Solarian Programmer

My programming ramblings

Building Lua 5.3 on macOS

Posted on January 12, 2013 by Paul

Updated 7 October 2017

If you want to build yourself the latest Lua on macOS there is a simple recipe for this:

  • Start by downloading the Lua source code from
  • Extract the archive (I did this in my Downloads folder).
  • Open a Terminal and navigate to the Lua source code:
1 cd Downloads
2 cd lua-*
  • Decide where you want to install Lua on your system, the default is /usr/local. My recommendation is to install Lua in /usr/local/lua-5.3.
  • Build and install Lua:
1 sudo make macosx install INSTALL_TOP=/usr/local/lua-5.3

In order to be able to use Lua, we’ll need to add the interpreter to our system path, paste the next line in a Terminal:

1 export PATH=/usr/local/lua-5.3/bin:$PATH

If you want to permanently add Lua to your path, use:

1 cd ~
2 echo 'export PATH=/usr/local/lua-5.3/bin:$PATH' >> .bash_profile
3 source .bash_profile

Start the interpreter by writing in the Terminal:

1 lua

Try some Lua expressions in the interpreter:

1 print("Hello World")
2 a = 10
3 b = 25
4 print("a + b =", a + b)

You can permanently add Lua to your system path by saving the above export line at the end of your .bash_profile file.

If you are interested in learning Lua, I would recommend reading Programming in Lua by Roberto Ierusalimschy:

Show Comments