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.


Install Homebrew, and install build dependencies.

brew install git wget cmake autoconf automake libtool jq


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

Install MSYS2 and launch the MinGW 64-bit shell from the Start menu, not the default MSYS shell.

pacman -Syu

Then restart the shell.

pacman -Su git wget make tar unzip zip mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc mingw-w64-x86_64-gdb mingw-w64-x86_64-cmake autoconf automake mingw-w64-x86_64-libtool mingw-w64-x86_64-jq


On Ubuntu 18.04+:

sudo apt install git gdb curl cmake libx11-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libxrandr-dev libxinerama-dev libxcursor-dev libxi-dev zlib1g-dev libasound2-dev libgtk2.0-dev libjack-jackd2-dev jq

On Arch Linux:

pacman -S git wget gcc gdb make cmake tar unzip zip curl jq

Building Rack

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

If the build fails for you, please report the issue to help the portability of Rack.

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

Plugins can be built in two ways:

  • Build Rack from source and build plugins in the plugins/ directory.
  • Download a build of Rack and the Rack SDK, and build plugins anywhere you like.

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

git clone

Clone the git repo’s submodules.

cd Fundamental
git submodule update --init --recursive

Build the plugin.

make dep

If using the Rack SDK, specify its location with

RACK_DIR=<Rack SDK dir> make dep
RACK_DIR=<Rack SDK dir> make

To build, package, and install plugins to your Rack user directory in one step, run

make install