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Open Source next-generation build tool.

Project description

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What is SCons?

SCons is an Open Source software construction tool which orchestrates the construction of software (and other tangible products such as documentation files) by determining which component pieces must be built or rebuilt and invoking the necessary commands to build them.


  • Configuration files are Python scripts - use the power of a real programming language to solve build problems; no complex domain-specific language to learn.

  • Reliable, automatic dependency analysis built-in for C, C++ and Fortran. No more “make depend” or “make clean” to get all of the dependencies. Dependency analysis is easily extensible through user-defined dependency Scanners for other languages or file types.

  • Built-in support for C, C++, D, Java, Fortran, Yacc, Lex, Qt and SWIG, and building TeX and LaTeX documents. Easily extensible through user-defined Builders for other languages or file types.

  • Building from central repositories of source code and/or pre-built targets.

  • Built-in support for Microsoft Visual Studio, including generation of .dsp, .dsw, .sln and .vcproj files.

  • Reliable detection of build changes using cryptographic hashes; optionally can configure other algorithms including traditional timestamps.

  • Support for parallel builds - can keep multiple jobs running simultaneously regardless of directory hierarchy.

  • Integrated Autoconf-like support for finding #include files, libraries, functions and typedefs.

  • Global view of all dependencies - no more multiple build passes or reordering targets to build everything.

  • Ability to share built files in a cache to speed up multiple builds.

  • Designed from the ground up for cross-platform builds, and known to work on Linux, other POSIX systems (including AIX, BSD systems, HP/UX, IRIX and Solaris), Windows 7/8/10, MacOS, and OS/2.

  • Written in Python.


Documentation for SCons is available at

Execution Requirements

Running SCons requires Python 3.6 or higher. There should be no other dependencies or requirements to run standard SCons. The last release to support Python 3.5 was 4.2.0.

Some experimental features may require additional Python packages to be installed - at the moment the Ninja feature requires the supporting ninja package.

The default SCons configuration assumes use of the Microsoft Visual C++ compiler suite on Win32 systems, and assumes a C compiler named cc, a C++ compiler named c++, and a Fortran compiler named gfortran (such as found in the GNU Compiler Collection) on any other type of system. You may override these default values by appropriate configuration of variables in a Construction Environment, or in the case of Cygwin on a Win32 system, by selecting the ‘cygwin’ platform, which will set some of those Construction Variables for you.

By default, SCons knows how to search for available programming tools on various systems - see the SCons man page for details. You can override the default SCons choices made by appropriate configuration of construction variables.

Installation Requirements

SCons has no installation dependencies beyond a compatible version of Python. The tools which will be used to to actually construct the project, such as compilers, documentation production tools, etc. should of course be installed by the appropriate means.

Getting Started Using SCons

If you’re new to SCons, the first couple of chapters of the SCons User Guide provide an excellent starting spot.

Contributing to SCons



SCons is distributed under the MIT license, a full copy of which is available in the LICENSE file.

Reporting Bugs

The SCons project welcomes bug reports and feature requests.

Please make sure you send email with the problem or feature request to the SCons users mailing list, which you can join at, or on the SCons Discord server in #scons-help.

Once you have discussed your issue on the users mailing list and the community has confirmed that it is either a new bug or a duplicate of an existing bug, then please follow the instructions the community provides to file a new bug or to add yourself to the CC list for an existing bug

You can explore the list of existing bugs, which may include workarounds for the problem you’ve run into, on the GitHub issue tracker.

Mailing Lists

An active mailing list for developers of SCons is available. You may send questions or comments to the list at

You may subscribe to the developer’s mailing list using the form at

Subscription to the developer’s mailing list is by approval. In practice, no one is refused list membership, but we reserve the right to limit membership in the future and/or weed out lurkers.

There are other mailing lists available for SCons users, for notification of SCons code changes, and for notification of updated bug reports and project documents. Please see our mailing lists page for details.


If you find SCons helpful, please consider making a donation (of cash, software, or hardware) to support continued work on the project. Information is available at or the GitHub Sponsors button on

For More Information

Check the SCons web site at

Copyright (c) 2001 - 2021 The SCons Foundation

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