Build curl and libcurl

The source code for this project is written in a way that allows it to be compiled and built on just about any operating system and platform, with as few restraints and requirements as possible.

If you have a 32bit (or larger) CPU architecture, if you have a C89 compliant compiler and if you have roughly a POSIX supporting sockets API, then you can most likely build curl and libcurl for your target system.

For the most popular platforms, the curl project comes with build systems already done and prepared to allow you to easily build it yourself.

There are also friendly people and organizations who put together binary packages of curl and libcurl and make them available for download. The different options are explored below.

The latest version?

Looking at the curl website, you can see the latest curl and libcurl version released from the project. That is the latest source code release package you can get.

When you opt for a prebuilt and prepackaged version for your operating system or distribution of choice, you may not always find the latest version but you might have to either be satisfied with the latest version someone has packaged for your environment, or you need to build it yourself from source.

The curl project also provides info about the latest version in a somewhat more machine-readable format on this URL:

Releases source code

The curl project creates source code that can be built to produce the two products curl and libcurl. The conversion from source code to binaries is often referred to as "building". You build curl and libcurl from source.

The curl project does not provide any built binaries at all — it only ships the source code. The binaries which can be found on the download page of the curl web and installed from other places on the Internet are all built and provided to the world by other friendly people and organizations.

The source code consists of a large number of files containing C code. Generally speaking, the same set of files are used to build binaries for all platforms and computer architectures that curl supports. curl can be built and run on a vast number of platforms. If you use a rare operating system yourself, chances are that building curl from source is the easiest or perhaps the only way to get curl.

Making it easy to build curl is a priority to the curl project, although we do not always necessarily succeed.

git vs release tarballs

When release tarballs are created, a few files are generated and included in the final release bundle. Those generated files are not present in the git repository, because they are generated and there is no need to store them in git.

Of course, you can also opt to build the latest version that exists in the git repository. It could however be a bit more fragile and probably requires slightly more attention to detail.

If you build curl from a git checkout, you need to generate some files yourself before you can build. On Linux and Unix-like systems, do this by running autoreconf -fi and on Windows, run buildconf.bat.

On Linux and Unix-like systems

There are two distinctly different ways to build curl on Linux and other Unix-like systems; there is the one using the configure script and there is the CMake approach.

There are two different build environments to cater to people's different opinions and tastes. The configure-based build is arguably the more mature and more encompassing build system and should probably be considered the default one.

On Windows

On Windows there are at least four different ways to build. The above mentioned ways, the CMake approach and using configure with msys work, but the more popular and common methods are probably building with Microsoft's Visual Studio compiler using either nmake or project files. See the build on windows section.

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