Getting Started

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These build instructions are outdated as of 2012. Please visit irc:// for assistance building. Then please come back here to help update these files.


There are many different ways to become involved in the KDE Community, ranging all the way from a simply using our software through to being a core platform developer.

This section of KDE TechBase is designed to help get you started in participating in the technical side of the KDE community. It will explain to you how KDE Software is structured and built, and how you can participate by building KDE for yourself.

Using KDE Software

If you just want to use stable KDE software for your everyday computing needs, then you do not need to build KDE Software for yourself. You should instead use the software installer provided by your Linux distribution to install KDE package.

The best place to learn how to do this is through your distributions normal support channels, although you may find some useful information on the following pages:

Getting Help

If you are looking for help in using the KDE Workspace or KDE Applications then please visit the KDE UserBase.

If you have any questions or problems with building or developing KDE Software please feel free to ask for help. However, be patient while waiting for a response, and try to work through the problem yourself, we aren't going to do it all for you. Working your way through and understanding why something doesn't work is a good way to learn how to do things the right way.

Browsing the code

The KDE project is all free and open source. You can view its source code and make changes. hosts the source for many KDE-related initiatives, including KDE itself. Choose a piece of KDE such as KDE Libraries, then click Repository to browse its source. Getting_Started/Sources explains the organization of KDE source code.

There are other utilities to browse the source code:

Building and Running KDE Software From Source

There are several possible ways to build and install KDE software and the method you choose depends on what you want to do with the software. In particular if you are only wanting to build and develop a single application you may not need to build the entire KDE Development Platform to do so. You can read more about this on the Build Methods page.

If you simply want to build one application, the simple tutorial Building an Existing Application might be enough already.

Quickstart: If you are impatient to get started without understanding what you are doing then you can skip straight to using a Build Script, but it is strongly recommended you read this documentation first.

The following sections explain the steps you need to understand and give the instructions you need to follow to successfully build KDE Software from source:

Development Tools

There are a number of Development Tools that are either required or helpful when building KDE Software. For these you will usually want to use the stable packages provided by your distribution.

You may want to use a graphical IDE for your development work:

Contributing To KDE

Once you have a copy of KDE built you can then start contributing back to KDE. The pages below will help you find out how you can help make KDE even better.

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Development and Release Model

This is information for release schedules, justification of why KDE has chosen the tools and policies that it has, and so on. It used to be very important since KDE releases were done as big coordinated simutaneous efforts. This is all completely outdated since the policy changed with KDE Frameworks 5. Now, various parts of KDE have their own release cadences, ranging from regular monthly releases for Frameworks, every 3- or 4-months for Plasma, to "it happens when it happens" for applications like Krita.

TODO: completely rewrite everything here.

This page was last modified on 11 March 2016, at 10:25. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.