Code Quality Rank: L2
Programming language: C
License: zlib License
Tags: Graphics    
Latest version: v3.3.2

GLFW alternatives and similar libraries

Based on the "Graphics" category.
Alternatively, view GLFW alternatives based on common mentions on social networks and blogs.

Do you think we are missing an alternative of GLFW or a related project?

Add another 'Graphics' Library



Build status Build status Coverity Scan


GLFW is an Open Source, multi-platform library for OpenGL, OpenGL ES and Vulkan application development. It provides a simple, platform-independent API for creating windows, contexts and surfaces, reading input, handling events, etc.

GLFW natively supports Windows, macOS and Linux and other Unix-like systems. On Linux both X11 and Wayland are supported.

GLFW is licensed under the zlib/libpng license.

You can download the latest stable release as source or Windows binaries, or fetch the latest branch from GitHub. Each release starting with 3.0 also has a corresponding annotated tag with source and binary archives.

The documentation is available online and is included in all source and binary archives. See the release notes for new features, caveats and deprecations in the latest release. For more details see the version history.

The master branch is the stable integration branch and should always compile and run on all supported platforms, although details of newly added features may change until they have been included in a release. New features and many bug fixes live in other branches until they are stable enough to merge.

If you are new to GLFW, you may find the tutorial for GLFW 3 useful. If you have used GLFW 2 in the past, there is a transition guide for moving to the GLFW 3 API.

GLFW exists because of the contributions of [many people](CONTRIBUTORS.md) around the world, whether by reporting bugs, providing community support, adding features, reviewing or testing code, debugging, proofreading docs, suggesting features or fixing bugs.

Compiling GLFW

GLFW itself requires only the headers and libraries for your OS and window system. It does not need the headers for any context creation API (WGL, GLX, EGL, NSGL, OSMesa) or rendering API (OpenGL, OpenGL ES, Vulkan) to enable support for them.

GLFW supports compilation on Windows with Visual C++ 2010 and later, MinGW and MinGW-w64, on macOS with Clang and on Linux and other Unix-like systems with GCC and Clang. It will likely compile in other environments as well, but this is not regularly tested.

There are pre-compiled Windows binaries available for all supported compilers.

See the compilation guide for more information about how to compile GLFW yourself.

Using GLFW

See the documentation for tutorials, guides and the API reference.

Contributing to GLFW

See the contribution guide for more information.

System requirements

GLFW supports Windows XP and later and macOS 10.8 and later. Linux and other Unix-like systems running the X Window System are supported even without a desktop environment or modern extensions, although some features require a running window or clipboard manager. The OSMesa backend requires Mesa 6.3.

See the compatibility guide in the documentation for more information.


GLFW itself needs only CMake 3.1 or later and the headers and libraries for your OS and window system.

The examples and test programs depend on a number of tiny libraries. These are located in the deps/ directory.

The documentation is generated with Doxygen if CMake can find that tool.

Reporting bugs

Bugs are reported to our issue tracker. Please check the contribution guide for information on what to include when reporting a bug.


