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Linux & OSX Build (TravisCI) Win64 Build (AppVeyor) Test Coverage Coverity Analysis CII Best Practices
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License API documentation Win (x86_64) Ubuntu (x86_64) Ubuntu (armhf) Ubuntu (aarch64) Ubuntu (s390x) Ubuntu (powerpc) Alpine (x86_64) Alpine (armhf) Alpine (aarch64)

libcluon is a small single-file, header-only library written in modern C++ library to glue microservices - in a clever way - simply: cluon. Its name is inspired by gluon, an elementary particle acting as exchange particle.

libcluon is distributed as single-file, header-only library - just drop cluon-complete.hpp into your project, #include "cluon-complete.hpp", and compile your project with a modern C++ compiler (C++14 or newer)

Say you want to quickly realize a distributed software system where individual software components exchange messages and you want to keep your project as simple and clean as possible - that's a typical use-case for libcluon. Getting Started Tutorial using an online C++ compiler.

Table of Contents


  • Written in highly portable and high quality C++14
  • Available as header-only, single-file distribution - just drop cluon-complete.hpp into your project, #include "cluon-complete.hpp", and compile your project with a modern C++ compiler (C++14 or newer)
  • Message compiler produces fully self-contained messages that do only depend on C++14 - external libraries are not needed allowing easy embedding into existing projects
  • Native implementation of Protobuf for data serialization & deserialization: Example
  • Native implementation of LCM/ZCM for data serialization & deserialization: Example
  • Native implementation of JSON for data serialization & deserialization: Example
  • Native implementation of MsgPack for data serialization & deserialization: Example
  • libcluon natively available for JavaScript via Emscripten: libcluon.js
  • Portable implementation of publish/subscribe communication (Linux, MacOSX, Windows): Example
  • Intermediate Data Representation (IDR) enables flexible message transformations at runtime; for example: Convert Protobuf to JSON or convert OD4 to JSON or convert LCM to JSON at runtime without generating any data structures beforehand
  • Message self-reflection to extract portable message specifications at runtime: Examples
  • Message transformatiom into platform-independent CSV format: Examples


No dependencies! All you need is a C++14-compliant compiler as the project ships the following dependencies as part of the source distribution:

As part of our CI strategy thanks to TravisCI and AppVeyor, we are continuously building with:

  • Darwin 16.7.0 (x86_64)/AppleClang

  • FreeBSD 11.1 (x86_64)/GCC 6.4.0

  • NetBSD 8.0 (x86_64)/GCC 5.5.0

  • OpenBSD 6.3 (x86_64)/clang 5.0.1

  • Windows (x86_64)/MSVC 19.13.26129.0

  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (x86_64)/GCC 7.4.0

  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (x86_64)/clang 7.0.0

  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (x86_64)/GCC 5.4.0

  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (x86_64)/clang 7.0.0

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (armhf)/clang 3.8.1

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/GCC 8.0.1

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/GCC 7.3.0

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/GCC 6.4.0

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/GCC 5.5.0

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/clang 6.0.1

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/clang 5.0.2

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/clang 5.0.0

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/clang 4.0.1

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/clang 3.9.1

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (x86_64)/clang 3.8.0


Installation as single-file, header-only library

libcluon is provided as header-only, single-file library as well - just drop cluon-complete.hpp into your project, #include "cluon-complete.hpp" where you want to use libcluon, and compile your project with a modern C++ compiler (C++14 or newer).

Installation on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

We are providing pre-compiled binaries for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) via Ubuntu's Launchpad for amd64, i386, armfh, and arm64; simply add the following PPA to your sources list:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chrberger/libcluon

Afterwards, update your package database and install libcluon:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libcluon

Installation on Debian

To use libcluon on Debian, you need to add the repository key first:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 8EA63C9470BA0E595B75BBA2A92E492AC0B8C7EC

Afterwards, install add-apt-repository and its dependencies:

sudo apt install dirmngr software-properties-common

Then, you can add the libcluon repository:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chrberger/libcluon

Now, you can finally install libcluon:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install libcluon

Installation on Alpine 3.7

We are providing pre-compiled binaries for Alpine 3.7 for x86_64, armfh, and aarch64; simply install the pre-compile .apk package as follows:

apk add libcluon --no-cache --repository --allow-untrusted

Installation on Windows

We are providing pre-compiled binaries including debug symbols for Windows 64 via BinTray here:

Build from sources on the example of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

To compile libcluon from sources on an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) system, you need to have build-essential, cmake, and git installed:

sudo apt-get install build-essential git cmake

Afterwards, simply clone our Git repository:

git clone

As an alternative, you can download our latest source release from here:

Change to your working copy and create a build folder:

cd libcluon
mkdir build
cd build

Next, run cmake to create the necessary build files:

cmake ../libcluon

Finally, compile and install the software:

make test
make install

Tutorials & API Documentation


We are happy to receive your PRs to accelerate libcluon's development; before contributing, please take a look at the Contribution Documents.


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