Archive:Getting Started/Build/Requirements


Building KDE4 From Source/Prerequisites
Tutorial Series   Getting Started
Previous   [[../|KDE SVN Quickstart Guide]]
What's Next   [[../|KDE SVN Quickstart Guide]]
Further Reading   n/a


Some or all of these packages should be available for installation from your distribution. For ease of installation and upgrading it is a good idea to install distribution packages if a recent enough version is provided. Software required to build KDE4 includes:

  • gcc and g++, preferably version 4.2 or higher
  • svn, the subversion revision control client
  • pkg-config
  • development libraries and headers for X11, OpenGL (mesa-common-dev and libglu1-mesa-dev), libjpeg, libpng, libungif, librdf, libxml2 and libxslt
  • the makeobj script, which is included in kdesdk. You can install it from kdesdk (kdesdk-scripts on Debian) or similar packages, or download at WebSVN
  • the shared-mime-info package, is the freedesktop MIME standard now used in KDE
  • the shared-desktop-ontologies package is required to build and run all Nepomuk semantic desktop/desktop search modules.
  • boost, used by kdebase; after build and/or install, in order to make cmake aware about its location (FindBoost), add the boost directory (which contains the include subdirectory) to CMAKE_INCLUDE_PATH or set a environment variable called BOOST_ROOT that points to the boost directory.
  • DocBook XML DTDs (v4.2) and related XSL stylesheets, used by KDE help system; their packages are available in most distributions


D-Bus is the messaging framework used to allow different programs on the system to communicate with each other. It is used by both Qt and KDE.

Get dbus from your distribution, current stable release is version 1.4. Additionally you will also need dbus-glib. Be sure to also install the corresponding lib- and -devel packages.

D-Bus 1.4.0 or higher is highly recommended as it fixes a bug when multiple threads access the same session bus. D-Bus 1.2 series should work (aside from that issue) but you should upgrade as soon as feasible.


You need to have CMake >=2.6.4 installed. You should be able to directly use the binary packages available on the CMake site. There are also distribution specific packages available.


Next we need to get Qt4. As at 2011-03-01 both KDE 4.6 and master require Qt 4.7. Most distributions package a recent enough Qt to build KDE, although you may need to add an extra repository to do so.

At some stage, KDE master may switch to relying on a development version of Qt, or may require patches to Qt for bug-fixes that have not yet been released by Qt. In this case you may need to build your own copy of Qt and it is recommended that you use the KDE clone qt-kde when this happens.


Please see the qt-kde project page for further details. It is recommended to read README.qt-kde file for the necessary Qt configure options as well as currently known issues.

Note that you need to install Qt and Phonon from Qt and then later to install Phonon KDE from git at the same location. This will ensure you get sound in Qt-based applications as well as in KDE ones.

Easy Recipe

This recipe assumes you have set up the recommended KDE scripts, environment variables, and git configuration.

cd <your source directory>
git clone kde:qt-kde
./configure [copy/paste configure line from README.kde-qt replacing <installdir> with $QTDIR]

Full Recipe

This recipe assumes you are not using the recommended scripts and have properly set up your own environment.

cd <your source directory>
git clone git://
cd qt-kde
./configure [copy/paste configure line from README.kde-qt
make -j2 # use 'make -j(X+1)' where X is your number of processors, to compile faster
make install


If ./configure produces errors about missing headers, run the following command before trying again: QTDIR=`pwd` bin/syncqt

Make sure which qmake delivers something out of $QTDIR, e.g. /home/kde-devel/qt-kde/bin/qmake

If you get "error: X11/Xlib.h: No such file or directory", install the devel package of xorg (the actual name may vary between operating systems, for example it is xorg-dev on Ubuntu based systems such as Kubuntu).

If you get an error in the configure step about missing defines, check the value of $QMAKESPEC. Some distributions set this to point directly to the system-installed Qt. If unset QMAKESPEC solves the problem, you probably want to add it to the ~/.bashrc script.

If you get an error ".pch/debug-shared/QtCore", this is because Qt-4.3 enables precompiled headers if your gcc supports it, but for some reason it doesn't work for you. If you use distcc, configure qt with -no-pch. If you use icecream, update to the latest icecream from svn trunk.

Try running any Qt program, like assistant.

Generating local API documentation

It's nice to have the Qt documentation locally for nice integration with KDevelop, and doing this is really quite easy (also shown in README.kde-qt):

cd $KDE_SRC/qt-kde
make docs
make install

Note that it is necessary to do this only once, even if you rebuild Qt later.


HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) is required by KDE for interfacing with your hardware. Your distribution supplied packages should be sufficient for this. From KDE 4.6 onwards HAL has been deprecated in favor of uDisk and related projects, but all but the most recent distributions will still require HAL.

Some very old distributions may require you to compile a newer HAL, but this is likely to require many other packages to be upgraded and you are probably better off upgrading your distribution instead.

kdesupport dependencies

The kdesupport module contains a number of KDE developed and supported packages that the main KDE modules depend upon. Your distribution packages may be sufficient for these requirements when building a KDE stable branch, but master will most probably require the latest versions to be built from source.

The modules are listed in a rough dependency order.

Most kdesupport packages have now migrated to Git as separate modules, although some are still left in svn.

All the Git modules can be built using one of the the following recipes.

Easy Recipe

cd <your source root directory>
git clone kde:<module>.git
cd automoc

Full Recipe

cd <your source root directory>
git clone git://<module>.git
cd <your build root directory, or the module source dir>
mkdir <your module build dir>
cd <your module build dir>
cmake <path to your module source dir>
        \ -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull
make install


Automoc is a tool to automate Qt moc file creation.

Please see the Automoc project page for details.

