Awesome C | Massive Resources & Collection

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A curated list of C good stuff. This list contains only open source 8 code (as defined by the linked Open Source Definition), and sellers who aren’t evil for physical resources.

This is released under a Creative Commons-Attribution-ShareAlike license, version 4 (SPDX code CC-BY-SA-4.0). You can find its text in the LICENSE file.

An important note: This project does not index anything C+±related; only pure C stuff is considered.

Note for contributors: If you want to make a pull request, please read first.


  • AI
  • Benchmarking
  • Build Systems
  • Compilers
  • Compression
  • Concurrency and Parallelism
  • Crypto
  • Database
  • Data Structures
  • Debugging
  • Documentation Generation
  • Editors
  • Frameworks
  • Game Programming
  • Graphics
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Hashing
  • Learning, Reference and Tutorials
  • Reference resources online
  • Beginner resources online
  • Intermediate resources online
  • Advanced resources online
  • Online self-study courses
  • Reference books
  • Beginner books
  • Intermediate books
  • Advanced books
  • Lexing and Parsing
  • Memory Management
  • Multimedia
  • Networking and Internet
  • Numerical
  • Profiling
  • Regex
  • Serialization
  • Source Code Collections
  • Standard Libraries
  • String Manipulation
  • Structured File Processing
  • CSV
  • JSON
  • INI
  • Others
  • XML
  • YAML
  • Testing
  • Text Editor Extensions
  • Tools
  • Utilities
  • Web Frameworks
  • Windows Environments


Computer vision, neural nets, machine learning, and other similar things. Basically, if your university calls it AI, it lives here.


Comparing the performance of various subsystems across different chip/system architectures.

Build Systems

Tools that automate the building and testing of projects in C.

  • CMake 1 – Cross-platform family of tools designed to build, package and test software. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • GNU Make – Tool which controls the generation of executables and other non-source files of a program. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • Meson – Extremely fast, user-friendly build system. Based on Ninja. Apache-2.0
  • Premake – Command-line utility which reads a scripted definition of a software project and uses it to generate project files for Visual Studio and GNU Make. Other targets are also being worked on. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • SCons – Software construction tool using Python. MIT
  • xmake – Cross-platform build utility. Apache-2.0
  • zproject – Project generator and build system support tool. MPL-2.0


Compilers, as well as compiler- and compilation-related tooling.

  • ccache – Compiler cache designed to speed up recompilation. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • Clang – Compiler for LLVM. Supports C11. NCSA
  • distcc – Program that allows builds to be distributed among several machines. GPL-2.0-or-later
  • Firm – Library that provides a graph-based intermediate representation, optimizations and assembly code generation suitable for use in compilers. Comes with an example C front-end under the same license. LGPL-2.1-only
  • GCC – Provides a C compiler as part of its compiler set. Supports C11. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • PCC – Venerable compiler. Supports C99. Various licenses, all open source.


Concurrency and Parallelism

  • cchan – Small library for channel constructs for inter-thread communication. Public domain.
  • checkedthreads – A simple library for parallelism, with built-in checking for race conditions. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • ck – Concurrency primitives, safe memory reclamation mechanisms and non-blocking data structures. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • FCFS RWLock – First-come first-served Readers/Writers lock for POSIX threads. CC0-1.0
  • libconcurrent – Concurrent programming library, using coroutines, for C11. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • libdill – Library which makes structured concurrent programming easy. MIT
  • libhl – Library implementing a thread-safe API to manage a range of data structures. Also provides some supporting functions and structures for concurrent and lockfree programming. LGPL-3.0-only
  • liburcu – Data synchronization library, which scales linearly with the number of cores. LGPL-2.1-or-later
  • mill – Go-style concurrency. MIT
  • oclkit – Two-file OpenCL wrapper. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • OCL-MLA – OpenCL Mid-Level Abstractions. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • OpenMP – Set of pragmas designed to allow for easy parallelization of code. Standard (licensing not applicable).
  • OpenMPI – Message passing interface implementation. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • pal – Optimized library for maths, parallel processing and data movement. Apache-2.0
  • pth – Portable implementation for non-preemptive priority-based scheduling for multiple threads of execution. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • pthreads – POSIX thread library. Standard (no license applicable).
  • TinyCThread – Portable, small implementation of the C11 threads API. Zlib


Mostly library implementations of well-known cryptographic algorithms or protocols.

