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A dead-simple, yet extensible, C and C++ unit testing framework.



Most test frameworks for C require a lot of boilerplate code to set up tests and test suites -- you need to create a main, then register new test suites, then register the tests within these suites, and finally call the right functions.

This gives the user great control, at the unfortunate cost of simplicity.

Criterion follows the KISS principle, while keeping the control the user would have with other frameworks:

  • C99 and C++11 compatible.
  • Tests are automatically registered when declared.
  • Implements a xUnit framework structure.
  • A default entry point is provided, no need to declare a main unless you want to do special handling.
  • Test are isolated in their own process, crashes and signals can be reported and tested.
  • Unified interface between C and C++: include the criterion header and it just works.
  • Supports parameterized tests and theories.
  • Progress and statistics can be followed in real time with report hooks.
  • TAP output format can be enabled with an option.
  • Runs on Linux, FreeBSD, macOS, and Windows (Compiling with MinGW GCC and Visual Studio 2015+).



Platform Command
Ubuntu (>=21.04) / Debian (>=11) apt-get install libcriterion-dev
Gentoo emerge -a dev-libs/criterion
Arch Linux (AUR) pacaur -S criterion
macOS brew install criterion
Nix nix-shell -p criterion
FreeBSD pkg install criterion

If you'd like to see Criterion included in your favorite distribution, please reach out to their package maintainers team.

Binary archives

Binary releases for Linux x86_64 are available on the release page.

If you have a different platform, you can still build the library from source.

Developer Resources


An online documentation is available on ReadTheDocs (PDF | Zip | Epub)


Sample tests can be found in the sample directory.

Getting help

Channel Description
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Criterion is built with the following projects:

Logo made by Paul Bouigue.