  • Added GLFW_PLATFORM init hint for runtime platform selection (#1958)
  • Added glfwGetPlatform function to query what platform was selected (#1655,#1958)
  • Added glfwPlatformSupported function to query if a platform is supported (#1655,#1958)
  • Added glfwInitAllocator for setting a custom memory allocator (#544,#1628,#1947)
  • Added GLFWallocator struct and GLFWallocatefun, GLFWreallocatefun and GLFWdeallocatefun types (#544,#1628,#1947)
  • Added glfwInitVulkanLoader for using a non-default Vulkan loader (#1374,#1890)
  • Added GLFW_MOUSE_PASSTHROUGH window hint for letting mouse input pass through the window (#1236,#1568)
  • Added GLFW_CURSOR_CAPTURED cursor mode to confine the cursor to the window content area (#58)
  • Added GLFW_POSITION_X and GLFW_POSITION_Y window hints for initial position (#1603,#1747)
  • Added GLFW_ANY_POSITION hint value for letting the window manager choose (#1603,#1747)
  • Added GLFW_PLATFORM_UNAVAILABLE error for platform detection failures (#1958)
  • Added GLFW_FEATURE_UNAVAILABLE error for platform limitations (#1692)
  • Added GLFW_FEATURE_UNIMPLEMENTED error for incomplete backends (#1692)
  • Added GLFW_WAYLAND_APP_ID window hint string for Wayland app_id selection (#2121,#2122)
  • Added GLFW_ANGLE_PLATFORM_TYPE init hint and GLFW_ANGLE_PLATFORM_TYPE_* values to select ANGLE backend (#1380)
  • Added GLFW_X11_XCB_VULKAN_SURFACE init hint for selecting X11 Vulkan surface extension (#1793)
  • Added GLFW_NATIVE_INCLUDE_NONE for disabling inclusion of native headers (#1348)
  • Added GLFW_BUILD_WIN32 CMake option for enabling Win32 support (#1958)
  • Added GLFW_BUILD_COCOA CMake option for enabling Cocoa support (#1958)
  • Added GLFW_BUILD_X11 CMake option for enabling X11 support (#1958)
  • Added GLFW_LIBRARY_TYPE CMake variable for overriding the library type (#279,#1307,#1497,#1574,#1928)
  • Added GLFW_PKG_CONFIG_REQUIRES_PRIVATE and GLFW_PKG_CONFIG_LIBS_PRIVATE CMake variables exposing pkg-config dependencies (#1307)
  • Made joystick subsystem initialize at first use (#1284,#1646)
  • Made GLFW_DOUBLEBUFFER a read-only window attribute
  • Updated the minimum required CMake version to 3.1
  • Updated gamepad mappings from upstream
  • Disabled tests and examples by default when built as a CMake subdirectory
  • Renamed GLFW_USE_WAYLAND CMake option to GLFW_BUILD_WAYLAND (#1958)
  • Removed GLFW_USE_OSMESA CMake option enabling the Null platform (#1958)
  • Removed CMake generated configuration header
  • Bugfix: The CMake config-file package used an absolute path and was not relocatable (#1470)
  • Bugfix: Video modes with a duplicate screen area were discarded (#1555,#1556)
  • Bugfix: Compiling with -Wextra-semi caused warnings (#1440)
  • Bugfix: Built-in mappings failed because some OEMs re-used VID/PID (#1583)
  • Bugfix: Some extension loader headers did not prevent default OpenGL header inclusion (#1695)
  • Bugfix: Buffers were swapped at creation on single-buffered windows (#1873)
  • Bugfix: Gamepad mapping updates could spam GLFW_INVALID_VALUE due to incompatible controllers sharing hardware ID (#1763)
  • Bugfix: Native access functions for context handles did not check that the API matched
  • Bugfix: glfwMakeContextCurrent would access TLS slot before initialization
  • Bugfix: glfwSetGammaRamp could emit GLFW_INVALID_VALUE before initialization
  • Bugfix: glfwGetJoystickUserPointer returned NULL during disconnection (#2092)
  • [Win32] Added the GLFW_WIN32_KEYBOARD_MENU window hint for enabling access to the window menu
  • [Win32] Added a version info resource to the GLFW DLL
  • [Win32] Made hidden helper window use its own window class
  • [Win32] Disabled framebuffer transparency on Windows 7 when DWM windows are opaque (#1512)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: GLFW_INCLUDE_VULKAN plus VK_USE_PLATFORM_WIN32_KHR caused symbol redefinition (#1524)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: The cursor position event was emitted before its cursor enter event (#1490)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: The window hint GLFW_MAXIMIZED did not move or resize the window (#1499)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Disabled cursor mode interfered with some non-client actions
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Super key was not released after Win+V hotkey (#1622)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: glfwGetKeyName could access out of bounds and return an invalid pointer
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Some synthetic key events were reported as GLFW_KEY_UNKNOWN (#1623)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Non-BMP Unicode codepoint input was reported as UTF-16
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Monitor functions could return invalid values after configuration change (#1761)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Initialization would segfault on Windows 8 (not 8.1) (#1775)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Duplicate size events were not filtered (#1610)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Full screen windows were incorrectly resized by DPI changes (#1582)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: GLFW_SCALE_TO_MONITOR had no effect on systems older than Windows 10 version 1703 (#1511)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: USE_MSVC_RUNTIME_LIBRARY_DLL had no effect on CMake 3.15 or later (#1783,#1796)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Compilation with LLVM for Windows failed (#1807,#1824,#1874)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: The foreground lock timeout was overridden, ignoring the user
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Content scale queries could fail silently (#1615)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Content scales could have garbage values if monitor was recently disconnected (#1615)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: A window created maximized and undecorated would cover the whole monitor (#1806)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: The default restored window position was lost when creating a maximized window
  • [Win32] Bugfix: glfwMaximizeWindow would make a hidden window visible
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Alt+PrtSc would emit GLFW_KEY_UNKNOWN and a different scancode than PrtSc (#1993)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: GLFW_KEY_PAUSE scancode from glfwGetKeyScancode did not match event scancode (#1993)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Instance-local operations used executable instance (#469,#1296,#1395)
  • [Win32] Bugfix: The OSMesa library was not unloaded on termination
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Right shift emitted GLFW_KEY_UNKNOWN when using a CJK IME (#2050)
  • [Cocoa] Added support for VK_EXT_metal_surface (#1619)
