Compiling on Mac OS X

    March 9, 2006

There are a lot of pre-compiled binaries available for Mac OS X, but sooner or later you will need to compile something from source.

You’ll download some gzipped file, unpack it, cd into the directory, and a README will tell you to do “./configure;make && make install”

But it didn’t work, did it? That’s because Mac OS X doesn’t install make or cc or indeed any development tools at all by default.

Fortunately, this is easy to fix. Pop in your install DVD and you’ll see a folder called “Xcode Tools”. Click on that, install it, and you will now have make, cc and everything else you need to compile that little C code you downloaded.

However, Xcode gives you much more than that. The few little things you needed aren’t even the half of it. Xcode is actually a complete IDE (Integrated Develpment Environment) for Mac OS X. It’s really great stuff, and right after you get that compile done, I’me sure you will want to take a look at this. So you open up Applications and..

Huh? Nothing new here. What gives?

No, really, you did install all this stuff. It’s just not in Applications. You’ll find it under /Developer at the root of your hard drive. There’s a gig and a half of stuff there. You can find example projects and prebuilt utilities – it’s really a treasure trove of code. There’s a simple example of using some of this at Xcode for the Rest of Us. You’ll find a good overview at and a Google search for “Xcode Tutorials” will turn up much more.

*Originally published at

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A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services