Installing gcc under OS X

I needed to compile an application with a c compiler on a MacBook Pro, but didn't have access to the operating system CD that came with the system. You can download the C compiler that Apple provides on that CD from Apple's developer site at Apple Developer. At that site, you will see options to sign up for various developer programs at a cost of $99 a year or more. But you can also register at the site for free by going to Register as an Apple Developer. I registered from that webpage.

I downloaded the Xcode 3.1.3 Developer Tools, since the system I was working on had Mac OS X 10.5.8, aka Leopard, installed on it.

Xcode 3.1.3 is an update release of the developer tools for Mac OS X. This release provides additional GCC and LLVM compiler options, general bug fixes, and must be installed on Leopard, Mac OS X 10.5.0 and higher. Xcode defaults to upgrading an existing Xcode installation, but may optionally be installed along side existing Xcode installations. See the accompanying release notes for detailed installation instructions, known issues, and security advisories.

The file I downloaded was xcode313_2736_developerdvd.dmg. Double-clicking it to open it showed it contained a Packages directory and two files: About Xcode Tools.pdf and XcodeTools.mpkg.

To install the software, double-click on XcodeTools.mpkg and follow the instructions in the installer. By default, the software will be installed in /Developer.

  1. You will first be presented with the welcome screen. Click on Continue.

    Welcome to the Xcode Tools Installer

  2. You will next be asked to agree to the software license. If you agree to it, click on Continue.

    Xcode Tools License Agreement

  3. You will then be presented with another window where you must click on Agree to continue.

    Agree with Xcode Tools License Agreement

  4. At the next screen, you have the option to perform a custom install. The About Xcode Tools.pdf document provides additional information on the options, but, unless you want to perform a custom install, click on Continue.

    Install Xcode Tools

  5. You will next have the option to change the installation directory. By default, the software will be installed in /Developer. Click on Install to proceed.

    Xcode Tools Change Install Location

  6. You will then be prompted to provide a password for an account with administrator level access to proceed.

    Xcode Tools Provide Password

  7. When the installation is completed, you will be presented with a summary screen, which will show "Install Succeeded" if all went well.

    Xcode Tools Install Succeeded

If you then open a terminal window and type which gcc, you should see /usr/bin/gcc. Typing gcc --help will show you the options the compiler accepts.

$ gcc --help
Usage: i686-apple-darwin9-gcc-4.0.1 [options] file...
  -pass-exit-codes         Exit with highest error code from a phase
  --help                   Display this information
  --target-help            Display target specific command line options
  (Use '-v --help' to display command line options of sub-processes)
  -dumpspecs               Display all of the built in spec strings
  -dumpversion             Display the version of the compiler
  -dumpmachine             Display the compiler's target processor
  -print-search-dirs       Display the directories in the compiler's search path
  -print-libgcc-file-name  Display the name of the compiler's companion library
  -print-file-name=<lib>   Display the full path to library <lib>
  -print-prog-name=<prog>  Display the full path to compiler component <prog>
  -print-multi-directory   Display the root directory for versions of libgcc
  -print-multi-lib         Display the mapping between command line options and
                           multiple library search directories
  -print-multi-os-directory Display the relative path to OS libraries
  -Wa,<options>            Pass comma-separated <options> on to the assembler
  -Wp,<options>            Pass comma-separated <options> on to the preprocessor
  -Wl,<options>            Pass comma-separated <options> on to the linker
  -Xassembler <arg>        Pass <arg> on to the assembler
  -Xpreprocessor <arg>     Pass <arg> on to the preprocessor
  -Xlinker <arg>           Pass <arg> on to the linker
  -combine                 Pass multiple source files to compiler at once
  -save-temps              Do not delete intermediate files
  -pipe                    Use pipes rather than intermediate files
  -time                    Time the execution of each subprocess
  -specs=<file>            Override built-in specs with the contents of <file>
  -std=<standard>          Assume that the input sources are for <standard>
  -B <directory>           Add <directory> to the compiler's search paths
  -b <machine>             Run gcc for target <machine>, if installed
  -V <version>             Run gcc version number <version>, if installed
  -v                       Display the programs invoked by the compiler
  -###                     Like -v but options quoted and commands not executed
  -E                       Preprocess only; do not compile, assemble or link
  -S                       Compile only; do not assemble or link
  -c                       Compile and assemble, but do not link
  -o <file>                Place the output into <file>
  -x <language>            Specify the language of the following input files
                           Permissible languages include: c c++ assembler none
                           'none' means revert to the default behavior of
                           guessing the language based on the file's extension

Options starting with -g, -f, -m, -O, -W, or --param are automatically
 passed on to the various sub-processes invoked by i686-apple-darwin9-gcc-4.0.1.  In order to pass
 other options on to these processes the -W<letter> options must be used.

For bug reporting instructions, please see:


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Created: September 16, 2010