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Build Tools

A core development system should typically include build tools like Make and GCC. Make is a utility that automatically builds executable programs and libraries from source code. The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is a compiler system produced by the GNU Project supporting various programming languages.

These tools are not used directly in normal web development, but other tools in Python, Ruby, and other languages rely on them to work. Both GCC and Make are developed and maintained by the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation, originators of the legal and technical basis of free and open source software.

You might already have them installed, here’s how to check:

$ make --version
$ gcc --version

Linux (Ubuntu or Debian)

Install build-essential:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential

Mac OS X

10.9 (Mavericks)

Install the standalone Command Line Tools by running this command from the Terminal:

$ xcode-select --install

For more details, and step-by-step instructions with screenshots, visit Moncef Belyamani's tutorial.

10.8, 10.7 (Mountain Lion & Lion)

Install the standalone Command Line Tools from the Apple Developer portal.

For more details, and step-by-step instructions with screenshots, visit Moncef Belyamani's tutorial.

10.6 (Snow Leopard)

Install GCC and Make alone with OSX GCC Installer.


Homebrew is a package manager for OS X that allows for the installation of command line utilities and other software. It is analogous to Ubuntu & Debian’s Apt.

To install Homebrew, follow directions given at

Install Homebrew

  $ ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Paste that at a Terminal prompt.

The script explains what it will do and then pauses before it does it. There are more installation options here (needed on 10.5).

After initial installation, check Homebrew’s output for additional instructions. Before you install anything with Homebrew, run brew doctor to make sure your system is ready to brew. If brew doctor reports any errors or warnings, read Moncef Belyamani's tutorial for helpful troubleshooting tips.

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