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GLFW on OS X starting guide

OpenGL Development on OS X

While it's possible to download packages and install them manually, it's such a hassle. Fortunately for us, OS X has an unofficial package manager called Let's install it. Open you Terminal and paste the following code:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Great. Homebrew will automatically install packages to /usr/local. Conveniently, that directory is already in your include and link paths.

Now, some bad news. Freeglut will not run properly on OS X. It attempts to run through the X-Windows server. Unfortunately for us, X11/XQuartz (the X-Windows emulations on OS X) will not support an OpenGL context past OpenGL 1.3. So we will have to use a newer library, called GLFW. Let's install that now.

In Terminal:

brew install glfw3

GLFW3 should now be installed. Here's a substitute tutorial file with GLFW instead of freeglut.

/* Ask for an OpenGL Core Context */
#include <GLFW/glfw3.h>

#define BUFFER_OFFSET(i) ((char *)NULL + (i))

int main(int argc, char** argv)
  GLFWwindow* window;

  /* Initialize the library */
  if ( !glfwInit() )
     return -1;

#ifdef __APPLE__
  /* We need to explicitly ask for a 3.2 context on OS X */

  /* Create a windowed mode window and its OpenGL context */
  window = glfwCreateWindow( 1280, 720, "Hello World", NULL, NULL );
  if (!window)
     return -1;

  /* Make the window's context current */

  /* Loop until the user closes the window */
  while (!glfwWindowShouldClose(window))
    /* Render here */
    glClear(GL_COLOR_BUFFER_BIT | GL_DEPTH_BUFFER_BIT); // Clear the buffers

    /* Swap front and back buffers */

    /* Poll for and process events */

  return 0;

Now we need to compile this code. GLFW needs to link against several OS X library. Here's the compiler invokation to compile this code sample properly.

clang++ -std=c++11 -stdlib=libc++ -lglfw3 -framework CoreVideo -framework OpenGL -framework IOKit -framework Cocoa -framework Carbon </path/to/cpp/file>

You can run the resulting file by typing ./a.out

Congratulations! You've completed your first OS X OpenGL project.


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dineshadepu commented Feb 7, 2018

Thanks for the gist. I have a problem compiling my one code of opening a window.
I get the following message

ld: library not found for -lglfw3 clang: error: linker command failed with exit code 1

How can I solve it?


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kuenane commented Feb 16, 2018

I have the same problem too


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gooderist commented Mar 24, 2018

try replacing -lglfw3 with -lglfw (you can check if the library is actually installed with ls /usr/local/lib)


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qubbit commented Aug 4, 2018

@gooderist That worked. Thanks!


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kgcrandn commented Jan 18, 2019

I am so confuse about the flags of clang++. I can't find "-framework" and "-l***" flags in office document of clang.
So what they mean? and what they do?

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