I've been studying SDL2 in my allocated time apart from main project for slightly more than 3 months now. So I will from time to time blog about it for what I found interesting, and to document ads reference for myself in the future.

SDL2 encourages us to go with dynamically link with your final executable. It's for technical and moral reason. But if consider it deeply, deliver final game with dynamically linked libraries would as well produce a problem. What happen if user has different version than what we use aginst to build bug-free executable. Even with slight minor version could make a difference as well. So statically build is there as an considerated option.

So enough for story. Let's see how to do this.

First, install SDL2 normally to your system. This practically means executing ./configure, make, then make install. Built SDL2 libraries both dynamic (.dylib), and static one (.a) will usually sit tight at /usr/local/lib/ path. Note that I built on macOS.

Then you create your SDL2 application. Normally we would compile the application like this...

gcc -Wall appcode.c -lSDL2

But above is linking against SDL2's dynamic library.
If we need to link against static one, we do the following steps.

  1. Get static link flags from sdl2-config --static-libs which I got as follows

    -L/usr/local/lib -lSDL2 -lm -liconv -Wl,-framework,CoreAudio -Wl,-framework,AudioToolbox -Wl,-framework,ForceFeedback -lobjc -Wl,-framework,CoreVideo -Wl,-framework,Cocoa -Wl,-framework,Carbon -Wl,-framework,IOKit -Wl,-weak_framework,QuartzCore -Wl,-weak_framework,Metal
  2. Take what we got from 1. but cut out the starting part -L/usr/local/lib -lSDL2 out then supply it to gcc like this

    gcc -Wall appcode.c /usr/local/lib/libSDL2.a -lm -liconv -Wl,-framework,CoreAudio -Wl,-framework,AudioToolbox -Wl,-framework,ForceFeedback -lobjc -Wl,-framework,CoreVideo -Wl,-framework,Cocoa -Wl,-framework,Carbon -Wl,-framework,IOKit -Wl,-weak_framework,QuartzCore -Wl,-weak_framework,Metal

    You can see that we also supply /usr/local/lib/libSDL2.a to link against its object files inside libSDL2.a.

  3. Inspect result executable file via otool -L a.out. You should not see anything about SDL2 related libraries. This means it works!


Create SDL2 application normally, then use flags from sdl2-config --static-libs to supply in gcc command. Lastly, check the result with otool -L ....