List of all famous software written in C++

on 14 August 2012

I love C++ and I prefer C++ over any other programming languages when it comes to creating desktop applications. Many people are unfamiliar with the real power of C plus plus and thus to make them familiar with robustness of C++, I have compiled a list of famous systems, software packages or applications and libraries written in C++ programming languages. After going through the list you will notice that most of the apps and programs you daily interact with are written in C++ code and C++ will emerge as a distinguished programming language in your eyes.

Note: This is a list of software written in C++ but also mentions some software written in C Language due to the fact that most of the programs are written by combining C and C++. In fact, it is difficult to separate C language and C++. C++ is a super set of C and it can be said as new version of C language having object-oriented features. Thus, a C language program also becomes a C++ program inevitably. Though software which are completely written in C are excluded from the list. Moreover some of the software mentioned here may be using some other languages for some modules. For example, many operating system mentioned below also use assembly language. Though I have tried to make the list as accurate as possible, suggestions for additions and corrections are welcome.

List based on kind of software

Operating Systems

Most of the operating systems are written in C and C++ language. These include Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Apple Mac OS X, Symbian OS and Be-OS, Google Chrome OS, RIM BlackBerry OS 4.x, Apple iPhone iPod Touch and iPad OS etc.

Web Browsers

  1. Microsoft Internet Explorer
  2. Google Chrome (based on chromium web browser)
  3. Mozilla Firefox
  4. Safari
  5. Netscape Navigator
  6. Opera and Opera Mini

Office Products

  1. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, FrontPage)
  2. Apache OpenOffice
  3. Corel Office/WordPerfect Office

E-Mail Clients

  1. Microsoft Outlook
  2. IBM Lotus Notes
  3. Mozilla Thunderbird

Web Sites

  1. Facebook - Several high-performance and high-reliability components are developed in C++.
  2. YouTube
  3. Amazon
  4. Paypal

Multimedia Players

  1. Winamp
  2. Microsoft Windows Media Player
  3. Apple iPod software
  4. VLC media player

Database systems

All the major RDBMS are developed in c++.

  1. Oracle database
  2. MySQL
  3. IBM DB2
  4. Microsoft SQL Server
  5. IBM Informix
  6. SAP DB/MaxDB
  7. MongoDB: An open-source database, widely used as the back end store for web applications, as well as in large enterprises like Viacom and Disney.

Graphical Layers

Graphical layers are nothing but the Graphical User Interface provided by various operating systems in order to make the human-computer interaction user friendly.

  1. Microsoft Windows UI
  2. Apple MacOS UI (Aqua)
  3. KDE

Compilers and Virtual Machines for programming languages

It is amazing to notice that various compilers and run-time environments for other programming languages are written in C++. This means without C++, it would not be possible to execute .Net and Java applications.

  1. Microsoft Visual C++ Compiler
  2. Microsoft Visual Basic Compiler
  3. Microsoft Visual C# Compiler
  4. Microsoft .Net CLR
  5. Java Virtual Machine (JVM)


Majority of computer games and game engines are developed in C++. It is difficult to provide list of all games here but some of them are Doom III engine, Counter Strike, Sierra On-line: Birthright, Hellfire, Football Pro, Bullrider I & II, Trophy Bear, Kings Quest, Antara, Hoyle Card games suite, SWAT, Blizzard: StarCraft, StarCraft: Brood War, Diablo I, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, Starfleet Command, Invictus, PBS's Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, Master of Orion III, CS-XII, MapleStory etc.

Electronic Art's video game engine is coded in c++. All Microsoft's games are written in c++.

Implementation of C++ by various companies and organizations

Note: The software already mentioned above are not repeated.


All major Adobe's applications are developed in C++:

  1. Photoshop
  2. ImageReady
  3. Illustrator
  4. Acrobat Reader/Distiller
  5. InDesign
  6. GoLive
  7. Frame


Many Google applications are written in C++, including Google file system, Google Chromium projects, Google Earth, Picasa, Google Desktop Search and MapReduce large cluster data processing.

Note: It is not officially revealed by Google that Google Earth and Picasa are developed using C++ but looking at the libraries these software use, it can be easily assumed that they are built using C++. Also many reverse engineers have supported this.

Hewlett-Packard (HP)

Some of the HP's C++ apps are:

  1. C, C++, Fortran90 compilers, and linker for the new HP IA64 platform
  2. SAM (HP's system management utility)
  3. Some of the networking libraries in HP-UX
  4. Java VM core
  5. Parts of Openview
  6. Non-stop XML parser (originally from compaq)


  1. OS/400
  2. K42: a high performance, open source, general-purpose operating system kernel for cache-coherent multiprocessors.
  3. ILOG: provides libraries written in C++ used for:
    1. Visualization. This set of libraries is used to build applications that needs portable GUI's and advanced graphical features.
    2. Optimization. This set of libraries is used to build programs that needs constraint programming or/and the simplex algorithm.
    3. Rules. This set of libraries is used to build applications that needs a rule engine to fire actions according to events that may happen.
    Some IBM's ILOG customers include : Chrysler, CENA, Nortel, SAP, Renault, Barclays Global Investors (BGI), TLC (Transport, Informatik- und Logistik-Consulting GmbH) subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, Telefonica, CISCO, NISSAN, POSCO, Sony Bank, isMobile, Southwest Airlines, Novient, Vodafone , Sabre Holdings Corporation, France Telecom, Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom, Lucent Technologies, Siemens, HP etc.


