Installing a binary

Difftastic provides GitHub releases with prebuilt binaries.

Packages are also available on the following platforms.

Packaging status

Installing via homebrew (on macOS or Linux)

Difftastic can be installed with Homebrew on macOS or Linux.

$ brew install difftastic

Installing from source

Build Requirements

Difftastic is written in Rust, so you will need Rust installed. I recommend rustup to install Rust. Difftastic requires Rust version 1.56 or later.

You will also need a C++ compiler that supports C++14. If you're using GCC, you need at least version 8.


You can download and build difftastic on with Cargo (which is part of Rust).

$ cargo install difftastic

Difftastic uses the cc crate for building C/C++ dependencies. This allows you to use environment variables CC and CXX to control the compiler used (see the cc docs).

See contributing for instructions on debug builds.

(Optional) Install MIME Database

If a MIME database is available, difftastic will use it to detect binary files more accurately. This is the same database used by the file command, so you probably already have it.

The MIME database path is specified in the XDG specification. The database should be at one of the following paths:

  • /usr/share/mime/magic
  • /usr/local/share/mime/magic
  • $HOME/.local/share/mime/magic