Alex Pearce

ROOT on OS X 10.11 El Capitan

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I’ve written some lengthy guides on installing ROOT, firstly for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and then for OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

They were long because the install process with CMake could be convoluted, requiring several dependencies that are occasionally non-obvious. These days, though, things are extremely simple.


Homebrew is a software management program for OS X. A large group of volunteers maintains a set of so-called formula, recipes that tell your Mac how to build pieces of software.

If you don’t already have Homebrew installed, I highly recommend it. It makes it extremely easy to install software and to keep it up-to-date. To install CMake, for example, you would do:

$ brew install cmake

In addition to the standard repository of formula, which includes formula for programs like CMake and git, there’s a repository dedicated to programs used for science, called Homebrew Science. This repository contains formula for ROOT 5 and ROOT 6.


By default, brew only knows about the standard repository of formula, so first add the Homebrew Science collection.

$ brew tap homebrew/science

Now we can install ROOT. We’ll go with ROOT 6 here, the latest version.

$ brew install root6

That was easy!

You’ll notice that Homebrew gives you some instructions after you’ve run the installation. You can look at these instructions whenever you like.

$ brew info root6

This tells you to add a line to your shell configuration. For the Bash shell, you can add these lines to the .bashrc file in your home directory:

. $(brew --prefix root6)/libexec/

Open a new shell and try it out by running root.