Skip to content

Build for macOS

John Cupitt edited this page Mar 13, 2018 · 4 revisions

We've been using gtk-osx to make the OS X binaries in the nip2 release area.

We have a OS X build system based on jhbuild that automates the whole process. Check the README.


VIPS is on homebrew. Install homebrew and type:

$ brew install vips

To verify your vips install, try:

$ vips --version
vips-8.6.3-Thu Mar  8 15:18:35 UTC 2018

This is a good way to get libvips on your system, not so great for nip2.

This will give you a vips with just the basic optional packages, missing things like imagemagick loading, openslide support, and so on. To get a list of all the optional dependencies, try:

$ brew info vips

For a full-fat version, try:

$ brew install vips --with-cfitsio --with-imagemagick --with-openexr --with-openslide --with-webp

vips will also work with graphicsmagick, which you may prefer. Swap --with-imagemagick for --with-graphicsmagick to use that library.

Python should just work, as long as you use the homebrew Python and not the Apple one. You should see:

$ which python

Homebrew and Ruby

If you want to build things outside homebrew which depend on vips, such as ruby-vips, you will need to get your pkg-config working. You need to point pkg-config at the homebrew area, and, additionally, at various homebrew add-on areas.

In your .profile, add something like:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/local/opt/libxml2/lib/pkgconfig:/opt/X11/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/local/opt/libffi/lib/pkgconfig

To verify that pkg-config is working correctly with vips, try:

$ pkg-config vips --libs
-L/usr/local/Cellar/vips/7.32.1/lib ... a lot of stuff

From GIT on OS X

To build from source yourself on OS X, first install via homebrew to pull in the necessary packages, then uninstall, clone the git repository and build yourself.


brew install homebrew/science/vips --with-webp --with-graphicsmagick
brew uninstall vips
brew install openexr openslide homebrew/science/libmatio cfitsio libjpeg-turbo

Now set up your environment for building outside brew. You need to set PKG_CONFIG_PATH, I have something like this in my .profile:

function addpkg() {
  export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="$PKG_CONFIG_PATH:$1/pkgconfig"

addpkg /usr/local/lib
addpkg /usr/local/opt/libxml2/lib
# we use xquartz: cairo needs those .pc as well
addpkg /opt/X11/lib
addpkg /usr/local/opt/libffi/lib

You need to set PATH to search /usr/local/. I usually build development versions of vips to a private area in my home, so I add that as well.

export VIPSHOME=$HOME/vips
export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$VIPSHOME/bin:$PATH
addpkg $VIPSHOME/lib

You have to tell Python and gobject-introspection about the private vips area:

export GI_TYPELIB_PATH=/usr/local/lib/girepository-1.0:$VIPSHOME/lib/girepository-1.0
export PYTHONPATH=$VIPSHOME/lib/python2.7/site-packages:$PYTHONPATH

You need some extra packages to build vips from GIT:

brew install autoconf automake gtk-doc swig

And now you can finally clone and build vips.

git clone
cd libvips
CFLAGS="-g -Wall" CXXFLAGS="-g -Wall" ./ --prefix=$HOME/vips --with-jpeg-includes=/usr/local/opt/jpeg-turbo/include --with-jpeg-libraries=/usr/local/opt/jpeg-turbo/lib 

The vips Python binding won't be able to install for you, you need to do this by hand.

cd python
cp /usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/gi/overrides/


VIPS and nip2 are available via Fink. To install the nip2 end user program, type

fink install nip2

To use VIPS outside of Fink, you'll need the development package libvips31-dev (for VIPS version 7.34.2). The VIPS tools are in libvips-tools. To verify your vips install, try:

$ vips --version
vips-7.34.2-Tue Oct  1 19:42:09 EDT 2013

In order for your project to find the library, add /sw/lib/pkgconfig (replace "/sw" as appropriate for your Fink install root) to the environment variable PKG_CONFIG_PATH:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/sw/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH

To verify that pkg-config is working correctly with vips, try:

$ pkg-config vips --libs
-L/sw/lib -lvips ... a lot of stuff


VIPS and nip2 are in Macports. Follow the install instructions, then:

$ sudo port install vips
$ sudo port install nip2

That will make a nip2 which uses X11 for display. You can make a nip2 that uses the native OS X backend like this:

$ sudo port install nip2 +no_x11 +quartz
Clone this wiki locally