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Installation notes for macOS Catalina (v10.15)

This document specifically refers to upgrades from previous versions of macOS to Catalina (10.15). It should be removed from the source repository when Catalina ceases to be the latest macOS version or when future Catalina versions no longer raise these issues.

Both upgrading to macOS Catalina and running a Software Update in Catalina may cause normal node-gyp installations to fail.

Is my Mac running macOS Catalina?

Let's first make sure that your Mac is running Catalina:

% sw_vers
    ProductName:	Mac OS X
    ProductVersion:	10.15
    BuildVersion:	19A602

If ProductVersion is less then 10.15 then this document is not for you. Normal install docs for node-gyp on macOS can be found at https://github.com/nodejs/node-gyp#on-macos

The acid test

To see if Xcode Command Line Tools is installed in a way that will work with node-gyp, run:

  1. /usr/sbin/pkgutil --packages | grep CL
    • com.apple.pkg.CLTools_Executables should be listed. If it isn't, this test failed.
  2. /usr/sbin/pkgutil --pkg-info com.apple.pkg.CLTools_Executables
    • version: 11.0.0 (or later) should be listed. If it isn't, this test failed.

If both tests succeeded, you are done! You should be ready to install node-gyp.

If either test failed, there is a problem with your Xcode Command Line Tools installation. Continue to Solutions.

Solutions

There are three ways to install the Xcode libraries node-gyp needs on macOS. People running Catalina have had success with some but not others in a way that has been unpredictable.

  1. With the full Xcode (~7.6 GB download) from the App Store app.
  2. With the much smaller Xcode Command Line Tools via xcode-select --install
  3. With the much smaller Xcode Command Line Tools via manual download. For people running the latest version of Catalina (10.15.2 at the time of this writing), this has worked when the other two solutions haven't.

Installing node-gyp using the full Xcode

  1. xcodebuild -version should show Xcode 11.1 or later.
    • If not, then install/upgrade Xcode from the App Store app.
  2. Open the Xcode app and...
    • Under Preferences > Locations select the tools if their location is empty.
    • Allow Xcode app to do an essential install of the most recent compiler tools.
  3. Once all installations are complete, quit out of Xcode.
  4. sudo xcodebuild -license accept # If you agree with the licensing terms.
  5. softwareupdate -l # No listing is a good sign.
    • If Xcode or Tools upgrades are listed, use "Software Upgrade" to install them.
  6. xcode-select -version # Should return xcode-select version 2370 or later.
  7. xcode-select -print-path # Should return /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer
  8. Try the acid test steps above to see if your Mac is ready.
  9. If the acid test does not pass then...
  10. sudo xcode-select --reset # Enter root password. No output is normal.
  11. Repeat step 7 above. Is the path different this time? Repeat the acid test.

Installing node-gyp using the Xcode Command Line Tools via xcode-select --install

  1. If the acid test has not succeeded, then try xcode-select --install
  2. If the installation command returns xcode-select: error: command line tools are already installed, use "Software Update" to install updates, continue to remove and reinstall
  3. Wait until the install process is complete.
  4. softwareupdate -l # No listing is a good sign.
    • If Xcode or Tools upgrades are listed, use "Software Update" to install them.
  5. xcode-select -version # Should return xcode-select version 2370 or later.
  6. xcode-select -print-path # Should return /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools
  7. Try the acid test steps above to see if your Mac is ready.
  8. If the acid test does not pass then...
  9. sudo xcode-select --reset # Enter root password. No output is normal.
  10. Repeat step 5 above. Is the path different this time? Repeat the acid test.

Installing node-gyp using the Xcode Command Line Tools via manual download

  1. Download the appropriate version of the "Command Line Tools for Xcode" for your version of Catalina from https://developer.apple.com/download/more/. As of MacOS 10.15.3, that's Command_Line_Tools_for_Xcode_11.3.1.dmg
  2. Install the package.
  3. Run the acid test steps above.

I did all that and the acid test still does not pass :-(

  1. sudo rm -rf $(xcode-select -print-path) # Enter root password. No output is normal.
  2. sudo rm -rf /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools # Enter root password.
  3. xcode-select --install
  4. If the acid test steps above still does not pass then...
  5. npm explore npm -g -- npm install node-gyp@latest
  6. npm explore npm -g -- npm explore npm-lifecycle -- npm install node-gyp@latest
  7. If the acid test still does not pass then...
  8. Add a comment to https://github.com/nodejs/node-gyp/issues/1927 so we can improve.

Lessons learned from:

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