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awesome-c Awesome

A curated list of C good stuff. This list contains only free software for code, and sellers who aren't evil for physical resources.

LOOKING FOR MAINTAINERS: This list is currently pretty much inactive. I'm looking for maintainers that can make it great again. See #26 for more info, but the process is simple: add or fix a couple of things in this list and you'll become a contributor to a 850+ stars list.

This list was previously maintained by @kozross. He decided to switch the list to a new platform, so I've decided to fork it so we could keep it on GitHub.



Build Systems

These are tools to automate the building and testing of projects in C.

  • aimake - Build tool designed to avoid complex configurations. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • Autoconf - Extensible package of M4 macros that produce shell scripts to automatically configure software source code packages. Part of the Autotools. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • Automake - Tool for automatically generating files compliant with the GNU Coding Standards. Requires the use of Autoconf. Part of the Autotools. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • CMake - Tools for cross-platform building, testing, and packaging. [3-clause BSD]
  • Jam - Build system, designed to be easier than make. Understands C build rules implicitly. [Jam License]
  • Libtool - Generic library support script. Part of the Autotools. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • Meson - Extremely fast, user-friendly build system. Based on Ninja. [Apache2.0]
  • Premake - Build script generator for toolsets like Visual Studio, Xcode, or GNU Make. [3-clause BSD]
  • SCons - An easier, more reliable and faster way to build software. MIT License.


  • Clang - C compiler for LLVM. Supports C11. [NCSA]
  • CompCert - Fully-verified C compiler. Supports almost all of C89. [GNU GPL2.1 or later]
  • GCC - Provides a C compiler as part of its compiler set. Supports C11 and OpenMP. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • PCC - Venerable C compiler. Supports C99. [Various free licenses]
  • TCC - Tiny C Compiler; a small, fast C compiler. Supports C99 (except complex types). [GNU LGPL2.1 only]




This lists databases and data stores with C APIs.

  • BerkeleyDB - Library for a high-performance embedded database for key-value data. [GNU AGPLv3 only]
  • Hiredis - Minimalistic client library for Redis. [3-clause BSD]
  • LMDB - Ultra-fast, ultra-compact key-value embedded data store. [newOpenLDAP]
  • MariaDB - Robust, scalable and reliable SQL server, designed to be a drop-in replacement for MySQL. [3-clause BSD]
  • mongo-c-driver - High-performance client library for MongoDB. [Apache2.0]
  • PostgreSQL - Powerful object-relational database system. [PostgreSQL licence]
  • recutils - Set of tools and a C library for accessing human-editable, plaintext database files called recfiles. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • Redis - Advanced key-value store. [3-clause BSD]
  • sophia - Modern, embeddable key-value database. [FreeBSD]
  • SQLite - Self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine with a C interface. [Public domain]
  • UnQLite - Self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional NoSQL engine with a C interface. [FreeBSD]

Deep Learning

  • Darknet - Open source neural network framework written in C and CUDA. It is fast, easy to install, and supports CPU and GPU computation.

Documentation Generation

  • Cxref - Generates documentation of C programs in either LaTeX, HTML, RTF or SGML. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • DocOnce - Modestly-tagged markup language that can be used to generate a range of formats. [3-clause BSD]
  • Doxygen - The de-facto standard tool for generating C documentation from annotated sources. Can generate a large range of formats. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • GTK-Doc - Tool for generating C documentation from annotated sources. Has support for the Autotools. [GNU GPL2.1 only (code)] or [GNU FDL1.1]


These are specifically fancier, IDE-type editors. If you want a programmer's text editor, look elsewhere. Besides, whatever choice you make most likely supports C anyway.

Embedded Systems

These are projects that allow one to work with microcontrollers and other resource constrained architectures.


A real-time operating system (RTOS) is intended to serve real-time applications that process data with low latency delay.

