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Installing Erlang on Mac OS X
James R. Bracy
Snow Leopard

The following instructions are for installing Erlang on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

Dan Benjamin has commented on the benefits of installing from source and using /usr/local and his postings can be found here and here.

Before starting be sure that the Xcode Tools have been installed. They can either be installed from the OS X installation disc or found here.

Set the PATH

First, launch the Terminal program found in /Applications/Utilities. The PATH tells the Terminal where to find the applications that are about to be installed.

The PATH variable determines where your system searches for command-line programs. You’ll need to set it so that it can find the new apps you’re about to install.

– Dan Benjamin

If you are using Textmate you can use the following command. If you are not using Textmate, open the same file (~/.profile) in your editor of choice.

$ mate ~/.profile

The following line needs to be added to the end of the file.

$ export PATH="/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:$PATH"

After saving the file, return to Terminal and run the following command:

$ source ~/.profile


First we need a place that we can download and compile Erlang. Once the installation is complete the folder can be deleted.

Make the folder:

$ mkdir ~/src && cd ~/src

Download Erlang:

$ curl -O
$ tar -xzf otp_src_R13B03.tar.gz
$ cd otp_src_R13B03

Compile and Install

$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local  \
$             --enable-kernel-poll \
$             --enable--threads    \
$             --enable-smp-support \
$             --enable-hipe        \
$             --enable-m64-build
$ make
$ sudo make install


You should now be able to run and compile Erlang programs. Try the following to ensure that everything is working:

$ erl
Erlang R13B03 (erts-5.7.4) [source] [smp:2:2] [rq:2] [async-threads:0] [kernel-poll:false]

Eshell V5.7.4  (abort with ^G)

A prompt should appear telling you that you are in the Eshell. If everything worked, then the installed worked.

To quit the prompt type:


Clean Up

Now you can go ahead an remove the directory that we created at the start to hold the source code and compile it.

$ cd ~/
$ rm -rf ~/src
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