Compiling on Mac OS X

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.

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© Anthony Lawrence

Fri Mar 10 06:06:47 2006: 1760   FloralMike

Thanks Tony! With your help, I loaded the tools on my MAC MINI and have already used them to compile some source provided from I didn't know the other tools where there until I read this article - I cannot wait to poke around and tinker with them. What follows is an un-solicited plug for A.P. Lawrence and company. We have used Tony for SCO/Linux/MAC OS X support for the past 5 or 6 years and it is the best deal ever! Seriously, If you are not using his phone/e-mail support, you are truly missing out. Thanks Tony!

Thu May 31 20:37:38 2007: 3011   anonymous

like you said developer tools gives over a gig more than asked for, and some people need space more than Xcode - precompiled binaries of make seem hard to come by!! would you be prepared to post the compiled binary yourself?

Wed Dec 5 23:09:14 2007: 3296   TonyLawrence

I'm sorry, I never noticed the above comment.

I have no idea what you mean by "precompiled binaries of make seem hard to come by"
so I really can't answer your question. If you are asking if I would provide a repository for compiled apps, no, I have no interest in doing that but there certainly are places that do. "Darwin ports" has many, many ports..

Mon Aug 31 18:36:36 2009: 6828   SlenderJoe

FYI, Xcode is on disc two on Mac OS 10.5.2.

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