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This repository contains a Makefile and patches to produce a fully statically linked Vim binary. Normally, when compiling Vim with LDFLAGS="-static" to produce a statically linked executable, the generated binary still has hard dependencies on the glibc version of the system that built the binary; a few warnings like this one will be emitted during the build process:

misc1.c:…: warning: … requires … the glibc version used for linking

By making some relatively minor changes to the Vim codebase, the glibc version dependency can be completely eliminated. As of February 1st, 2016, the resulting Vim binary has the following feature set which has been tweaked from what is normally generated with --with-features=normal to suit my personal preferences:

Normal version without GUI.  Features included (+) or not (-):
+acl             -farsi           -mouse_sgr       +tag_old_static
-arabic          +file_in_path    -mouse_sysmouse  -tag_any_white
+autocmd         +find_in_path    -mouse_urxvt     -tcl
-balloon_eval    +float           +mouse_xterm     +terminfo
-browse          +folding         +multi_byte      +termresponse
+builtin_terms   -footer          +multi_lang      +textobjects
+byte_offset     +fork()          -mzscheme        +title
-channel         -gettext         -netbeans_intg   -toolbar
+cindent         -hangul_input    +path_extra      +user_commands
-clientserver    +iconv           -perl            +vertsplit
-clipboard       +insert_expand   +persistent_undo +virtualedit
+cmdline_compl   +jumplist        +postscript      +visual
+cmdline_hist    -keymap          +printer         +visualextra
+cmdline_info    -langmap         -profile         +viminfo
+comments        -libcall         -python          +vreplace
+conceal         +linebreak       -python3         +wildignore
+cryptv          +lispindent      +quickfix        +wildmenu
-cscope          +listcmds        +reltime         +windows
+cursorbind      +localmap        -rightleft       +writebackup
+cursorshape     -lua             -ruby            -X11
+dialog_con      +menu            +scrollbind      -xfontset
+diff            +mksession       -signs           -xim
+digraphs        +modify_fname    +smartindent     -xsmp
-dnd             +mouse           -sniff           -xterm_clipboard
-ebcdic          -mouseshape      +startuptime     -xterm_save
-emacs_tags      -mouse_dec       +statusline      -xpm
+eval            -mouse_gpm       -sun_workshop
+ex_extra        -mouse_jsbterm   +syntax
+extra_search    -mouse_netterm   +tag_binary

In short there is little to no:

  • GUI support or X11 integration
  • support for scripting in any languages other than Vim script
  • special support for non-US/European locales and languages
  • client / server RPC's


The Makefiles and launcher script are licensed under the 2-clause BSD license.


The Makefile provides a number of different targets. The most important ones are as follows:

  • all: Download, patch and build a statically linked copy of Vim. This is the default target.
  • update: Update the local copy of the Vim source code if it is out of sync with the official repository which will also implicitly cause the clean target to be executed. If the local copy of Vim is already up-to-date, this will fail with a non-zero exit status, and no files will be modified. This may be useful for automatic updates (make update && make install).
  • install: Install Vim's binaries and runtime content. Refer to the description of INSTALLDIR and BINDIR below. The Vim binaries will be built as necessary when this target is used.
  • uninstall: Remove the Vim binaries and runtime from INSTALLDIR and related symlinks from BINDIR.
  • dist: Create a distributable, compressed archive. To install Vim, simply extract the archive on the target system, cd into the vim directory and run make install. By default, symlinks to the executables will be placed in ~/bin/. To install the symlinks in another directory, override the Makefile variable BINDIR: make BINDIR=/usr/local/bin install. By default, this produces a tar.bz2 archive. Override the DISTEXTENSION to change this, e.g., make dist DISTEXTENSION=tar.xz.
  • clean: Return the local Vim source code repository to a clean, unadulterated state.
  • cleanest: Delete the vim-src folder.

There are several variables defined in the Makefile that may be overridden: INSTALLDIR, which defaults to ~/vim/, determines where the vim and xxd binaries and the Vim runtime folder will be stored. BINDIR is the directory where symlinks to the xxd binary and Vim launcher will be placed and should be a folder listed in the PATH environment variable. DISTEXTENSION, which defaults to tar.bz2, determines the extension and type of the distributable archive.

The script is a wrapper used to launch the statically compiled Vim binary with VIMRUNTIME set to the appropriate directory and will automatically be installed or bundled as necessary.


Makefile that creates a statically linked Vim binary



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