  • Amazon FreeRTOS - RTOS for microcontrollers that makes small, low-power edge devices easy to program. [MIT]
  • ChibiOS - RTOS with complete development environment (HAL, drivers, support files, and tools). [Various]
  • Contiki - Connect low-cost, low power microcontrollers to the Internet. [3-clause BSD]
  • Zephyr Project - Scalable real-time RTOS supporting multiple hardware architectures, optimized for resource constrained devices. [Apache2.0]


This is a list of technologies designed to bring Windows into the 21st century with respect to support for C.


This section has big libraries that provide data structures and other stuff you expect of a 'modern' standard library.

  • APR - Apache Portable Runtime; another library of cross-platform utility functions. [Apache2.0]
  • C Algorithms - Collection of common algorithms and data structures for C. [ISC]
  • CPL - The Common Pipeline Library; a set of libraries designed to be a comprehensive, efficient and robust software toolkit. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • EFL - Large collection of useful data structures and functions. [Various free licenses]
  • GLib - Library of utility functions and structures, designed to be portable, efficient and powerful. [GNU LGPL2.1 only]
  • GIO - Modern and easy-to-use VFS API. [GNU LGPL2.1 only]
  • GObject - Object-oriented system and object model for C. [GNU LGPL2.1 only]
  • libnih - Lightweight library of C functions and structures. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • libU - Small library of basic utilities, including memory allocation, string manipulation and logging. [3-clause BSD]
  • PBL - Large library of utilities, featuring data structures, among other things. [GNU LGPL2.1 or later (library)] or [GNU GPL2.1 or later (test code)]
  • qlibc - Simple and powerful C library, designed as a replacement for GLib while focusing on being small and light. [qLib license (similar to FreeBSD)]
  • stb - Range of single-file libraries for C. [Public domain]

Game Programming


These are provided as examples of C game programming code.


These are libraries of all sorts that are useful for game programming.

  • Allegro - Cross-platform, video game development and multimedia library. [zlib]
  • Chipmunk2D - Fast and lightweight 2D game physics library. [Expat]
  • CSFML - Binding for SFML in C. [zlib]
  • FreeGLUT - Alternative to the OpenGL Utility Toolkit. Allows the creation and management of windows with OpenGL contexts. [X11]
  • GLFW - Multi-platform library for creating windows with OpenGL contexts. [zlib]
  • libao - Cross-platform audio library with a wide variety of outputs. [GNU GPL2.1 or later]
  • RetroArch - The reference frontend for libretro. [GNU GPL3 only]
  • SDL - Cross-platform library designed to provide low-level access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick and graphics hardware via OpenGL. [zlib]
  • SDL2- Cross-platform development library designed to provide low level access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick, and graphics hardware via OpenGL. This is the most current version. [zlib]
  • raylib - Simple and easy-to-use library to learn videogames programming. zlib

Generic Programming

  • klib - Small and lightweight implementations of common algorithms and data structures. [Expat]


Graphic APIs

  • OpenGL - Industry adopted 2D and 3D graphics API. More resources at awesome-opengl.
  • OpenGL ES - Industry adopted 2D and 3D graphics API for mobile and embedded devices.
  • OpenGL SC - Graphic and compute standard for industry requiring system safety certification.
  • Vulkan - Explicit graphic and compute API for modern cross-platform development. More resources at awesome-vulkan.

Graphical User Interface

These are specifically widget toolkits.

Image Processing


  • Jansson - C library for encoding, decoding and manipulating JSON. [Expat]
  • jsmn - Minimalistic JSON parser. [Expat]
  • json-c - Library for working with JSON. [Expat]
  • parson - Lightweight JSON library written in C. [MIT License]
  • WJElement - Advanced JSON manipulation library, with support for JSON Schema. [LGPL, any version]
  • YAJL - Fast C JSON streaming parser library. [ISC]

Learning, Reference and Tutorials

This is a list of resources for learning C programming in general, or something useful relating to C programming.



Language Standards




Self-study courses







  • P99 - Suite of macros to implement advanced features like default function arguments, scope-bound resources, etc. [Q Public License] (Requires C99)


Networking and Internet

Web Frameworks

  • balde - Microframework for C based on GLib. [GNU LGPLv2.1 only]
  • onion - C library to create simple HTTP servers and Web Applications. [Apache2.0]
  • kore - Easy to use, scalable and secure web application framework for writing web APIs in C.
  • klone - KLone is a fully-featured, multiplatform, web application development framework.


