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Revision as of 05:00, 3 February 2012 by Funman (talk | contribs) (→‎Git)
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This is an howto to compile VLC media player on Mac OS X, focused on VLC 1.2 and newer.


Apple Software

GCC 4.2 on Xcode 4.2

If you are on Xcode 4.2 with no previous Xcode installation, you probably NEED gcc-4.2 that isn't installed anymore.

Please install it from OSX-GCC installer.

$ gcc-4.2 --version


If you have XCode 4, Git is already installed You just need to point your Terminal to it:

$ export PATH=/Developer/usr/bin:$PATH

If you have Xcode 3, get Git from their website.

Get the source code

 $ git clone git://

Build VLC with a single command

Setup a build folder:

 $ cd vlc && mkdir build && cd build

And run the build:

 $ ../extras/package/macosx/

Wait and you are finished

You can see more options for this build (change arch or sdk):

 $ ../extras/package/macosx/ -h

Build steps

Now, if you prefer, you can read the following detailed information on how the build internally works:

Additional development tools

You need development tools, notably all the autotools, to build VLC correctly.

Here is how:

$ cd vlc/extras/tools
$ ./bootstrap && make
$ cd ../..

Important: set the new PATH.

$ export PATH=$PWD/extras/tools/build/bin:$PATH

SDK selection and 32/64 bits

SDK selection

If you want to use the 10.6 SDK (your VLC will only run on 10.6 and more recent computers):

$ export OSX_VERSION=10.6

You can do the same for 10.5, but please check that you have MacOSX10.5.sdk installed in /Developer/SDKs/ . If you are using Xcode 4.2, you can install the 10.5 sdk with the .dmg from Xcode3.

32/64bits selection

The instructions below will build a 64 bits binary using 10.6 (Snow Leopard) SDK. This is reflected by using host and build variables x86_64-apple-darwin10.

This "triplet" is ARCHITECTURE-apple-SYSTEM.


  • x86_64 represents Intel 64bits.
  • i686 represents Intel 32bits.
  • powerpc represents PowerPC 32bits.


  • darwin9 represents MacOSX 10.5.
  • darwin10 represents MacOSX 10.6.

So to make a PowerPC build, you would use powerpc-apple-darwin9. So to make a intel32 build for 10.5+, you would use i686-apple-darwin9. So to make a intel64 build for 10.6+, you would use x86_64-apple-darwin10.

Prepare 3rd party libraries

Before compiling VLC, you need lots of other libraries. Here is how to get them:

 $ cd contrib
 $ mkdir -p osx && cd osx
 $ ../bootstrap --host=x86_64-apple-darwin10 --build=x86_64-apple-darwin10

Prebuilt libraries (recommended)

If you want to download a prebuilt package of all the needed libraries.

 $ make prebuilt

And then skip to bootstrap section of this page.

Build your own libraries (not for the faint-hearted)

If you want to build from source a package in the contribs:

 $ make -j4 .gettext
 $ export PATH=$PWD/../x86_64-apple-darwin10/bin:$PATH


 $ make -j4

If you had no errors, the 3rd party libraries (contrib) are built correctly and you can proceed to the next step.

Go Back

Go back to the VLC source directory:

 $ cd ../..

Bootstrap VLC

This will create the configure script:

 $ ./bootstrap

Configure the VLC build

Create a build folder:

 $ mkdir -p build && cd build

To list the different options of configure:

 $ ../extras/package/macosx/ --help

To build a 64 bits binary:

 $ ../extras/package/macosx/ --enable-debug --host=x86_64-apple-darwin10 --build=x86_64-apple-darwin10

Build VLC

Just do:

 $ make -j4

and wait...

Package VLC Application for Mac

If you want to share the application with another user or another computer:

 $ make

If you want a disk-image:

 $ make package-macosx

Respectively make package-macosx-plugin for the Safari/Mozilla plugin.

What's wrong: troubleshooting

Xcode path

Starting with Leopard, Xcode may be installed to a custom location on the administrator's choice. While this is non-problematic for ordinary Xcode projects, VLC needs a little help. You have to place extra symbolic links in /Developer pointing to your custom location for these folders:

usr, Headers, Private, SDKs, Tools, Makefiles

You can easily create these links by executing the following command for each folder (whereas theFolder is one of these six):

ln -s /full/path/to/Developer/theFolder /Developer/theFolder

Xcode version

Please make sure that you are using the latest Xcode3 or the latest version of Xcode4 to compile VLC

3rd party packagers and PATH

Pay careful attention to remove any reference to 3rd party package managersfrom your environment. This is important to avoid conflicts between your package manager (homebrew, fink, macports...) and the contrib package manager we use to build our contrib.

It shouldn't be necessary, but it can happen.

git must still be accessible though!

$ export PATH=$PWD/build/bin:/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/local/bin

QTsound compilation on X.5

MacOS X.5.SDK is broken - 2 options exist:

Option 1:

  • Download the MacOS10.6.sdk and get QTCaptureDecompressedAudioOutput.h from /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.6.sdk/System/Library/Frameworks/QTKit.framework/Headers/ and move it to /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk/System/Library/Frameworks/QTKit.framework/Headers/
  • Edit /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk/System/Library/Frameworks/QTKit.framework/Headers/QTKit.h and add the
#import <QTKit/QTCaptureDecompressedAudioOutput.h> where needed.

Option 2:

  • Configure the VLC build to explicitly use the MacOS10.6.sdk by adding the following flag:

Cross-Compilation to PPC from X.6 intel

If you want to compile VLC for PPC, based on a X.6 intel, you need to tweak a few things since Apple broke it.

This is VERY advanced stuff!


Be sure to:

  • have X.6.8
  • Xcode 4.2 installed in the normal /Developers location
  • Xcode 3 installed in /Xcode3 location
  • MacOS X.6 and X.5 SDK installed in /Developers/SDKs/ , as explained above (SDK selection).


Using this out of the box will not work because AS for ppc is broken on the default setup. Here is how to fix it:

cd /usr/libexec/as
sudo mkdir ppc
cd ppc
sudo ln -sf /Xcode3/usr/bin/as as