Building Allegro 4.4 with CMake

CMake is a cross-platform tool that can generate native makefiles and workspaces that can be used in the compiler environment of your choice. Allegro 4.4 uses CMake as its build system. The process is essentially the same for all compilers. You will need CMake 2.6 or later. The CMake web site is

  1. Create a temporary directory to build in. This is optional but recommended. If something goes wrong you can delete the build directory and try again.

    $ mkdir Build

    $ cd Build

  2. Run CMake in the build directory. This will detect your compiler environment and generate makefiles or workspaces for you. You may pass some options to customise the build (see later), but the defaults should be fine. You may need to tell CMake which type of files it should generate, using the -G option.

    Examples (you only need one):

    $ cmake ..

    $ cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" ..

    On Unix/Mac you can use `ccmake` which will present you with a console program to adjust the options. On Windows you can use `cmake-gui` instead (it should be listed in the Start menu or on the desktop).

    If you are missing any dependencies, CMake will tell you at this point. You can continue without building all of the addons, or install the dependencies and retry. You may need to delete the `CMakeCache.txt` file first.

  3. Use the generated makefiles or workspaces to build Allegro. If using makefiles, type `make` or `mingw32-make`. If using workspaces, open them in your IDE. If using Xcode, you can use `xcodebuild` from the command-line or the IDE.

  4. Optionally install the libraries and header files to your system.

    $ make install

    DESTDIR is supported, e.g.

    $ make install DESTDIR=/tmp/package-allegro

Build options

Here are some build options you may be interested in. You can set them on the command line like so, or using one of the front ends:

$ cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ..

CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE (default: RelWithDebInfo)
Selects release, debug or profiling configurations. Valid values are: Release, Debug, RelWithDebInfo, MinSizeRel, Profile.

If you are installing multiple configurations in a row, we recommend installing the Release or RelWithDebInfo configuration last, so that the installed allegro-config script will default to that configuration.

SHARED (default: on)
Whether to build the main Allegro library as a shared library (DLL) or as a static library. Addon libraries are always built as static libraries, for simplicity.

CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX (e.g. /usr/local)
Where to install the library and header files.

WANT_<addon> (default: on)
Whether you want to build/install each particular addon.

WANT_FRAMEWORKS (default: off)
On Mac OS X, whether to build and install frameworks instead of Unix-style shared libraries.

If you want both kinds, you will need to run cmake twice and install twice.

WANT_EMBED (default: on)
If building frameworks, whether to build embedded or non-embedded frameworks. An application bundle that links against an embedded framework will first search for the framework within the application bundle, then fall back to system paths.

Where to install frameworks.

You may set this to a semicolon-separated list of the architectures to compile for, to produce universal binaries, e.g. "i386;ppc".


Many of the addons make use of additional libraries. They are not required to build Allegro, but functionality may be disabled if they are not present.

Windows users may find some precompiled binaries from You need to get the bin and lib packages. The bin packages contain DLLs, and the lib packages contain the headers and import libraries.

Mac users may find some dependencies in Fink or MacPorts. and

Linux users likely have all the dependencies already. If your distribution uses separate development packages, they will need to be installed. The packages are probably named *-dev or *-devel.

Platform-specific information

Please see the other files in the docs/build directory for additional information specific to each platform.