  • apophenia - Library for statistical and scientific computing. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • ATLAS - Automatically Tuned Linear Algebra Software. [3-clause BSD]
  • BLAS - Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms; a set of routines that provide vector and matrix operations. [BLAS license]
  • Cuba - Library for multidimensional numerical integration. [GNU LGPLv3 only]
  • FFTW - The Fastest Fourier Transform in the West; a highly-optimized fast Fourier transform routine. [GNU GPL2.1 or later]
  • FLINT - Fast Library for Number Theory; a library supporting arithmetic with numbers, polynomials, power series and matrices, among others. [GNU GPL2.1 or later]
  • GLPK - GNU Linear Programming Kit; a package designed for solving large-scale linear programming, mixed integer programming and other related problems. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • GMP - GNU Multple Precision Arithmetic Library; a library for arbitrary-precision arithmetic. [GNU GPL2.1 only] and [GNU LGPLv3 only]
  • GNU MPC - Library for complex number arithmetic. [GNU LGPL3 or later]
  • GNU MPFR - Library for arbitrary-precision floating-point arithmetic. [GNU LGPL3 or later (most recent versions)] or [GNU LGPL2.1 or later (until version 2.4.x)]
  • GNU MPRIA - Portable mathematics library for multi-precision rational interval arithmetic. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • GSL - The GNU Scientific Library; a sophisticated numerical library. [GNU GPL3 only]
  • KISS FFT - Very simple fast Fourier transform library. [3-clause BSD]
  • LAPACKE - C interface to LAPACK. [3-clause BSD]
  • PARI/GP - Computer algebra system for number theory; includes a compiler to C. [GNU GPL2.1 or later]
  • PETSc - Suite of data structures and routines for scalable parallel solution of scientific applications modelled by partial differential equations. [FreeBSD]
  • SLEPc - Software library for the solution of large, sparse eigenvalue problems on parallel computers. [GNU LGPL3 only]
  • Yeppp! - Very fast, SIMD-optimized mathematical library. [3-clause BSD]

Parallel Programming

  • cchan - Small library for channel constructs for inter-thread communication. [Public domain]
  • ck - Concurrency primitives, safe memory reclamation mechanisms and non-blocking data structures. [FreeBSD]
  • mill - Go-style concurrency in C. [X11]
  • MPICH - Another implementation of MPI. [MPICH licence]
  • OpenMP - Set of C pragmas designed to allow for easy parallelization of code. [Standard (licensing not applicable)]
  • OpenMPI - Message passing interface implementation. [3-clause BSD]
  • PETSc - Suite of data structures and routines for scalable parallel solution of scientific applications modelled by partial differential equations. [FreeBSD]
  • pth - Portable implementation for non-preemptive priority-based scheduling for multiple threads of execution. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • pthreads - The POSIX thread library. [Standard (no license applicable)]
  • SLEPc - Software library for the solution of large, sparse eigenvalue problems on parallel computers. [GNU LGPL3 only]
  • TinyCThread - Portable, small implementation of the C11 threads API. [zlib]


"Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll use regular expressions'. Now they have two problems." - Jamie Zawinski.

  • PCRE - Implementation of regexes identical to that of Perl 5. [3-clause BSD]
  • SLRE - Super Light Regular Expression library; a very small implementation of a subset of Perl regex syntax. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • TRE - POSIX-compliant, feature-full regex library. [FreeBSD]


  • binn - Binary serialization format meant to be compact, fast and easy-to-use. [Apache2.0]
  • c-capnproto - Implementation of the Cap'n Proto serialization protocol. [Expat]
  • cmp - Implementation of the MessagePack serialization protocol. [Expat]
  • libavro - C implementation of the Avro data serialization system. [Apache2.0]
  • mpack - Another implementation of the MessagePack serialization protocol. [Expat]
  • netstring-c - Netstring encoder and decoder. [Public Domain]
  • protobuf-c - Implementation of Google Protocol Buffer in C. [FreeBSD]
  • xdr - External Data Representation; a standard for data serialization. [Standard (no license applicable)]

Check also: JSON, XML

Source Code Collections

This contains collections of small source code. If you want something big and integrated, check the Frameworks section.

