Building Tomcat from source on MacOS can require some additional work, especially if you want to build all of the optional items such as libtcnative.

Building Tomcat

Building Tomcat itself is fairly straightforward. Simply download the source distribution of Tomcat and follow the instructions in the BUILDING.txt file bundled with the distribution.

Briefly, you'll need:

  1. The Tomcat source tarball (the ZIP file is fine, but we're on UNIX, so the tarball is more natural)
  2. A Java Development Kit, available from

  3. Apache ant, available from the Apache ant downloads page

Once you have all that,

You may have to set your JAVA_HOME environment variable and/or specify the full path to your ant binary.

Building libtcnative

Building libtcnative it fairly straightforward as well, but you will need a number of prerequisites that are not terribly obvious as to how to get them.

  1. Xcode command-line tools, available from Apple's developer tools download site. Make sure you get the proper version for your XCode version (if you have XCode already installed) and your OS version (10.x)

  2. Apache Portal Runtime (APR), available either directly from Apache (APR downloads) or by using (brew install apr)

  3. (Optional) OpenSSL 1.1.1 (latest at the time of this writing), available either directly from OpenSSL ([[|OpenSSL Downloads]]) or by using brew ({{{brew install openssl1

Download and unpack the libtcnative sources:

Using OpenSSL

If using OpenSSL:

For example:

Without OpenSSL (LibreSSL)

If not using OpenSSL:

In either case (OpenSSL or not), proceed with the build process:

Once this process has completed, your built libraries can be found in .libs/.

Installing libtcnative

While you can set ld.library.path to include libraries from all over the place, I recommend that you copy everything into one place so you can easily find everything and it won't interfere with anything else on your system.

First, copy the libtcnative binaries from where they were built:

Next, copy the APR libraries:

Finally, if you are using a custom OpenSSL build, copy those libraries as well:

Running Tomcat with libtcnative

Tomcat (really Java) needs to know where to find these native libraries. We do that by setting the java.library.path environment variable for the JVM during startup. The easiest way to do this is by setting CATALINA_OPTS on startup. This can be done by adding this line to bin/

Then you can startup Tomcat as usual, either:


Building Tomcat on MacOS (last edited 2018-11-06 15:01:03 by ChristopherSchultz)