Getting Started/Build/Historic/KDE 3.0

This page explains how to download and install KDE 3.0.x from sources.


To compile KDE you need:

  • Qt 3.0.4 up to 3.0.6, doesn't compile with Qt 3.1.x
  • Automake 1.5 and Autoconf 2.5
  • a C++ compiler which supports exceptions, preferably gcc-2.95.x or gcc-3.2
  • bunzip2 to decompress .bz2 files. You can find it here. Get libbz2 while you're at it, it enables reading of .tar.bz2 files in konqueror, and one day, will give access to .bz2 files to all KDE applications.
  • If you want SSL support (for instance for secure web sites in konqueror), make sure you install openssl, version 0.9.6 or later (versions 0.9.5x are not supported).
  • For Netscape-plugins support in konqueror, make sure to install lesstif.
  • For a better regular-expressions support in Javascript, install libpcre.
  • For the KDE help system, you'll need to install libxml2, version 2.3.13 or newer.
  • There are additional modules that are compiled if the required library is present, but they aren't critical to run KDE. For instance, libldap for the LDAP kioslave, and cdparanoia for the audiocd kioslave. A more detailed list of requirements is available in the KDE 3.0 Release Announcement


In order to run KDE applications, you need the Qt, arts, and kdelibs packages. For a simple desktop (with a window manager, panel, etc), you will also need kdebase. The other packages contain many other applications by topic: networking, graphics, multimedia, games, utilities, toys, software development, etc.

You can find the Qt library (version 3.0.4) at

KDE 3.0.x is available from


Unlike most compiled software, Qt is compiled in the place where it will stay instead of using a 'make install'. Please read the INSTALL instructions in the Qt package. You need to set the QTDIR and KDEDIR to the locations where Qt and KDE will be installed, respectively. Also, append $QTDIR/bin and $KDEDIR/bin to your $PATH and $LD_LIBRARY_PATH. Alternatively, instead of using $LD_LIBRARY_PATH, you may add your Qt and KDE library paths to /etc/, but don't forget to run ldconfig as root after installing Qt and kdelibs, otherwise configure scripts will fail to find the newly installed libraries!

bunzip2 qt-x11-3.0.4.tar.bz2
tar xvf qt-x11-3.0.4.tar
cd qt-x11-3.0.4
./configure -system-zlib -qt-gif -system-libpng \
-system-libjpeg -plugin-imgfmt-mng -thread -no-stl \
-no-xinerama -no-g++-exceptions

Note that -thread is required (KDE will not run or even compile if you omit it), that -no-xinerama is only if you're not using xinerama, and -no-g++-exceptions is strongly recommended if you're using gcc.

Make sure to compile and install first arts, and afterwards kdelibs before any other packages. Also, if you want to use kdeaddons, it should be compiled last as it requires kdebase, kdemultimedia, etc.

For each KDE package:

bunzip2 <package>.tar.bz2
tar xvf <package>.tar
cd <package>
make install
  • If compiling on a system where GNU make is not the default make (that is, most systems other than Linux), please run gmake && gmake install instead of make && make install.
  • All packages mentioned here have to be compiled with the same compiler!

See the KDE 3.0 Info Page for some common encountered problems when running KDE 3.0.

This page was last edited on 10 March 2016, at 19:52. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.