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FAQ for Pd

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Frequently Asked Questions regarding Pd (now with answers) If you have something to contribute to this page, log into and you will have edit access.


How do I install Pd on Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint?

On Debian and derivative systems (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Linux Mint, etc.), Pure Data and many libraries are provided through the official repositories. To install Pure Data, launch a terminal and run:

sudo apt install puredata

Most libraries are available as well. Usually, their name is prefixed with pd- which makes browsing externals easier:

apt search ^pd-

Installing libraries works the same way as installing Pd:

sudo apt install pd-iemnet pd-aubio pd-wiimote

Gem is packaged as gem (without the pd- prefix):

sudo apt install gem

NOTE: Most packages keep their version for a specific release of the operating system. On Ubuntu LTS or Debian stable, you might find a Pd version that is already a few versions behind the most current version. If you don't need any of the new features, this is fine. If you need a more recent version, read below

Getting the most recent version on Debian

Maintainers of the puredata package take care of making the most recent Pd version available through the backports repository. You can enable it by adding it to your sources:

echo "deb $(. /etc/os-release; echo $VERSION_CODENAME)-backports main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list

Refresh your sources by running:

sudo apt update

Finally, install puredata from backports:

sudo apt install -t bullseye-backports puredata

Make sure to replace bullseye with the Debian release you're using. bullseye was the stable release by the time of this writing.

Getting the most recent version on Ubuntu

Ubuntu also has a backports repository, though their maintainers don't seem to particularly care about Pure Data. However, Ubuntu has the option self-host packages through a personal package archive (PPA). Luckily, someone created builds and put them on their PPA. The steps necessary to install puredata from there are:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pure-data/pure-data
sudo apt update
sudo apt install puredata

Should I get libraries from Deken or from repos?

Depends. Deken usually is more up-to-date. However, packages from the repo are likely better integrated. Compiled binaries that do not link to any other binaries than Pd most likely work well from either Deken or repo. Compiled libraries from Deken that link to other libraries might work only on the system they were originally created on. Packages from the repo - while more out-of-date - don't suffer any compatibility issues and work out-of-the-box. It is generally recommended to use packages from the repos.

How do I install Pd on MacOS X?

Download the installer from the downloads page . Make sure you choose the right version, Intel or PowerPC, otherwise it will not run. Once you download the .dmg file, double-click it. It will open a window with the Pd icon. Drag-n-drop the or to /Applications.

If you want to use PDP on Mac OS X 10.4/Tiger or 10.3/Panther, you will need to install X11 (X11 comes installed with 10.5/Leopard). It comes on the install CD/DVD that your computer came with. For more detail, see How to install X11 in OS X

You can also download an old version of X11 from . After installing this, you will need to run Software Update... from the Apple menu in order to get the most recent version. If you don't run Software Update..., it will not work.

Or you can install the open source version of X11 for Mac OS X called XQuartz. You can find it here: XQuartz Releases

How do I install Pd on RedHat GNU/Linux?

CCRMA maintains its PlanetCCRMA RedHat-based distro, which includes Pd packages.

How do I install Pd on Windows?

Download the installer from the downloads page Run the installer and then you can run Pd from the Start Menu, Desktop Icon, or Quick Link. ASIO drivers are supported.

You may want to optimize your windows system for better performance

Where can I download Pd and related software?

There are many places Pd and related software can be obtained. Check the downloads section of this web site for a somewhat comprehensive list.

How do I install externals and help files with Pd-extended?

This now applied to all versions of Pd as of 0.43, so check here:

How do I download the flext binaries that used to be included in Pd-extended?

As of release 0.41.4 of Pd-extended, the whole package is built from source every night. That means that some objects have been removed from the package because they were not being built from source (objects like [pool], [msd], [flashserver], etc.). The binaries released by the authors used to be included in Pd-extended up until version 0.40.3. As of Pd-extended 0.41.4, these are no longer included in the package itself, but you can download them from the authors or get the old versions from Pd-extended 0.40.3 here:

Then uncompress and copy just the files from the zip into the standard externals location:

How do I install externals and help files?

