Free is a rather hard word to Google for, all my variations failed to bring up anything related to the unix app free (it's for viewing memory usage - free -m etc.).

If anyone has a link to the source so I can have a try at compiling it that would be great.


  • Using Googles Linux search engine at google.com/linux sometimes help cut through the false positives, but the word "free" is still very challenging.
    – kmarsh
    Feb 22, 2010 at 14:11
  • @kmarsh 404 not found, I would have liked to know what that was
    – cat
    Jun 24, 2016 at 13:27
  • 1
    @cat Take a look at: googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/06/…
    – kmarsh
    Jun 28, 2016 at 14:22

3 Answers 3


The free command installed by the Debian and Red Hat Linux distributions comes from procps.

The code for free is available in their cvs repository. Release versions are also available to download.

To build just the free command extract the source and run:

make SHARED=0 free
  • So you can't just install free? I was wanting to compile/install onto my OS X machine... Feb 22, 2010 at 22:51
  • Oh sorry I hadn't looked at CVS.. Feb 22, 2010 at 22:53
  • @Adam The free command relies on the /proc/meminfo file that is available on Linux systems, so it won't work on OS X. I have however updated my answer with the make command you'll need to compile just the free command and a link to download releases.
    – Phil Ross
    Feb 23, 2010 at 0:37

Free is part of the Unix Coreutils, which is available here.

  • I can't see free in the latest version of Coreutils (version 8.4).
    – Phil Ross
    Feb 23, 2010 at 0:30

If your using Debian, just do this to get the source for any package:

mkdir work;
apt-get source procps

You'll have a working copy of the source used to build the binary .deb

  • You'll have to have the "deb-src" line configured in your /etc/apt/sources.list to fetch source packages. Looks just like the "deb" line. Feb 22, 2010 at 14:35

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