Installing Erlang on Mac OS X

The following instructions are for installing Erlang on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

Dan Benjamin has commented on the benefits of installing from source and using /usr/local and his postings can be found here and here.

Before starting be sure that the Xcode Tools have been installed. They can either be installed from the OS X installation disc or found here.

Set the PATH

First, launch the Terminal program found in /Applications/Utilities. The PATH tells the Terminal where to find the applications that are about to be installed.

The PATH variable determines where your system searches for command-line programs. You’ll need to set it so that it can find the new apps you’re about to install.

Dan Benjamin

If you are using Textmate you can use the following command. If you are not using Textmate, open the same file (~/.profile) in your editor of choice.

$ mate ~/.profile

The following line needs to be added to the end of the file.

$ export PATH="/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:$PATH"

After saving the file, return to Terminal and run the following command:

$ source ~/.profile


First we need a place that we can download and compile Erlang. Once the installation is complete the folder can be deleted.

Make the folder:

$ mkdir ~/src && cd ~/src

Download Erlang:

$ curl -O
$ tar -xzf otp_src_R13B03.tar.gz
$ cd otp_src_R13B03

Compile and Install

$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local  \
$             --enable-kernel-poll \
$             --enable--threads    \
$             --enable-smp-support \
$             --enable-hipe        \
$             --enable-m64-build
$ make
$ sudo make install


You should now be able to run and compile Erlang programs. Try the following to ensure that everything is working:

$ erl
Erlang R13B03 (erts-5.7.4) [source] [smp:2:2] [rq:2] [async-threads:0] [kernel-poll:false]

Eshell V5.7.4  (abort with ^G)

A prompt should appear telling you that you are in the Eshell. If everything worked, then the installed worked.

To quit the prompt type:


Clean Up

Now you can go ahead an remove the directory that we created at the start to hold the source code and compile it.

$ cd ~/
$ rm -rf ~/src