This is the fastest, most current, way of installing CouchDB from source on a Mac, along with all dependencies. It tracks releases with only a short delay. And it's easy to install too.

Changes in XCode

Apple now provides a stand-alone (command-line) build chain, which successfully builds CouchDB and required dependencies, or you can use XCode 4.2 and below directly. Users of a current XCode >= 4.3 will need to install the additional command-line tools below.

brew tap homebrew/dupes
brew install apple-gcc42

If you've brewed CouchDB before

It is recommended to keep your homebrew dependencies up to date with CouchDB, particularly if you are running Lion. Re-installing Erlang *will* take some time to compile, but ensures you have the most stable, fastest Erlang available. And as a bonus it producer error messages with line numbers!

brew remove --force openssl erlang couchdb icu4c spidermonkey nspr

Let's get brewing!

brew update
brew outdated

brew rm --force erlang
cd /usr/local
git checkout 168742f Library/Formula/erlang.rb

brew install erlang
brew install couchdb

brew install [--devel|--head] couchdb

Note: OS X Lion might hang on the final make. See the thread at https://github.com/mxcl/homebrew/issues/7024 it seems in most cases to be resolved by breaking out with CTRL-C and then repeating with brew install -v couchdb.

If you wish to have CouchDB run as a daemon then, set up the account, using the "User & Groups" preference pane:

Using a terminal, set permissions as follows:

sudo chown -R couchdb:couchdb $RELAX/etc/couchdb $RELAX/var/lib/couchdb $RELAX/var/run/couchdb $RELAX/var/log/couchdb
sudo chmod -R 770 $RELAX/etc/couchdb $RELAX/var/lib/couchdb $RELAX/var/run/couchdb $RELAX/var/log/couchdb
sudo find -X $RELAX/etc/couchdb $RELAX/var/lib/couchdb $RELAX/var/run/couchdb $RELAX/var/log/couchdb -type f | sudo xargs chmod 660

Finally, you can setup and start/stop CouchDB daemon using these terminal aliases:

sudo cp $RELAX/Cellar/couchdb/1.2.1/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.couchdb.plist /Library/LaunchDaemons/
restart_couch='/usr/bin/sudo launchctl stop org.apache.couchdb'
start_couch='/usr/bin/sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.couchdb.plist'
stop_couch='/usr/bin/sudo launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.couchdb.plist'

Installing only the dependencies

Developers may wish to build CouchDB from source, rather than use the brewed version. In this case you can use homebrew to install the dependencies as follows:

brew remove --force openssl erlang couchdb icu4c spidermonkey nspr
brew install erlang --no-docs
brew install `brew deps couchdb | grep -v couch`
brew link icu4c

Now you can clone the CouchDB repo, and begin hacking - see a typical build process below.


The CouchDB team recommends HomeBrew but MacPorts works fine as well.

To install CouchDB using MacPorts you have 2 package choices:

$ sudo port install couchdb

should be enough. MacPorts takes care of installing all necessary dependencies. If you have already installed some of the CouchDB dependencies via MacPorts, run this command to check and upgrade any outdated ones, after installing CouchDB:

$ sudo port upgrade couchdb

This will upgrade dependencies recursively, if there are more recent versions available. If you want to run CouchDB as a service controlled by the OS, load the launchd configuration which comes with the project, with this command:

$ sudo port load couchdb

and it should be up and accessible via Futon at It should also be restarted automatically after reboot.

Updating the ports collection. The collection of port files has to be updated to reflect the latest versions of available packages. In order to do that run:

$ sudo port selfupdate

to update the port tree, and then install just as explained.

Typical build process of a CouchDB developer build

$ git clone http://git.apache.org/couchdb.git
$ cd couchdb && git checkout <release-tag>
$ ./bootstrap && ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install

Installing from source on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Here is a recipe to install CouchDB from source on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard with needed dependencies.

1. Install ICU

$ curl -O http://download.icu-project.org/files/icu4c/4.2.1/icu4c-4_2_1-src.tgz
$ tar xvzf icu4c-4_2_1-src.tgz
$ cd icu/source
$ ./runConfigureICU MacOSX --with-library-bits=64 --disable-samples --enable-static # if this fails for you try: ./configure --enable-64bit-libs
$ make
$ sudo make install

I couldn't get the above to work on 64bit Snow Leopard 10.6.3, but I did find a fix for the configure file that will make it compile in 64bit correctly.

- *-arch*ppc*|*-arch*i386*|*-arch*x86_64*) ac_cv_c_bigendian=universal;;
+ *-arch*ppc*) ac_cv_c_bigendian=yes;;

find the first line with the - in configure and replace it with the second line with the + in the ICU 4.4.1 release this line is at 8002, if Erlang is compiled with 64bit and you patch the ICU configure to compile in 64bit then CouchDB will build and run correctly on 64bit OSX 10.6.x

2. Install SpiderMonkey

We need jsprf patch from the MacPorts project to install SpiderMonkey.

$ curl -O http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/js/js-1.7.0.tar.gz
$ curl -O http://svn.macports.org/repository/macports/trunk/dports/lang/spidermonkey/files/patch-jsprf.c
$ tar xvzf js-1.7.0.tar.gz
$ cd js/src
$ patch -p0 -i ../../patch-jsprf.c
$ make -f Makefile.ref
$ sudo su
$ JS_DIST=/usr/local/spidermonkey make -f Makefile.ref export
$ exit
$ sudo ranlib /usr/local/spidermonkey/lib/libjs.a

NOTE: You may receive the following warning. You should be safe to ignore it and proceed with the instructions.

ranlib: file: /usr/local/spidermonkey/lib/libjs.a(jslock.o) has no symbols


add to your .profile this line :

export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=$DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/local/spidermonkey/lib

then reload your env :

$ . ~/.profile


Not using DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH means that you don't need to worry about setting the environment for other users (ie, the couchdb user or root). Also, it avoids the need to tell the CouchDB ./configure script where to find spidermonkey.

$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/spidermonkey/include /usr/local/include/js
$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/spidermonkey/lib/libjs.dylib /usr/local/lib/libjs.dylib
# If you're feeling saucey, the js shell can be useful for quick syntax checking and the like.
$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/spidermonkey/bin/js /usr/local/bin/js

3. Install Erlang R13B01

$ curl -O http://erlang.org/download/otp_src_R13B01.tar.gz
$ tar xvzf otp_src_R13B01.tar.gz
$ cd otp_src_R13B01/
$ ./configure --enable-smp-support --enable-dynamic-ssl-lib --enable-kernel-poll --enable-darwin-64bit
$ make
$ sudo make install

4. Building CouchDB:

We will install it from the trunk, but installation from released source should work

$ git clone http://git.apache.org/couchdb.git
$ cd couchdb && git checkout <release-tag>
$ ./bootstrap && ./configure --with-js-include=/usr/local/spidermonkey/include --with-js-lib=/usr/local/spidermonkey/lib
$ make


If you avoided using DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH when installing spidermonkey, you won't need to use the --with-js-[include|lib] flags.

5. Running

If you want to install run make install . For developement use do :

$ make dev
$ ./utils/run

Installing_on_OSX (last edited 2013-07-02 17:58:36 by 147)