Chapter 2 How to install C? Environment Setup

C install


Contributed By: Shehrevar Davierwala

You really do not need to set up your own environment to start learning C programming language. Try following example using our online compiler option available at

Local Environment Setup:

If you want to set up your environment for C programming language, you need the following two software tools available on your computer, (a) Text Editor and (b) The C Compiler.

What is a text editor?

This will be used to type your program. Examples of a few editors include Windows Notepad, OS Edit command, Brief, Epsilon, EMACS, and vim or vi.

The name and version of text editors can vary on different operating systems. For example, Notepad will be used on Windows, and vim or vi can be used on Windows as well as on Linux or UNIX.

What is source file?

The files you create with your editor are called the source files and they contain the program source codes. The source files for C programs are typically named with the extension “.c”.

What is C compiler?

The source code written in source file is the human readable source for your program. It needs to be “compiled” into machine language so that your CPU can actually execute the program as per the instructions given.
The compiler compiles the source codes into final executable programs. The most frequently used and free available compiler is the GNU C/C++ compiler, otherwise you can have compilers either from HP or Solaris if you have the respective operating systems.

Installation on UNIX/Linux:

If you are using Linux or UNIX, then check whether GCC is installed on your system by entering the following command from the command line:
$ gcc -v

If you have GNU compiler installed on your machine, then it should print a message as follows:
Using built-in specs.
Target: i386-redhat-linux
Configured with: ../configure –prefix=/usr …….
Thread model: posix
gcc version 4.1.2 20080704 (Red Hat 4.1.2-46)
If GCC is not installed, then you will have to install it yourself.

How to install C for different versions of Linux?

Linux distro such as Ubuntu, Red Hat, Fedora, Debian and other Linux distro you need to install:

  1. GNU C and C++ compiler collection
  2. Development tools
  3. Development libraries
  4. IDE or text editor to write programs

Step #1: Install C/C++ compiler and related tools

If you are using Fedora, Red Hat, CentOS, or Scientific Linux, use the following yum command to install GNU c/c++ compiler:
# yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'
If you are using Debian or Ubuntu Linux, type the following apt-get command to install GNU c/c++ compiler:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install build-essential manpages-dev

Step #2: Verify installation

Type the following command to display the version number and location of the compiler on Linux:
$ whereis gcc
$ which gcc
$ gcc --version


Installation on MAC OS:

If you use Mac OS X, the easiest way to obtain GCC is to download the Xcode development environment from Apple’s web site and follow the simple installation instructions. Once you have Xcode setup, you will be able to use GNU compiler for C/C++.
Xcode is currently available at


Installation on Windows:

To install GCC on Windows, you need to install MinGW.

To install MinGW, go to the MinGW homepage,, and follow the link to the MinGW download page.

Download the latest version of the MinGW installation program, which should be named MinGW-<version>.exe.
While installing MinGW, at a minimum, you must install gcc-core, gcc-g++, binutils, and the MinGW runtime, but you may wish to install more.
Add the bin subdirectory of your MinGW installation to your PATH environment variable, so that you can specify these tools on the command line by their simple names.
After the installation is complete, you will be able to run gcc, g++, ar, ranlib, dlltool, and several other GNU tools from the Windows command line.



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