CMake unable to determine linker language with C++

I'm attempting to run a cmake hello world program on Windows 7 x64 with both Visual Studio 2010 and Cygwin, but can't seem to get either to work. My directory structure is as follows:

-- CMakeLists.txt
-- src/
-- -- CMakeLists.txt
-- -- main.cpp
-- build/

I do a cd build followed by a cmake .., and get an error stating that

CMake Error: CMake can not determine linker language for target:helloworld
CMake Error: Cannot determine link language for target "helloworld".

However, if I change the extension of main.cpp to main.c both on my filsystem and in src/CMakeLists.txt everything works as expected. This is the case running from both the Visual Studio Command Prompt (Visual Studio Solution Generator) and the Cygwin Terminal (Unix Makefiles Generator).

Any idea why this code wouldn't work?


PROJECT(HelloWorld C)
cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8)

# include the cmake modules directory



# Include the directory itself as a path to include directories

# Create a variable called helloworld_SOURCES containing all .cpp files:
set(HelloWorld_SOURCES main.cpp)

# Create an executable file called helloworld from sources:
add_executable(hello ${HelloWorld_SOURCES })


int main()
  return 0;
- - Source


answered 6 year ago olovb #1

Try changing

PROJECT(HelloWorld C)



or just



answered 6 year ago Joakim #2

I also got the error you mention:

CMake Error: CMake can not determine linker language for target:helloworld
CMake Error: Cannot determine link language for target "helloworld".

In my case this was due to having C++ files with the .cc extension.

If CMake is unable to determine the language of the code correctly you can use the following:

set_target_properties(hello PROPERTIES LINKER_LANGUAGE CXX)

The accepted answer that suggests appending the language to the project() statement simply adds more strict checking for what language is used (according to the documentation), but it wasn't helpful to me:

Optionally you can specify which languages your project supports. Example languages are CXX (i.e. C++), C, Fortran, etc. By default C and CXX are enabled. E.g. if you do not have a C++ compiler, you can disable the check for it by explicitly listing the languages you want to support, e.g. C. By using the special language "NONE" all checks for any language can be disabled. If a variable exists called CMAKE_PROJECT__INCLUDE_FILE, the file pointed to by that variable will be included as the last step of the project command.

answered 4 year ago Moebius #3

In my case, it was just because there were no source file in the target. All of my library was template with source code in the header. Adding an empty file.cpp solved the problem.

answered 10 mon ago Jolly Roger #4

Confusing as it might be, the error also happens when a cpp file included in the project does not exist.

If you list your source files in CMakeLists.txt and mistakenly type a file name then you get this error.

answered 9 mon ago HimalayanCoder #5

By default the JNI Native folder is named as jni . Renaming it to cpp fixed the issue

answered 7 mon ago user2999709 #6

I also faced a similar error while compiling my C-based code. I fixed the issue by correcting the source file path in my cmake file. Please check the source file path of each source file mentioned in your cmake file. This might help you too.

answered 3 mon ago AKJ #7

I managed to solve mine, by changing



add_executable(ProjectName file1.cpp)

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