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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).

Installing on Linux

Use your system package manager to install all the required tools first, then clone, compile the dependencies and install using make.

For example in Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install build-essential git gcc gdb
git clone https://github.com/edubart/nelua-lang.git && cd nelua-lang
sudo make install

This will install in /usr/local by default, you can install somewhere else using the PREFIX argument, for example suppose you want to install in your home then use sudo make install PREFIX=~/nelua and Nelua compiler will be available at ~/nelua/bin/nelua.

Alternatively you can just run the nelua.sh file to run directly if you do not wish to install anywhere on your system.

Proceed to the testing section.

Installing on Windows

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 could use install with ease like SDL2.

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

pacman -Syu

You may need open again the terminal and update a second time using the same command.

Now install all the required tools first, then clone, compile the dependencies and install using make.

pacman -S base-devel git mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain gdb
git clone https://github.com/edubart/nelua-lang.git && cd nelua-lang
make install

Proceed to the testing section.

Installing with LuaRocks

If you already have a LuaRocks installation you could install Nelua with it. Although this is not recommended, because it won’t use the bundled Lua’s interpreter from Nelua, thus you will have worse compile speeds and if your system does not have Lua 5.3+ yet it won’t work. Also trying this on Windows is not recommend because getting LuaRocks to work there is troublesome.

With a proper LuaRocks setup do:

luarocks install https://raw.githubusercontent.com/edubart/nelua-lang/master/rockspecs/nelua-dev-1.rockspec

After installing Nelua should be available in the LuaRocks binary path ready to be run.

Proceed to the testing section.


Nelua should be installed, run nelua -h in terminal check if its working. If doesn’t work your environment PATH variable is missing the bin folder to Nelua installation, then fix 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 examples or tests directory, play with them test or to learn how to code in Nelua.

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

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

# 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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