How to install multiple versions of Go

Here is a short recipe I use for installing multiple versions of Go from source. In this example I’m going to install the release (currently Go 1.3.1) and trunk versions of Go.

Step 1. Checkout

Checkout two copies of the Go source code into independent paths.

% hg clone https://code.google.com/p/go -r release $HOME/go.release
% hg clone https://code.google.com/p/go $HOME/go.trunk

Step 2. Build

Build and run the tests for both versions.

% cd $HOME/go.release/src && ./all.bash
% cd $HOME/go.trunk/src && ./all.bash

Step 3. Done

That’s it, we’re done. You can now invoke whichever version of Go you want by invoking the go tool like so

% $HOME/go.release/bin/go test $YOURPACKAGE # test with the release version
% $HOME/go.trunk/bin/go test $YOURPACKAGE # test with the trunk version

If you want a particular version of Go to be your default, add that version’s bin directory to your $PATH

export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/go.release/bin:$GOPATH/bin

Look Ma, no $GOROOT!

You’ll notice that I didn’t set $GOROOT. You don’t need to set $GOROOT, ever1.


  1. Unless you’re using Windows, and have decided to not follow the instructions from the golang.org site. Please refer to this helpful infographic for full details.

Posted in Go by Dave Cheney