C++ Makefile NSIS
Clone or download



Rack is the engine for the VCV open-source virtual modular synthesizer.

Rack screenshot

This README includes instructions for building Rack from source. For information about the software, go to https://vcvrack.com/.

The Issue Tracker is the official developer's forum

Bug reports, feature requests, questions, and discussions are welcome on the GitHub Issue Tracker for all repos under the VCVRack organization. However, please search before posting to avoid duplicates, and limit to one issue per post.

Please vote on feature requests by using the Thumbs Up/Down reaction on the first post.

I rarely accept code contributions to Rack itself, so please notify me in advance if you wish to send a pull request.

Setting up your development environment

Before building Rack, you must install build dependencies provided by your system's package manager. Rack's own dependencies (GLEW, glfw, etc) do not need to be installed on your system, since specific versions are compiled locally during the build process. However, you need proper tools to build Rack and these dependencies.


Install Xcode. Using Homebrew, install the build dependencies.

brew install git wget cmake autoconf automake libtool


Install MSYS2 and launch the MinGW 64-bit shell (not the default MSYS shell).

pacman -S git wget make tar unzip zip mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc mingw-w64-x86_64-cmake autoconf automake mingw-w64-x86_64-libtool


On Ubuntu 16.04:

sudo apt install git curl cmake libx11-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libxrandr-dev libxinerama-dev libxcursor-dev libxi-dev zlib1g-dev libasound2-dev libgtk2.0-dev libjack-jackd2-dev

On Arch Linux:

pacman -S git wget gcc make cmake tar unzip zip curl


If the build fails for you, please report the issue with a detailed error message to help the portability of Rack.

Clone this repository with git clone https://github.com/VCVRack/Rack.git and cd Rack. Make sure there are no spaces in your absolute path, as this breaks many build systems.

Clone submodules.

git submodule update --init --recursive

Build dependencies locally. You may add -j$(nproc) to your make commands to parallelize builds across all CPU cores.

make dep

Build Rack.


Run Rack.

make run

Building plugins

Be sure to check out and build the version of Rack you wish to build your plugins against.

You must clone the plugin in Rack's plugins/ directory, e.g.

cd plugins
git clone https://github.com/VCVRack/Fundamental.git

Clone submodules.

cd Fundamental
git submodule update --init --recursive

Build plugin.

make dep


All source code in this repository is licensed under BSD-3-Clause by Andrew Belt.

Component Library graphics in res/ComponentLibrary are licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 by Grayscale. Commercial plugins must request a commercial license to use Component Library graphics by emailing contact@vcvrack.com.

Core panel graphics in res/Core are copyright © 2017 Grayscale. You may not create derivative works of Core panels.

The VCV logo and icon are copyright © 2017 Andrew Belt and may not be used in derivative works.

The "VCV" name is trademarked and may not be used for unofficial products. However, it is acceptable to use the phrase "for VCV Rack" for promotion of your Rack plugin. For all other purposes, email contact@vcvrack.com.