On Linux, install the development packages for FreeType, Cairo, and GLib. For example, on Ubuntu / Debian, you would do:
sudo apt-get install meson pkg-config ragel gtk-doc-tools gcc g++ libfreetype6-dev libglib2.0-dev libcairo2-dev
whereas on Fedora, RHEL, CentOS, and other Red Hat based systems you would do:
sudo dnf install meson pkgconfig gtk-doc gcc gcc-c++ freetype-devel glib2-devel cairo-dev
and on ArchLinux and Manjaro:
sudo pacman -Suy meson pkg-config ragel gcc freetype2 glib2 cairo
then use meson to build the project like
meson build && meson test -Cbuild.
brew install pkg-config ragel gtk-doc freetype glib cairo meson then use meson like above.
On Windows, meson can build the project like above if a working MSVC's cl.exe (
vcvarsall.bat) or gcc/clang is already on your path, and if you use something like
meson build --wrap-mode=default it fetches and compiles most of the dependencies also.
Our CI configurations is also a good source of learning how to build HarfBuzz.
There is also amalgam source provided with HarfBuzz which reduces whole process of building HarfBuzz like
g++ src/harfbuzz.cc -fno-exceptions but there is not guarantee provided with buildability and reliability of features you get.