Drake Development on OS X

This page contains information that may be useful to people developing in OS X.

Note that the applications, tools, and libraries listed below are simply those that some have found useful. They should not be interpreted as mandatory.


pygame is used by drake/automotive/steering_command_driver.py.

Install Mercurial:

brew install mercurial

Install pygame:

pip install hg+http://bitbucket.org/pygame/pygame

Ensure your PYTHONPATH environment variable includes Drake’s site-package and dist-packages directories:

export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:[DRAKE_ROOT]/build/lib/python2.7/site-packages:[DRAKE_ROOT]/build/lib/python2.7/dist-packages

git Tools


The version of git that comes with OS X may not include gitk, a GUI-based git repository browser. A workaround is to get a newer version using brew:

brew update brew install git

If gitk does not start with an unknown color name "lime" error, upgrade your version of Tcl/Tk:

brew cask install tcl


  1. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/34637896/gitk-will-not-start-on-mac-unknown-color-name-lime
  2. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/17582685/install-gitk-on-mac


SourceTree is a free git and mercurial client for Windows and Mac made by Atlassian.

(Notes comming soon)


A few of us have used the xcode tool “Instruments” (which should already be installed on your system) with considerable success, but we do not have much experience with it yet.