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Protocol Buffers - Google's data interchange format

Copyright 2008 Google Inc.

CMake Installation

To compile or install protobuf from source using CMake, see cmake/

C++ Protobuf - Unix

To build protobuf from source, the following tools are needed:

  • bazel
  • git
  • g++

On Ubuntu/Debian, for example, you can install them with:

sudo apt-get install g++ git bazel

On other platforms, please use the corresponding package managing tool to install them before proceeding. See for further instructions on installing Bazel, or to build from source using CMake, see cmake/

To get the source, download the release .tar.gz or .zip package in the release page:

For example: if you only need C++, download protobuf-cpp-[VERSION].tar.gz; if you need C++ and Java, download protobuf-java-[VERSION].tar.gz (every package contains C++ source already); if you need C++ and multiple other languages, download protobuf-all-[VERSION].tar.gz.

You can also get the source by “git clone” our git repository. Make sure you have also cloned the submodules and generated the configure script (skip this if you are using a release .tar.gz or .zip package):

git clone
cd protobuf
git submodule update --init --recursive

To build the C++ Protocol Buffer runtime and the Protocol Buffer compiler (protoc) execute the following:

bazel build :protoc :protobuf

The compiler can then be installed, for example on Linux:

cp bazel-bin/protoc /usr/local/bin

For more usage information on Bazel, please refer to

Compiling dependent packages

To compile a package that uses Protocol Buffers, you need to setup a Bazel WORKSPACE that's hooked up to the protobuf repository and loads its dependencies. For an example, see WORKSPACE.

Note for Mac users

For a Mac system, Unix tools are not available by default. You will first need to install Xcode from the Mac AppStore and then run the following command from a terminal:

sudo xcode-select --install

To install Unix tools, you can install “port” following the instructions at . This will reside in /opt/local/bin/port for most Mac installations.

sudo /opt/local/bin/port install bazel

Alternative for Homebrew users:

brew install bazel

Then follow the Unix instructions above.

C++ Protobuf - Windows

If you only need the protoc binary, you can download it from the release page:

In the downloads section, download the zip file protoc-$ It contains the protoc binary as well as public proto files of protobuf library.

Protobuf and its dependencies can be installed directly by using vcpkg:

>vcpkg install protobuf protobuf:x64-windows

If zlib support is desired, you'll also need to install the zlib feature:

>vcpkg install protobuf[zlib] protobuf[zlib]:x64-windows

See for more information.

To build from source using Microsoft Visual C++, see cmake/

To build from source using Cygwin or MinGW, follow the Unix installation instructions, above.

Binary Compatibility Warning

Due to the nature of C++, it is unlikely that any two versions of the Protocol Buffers C++ runtime libraries will have compatible ABIs. That is, if you linked an executable against an older version of libprotobuf, it is unlikely to work with a newer version without re-compiling. This problem, when it occurs, will normally be detected immediately on startup of your app. Still, you may want to consider using static linkage. You can configure this in your cc_binary Bazel rules by specifying:



The complete documentation for Protocol Buffers is available via the web at: