Setting up your development environment

Before building Rack or Rack plugins, you must install build dependencies provided by your system’s package manager. Rack’s own dependencies (GLEW, glfw, etc) do not need to be installed on your system, since specific versions are compiled locally during the build process. However, you need proper tools to build Rack and these dependencies.


If you have an anti-virus program running, disable it or it may interfere with the build process or make builds very slow.

Install MSYS2 and launch the MinGW 64-bit shell from the Start menu, not the default MSYS shell. Update the package manager itself:

pacman -Syu

Then restart the shell and install packages.

pacman -Syu git wget make tar unzip zip mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc mingw-w64-x86_64-gdb mingw-w64-x86_64-cmake autoconf automake libtool mingw-w64-x86_64-jq python zstd mingw-w64-x86_64-pkgconf


Install Homebrew, and install build dependencies.

brew install git wget cmake autoconf automake libtool jq python zstd pkg-config


On Ubuntu 16.04+:

sudo apt install unzip git gdb curl cmake libx11-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libxrandr-dev libxinerama-dev libxcursor-dev libxi-dev zlib1g-dev libasound2-dev libgtk2.0-dev libgtk-3-dev libjack-jackd2-dev jq zstd libpulse-dev pkg-config

On Arch Linux:

pacman -S git wget gcc gdb make cmake tar unzip zip curl jq python zstd libpulse pkgconf

Building Rack

You do not need to build Rack to build plugins if you use the Rack SDK.

Clone this repository with git clone and cd Rack. Make sure there are no spaces in your absolute path, since this breaks the Makefile-based build system.

Clone submodules.

git submodule update --init --recursive

Build dependencies locally. You may add -j4 (or your number of logical cores) to your make commands to parallelize builds. This may take 15-60 minutes.

make dep

Build Rack. This may take 1-5 minutes.


Run Rack.

make run

Building Rack plugins

Complete the Setting up your development environment section.

Plugins can be built in two ways:

Download or clone the plugin source code, e.g.

git clone

Clone the git repo’s submodules.

cd Fundamental
git submodule update --init --recursive

If using the Rack SDK, unzip it and set the RACK_DIR environment variable by running export RACK_DIR=<Rack SDK dir>.

Build plugin dependencies. (Most plugins don’t require this step.)

make dep

Build the plugin.


Create the distributable plugin package.

make dist

Your package is created at dist/<slug>-<version>-<os>-<cpu>.vcvplugin.

Or you may build, package, and install plugins to your Rack user folder in one step.

make install