  • [Cocoa] Added locating the Vulkan loader at runtime in an application bundle
  • [Cocoa] Moved main menu creation to GLFW initialization time (#1649)
  • [Cocoa] Changed EGLNativeWindowType from NSView to CALayer (#1169)
  • [Cocoa] Changed F13 key to report Print Screen for cross-platform consistency (#1786)
  • [Cocoa] Disabled macOS fullscreen when GLFW_RESIZABLE is false
  • [Cocoa] Removed dependency on the CoreVideo framework
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: glfwSetWindowSize used a bottom-left anchor point (#1553)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Window remained on screen after destruction until event poll (#1412)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Event processing before window creation would assert (#1543)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Undecorated windows could not be iconified on recent macOS
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Touching event queue from secondary thread before main thread would abort (#1649)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Non-BMP Unicode codepoint input was reported as UTF-16 (#1635)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Failing to retrieve the refresh rate of built-in displays could leak memory
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Objective-C files were compiled as C with CMake 3.19 (#1787)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Duplicate video modes were not filtered out (#1830)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Menu bar was not clickable on macOS 10.15+ until it lost and regained focus (#1648,#1802)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Monitor name query could segfault on macOS 11 (#1809,#1833)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: The install name of the installed dylib was relative (#1504)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: The MoltenVK layer contents scale was updated only after related events were emitted
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Moving the cursor programmatically would freeze it for a fraction of a second (#1962)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: kIOMasterPortDefault was deprecated in macOS 12.0 (#1980)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: kUTTypeURL was deprecated in macOS 12.0 (#2003)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: A connected Apple AirPlay would emit a useless error (#1791)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: The EGL and OSMesa libraries were not unloaded on termination
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: GLFW_MAXIMIZED was always true when GLFW_RESIZABLE was false
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Changing GLFW_DECORATED in macOS fullscreen would abort application (#1886)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: Setting a monitor from macOS fullscreen would abort application (#2110)
  • [Cocoa] Bugfix: The Vulkan loader was not loaded from the Frameworks bundle subdirectory (#2113,#2120)
  • [X11] Bugfix: The CMake files did not check for the XInput headers (#1480)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Key names were not updated when the keyboard layout changed (#1462,#1528)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Decorations could not be enabled after window creation (#1566)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Content scale fallback value could be inconsistent (#1578)
  • [X11] Bugfix: glfwMaximizeWindow had no effect on hidden windows
  • [X11] Bugfix: Clearing GLFW_FLOATING on a hidden window caused invalid read
  • [X11] Bugfix: Changing GLFW_FLOATING on a hidden window could silently fail
  • [X11] Bugfix: Disabled cursor mode was interrupted by indicator windows
  • [X11] Bugfix: Monitor physical dimensions could be reported as zero mm
  • [X11] Bugfix: Window position events were not emitted during resizing (#1613)
  • [X11] Bugfix: glfwFocusWindow could terminate on older WMs or without a WM
  • [X11] Bugfix: Querying a disconnected monitor could segfault (#1602)
  • [X11] Bugfix: IME input of CJK was broken for "C" locale (#1587,#1636)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Termination would segfault if the IM had been destroyed
  • [X11] Bugfix: Any IM started after initialization would not be detected
  • [X11] Bugfix: Xlib errors caused by other parts of the application could be reported as GLFW errors
  • [X11] Bugfix: A handle race condition could cause a BadWindow error (#1633)
  • [X11] Bugfix: XKB path used keysyms instead of physical locations for non-printable keys (#1598)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Function keys were mapped to GLFW_KEY_UNKNOWN for some layout combinations (#1598)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Keys pressed simultaneously with others were not always reported (#1112,#1415,#1472,#1616)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Some window attributes were not applied on leaving fullscreen (#1863)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Changing GLFW_FLOATING could leak memory
  • [X11] Bugfix: Icon pixel format conversion worked only by accident, relying on undefined behavior (#1986)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Dynamic loading on OpenBSD failed due to soname differences
  • [X11] Bugfix: Waiting for events would fail if file descriptor was too large (#2024)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Joystick events could lead to busy-waiting (#1872)
  • [X11] Bugfix: glfwWaitEvents* did not continue for joystick events
  • [X11] Bugfix: glfwPostEmptyEvent could be ignored due to race condition (#379,#1281,#1285,#2033)
  • [X11] Bugfix: Dynamic loading on NetBSD failed due to soname differences
  • [X11] Bugfix: Left shift of int constant relied on undefined behavior (#1951)
  • [X11] Bugfix: The OSMesa libray was not unloaded on termination
  • [X11] Bugfix: A malformed response during selection transfer could cause a segfault
  • [X11] Bugfix: Some calls would reset Xlib to the default error handler (#2108)
  • [Wayland] Added dynamic loading of all Wayland libraries
  • [Wayland] Added support for key names via xkbcommon
  • [Wayland] Added support for file path drop events (#2040)
  • [Wayland] Added support for more human-readable monitor names where available
  • [Wayland] Removed support for wl_shell (#1443)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: The GLFW_HAND_CURSOR shape used the wrong image (#1432)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: CLOCK_MONOTONIC was not correctly enabled
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Repeated keys could be reported with NULL window (#1704)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Retrieving partial framebuffer size would segfault
