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Installing Nim

Nim is rapidly evolving and it can be useful to have the possibility to manage multiple versions of the compiler. The nimchoose package allows this, and it’s my recommended way of getting nim up and running.

Table of contents

  1. Linux
    1. Installation using choosenim
      1. Prerequisites
      2. Installation
    2. Installation using Miniconda
  2. macOS


A tool called choosenim is my recommended choice: is not only an easy way to install nim, but also a tool to manage multiple installations (which can be useful in the future, if you’ll start developing serious projects :). Since most bioinformatics is supported by the Miniconda package manager, I also mention that installation as a reasonable way of getting an updated version.

:warning: Installing from repositories (like apt install nim) is a bad idea as system repositories are providing old versions of packages, and nim is a young and relatively immature programming language: you need to stick to recent versions to survive. To make an example at the time of writing (August 2020), I’m using nim 1.2.6 but my Ubuntu server offers me nim 0.12.

Installation using choosenim

The repository of choosenim ( contains detailed instructions to install nim on most operating systems. Here I summarise how to do so on Linux.


Nim relies on a C compiler (gcc or clang), that should be installed in most cases (you can try with gcc --version or clang --version). OpenSSL 1.0.2 or newer is also required (the version can be checked with openssl version).

If you use Ubuntu and you don’t have a compiler you can install the required tools with:

sudo apt install build-essential openssl zlib1g-dev wget curl


To download choosenim:

curl -sSf | sh

The installation process will ask you if you want to send anonymous information to the developers (answer y or n), and finally you should add the nim directory to your $PATH and then reload the configuration file:

echo 'export PATH=~/.nimble/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Did everything work? Try typing nim and check that you are getting the splash screen!

Installation using Miniconda

If you already use Miniconda, the installation is as easy as:

conda install -y  -c conda-forge nim


The installation is exactly as in Linux, just remember to install XCode from the App Store first, and then from the command line run this command:

xcode-select --install

to install the compiler (clang) and command line tools, then you can use either nimchoose (recommended) or conda, as described above.