This guide is for users intending to develop CockroachDB. To USE CockroachDB consult these docs instead:

This is a guide for getting productive to code on CockroachDB on OS X / macOS. This assumes a blank machine / nothing is installed.

This guide will assume you are planning to develop with Bazel, which is the new build system for Cockroach. make is currently deprecated but if the version of cockroach you’re building is v21.2 or earlier you will probably want to use make. In that case, see the “Building with make” section below.

  1. Install homebrew.

  2. Install XCode Command Line Tools, using

    1 xcode-select --install
  3. Install XCode from the Mac App store and open it at least once so the developer tools can initialize. This will take a while. After installing, switch to the active developer directory:

    1 sudo xcode-select -switch /Applications/ && sudo xcodebuild -license accept
  4. Install the following brew packages:

    1 brew install git autoconf cmake bazelisk make gpatch
  5. OS X ships with a git, but it's old. Once you install git via brew, relaunch your terminal to make sure your git version is up to date. You can confirm this by comparing the output of

    1 which git

    to the output of

    1 echo $(brew --prefix)/bin/git

    If they match, you're using brew's git! You also need to use brew’s make. brew installs make in a special directory, so you need to update your PATH to look for it. On MacOS, you will need to add the following line to either ~/.zshrc, ~/.bashrc, or ~/.bash_profile depending on which shell you use.

    1 export PATH="$(brew --prefix)/opt/make/libexec/gnubin:$PATH"

    Restart your shell, and confirm this directory is being used.

    1 which make
  6. Install Go. (Note this is not technically a requirement if all you want to do is run builds and tests via Bazel, but generally you will also want to have a toolchain installed for development.) Options include:

    1. Official installer via clicking (don't do this)

    2. Official installer via brew install --cask go (it's ok)

    3. homebrew via brew install go (it's ok)

    4. from source (you already know what you're doing, right?)

  7. Clone the repo using git and navigate into it

    1 2 3 4 mkdir -p $(go env GOPATH)/src/ cd $(go env GOPATH)/src/ git clone cd cockroach
  8. Add your fork as a remote (assuming you forked cockroach on GitHub)
    git remote add yourgithubusername

  9. You should be good to start developing. Begin by running ./dev doctor and following its suggestions to configure your workspace. When the doctor says you’re ready, you can run ./dev build to build the Cockroach binary, or ./dev build short to build the same Cockroach binary without the DB Console, which is faster to compile. See the Developing with Bazel Wiki page for more info.


These steps are only necessary if you wish to cross-compile, which requires Docker on macOS.

  1. Ensure you have Docker installed.

    1 brew install --cask docker
  2. Start the docker app in the usual fashion.

Building with make

If you wish to build with make, you should follow all the steps above, plus the following:

  1. Install the necessary packages.

    1 brew install node@16 yarn ccache

ccache is not strictly necessary but will speed up C/C++ compilation when switching branches. node and yarn are dependencies the Bazel build will download for you but you need to have them installed globally when building with make.

Copyright (C) Cockroach Labs.
Attention: This documentation is provided on an "as is" basis, without warranties or conditions of any kind, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of title, non-infringement, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose.