After 4 years of use, I decided to reset my Mac, cleaning up years of garbage in some folders. Surprisingly I was able to recover 20 GB of free space (which is a lot on a 128 GB SSD).

My workflow is quite simple, and I don't have a lot o apps installed. Besides the built-in and 1st party apps, I have, from the App Store: BBEdit and WhatsApp; and from other sources: Matlab, Skype, TeXShop, MacTeX, and OpenVPN.

I am not a developer, so I never installed Xcode, nor the Command Line Developer Tools (CLDT). So why would my two days old fresh installation keeps bugging me to install either the full Xcode or CLDT, when I'm sure I'm not running CC (or any other compilator, for that matter).

I doubt that among my handful of apps, one may be the culprit. But does any one know of any similar behavior.

P.S.: Just to make this point clear. I've made a clear from scratch installation. The only thing carried over was my iCloud content. No recovering from backups of any kind.

  • FWIW I have CC (/usr/bin/cc) and have never installed any dev tools other than BBEdit and from what I can see the BBEDIT tools don't include CC. Latest macOS, all up to date. It does seem to be the Clang compiler, unless it came with macOS I have no idea how it got on my Mac. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 17:01
  • /usr/bin/cc is a symlink to clang, the Clang C, C++, and Objective-C compiler, and is a part of the default macOS build. Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 17:00
  • Is this issue still continuing? Commented May 11, 2019 at 4:00
  • I've uninstalled MacTeX for about two weeks now. Not a single occurrence. I'm keeping my workflow through Overleaf. As I've said, the MacTeX team are reportedly working on a fix. Commented May 12, 2019 at 13:27

3 Answers 3


Following a suggestion I've made a search on the System Console just after the prompt popped up. Founding this: "Apr 26 12:48:58 MBP-de-Osmar Install Command Line Developer Tools[21410]: DEPRECATED USE in libdispatch client: dispatch source activated with no event handler set; set a breakpoint on _dispatch_bug_deprecated to debug".

So, it would appear that whichever app is calling libdispatch, is the culprit. So far, more specific searcher on the console were unfruitful.

EDIT: it would appear that the culprit was MacTeX. I uninstalled it (because one of my somewhat specific routines wasn't working properly, and troubleshooting was getting nowhere) to reinstall later. In the two days since I've uninstalled it, it would appear that the problem in gone.

I've already contacted the MacTeX team.

  • 1
    MacTeX need command line tools for various purposes when working in LaTeX. So the easy way to install those is either when MacTeX ask you, either with the command xcode-select --install. Useful also for you, some commands in LaTeX can be done in terminal.
    – Yoan
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 15:04
  • 1
    I've received word from the MacTeX team, they are aware of the problem (four about a week), and are working to fix it. I was informed that there are no user feasible workarounds yet (unless you want to compile the TeX Live distribution from source, with manual patches). Commented May 3, 2019 at 20:59
  • About a minute ago I was contacted by a member of the MacTeX team. They had me test a piece of script that was supposedly fixed, and it worked. I'm waiting from them to know when the fix will be going live. Commented May 12, 2019 at 14:31

It may be BBEdit or something related to TeX.

It's a longshot, but if you run Console, you may get a clue by searching for whether anything is throwing an error regarding the "Command Line."

  • Doesn't sound like BBEdit, unless the command line tools for BBEdit were ALSO installed and depend on cc for some reason... but I've put BBEdit on a lot of Macs, including the command line tools for BBEdit, and have never seen that specific prompt.
    – dr.nixon
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 18:01
  • It's utterly annoying. It goes away for a full day. And then it comes back a couple times per hour. I can't reproduce it, but it mostly appears right after the Mac wakes from sleep. Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 13:46
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    Stupid question: why not just install the tools? Installing takes 2 minutes compared to all the time you’ve spent on SE being utterly annoyed. You’ve installed several apps that aren’t widely used and may be introducing the dependency. The purpose of SE is not to provide tech support for everybody’s configuration including the infinite number of third party applications. Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 15:27
  • 1
    I’m not being caustic, just looking ahead to what you will do once/if we determine which app I needs the command line tools. Let’s say that it’s MatLab. Are you willing to uninstall MatLab or will you just install the command line tools? If you’re correct and the dependency comes from libdispatch, what are the chances the author of the tool will make a grand effort to remove the dependency? How many cycles should be spent on a NOP? It’s not just your 2 minutes, but the time of myself and any others trying to assist you. Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 17:11
  • 1
    This has nothing to do with libdispatch - that’s a misdiagnosis. Look for other installed apps that might need the compiler by checking activity monitor or running “pstree” in the Terminal, when the popup message appears.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 18:46

create a dummy cc program. have it crash. read the call stack to find out who called cc. Not sure when you get a crash log.

mac $ nano cc
mac $ cat cc
#! /bin/bash
# the idea here is to crash the app so as to look at the call stack to see who called this
# bash script
x=$(( $RANDOM % $nogo ))
mac $ chmod 744 cc
mac $ ls -l cc
-rwxr--r--  1 mac  staff   150B Apr 26 21:18 cc*
# You will need to place cc in where ever it normally resides. 
# I found cc here:
# /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Toolchains/XcodeDefault.xctoolchain/usr/bin/cc
mac $ ls -l /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Toolchains/XcodeDefault.xctoolchain/usr/bin/cc
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel     5B Jan 28  2016 /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Toolchains/XcodeDefault.xctoolchain/usr/bin/cc@ -> clang
mac $ ./cc
./cc: line 5: 27778 % 0 : division by 0 (error token is " ")
mac RC=1 😱  $ 

another idea is to make cc run forever. add

sleep 30

for 30 seconds of sleeping. from another terminal do a top and see who called cc. you could force quit cc and take a dump.

  • 1
    The OP doesn't have Xcode installed. The only copy of cc present is in a directory protected by SIP, which they shouldn't attempt to modify.
    – user101978
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 4:13
  • 1
    This is so far off in the weeds that I can’t even see the lawn mower tracks... Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 10:57
  • You guys have no imagination. Other replies are not solutions either. And your solution is? Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 17:46
  • Well, this is what we did in the days I was working on Operating System. Commented May 11, 2019 at 3:59

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