Automoc MUST be built first as other kdesupport modules depend on it.

Easy:  git clone kde:automoc.git
Full:  git clone git://


Attica is a library for accessing the Open Collaboration Services.

Please see the Attica project page for details.

Easy:  git clone kde:attica.git
Full:  git clone git://

Polkit Qt

Polkit Qt is a library for accessing the PolKit authorization framework.

Please see the Polkit Qt project page for details.

It is recommended to have polkit >= 0.98 installed on your system, however Polkit-Qt-1 will build with any polkit-1 version.

Easy:  git clone kde:polkit-qt-1.git
Full:  git clone git://


Soprano is a library for storing RDF data for the Nepomuk semantic desktop.

Please see the Soprano project page for details.

Soprano must be built BEFORE Akonadi.

Easy:  git clone kde:soprano.git
Full:  git clone git://


Soprano is a library for caching PIM data.

Please see the Akonadi project page for details.

Akonadi must be built AFTER Soprano.

Easy:  git clone kde:akonadi.git
Full:  git clone git://


Cagibi is a cache/proxy daemon for SSDP, the discovery part of UPnP.

Please see the Cagibi project page for details.

Easy:  git clone kde:cagibi.git
Full:  git clone git://

kdesupport svn dependencies

Don't forget to read the Setting Up The Environment section first.

There are several libraries that KDE applications rely on in the kdesupport module. This includes Strigi and Soprano for file metadata and search, QImageBlitz for image manipulation needed in kdebase, eigen for visual effects in applications such as Kalzium, taglib for music players and qca for some cryptographic needs.

Strigi itself has a few dependencies as well: you will need the libraries and headers for libz, libbz2, openssl (libcrypto or libssl), libclucene (>=0.9.16a but watch out: version 0.9.17 does not work), and either libxml2 or libexpat.

The Recipe

cs # 'cs' is a bash function, click here to learn more
svn checkout svn://
cd kdesupport

What's Happening

We change to the base source directory (line 1). We download the sources in kdesupport using subversion (line 2), go into the new ~/kde/src/kdesupport directory (line 3), and commence the build (line 4). This will leave us in the kdesupport build directory after the build is completed.


If you get

  cmakekde: command not found

then you have to go manually into the kdesupport directory in ~ and execute the command cmakekde. if this still doesn't work, then something is wrong with your bashrc.

If you get

CMake Error: This project requires some variables to be set,
and cmake can not find them.
Please set the following variables:

you should install the development package for libxml2.

If you get

CMake Error: Could NOT find REDLAND

then you need librdf from the Redland. If your distribution does not provide the librdf package, you can download the source there: and build it. (Gentoo users: The ebuild for librdf is named dev-libs/redland)

If you get

Fetching external item into 'kdesupport/admin'
Error validating server certificate for 'https://...'

see Using Subversion with KDE

If you get

FILE cannot create directory: /usr/lib[64]/qt4/plugins/crypto. Maybe need administrative privileges.

make: *** [install] Error 255

take a second look in the .bashrc file described above, are paths correct? ($QTDIR and $PATH are used to get the QT installation path) Alternatively, you may see this error if you decided to use a distribution installed version of qt4 and skipped the Qt install above. Either install qt-kde as describe above, or "sudo make install". If you use "sudo make install", make sure that you change the ownership back to your user for some of the ~/kde subdirectories that were effected by using sudo (ie. "sudo chown -R kde-devel:kde-devel ~/kde").

If you get a message related to

  target not found

you may need to recompile qt-kde. This time you should take out

  -nomake demos -nomake examples

from the configure command, so that Qt generates library QtTest.

If you get

     CMake Error: Qt qmake not found!


     1) uncomment Qt section in .bashrc script (QTDIR, QT_PLUGINS_DIR,      
           PKG_CONFIG_PATH variable settings).
     2) source ~/.bashrc
     3) cd && cd qt-kde
     4) make confclean
     5) repeat steps for installing Qt (from ./configure line).
     6) retry building kdesupport

If you get

     "CMake Error: Could NOT find BZip2"


     sudo apt-get install libbz2-dev


     urpmi libbzip2_1-devel

If you get

     message that MySql support cannot be enabled


     you need to install corresponding devel package. (libmysqlclient-devel  for SuSe 11.1)


You need to build it as Phonon from Qt is not enough for KDE sound to work.

The Recipe

cs # 'cs' is a bash function, click here to learn more
git clone git://
cd phonon
make install

Note that you need to install this Phonon in the same location than Phonon from Qt i.e. in $QTDIR.

Building the main Phonon module is sufficient for building KDE. If you also want to play sound then you need to build a backend. Choose a suitable backend from those available below:

git clone git://
git clone git://
git clone git://
git clone git://
git clone git://
git clone git://


If you get an error like

designer: symbol lookup error: /path/to/kde/lib/kde4/plugins/phonon_backend/ undefined symbol: _ZN6Phonon12PulseSupport11getInstanceEv

while running Qt Designer you need to:

rm $QTDIR/lib/


Since the 26th April 2010, DBusMenu is a new dependency for kdebase. You can either get it from as a tarball (latest is libdbusmenu-qt-0.6.3.tar.bz2) or from its it repository

The Recipe

cs # 'cs' is a bash function, click here to learn more
git clone git:// dbusmenu
cd dbusmenu
mkdir build
cd build
make install


You need json to build the tests.

If your version is not correct, you will lose the context menu for the systray icons.



The Recipe

cs # 'cs' is a bash function, click here to learn more
svn co
cd ontologies
mkdir build
cd build
make install

Next Step

Once all requirements have been installed it is time to install [[../#kdelibs|kdelibs]]

This page was last edited on 31 July 2012, at 15:53. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.