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Scrolling offsets were inverted compared to other platforms (#1463)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Client-Side Decorations were destroyed in the wrong order (#1798)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Monitors physical size could report zero (#1784,#1792)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Some keys were not repeating in Wayland (#1908)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Non-arrow cursors are offset from the hotspot (#1706,#1899)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: The O_CLOEXEC flag was not defined on FreeBSD
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Key repeat could lead to a race condition (#1710)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Activating a window would emit two input focus events
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Disable key repeat mechanism when window loses input focus
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Window hiding and showing did not work (#1492,#1731)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: A key being repeated was not released when window lost focus
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Showing a hidden window did not emit a window refresh event
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Full screen window creation did not ignore GLFW_VISIBLE
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Some keys were reported as wrong key or GLFW_KEY_UNKNOWN
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Text input did not repeat along with key repeat
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwPostEmptyEvent sometimes had no effect (#1520,#1521)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwSetClipboardString would fail if set to result of glfwGetClipboardString
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Data source creation error would cause double free at termination
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Partial writes of clipboard string would cause beginning to repeat
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Some errors would cause clipboard string transfer to hang
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Drag and drop data was misinterpreted as clipboard string
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: MIME type matching was not performed for clipboard string
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: The OSMesa library was not unloaded on termination
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwCreateWindow could emit GLFW_FEATURE_UNAVAILABLE
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Lock key modifier bits were only set when lock keys were pressed
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: A window leaving full screen mode would be iconified (#1995)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: A window leaving full screen mode ignored its desired size
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwSetWindowMonitor did not update windowed mode size
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwRestoreWindow would make a full screen window windowed
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: A window maximized or restored by the user would enter an inconsistent state
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Window maximization events were not emitted
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwRestoreWindow assumed it was always in windowed mode
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwSetWindowSize would resize a full screen window
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: A window content scale event would be emitted every time the window resized
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: If glfwInit failed it would close stdin
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Manual resizing with fallback decorations behaved erratically (#1991,#2115,#2127)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Size limits included frame size for fallback decorations
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Updating GLFW_DECORATED had no effect on server-side decorations
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: A monitor would be reported as connected again if its scale changed
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwTerminate would segfault if any monitor had changed scale
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Window content scale events were not emitted when monitor scale changed
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwSetWindowAspectRatio reported an error instead of applying the specified ratio
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: GLFW_MAXIMIZED window hint had no effect
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: glfwRestoreWindow had no effect before first show
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Hiding and then showing a window caused program abort on wlroots compositors (#1268)
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: GLFW_DECORATED was ignored when showing a window with XDG decorations
  • [Wayland] Bugfix: Connecting a mouse after glfwInit would segfault (#1450)
  • [POSIX] Removed use of deprecated function gettimeofday
  • [POSIX] Bugfix: CLOCK_MONOTONIC was not correctly tested for or enabled
  • [Linux] Bugfix: Joysticks without buttons were ignored (#2042,#2043)
  • [WGL] Disabled the DWM swap interval hack for Windows 8 and later (#1072)
  • [NSGL] Removed enforcement of forward-compatible flag for core contexts
  • [NSGL] Bugfix: GLFW_COCOA_RETINA_FRAMEBUFFER had no effect on newer macOS versions (#1442)
  • [NSGL] Bugfix: Workaround for swap interval on 10.14 broke on 10.12 (#1483)
  • [NSGL] Bugfix: Defining GL_SILENCE_DEPRECATION externally caused a duplicate definition warning (#1840)
  • [EGL] Added platform selection via the EGL_EXT_platform_base extension (#442)
  • [EGL] Added ANGLE backend selection via EGL_ANGLE_platform_angle extension (#1380) [EGL] Added loading of glvnd libOpenGL.so.0 where available for OpenGL
  • [EGL] Bugfix: The GLFW_DOUBLEBUFFER context attribute was ignored (#1843)
  • [GLX] Added loading of glvnd libGLX.so.0 where available
  • [GLX] Bugfix: Context creation failed if GLX 1.4 was not exported by GLX library


On glfw.org you can find the latest version of GLFW, as well as news, documentation and other information about the project.

If you have questions related to the use of GLFW, we have a forum, and the #glfw IRC channel on Libera.Chat.

If you have a bug to report, a patch to submit or a feature you'd like to request, please file it in the issue tracker on GitHub.

Finally, if you're interested in helping out with the development of GLFW or porting it to your favorite platform, join us on the forum, GitHub or IRC.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the GLFW README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.