  1. Many chip design and manufacturing software.
  2. Vtune performace analysis software.
  3. Various compilers and optimizers.


Bill Gates seems to be big time C++ fan. In addition to all operating systems and office tools, most of the Microsoft's applications are built using C++. They include but are not limited to:

  1. Visual Studio
  2. Microsoft Exchange Server
  3. Picture It
  4. Microsoft Windows Desktop Search
  5. DirectX
  6. Microsoft IIS

Sun Microsystems

Sun's compilers have major components written in C++, in particular the C++ front end, parts of the Fortran 95 front end, and the SPARC back end. Parts of Solaris are written in C++, though the external interface is usually crafted to look like C, for compatibility and stability reasons.

Other Software

  • 12D: powerful 3D CAD, civil engineering and surveying software, made for civil and surveying industry professionals.
  • Autodesk Maya - 3D graphics and animation software. Many other Autodesk's applications are also developed using C++.
  • Arium: Sourcepoint; Hardware debugging and emulation for Intel and ARM systems (incl. multi-processor systems).
  • AT&T 1-800 service and provisioning systems.
  • Bloomberg: Provides real-time financial information to investors.
  • Cabot Communications: Portable set top box and digital TV software
  • Callas Software: software for analysis, optimization and correction of PDF files: pdfInspektor, Acrobat Preflight and other plug-ins.
  • The CDE desktop (the standard desktop on many UNIX systems) is written in C++.
  • CERN data analysis - especially for large high-energy physics experiments - using the ROOT toolset and libraries.
  • eMule: Peer-to-peer file sharing client.
  • FlightGear: an open source flight simulator, using JSBSim, one of the flight dynamics math models used in FlightGear and by other simulators.
  • Geant4: Toolkit for the simulation of the passage of particles through matter. Its areas of application include high energy, nuclear and accelerator physics, as well as studies in medical and space science. The Geant4 project is a world-wide collaboration of about 100 scientists participating in more than 10 physics experiments in Europe, Russia, Japan, Canada and USA.
  • Haiku OS: Major parts of the system (including most of the kernel) are written in C++.
  • hMailServer: Free email server for Microsoft Windows
  • Image Systems TrackEye and TEMA: World leading motion analysis programs (based on digital image processing). Used by most car manufacturers to analyse the effects of crash tests.
  • mIRC Chat: Chat client being used by over a million people
  • Nuance's Dragon Naturally Speaking: An award winning continuous speech dictation system.
  • Nullsoft: All Nullsoft products are C++ (Winamp, NSI, etc.) and many are open source.
  • OGRE 3D: a 3D graphics engine
  • SAP ERP: Business All-in-One software.
  • SGI's OpenGL Performer graphics library.
  • Āµtorrent: ĀµTorrent is a lightweight and efficient BitTorrent client for Windows or Mac with many features.
  • Vodaphone: Mobile phone infrastructure, incl. provisioning and billing.
  • wxWidgets (formerly wxWindows): A cross-platform GUI and tools library for GTK, MS Windows, and MacOS.

This is not the end of the list, many other powerful software are developed in C++. If you are aware about any other famous software written in C++ which is missing from the list, please mention it by commenting below.


Anonymous said...

Database systems Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, IBM DB2 are written in C, not C++. The entire package they ship with does have stuff in C++ but the core is C.

Anonymous said...

WOW that makes for such a big difference, as C is literally a subset of C++ (all except some pathological cases)

munish kapoor said...

could you please tell me the application like wechat,line and viber written in which language

Anonymous said...

can u list any open source softwares in c++

Unknown said...

I came to know the exact C++ areas to program with. I feel quite satisfied about this huge market for C++ developers

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to note that Valve's Source engine uses a derivative of C++ code.

asif said...

Turboo c++ also written in c ..

Anonymous said...

Android is a mobile operating system (OS) is also written in c and c++. (as mentioned in the WIKIPEDIA)

Anonymous said...

"notepad++" is written in c++

Unknown said...

Well Anonymous .... There are alot of open source C++ application's like Google chrome , chrome is not open source but chromium is as chrome get's it's updates and patches from chromium and chromium is written in c++ .

Unknown said...

Hey! List GCC in compiler list:

1. It compilers C++ since ancient times
2. Since 4.8.0, the core and some front-ends have been rewritten to C++

Eviatar Mor said...

Unreal Engine has written in c++ aswell. ( source is avaible )

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