Spicy can be installed from pre-built binaries (Linux, macOS) or with Homebrew (macOS), executed via Docker containers (Linux), or built from source (Linux, macOS, FreeBSD):
We generally aim to follow Zeek’s platform policy on which platforms to support and test.
Most of the installation options discussed in this chapter do not include the Zeek plugin for Spicy. We recommend installing the plugin through Zeek’s package manager; see its installation instructions.
We provide pre-built Spicy binaries for a range of Linux
distributions, both for the current release version and for
development builds made from the Git
These binary artifacts are distributed as either DEB or RPM packages for the corresponding distribution; or, in a couple cases, as TAR archives. To install the binaries, download the corresponding package and execute one of the following:
- DEB packages
# dpkg --install spicy.deb
- RPM packages
# rpm -i spicy.rpm
- TAR archives
The TAR archives need to be unpacked into
/opt/spicy. Any previous installation must be removed first:
# rm -rf /opt/spicy && mkdir /opt/spicy # tar xf spicy.tar.gz -C /opt/spicy --strip-components=1
The binaries may require installation of additional dependencies; see
Dockerfile for the respective platform for what’s needed.
|Platform||Release Version||Development Version||Dockerfile|
We provide a Homebrew formula for installation of Spicy. After installing Homebrew add the Zeek tap:
# brew tap zeek/zeek
To install the most recent Spicy release version, execute:
# brew install spicy
To instead install the current development version, execute:
# brew install --HEAD spicy
We provide TAR archives with pre-built binaries for the following macOS versions:
|macOS||Release Version||Development Version|
|Big Sur (11)||TAR||TAR|
The TAR archives need to be unpacked into
/opt/spicy. Any previous
installation must be removed first. To prevent macOS from quarantining
the files, you should download and unpack via the command line:
# curl -L <link-per-above> -o spicy.tar.gz # rm -rf /opt/spicy && mkdir /opt/spicy # tar xf spicy.tar.gz -C /opt/spicy --strip-components 1
For JIT support, these binaries require an Xcode installation.
We provide pre-built Docker images on Docker Hub. The Spicy distribution also comes with a set of Docker files to create base images for all the supported Linux distributions that put all of Spicy’s dependencies in place. We’ll walk through using either of these in the following.
You first need to install Docker on your host system, if you haven’t yet.
All major Linux distributions provide Docker. Install it using your package manager. Alternatively, follow the official instructions.
Docker Desktop for Mac uses a VM behind the scenes to host the Docker runtime environment. By default it allocates 2 GB of RAM to the VM. This is not enough to compile Spicy or Zeek and will cause an error that looks something like this:
c++: internal compiler error: Killed (program cc1plus) Please submit a full bug report, with preprocessed source if appropriate. See <file:///usr/share/doc/gcc-7/README.Bugs> for instructions.
This is due to the VM hitting an out-of-memory condition. To avoid this you will need to allocate more RAM to the VM. Click on the Docker Icon in your menubar and select “Preferences”. Click on the “Advanced” tab and then use the slider to select 8 GB of RAM. Docker Desktop will restart and then you will be ready to go.
We provide the following Docker images:
|Spicy Version||Image name/tag||Source|
To run the release image, execute the following command:
# docker run -it zeekurity/spicy:latest
Spicy is installed in
/opt/spicy on these images. The development
image is updated nightly.
You can build base images for your own Spicy setups through the Docker files coming with the distribution. These images do not include Spicy itself, just the dependencies that it needs on each platform, both for a source build and for the using the corresponding binary packages. (The images do include Zeek, but not the Zeek plugin.)
To build an image, go into Spicy’s
docker directory and run
make to see the container platforms available:
# cd docker # make Run "make build-<platform>", then "make run-<platform>". Available platforms: alpine-3.12 centos-7 centos-8 debian-10 [...]
To build and run a container image based on, for example, Debian 10, execute:
# make build-debian-10 # make run-debian-10
The primary purpose of these Docker files is creating the foundation for our CI pipelines. However, they also double as verified installation instructions for setting up Spicy’s dependencies on the various platforms, which is why we are describing them here.
To build Spicy from source, you will need:
For compiling the toolchain:
- BTest >= 0.66 (
pip install btest)
- Bash (for BTest)
For building the documentation:
In the following we record how to get these dependencies in place on some popular platforms. Please file an issue if you have instructions for platforms not yet listed here.
Make sure you have Xcode installed, including its command-line tools
If you are using Homebrew:
# brew install bison flex cmake ninja firstname.lastname@example.org sphinx-doc # pip3 install btest sphinx_rtd_theme
If you are using MacPorts:
# port install flex bison cmake ninja python38 py38-pip py38-sphinx py38-sphinx_rtd_theme # pip install btest
Get the code:
# git clone --recursive https://github.com/zeek/spicy
The short version to build Spicy is the usual process then:
# ./configure && make && make install
However, you may want to customize the build a bit, see the output
./configure --help for the available options. In particular, you
--prefix=/other/path to install into something else than
configure output will summarize your build’s
For developers, the following
configure options may be
--enable-ccache: use the
ccachecompiler cache to speed up compilation
--enable-debug: compile a non-optimized debug version
--enable-sanitizer: enable address & leak sanitizers
--generator=Ninja: use the faster
ninjabuild system instead of
Using Ninja and
ccache will speed up compile times. On Linux,
compiling will also be quite a bit faster if you have the “Gold
linker” available. To check if you do, see if
returns anything. If yes,
configure will automatically pick it
Once you have configured Spicy, running
make will change into the
build directory and start the compilation there.
make test will execute the test suite. It will take
a bit, but all tests should be passing (unless explicitly reported as
expected to fail). Finally,
make install will install Spicy
system-wide into the configured prefix. If you are installing into a
non-standard location, make sure that
<prefix>/bin is in your
You can also use the Spicy tools directly out of the build
directory without installing; the binaries land in
To build Spicy’s documentation, run
make inside the
Documentation will then be located in
In order to speed up compilation of Spicy parsers, users can create a cache of precompiled files. This cache is tied to a specific Spicy version, and needs to be recreated each time Spicy is updated.
To precompile the files execute the following command:
By default the cache is located in the folder
.cache/spicy/<VERSION> inside the user’s home directory. This
location can be overridden by setting the environment variable
SPICY_CACHE to a different folder path, both when executing
spicy-precompile-headers and Spicy toolchain commands.