  • CCAN - Modelled after Perl's CPAN, this is a big collection of C code that does stuff. The full list is here. [Various free licenses]
  • clib - Something of a package manager for C. Comes with a bunch of libraries of its own. [Expat]
  • gnulib - Collection of common GNU code. [Various free licenses]
  • libdjb - Collection of libraries doing various things. [(Apparently) Public domain]

Standard Libraries

This contains standard C libraries.

  • Bionic - Google's C standard library, developed for Android. [3-clause BSD]
  • dietlibc - C standard library designed for the smallest possible binaries. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • glibc - The GNU C Library; an implementation of the C standard library. [GNU LGPL2.1 only]
  • musl - Standard C library, compatible with POSIX 2008 and C11. Designed for static linking. [Expat]

String Manipulation


Text Editor Extensions

While practically any decent programmer's text editor supports C, there are some extensions that make it more pleasant. This is categorized by editor.


  • CEDET - Collection of Emacs Development Environment Tools; designed to provide IDE-like features to Emacs. Built-in. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • Flycheck - Modern syntax checking. For C, it can use either GCC or Clang as a back-end. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • Yasnippet - Template system, with C templates for common code snippets. [GNU GPL3 or later]



This is a list of useful programs to help you write and debug C code which are not editors, libraries or compilers.

  • Artistic Style - Fast and small automatic source code formatter that supports C. [GNU LGPL3 only]
  • address-sanitizer - Fast memory error detector. [Apache2.0]
  • biicode - Modern dependency manager for C. [Expat]
  • c - Compile and execute C "scripts" in one go on the command line. Also has shebang support. [Expat]
  • c99sh - Run C files using hash-bang. [FreeBSD]
  • CBMC - C Bounded Model Checker; a tool for verification of array bounds, pointer safety and user-specified assertions. [Original BSD]
  • cdecl - Online service to translate C declarations into English and vice versa. [Public domain]
  • cinclude2dot - Graphs include dependencies in a C project using Graphviz. [Any GNU GPL version (due to underspecification in the file)]
  • Complexity - Tool for measuring the complexity of C source code. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • CScout - Source code analyzer and refactoring browser for collections of C programs. [GNU GPL3 only]
  • DDD - Graphical front-end for a range of command-line debuggers. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • GDB - The GNU Project debugger; a debugger for C. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • Glade - RAD tool to enable quick development of GTK+ GUIs. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • GMSL - GNU Make Standard Library; a collection of additional functionality for GNU Make. [3-clause BSD]
  • GNU Global - Source code tagging tool which works with C. [GNU GPL3 only]
  • gprof - Performance analysis tool. Part of GNU binutils. [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • Highlight - Converts source code to formatted text with nice highlighting. [GNU GPL3 only]
  • include-what-you-use - Helps find unecessary inclusions and make suggestions for fixing them. Based on LLVM/Clang (and only works with it). [NCSA]
  • indent - Formats C source code automatically to make it easier to read. Also converts from one style of source to another. [GNU GPLv3 or later]
  • Make - Tool which controls the generation of executables and other non-source files of a program (link to the GNU implementation). [GNU GPL3 or later]
  • qo - Build system that works without a separate config file. [Expat]
  • rr - Debugger that records non-deterministic executions to allow for deterministic debugging. [FreeBSD]
  • tup - Very fast, file-based, cross-platform build system. [GNU GPL2.1 only]
  • unifdef - Removes #ifdef and #if directives with their delimited text without touching any other part of the file. [3-clause BSD] and [FreeBSD]
  • Valgrind - Range of dynamic analysis tools, including a leak checker. [GNU GPL2.1 only]


This is a 'catch-all' category for anything that doesn't fit well anywhere else.


"XML is crap. Really. There are no excuses. XML is nasty to parse for humans, and it's a disaster to parse even for computers. There's just no reason for that horrible crap to exist." - Linus Torvalds