMakeLists.txt or *.cmake files, are now expected to be encoded as UTF-8. If files are already ASCII, they will be compatible. If files were in a different encoding, including Latin 1, they will need to be converted.
  • The FindOpenGL module no longer explicitly searches for any dependency on X11 libraries with the FindX11 module. Such dependencies should not need to be explicit. Applications using X11 APIs themselves should find and link to X11 libraries explicitly.
  • The implementation of CMake now relies on some C++ compiler features which are not supported by some older compilers. As a result, those old compilers can no longer be used to build CMake itself. CMake continues to be able to generate Makefiles and project files for users of those old compilers however. Compilers known to no longer be capable of building CMake are:
    • Visual Studio 6 and 7.0 – superseded by VisualStudio 7.1 and newer.
    • GCC 2.95 – superseded by GCC 3 and newer compilers.
    • Borland compilers – superseded by other Windows compilers.
    • Compaq compilers – superseded by other compilers.
    • SGI compilers – IRIX was dropped as a host platform.

Other Changes

  • On Windows and OS X, commands supporting network communication via https, such as file(DOWNLOAD), file(UPLOAD), and ctest_submit(), now support SSL/TLS even when CMake is not built against OpenSSL. The Windows or OS X native SSL/TLS implementation is used by default. OS-configured certificate authorities will be trusted automatically.

    On other platforms, when CMake is built with OpenSSL, these commands now search for OS-configured certificate authorities in a few /etc paths to be trusted automatically.

  • On OS X with Makefile and Ninja generators, when a compiler is found in /usr/bin it is now mapped to the corresponding compiler inside the Xcode application folder, if any. This allows such build trees to continue to work with their original compiler even when xcode-select switches to a different Xcode installation.

  • The Visual Studio generators now write solution and project files in UTF-8 instead of Windows-1252. Windows-1252 supported Latin 1 languages such as those found in North and South America and Western Europe. With UTF-8, additional languages are now supported.

  • The Xcode generator no longer requires a value for the CMAKE_MAKE_PROGRAM variable to be located up front. It now locates xcodebuild when needed at build time.

  • When building CMake itself using SolarisStudio 12, the default libCStd standard library is not sufficient to build CMake. The SolarisStudio distribution supports compiler options to use STLPort4 or libstdc++. An appropriate option to select the standard library is now added automatically when building CMake with SolarisStudio compilers.