How To - Run GNS3 on Mac OS X

Posted by Ahsan Tasneem | 9:46 PM | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 comments »

Here are instructions to run GNS3 from the sources (not the standalone compiled DMG version) on your favorite operating system. You will have to install or compile dependencies like Qt, Sip and PyQt. This will allow you to use the latest development version of GNS3 that you can download from

Method 1

  • Install the Apple Devs Tools (on your Mac OS X DVD or download it on ADC account). Run and install XcodeTools.mpkg.
  • Download SIP, open a terminal and go in the folder where you downloaded the tar file and compile using the following commands (example for SIP 4.9.3):
Macintosh:$  tar xvzf sip-4.9.3.tar.gz
Macintosh:$  cd sip-4.9.3
Macintosh:sip-4.9.3$  python
Macintosh:sip-4.9.3$  make
Macintosh:sip-4.9.3$  make install
  • Download PyQt and run the following commands to decompress and compile PyQt (example for PyQt 4.6.2):
Macintosh:$  tar xvzf PyQt-mac-gpl-4.6.2.tar.gz
Macintosh:$  cd PyQt-mac-gpl-4.6.2
Macintosh:PyQt-mac-gpl-4.6.2$  python
Macintosh:PyQt-mac-gpl-4.6.2$  make
Macintosh:PyQt-mac-gpl-4.6.2$  make install

Method 2

This method can take a few hours as everything is compiled but this is the most flexible as you can switch between dependencie versions very easilly.
  • Open a terminal and install GNS3 dependencies.
Macintosh:$ sudo port install python26
Macintosh:$ sudo port install python_select
Macintosh:$ sudo python_select python26
Macintosh:$ sudo port install py26-sip
Macintosh:$ sudo port install py26-pyqt4
Macintosh:$ sudo port install qt4-mac

Notes about MacPorts

Optionnaly, to prevent MacPorts to install the last version of the dependencies (which may not work properly with GNS3), you can force a specified version with @.
Macintosh:$ sudo port install py26-sip @4.9.3_0
Macintosh:$ sudo port install py26-pyqt4 @4.6.2_0
Macintosh:$ sudo port install qt4-mac @4.5.3_0
Also, let say you have installed the latest version of Qt but this one doesn’t work very well with GNS3, you can revert back to your previous Qt version using the comand sudo port activate qt4-mac @version_number. This will automatically deactivate the current version of Qt and activate the one you want.


  1. Ahsan Tasneem // September 24, 2010 at 3:16 AM  

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