Building Gnuplot on Mac OSX

Published at 09:22 on 20 May 2015

There’s not much out there on how to do it, and what’s there is either flat-out incorrect (fails to produce a binary that’s actually useful for anything, because it can’t directly display data on the Mac) or needlessly painful (involves things like MacPorts which end up needlessly bloating your computer by building most of the open source Linux universe first).

  1. Download and install the latest version of AquaTerm, available here.
  2. Download the most recent production version of the source for Gnuplot, available here.
  3. Type the following commands to build and install Gnuplot:
    ./configure --with-readline=builtin --with-aquaterm
    sudo make install

Note the two options to configure. The built-in readline library in many MacOS releases is buggy and makes things crash, and the configure script is too stupid to automatically realize that Aqua Term is present. The hard part about building Gnuplot on the Mac is building a binary that’s actually useful; the configure script will by default merrily create a configuration which will crash on loading or cannot actually directly display anything on the Mac screen.

At least, this worked for me. I’d be interested in hearing whether or not it works for you.

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