Monday, June 18, 2012

An ODBC driver for Firebird on MacOSX

I was recently contacted by a Firebird user on MacOSX who was trying to get the Firebird ODBC driver to build on MacOSX. I thought I would try and step in to help.

For those of you who follow the CVS checkins for OdbcJdbc you might have noticed the addition of a number of a new directory in the Builds directory called Gcc.darwin containing a makefile, a readme and a .sh file to create a lipo'ed dylib. The driver sucessfully builds and passes some simple tests. Feel free to contact me for a copy of the dylib to test further.

The readme contains the following information:

These instructions should allow a user to get a working user DSN for ODBC to connect
to Firebird on MacOS. Comments please to Paul Beach (pbeach at

To build the library, edit makefile.darwin, and select the ARCH (i386 or X86_64).
then make -B -f makefile.darwin all

The Firebird ODBC library can be built in both 64bit or 32bit format. creates a fat libary that can be used on either version of Firebird.

1. Download the MacOSX ODBC Administrator from
and install.

2. Once installed it can be accessed via Applications/Utilities/ODBC Administrator

3. Place the libOdbcFB.dylib in $HOME/odbc for example then add the Firebird driver
(dylib) name and location to the Drivers tab in the Administrator.
Description: Firebird ODBC Driver
Driver file: /Users/username/odbc/libOdbcFB.dylib
Define as: User
This will create an odbcinst.ini file in $HOME/Library/ODBC

4. Now you need to create a User DSN via an odbc.ini file.
Use the text below as an example, copy and paste into an odbc.ini
file placed in $HOME/Library/ODBC
Make sure that you modify the text so it points to your database
and uses your username and password.

[ODBC Data Sources]
Test = Firebird

Driver               = /Users/username/odbc/libOdbcFb.dylib
Description          = Test Firebird ODBC
Dbname               = localhost:/Users/databases/test.fdb
Client               =
User                 = SYSDBA
Password             = masterkey
Role                 =
CharacterSet         = NONE
ReadOnly             = No
NoWait               = No
Dialect              = 3
QuotedIdentifier     = Yes
SensitiveIdentifier  = No
AutoQuotedIdentifier = No

Trace         = 0
TraceAutoStop = 0
TraceFile     =
TraceLibrary  =

This User DSN should appear in the User DSN tab the next time you load the
ODBC Administrator.

5. You can test whether it works using iodbctest and then using the dsn
dsn=Test, if all is well it should connect and you can issue SQL statements.

To create a System wide version of the ODBC driver, copy the libOdbcFB.dylib
to /usr/lib make sure the Administrators Drivers tab now points to this file.

Copy the DSN above to /Library/ODBC and modify.

Note: (13th June 2012)
The ODBC library is linked to libfbclient.dylib found in the Firebird framework
Libraries directory. Not all SuperServer builds of Firebird have this library installed
by default. If this is the case get a copy of the Firebird Classic build and extract
the libfbclient library and place it in

Note: (30th Nov 2015)
Since Mavericks (10.9) Apple no longer ship the default odbc header files as part of their SDK, so you need to get the files from an older SDK e.g. /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.7.sdk/usr/include or download the files you need from


Neil said...

I am trying to follow these instructions to create an odbc connection on a Mac to a Firebird database. I am having trouble finding the driver that is needed to do this though. You showed a driver in the article, but I am not really understanding what steps to take to create it or download the driver. Any help you can give would be appreciated. Thanks

Paul Beach said...

Contact me directly via email please, and explain what you are trying to do.