  • GNU SASL – Implementation of the Simple Authentication and Security Layer and a few common SASL mechanism. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • GnuTLS – Secure communication library, implementing SSL, TLS and DTLS. LGPL-2.1-or-later
  • libgcrypt – General-purpose cryptography library, with a range of available ciphers. LGPL-2.1-or-later
  • OpenSSL – Implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols. Also includes a cryptography library. Dual Licensed under the OpenSSL License and the SSLeay License.
  • liboqs – Library for quantum-resistant cryptographicl algorithms. MIT
  • libsodium – Modern and easy-to-use crypto library. MIT
  • libtomcrypt – Fairly comprehensive, modular and portable cryptographic toolkit. Public domain.
  • mbed TLS – Another crypto implementation. Apache-2.0
  • MIRACL – Multiprecision Integer and Rational Arithmetic Cryptographic Library; an SDK for elliptic curve cryptography. AGPL-3.0-or-later
  • retter – Collection of hash functions, ciphers, tools, libraries and materials related to cryptography and security. Public domain.
  • s2n – C99 implementation of the TLS/SSL protocols, designed to be simple, fast and with security as a priority. Apache-2.0
  • sphlib – Set of implementations of various hash functions, including several cryptographic ones. MIT
  • trezor-crypto – Heavily optimized crypto algorithms for embedded devices. MIT


Databases and data stores with C APIs.

Data Structures


Because we all have to do it sometimes. Various tools for making debugging easier or better, as well as libraries or code that allows better debugging work.

  • C-Reduce – Tool that takes a large C file with a property of interest and automatically produces a much smaller C file that has the same property. Intended to help create minimal bug-demonstrating cases in complex code. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • CBMC – C Bounded Model Checker; a tool for verification of array bounds, pointer safety and user-specified assertions. BSD-4-Clause
  • cflow – Analyzes a collection of source files and prints a graph charting control flow in the program. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • Complexity – Tool for measuring the complexity of source code. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • CScout – Source code analyzer and refactoring browser for C programs. GPL-3.0-only
  • DDD – Graphical front-end for a range of command-line debuggers. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • debug – One-header library for easier ‘printf debugging’. MIT
  • ESBMC – Efficient SMT-based Bounded Model Checker; a tool for verification of single and multithread programs, user assertions, overflow, and pointer/memory safety. Apache-2.0
  • GDB – GNU Project debugger. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • lldb – LLVM debugger. NCSA
  • rr – Debugger that records non-deterministic executions to allow for deterministic debugging. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • Valgrind – Range of dynamic analysis tools, including a leak checker. GPL-2.0-only

Documentation Generation

  • Cxref – Generates documentation in either LaTeX, HTML, RTF or SGML. GPL-2.0-only
  • DocOnce – Modestly tagged markup language that can be used to generate a range of formats. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • Doxygen – De-facto standard tool for generating documentation from annotated sources. Can generate a large range of formats. GPL-2.0-only


Fancier, IDE-type editors. If you want a programmer’s text editor, look elsewhere. Besides, whatever you use most likely supports C anyway.


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. Apache-2.0
  • C Algorithms 1 – Collection of common algorithms and data structures. ISC
  • CPL – The Common Pipeline Library; a set of libraries designed to be a comprehensive, efficient and robust software toolkit. GPL-2.0-only
  • EFL – Large collection of useful data structures and functions. Various licenses, all open source.
  • klib – Small and lightweight implementations of common algorithms and data structures. MIT
  • libcork – Utility functions and structures, designed for resource-constrained systems. Can be embedded. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • libnih – Lightweight library of functions and structures. GPL-2.0-only
  • libU – Small library of basic utilities, including memory allocation, string manipulation and logging. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • PBL – Large library of utilities, featuring data structures, among other things. LGPL-2.1-or-later
  • qlibc – Simple and powerful library, designed as a replacement for GLib while focusing on being small and light. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • TBOX – Multi-platform library with a large number of capabilities. Apache-2.0

Game Programming

Engines, libraries and other helpful things specifically for making games.

