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Instructions for installing Nelua on Windows or Linux.

To install Nelua you need a system with the following:

  • Git (for cloning Nelua)
  • A C compiler (GCC or Clang are recommended)
  • Build tools (such as make)
  • GDB debugger (in case you want to debug runtime errors)


Use your system’s package manager to install all of the required tools first:

For example, on Ubuntu you should do:

sudo apt-get install build-essential git gcc gdb

While on ArchLinux, you should do:

sudo pacman -S base-devel git gcc gdb


First make sure you have installed brew, then run:

brew install gcc gdb git make


MSYS2 is the recommended and supported environment to use Nelua on Windows. Although you could use other tools, MSYS2 makes using Nelua very easy on Windows, plus there are many useful C packages on MSYS2 that you can install with ease, such as SDL2.

Download and install MSYS2. After installing open the 64 bit terminal, that is, msys64, and update:

pacman -Syu

You may need close and reopen the terminal and update a second time using the same command.

Now install all the required tools:

pacman -S base-devel git mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc gdb

Clone and Install

Now you can clone the project and compile:

git clone https://github.com/edubart/nelua-lang.git && cd nelua-lang

Now install in your system:

sudo make install

On Linux this will install in /usr/local by default, you could install it somewhere else using the PREFIX argument. For example, suppose you want to install in your home directory, then you could use make install PREFIX=/home/user/nelua and the Nelua compiler would be available at /home/user/nelua/bin/nelua.

Alternatively, if you want to run Nelua directly from the cloned repository, then you have the following options:

  • You could add the cloned nelua-lang directory to your PATH environment variable, then the nelua command will become available in your terminal.
  • You could create symbolic links to ./nelua and ./nelua-lua in one directory of your PATH environment variable.
  • You could run the ./nelua file directly.

Proceed to the testing section.


Nelua should be installed. Run nelua -h in your terminal to check if it is working. If doesn’t work, your environment PATH variable is missing the bin folder of the Nelua installation. Add it or find and execute the full path to the installed Nelua compiler to use it.

Run the hello world example:

nelua examples/helloworld.nelua

You can run any file in the examples or tests directories, play with them to test or to learn how to code in Nelua.

The most interesting examples are perhaps the graphical ones, such as snakesdl.nelua and condots.nelua.

To run the Snake SDL game demo, for example, you will need to have the SDL2 library installed. Install it using your system’s package manager and run the example:

# install SDL2 on MSYS2
pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-SDL2
# install SDL2 on Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install libsdl2-dev
# run it
nelua examples/snakesdl.nelua

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