Compile on MacOS
This page describes how to compile the latest FreeCAD source on macOS X. Latest means the most recent commit to the master branch of the FreeCAD github repository.
These instructions have been tested on macOS High Sierra
This page serves as a quick start, and is not intended to be comprehensive with regard to describing all the available build options.
If you just want to evaluate the latest pre-release build of FreeCAD, you can download pre-built binaries from here.
- 1 Install Prerequisites
- 2 Install Dependencies
- 3 Get the source
- 4 Run CMake
- 5 Run make
- 6 Updating from Github
- 7 Building with Qt4
- 8 Troubleshooting
The following software must be installed to support the build process.
Homebrew Package Manager
Homebrew is a command line based package manager for macOS. The Homebrew main page provides an installation command line that you simply paste into a terminal window.
CMake is build tool that generates a build configuration based on variables you specify. You then issue the 'make' command to actually build that configuration. The command-line version of CMake is automatically installed as part of the Homebrew installation, above. If you prefer to use a GUI version of CMake, you can download it from here.
FreeCAD maintains a Homebrew 'tap' which installs the required formulas and dependencies. Issue the following brew commands in your terminal.
brew tap freecad/freecad brew install eigen brew install --only-dependencies freecad --with-packaging-utils
- 'brew install' may take quite a while, so you may want go grab a beverage. :-)
Get the source
In the following instructions, the source and build folders are created side-by-side under
but you can use whatever folders you want.
mkdir ~/FreeCAD cd ~/FreeCAD
The following command will clone the FreeCAD git repository into a directory called FreeCAD-git.
git clone https://github.com/FreeCAD/FreeCAD FreeCAD-git
Create the build folder.
Next, we will run CMake to generate the build configuration. Several options must be passed to CMake. The following table describes the options and gives some background.
|CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE||Release (STRING)||Release or Debug. Debug is generally used for developer-level testing but may also be required for user-level testing and troubleshooting.|
|BUILD_QT5||1 (BOOL)||Required to build with Qt5.|
|CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH||"/usr/local/Cellaremail@example.com/5.6.2/lib/cmake" (PATH)||Required to build with Qt5. See note below.|
|FREECAD_CREATE_MAC_APP||1 (BOOL)||Create a FreeCAD.app bundle at the location specified in CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX, when the 'make install' command issued.|
|CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX||"./.." (PATH)||Path where you want to generate the FreeCAD.app bundle.|
Note: Command line to generate CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH:
ls -d $(brew list -1 | grep qt | tail -1 | xargs brew --cellar)/*/lib/cmake
Open the CMake app, and fill in the source and build folder fields. In this example, it would be /Users/username/FreeCAD/FreeCAD-git for the source, and /Users/username/FreeCAD/build for the build folder.
Next, click the Configure button to populate the list of configuration options. This will display a dialog asking you to specify what generator to use. Leave it at the default Unix Makefiles. Configuring will fail the first time because there are some options that need to be changed. Note: You will need to check the Advanced checkbox to get all of the options.
Set options from the table above, then click Configure again and then Generate.
CMake command line
Enter the following in the terminal.
$cd ~/FreeCAD/build $cmake \ -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE="Release" \ -DBUILD_QT5=1 \ -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="/usr/local/Cellarfirstname.lastname@example.org/5.6.2/lib/cmake" \ -DFREECAD_USE_EXTERNAL_KDL=1 \ -DBUILD_FEM_NETGEN=1 \ -DFREECAD_CREATE_MAC_APP=1 \ -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX="./.." \ ../FreeCAD-git/
Finally, from a terminal run make to compile and link FreeCAD, and generate the app bundle.
cd ~/FreeCAD/build make -j5 install
The -j option specifies how many make processes to run at once. One plus the number of CPU cores is usually a good number to use. However, if compiling fails for some reason, it is useful to rerun make without the -j option, so that you can see exactly where the error occurred.
See also Compiling - Speeding up.
If make finishes without any errors, you can now launch FreeCAD by double clicking the executable in the Finder.
Updating from Github
FreeCAD development happens fast; every day or so there are bug fixes or new features. To get the latest changes, use git to update the source directory (see Source code management), then re-run the CMake and make steps above. It is not usually necessary to start with a clean build directory in this case, and subsequent compiles will generally go much faster than the first one.
Building with Qt4
FreeCAD has transitioned from Qt 4 to Qt 5. If you need to build with Qt4, the following additional steps are required.
- Append '--with-qt4' to the 'brew install' command.
- Do not specify BUILD_QT5 CMake option.
- Do not specify CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH CMake option
After you install Qt4, if you want to switch to building with Qt5, you will need to uninstall Qt4.
brew uninstall --ignore-dependencies --force email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com cartr/qt4/qt
Segfault on Qt5 launch
If Qt4 was previously installed via brew, and you then build with Qt5, you may get a EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SEGSEGV) exception when launching the new Qt5 build. The fix for this is to manually uninstall Qt4.
brew uninstall --ignore-dependencies --force firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org cartr/qt4/qt-legacy-formula
"No CMAKE_Fortran_COMPILER could be found." during configuration - Older versions of FreeCAD will need a fortran compiler installed. With Homebrew, do "brew install gcc" and try configuring again, giving cmake the path to Fortran ie -DCMAKE_Fortran_COMPILER=/opt/local/bin/gfortran-mp-4.9 . Or, preferably use a more current version of FreeCAD source!
See OpenGL on MacOS for OpenGL issues when Qt 4.8 and earlier are used on MacOS.
When using CMake versions older than 3.1.0, it's necessary to set CMake variable FREETYPE_INCLUDE_DIR_freetype2 manually, eg /usr/local/include/freetype2