  • Allegro – Cross-platform, video game development and multimedia library. Zlib
  • AssetKit :art: 3D asset importer/exporter/util library based on COLLADA/glTF specs MIT
  • cglm – :film_projector: Optimized OpenGL/Graphics Math (glm) for C. MIT
  • Chipmunk2D – Fast and lightweight 2D game physics library. MIT
  • cmt – :video_game: C Bindings/Wrappers for Apple’s METAL Graphics Framework. MIT
  • Corange – Game engine in pure C. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • CSFML – Binding for SFMLZlib
  • Darkplaces – Modified version of the Quake2 engine. GPL-2.0-only
  • Epoxy – Library for handling OpenGL function pointer management. MIT
  • Flecs – A Multithreaded Entity Component System written for C89 & C99 MIT
  • Freecell Solver – Set of libraries and command-line programs for automatically solving FreeCell and some similar variants of card Solitaire. MIT
  • 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
  • ioquake3 – Quake3 engine, freed at last. GPL-2.0-only
  • kazmath – Maths library for games. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • libao – Cross-platform audio library with a wide variety of outputs. GPL-2.0-or-later
  • librg – Pure C99 game networking library for building simple and elegant cross-platform multiplayer client-server solutions. Apache-2.0
  • MATHC 1 – Math library for 2D and 3D programming. ZLib
  • Orx – Portable, lightweight, plugin-based, data-driven, 2D-oriented game engine. Zlib
  • Quake – Quake engine. GPL-2.0-only
  • Quake2 – Quake2 engine. GPL-2.0-only
  • raylib – Simple and easy-to-use library to learn video game programming. Zlib
  • RetroArch – Reference frontend for libretroGPL-3.0-only
  • SDL2 – Cross-platform library designed to provide low-level access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick and graphics hardware via OpenGL. Zlib
  • sdl-gpu – Library for high-performance, modern 2D graphics. Based on SDL. MIT
  • SIGIL – Sound, Input and Graphics Integration Library; a simple alternative to other libraries for doing all those things. Various licenses, all open source.
  • uastar – Minimal A* implementation. ZLib


Programmatic manipulation of graphics in C; if you want to make a GUI, the Graphical User Interface section has what you need.

Graphical User Interface

Widget toolkits, or things meant to be used in a similar way to them.

  • GTK+ – Cross-platform widget toolkit. LGPL-2.1-only
  • IUP – Another cross-platform widget toolkit. MIT
  • nuklear – Small, C89, single-header widget toolkit. Public domain.
  • tinyfiledialogs – Single-file library for simple dialogs. Compatible with many other toolkits and OSes. Zlib
  • Tk – Basic widget toolkit. Part of Tcl/Tk. TCL
  • XForms Toolkit – Widget toolkit designed for the XWindow system. LGPL-2.1-only


Hash function implementations for non-crypto purposes. Cryptographic hashes can be found in the Crypto section.

Learning, Reference and Tutorials

Resources for learning C programming in general, or something useful relating to C programming.

Reference resources online

Beginner resources online

Intermediate resources online

Advanced resources online

Online self-study courses

Reference books

Beginner books

Intermediate books

Advanced books

Lexing and Parsing

Libraries specifically for lexical analysis (or lexing) and syntactic analysis (or parsing).

Memory Management

Whether a different, faster malloc or outright garbage collection, anything to do with managing C memory lives here.


Networking and Internet

Low-level networking and internet-related stuff. If you want something more comprehensive and high-level, you may want the Web Frameworks section.


  • apophenia – Library for statistical and scientific computing. GPL-2.0-only
  • Arb – Library for arbitrary-precision interval arithmetic. LGPL-2.1-or-later
  • ATLAS – Automatically Tuned Linear Algebra Software. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • clBLAS – BLAS functions written in OpenCL. Apache-2.0
  • cmathl – Math library with a great variety of mathematical functions with CMake build support. Seeks to be close to C89/C90 compliant for portability. MIT
  • Cuba – Library for multidimensional numerical integration. LGPL-3.0-only
  • fft-c – A high-performance Fourier Transform from netlib’s fftpack; wrapped in a user-friendly format [MIT][ MIT]
  • FFTW – The Fastest Fourier Transform in the West; a highly optimized fast Fourier transform routine. GPL-2.0-or-later
  • FLINT – Fast Library for Number Theory; a library supporting arithmetic with numbers, polynomials, power series and matrices, among others. GPL-2.0-or-later
  • GLPK – GNU Linear Programming Kit; a package designed for solving large-scale linear programming, mixed integer programming and other related problems. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • GMP – GNU Multple Precision Arithmetic Library; a library for arbitrary-precision arithmetic. GPL-2.0-only or LGPL-3.0-only
  • GNU MPC – Library for complex number arithmetic. LGPL-3.0-or-later
  • GNU MPFR – Library for arbitrary-precision floating-point arithmetic. LGPL-3.0-or-later
  • GNU MPRIA – Portable mathematics library for multi-precision rational interval arithmetic. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • GSL – The GNU Scientific Library; a sophisticated numerical library. GPL-3.0-only.
  • KISS FFT – Simple fast Fourier transform library. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • LAPACKE – Interface to LAPACKBSD-3-Clause 1
  • LibTomMath – Portable, number-theoretic, multiple-precision integer library. Supports algebra, digit manipulation, modular reductions, and various number-theoretic routines. Public domain.
  • LibTomPoly – Polynomial-related maths library. Public domain.
  • PARI/GP – Computer algebra system for number theory; includes a compiler to C. GPL-2.0-or-later
  • PETSc – Suite of data structures and routines for scalable parallel solution of scientific applications modelled by partial differential equations. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • SCS – Splitting Conic Solver; a numerical optimization package for solving large-scale convex cone problems. MIT
  • SLEPc – Library for the solution of large, sparse eigenvalue problems on parallel computers. LGPL-3.0-only
  • TomsFastMath – Set of optimized maths operations (in assembly), suitable for cryptographic use. Public domain.
  • Yeppp! – Fast, SIMD-optimized mathematical library. BSD-3-Clause 1




  • binn – Binary serialization format, meant to be compact, fast and easy-to-use. Apache-2.0
  • c-capnproto – Implementation of the Cap’n Proto serialization protocol. MIT
  • cmp – Implementation of the MessagePack serialization protocol. MIT
  • flatcc – FlatBuffers compiler and library. Apache-2.0
  • libavro – Implementation of the Avro data serialization system. Apache-2.0
  • mpack – Another implementation of the MessagePack serialization protocol. MIT
  • OPIC – Object Persistence in C; a revolutionary serialization framework, with matching on-disk and in-memory representations. GPL-3.0-or-later
  • protobuf-c – Implementation of Google Protocol Buffer. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • tpl – Small binary serialization library. MIT
  • xdr – External Data Representation; a standard for data serialization. Standard (no license applicable).
  • pbtools – Google Protocol Buffers C source code generator. MIT

Source Code Collections

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 code that does stuff. The full list is here. Various licenses, all open source.
  • clib – Something of a package manager. Comes with a bunch of libraries of its ownMIT
  • gnulib – Collection of common GNU code. Various licenses, all open source.
  • libdjb – Collection of libraries doing various things. (Apparently) public domain.
  • mmx – Collection of single-header libraries. Various licenses, all open source.
  • par – Bunch of single-file libraries. MIT
  • Snippets – Useful code snippets and header-only libraries. Public domain.
  • stb – Range of single-file libraries. Public domain.
  • tinyheaders – Collection of header-only libraries, primarily oriented toward game development. Zlib

Standard Libraries

Implementations of the (standard-mandated) C standard library.

String Manipulation

Structured File Processing

This includes libraries for things like XML, JSON, CSV, and other similar formats.





  • libbson – BSON utility library. Apache-2.0
  • libconfuse – Small configuration file parser library. ISC
  • libelf – Simple library for parsing ELF files. MIT
  • libucl – Universal configuration library parser. BSD-2-Clause 1
  • libxo – Allows an application to generate plain text, XML, JSON and HTML output using a common set of function calls. The application decides at runtime what output style should be produced. BSD-2-Clause 1


  • Expat – Stream-oriented XML parser. MIT
  • libxml2 – Standards-compliant, portable XML parser. MIT
  • xml – Simple, low-memory-use XML parser / tokenizer. MIT



Text Editor Extensions

While practically any decent programmer’s text editor supports C, there are some extensions that make it more pleasant. These are labelled by editor.


Useful programs to help you write and debug C code which are not editors, libraries or compilers.


A ‘catch-all’ category for anything that doesn’t fit well anywhere else.

Web Frameworks

Comprehensive and integrated solutions for building the next brilliant web application in C.

  • – Mini-framework for web applications. Includes a fast HTTP and Websocket server, and also supports custom protocols. MIT
  • kcgi – CGI and FastCGI library for C ISC.
  • KLone 1 – Fully featured, multi-platform, web application development framework, targeted especially at embedded systems and appliances. BSD-3-Clause 1
  • Kore – Easy-to-use web application framework for writing scalable web APIs in C. ISC

Windows Environments

Technologies designed to bring Windows into the 21st century with respect to support for C.

  • Cygwin – Designed to emulate a POSIX-compatible environment extensively under Windows. Various licenses, all open source.
  • MinGW-w64 – Minimalist environment for C development on Windows with 64 bit support. Various licenses, all open source.
  • MSYS2 – Minimal SYStem 2; aims to provide support for a POSIX environment on Windows, with a package manager based on Arch Linux’s pacman. Packages have individual licenses, otherwise, as MinGW and Cygwin.

Source: GitHub & notabug