Please find a detailed tutorial on managing and installing Pd externals here.

This FAQ entry is a more objective and simple guideline that should be ok for most cases.

There are special folders for installing libraries, externals, object classes, abstractions, GUI plugins, and help files into. These folders are for things that are not included in the Pd binary. A more detailed discussion on using and installing libraries with Pd vanilla and its library manager Deken can be found here.

On all platforms, there is a user-specific system folder, an application-specific folder and a global system folder. The global system folder affects all Pure Data Applications for all users. You will require administrator priviliges to be able to install things into those folders. The User-specific system folder affects all Pure Data Applications for that user. The system folder allows you to upgrade Pd without messing up your other files. And since you can have different versions of Pd installed in your system, the Application-specific folder affects only that particular Pd Application. This can be not only an older and a newer version, but also both 32-bit and 64-bit versions available for Mac OS, and even Pd Extended!

At the time of writing (2017-07-29), most of these directories will not get automatically created. Once you have created these folders, Pd will start using them (this probably requires a restart of Pd).


Many externals can be installed through the package manager in Debian/Ubuntu/Mint. The Packages have a pd-... prefix.

typically /usr/lib/pd/extra if you installed Pd via a package manager (such as apt) or /usr/local/lib/pd/extra if you compiled Pd yourself.
~/.local/lib/pd/extra (since Pd-0.47-1, preferred) or ~/pd-externals (deprecated/older Pd-versions; still usable)

Mac OS X

typically /Applications/ (This is inside the Pd Application. First you need to find the Pd App (usually in /Applications), then right click and choose “Show Package Contents”).


typically %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Pd\extra (for 64-bit systems) or %ProgramFiles%\Pd\extra (for 32-bit systems); this is inside the Pd Application, usually in C:\Program Files (x86) for 64-bits.
%AppData%\Pd (since Pd-0.47)
  • %AppData%\Pd will be something like C:\Users\myusername\AppData\Roaming\pd
  • prior to Win7 (e.g. Vista, XP, Win2000) this was synonymous with %UserProfile%\Application Data\Pd (which was used before Pd-0.47)
  • on an English system, this is usually C:\Program Files\Common Files\Pd
  • en español: \Archivos de programa\Archivos comunes\Pd
  • auf Deutsch: \Programme\Gemeinsame Dateien\Pd
  • this is mostly synonymous for %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Pd (%ProgramFiles% is where your programs are installed)

Other versions of Pd

This was included in Pd-vanilla in version 0.43, and in Pd-extended in version 0.41.


These choices of directories has been discussed quite a bit. If you are interested in reading about how they were chosen, then read the:

Discussion (Linux specific)

Here are some references to discussion about storing architecture-dependent binaries somewhere in $HOME. (nicknaming architecture/OS) (.local/share, .local/lib, $HOME/lib, or what?) (All binaries should go to either $prefix/bin or $prefix/lib{,64} - these are the only directories guaranteed to be mounted with exec rights and not shared across different architectures (as is sometimes done for /$prefix/share)) (If the plugins are dlopened objects, my opinion is that they are right in a subdir of $prefix/lib{,64})

How do I install GUI plugins?

GUI Plugins are installed just like externals and help files, refer to the FAQ How do I install externals and help files for more information.

How to Download Externals from Pd Vanilla (a.k.a. 'deken')?

Pd Vanilla has its own external manager since version 0.47-0! This is a built in .tcl plug-in named ‘deken’ <> that has been incorporated into the Pd Vanilla distribution to manage the download of external libraries and externals.

So if you have Pd 0.47-0 or greater, you can just open it, click on the “Help” menu and select "Find externals". Then the plugin opens and you can just type the library’s name you want and hit enter or click “search”. You can also look for an external name and the library that contains it might be shown. All available versions of the library will be shown to you, but the versions specific to your system are highlighted.

When you click on the version you want, Pd asks you if you want to download it to your User specific folder(see for details on where to find that folder in your system). You can select another download target if you want. As soon as the download is finished, the compressed file is automatically decompressed into a folder containing the library.

by Frank Barknecht last modified 2009-05-18 09:44 PM

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