Chapter 1. Installation

1.1. On Unix requires GNU Make to be installed. While it will currently work with GNU Make 3.81, support for this version is deprecated and will be removed in the future. We recommend GNU Make 4.2 or later (especially if you want to benefit from parallel builds via the -j flag).

Git and Erlang/OTP must also be installed.

Some functionality requires that Autoconf 2.59 or later be installed, in order to compile Erlang/OTP. Erlang/OTP may have further requirements depending on your needs.

Some packages may require additional libraries.

1.1.1. Linux

The commands to install packages vary between distributions:

Arch Linux. 

$ pacman -S erlang git make

Alpine Linux and other distributions based on BusyBox come with an incompatible awk program. Installing the GNU Awk (gawk on Alpine) solves this issue.

Parallel builds may require the program flock that can be found in the package util-linux.

1.1.2. FreeBSD

FreeBSD comes with binary and source packages:

Install binary packages. 

$ pkg install erlang git gmake

On FreeBSD the make command is BSD Make. Use gmake instead.

1.1.3. OS X and macOS

While Apple distributes their own GNU Make, their version is very old and plagued with numerous bugs. It is recommended to install a more recent version from either Homebrew or MacPorts:


$ brew install erlang git make

Homebrew installs GNU Make as gmake. The make command is the one provided by Apple.


$ sudo port install erlang git gmake

Parallel builds may require the program flock which can be installed via Homebrew or manually. The instructions to install are available from its repository:

1.2. On Windows can be used on Windows inside an MSYS2 environment. Cygwin, MSYS (the original) and native Windows (both Batch and PowerShell) are currently not supported.

Note expects Unix line breaks in most of the files (LF instead of CRLF). Make sure to configure your text editor adequately.

The rest of this section details how to setup Erlang/OTP and MSYS2 in order to use

1.2.1. Installing Erlang/OTP requires Erlang/OTP to be installed. The OTP team provides binaries of Erlang/OTP for all major and minor releases, available from the official download page. It is recommended that you use the 64-bit installer unless technically impossible. Please follow the instructions from the installer to complete the installation.

The OTP team also provides a short guide to installing Erlang/OTP on Windows if you need additional references.

You can install Erlang/OTP silently using the /S switch on the command line:

C:\Users\essen\Downloads> otp_win64_18.0.exe /S

1.2.2. Installing MSYS2

The only supported environment on Windows is MSYS2. MSYS2 is a lightweight Unix-like environment for Windows that comes with the Arch Linux package manager, pacman.

The MSYS2 project provides a one click installer and instructions to set things up post-installation.

It is currently not possible to use the installer silently. Thankfully, the MSYS2 project provides an archive that can be used in lieu of the installer. The archive however requires 7zip to decompress it.

First, download the MSYS2 base archive and extract it under C:\. Assuming you downloaded the archive as msys2.tar.xz and put it in C:\, you can use the following commands to extract it:

C:\> 7z x msys2.tar.xz
C:\> 7z x msys2.tar > NUL

Then you can run the two commands needed to perform the post-installation setup:

C:\> C:\msys64\usr\bin\bash -lc "pacman --needed --noconfirm -Sy bash pacman pacman-mirrors msys2-runtime"
C:\> C:\msys64\usr\bin\bash -lc "pacman --noconfirm -Syu"

1.2.3. Installing the required MSYS2 packages

After following these instructions, you can install GNU Make, Git and any other required software. From an MSYS2 shell, you can call pacman directly:

$ pacman -S git make

You can use pacman -Ss to search packages. For example, to find all packages related to GCC:

$ pacman -Ss gcc

If you are going to compile C/C++ code, you will need to install this package, as cannot use the normal "gcc" package:

$ pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc

You can also run commands under the MSYS2 environment from the Windows command line or batch files. This command will install GNU Make and Git:

C:\> C:\msys64\usr\bin\bash -lc "pacman --noconfirm -S git make"

You can use similar bash commands if you need to run programs inside the MSYS2 environment from a batch file.

1.2.4. Gotchas

While most of the basic functionality will just work, there are still some issues. needs to be fixed to pass the right paths when running Erlang scripts. We are working on it. is fully tested on both Linux and Windows, but is lacking tests in the areas not yet covered by this guide, so expect bugs to be fixed as more tests are added.