Getting Started

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This page is yet to be reviewed for changes required by the migration to Git. Information and commands on this page may no longer be valid and should be used with care. Please see the KDE Git hub page for more details.


Before we begin, I want to point out that if you have any questions or issues related to KDE development (this article, all that follow it, etc.), feel free to ask us. However, be patient and do expect to be attempting to work through the issue as well (we aren't just going to do it all for you).

Installing KDE SC and its Prerequesites

There are several ways to install KDE SC so that you can use and develop KDE software. Below are complete instructions for installing KDE4 on a Linux system based on whether you want an Official Release, a Nightly Build, Stable 4.x Release, or Master (master is the git equivalent to what was called "trunk". It is the most recent snapshot.

Official Release Nightly Build Stable from Source Master (Recommended)
For the casual user, or a developer who is working on applications outside of KDE SC For application developers or package managers who are not modifying the core of KDE SC For KDE SC and applications developers that want to spend less time setting up a build system For developers working on core KDE SC functionality, and desire/need up-to-the-minute changes. Recommended for very active developers.
1. Use a Distribution with KDE to set up a fully functional KDE system in one step. Also install the "developer packages" if you want to compile KDE software 1. Install build requirements from your distribution 1. Install build requirements from your distribution 1. Install build requirements from your distribution
2. Download and setup KDE SC easily using Project Neon 2. Download KDE sources from SVN 3. Download and Build KDE SC from Git
3. Build a stable 4.x release
4. Set up scripts to ease KDE development 4. Set up scripts to ease KDE development

For instructions on installing KDE SC on Windows, BSD, or Mac OS X, or instructions for installing KDE3, please see the other supported platforms page. There are also upgrade instructions from a branch to trunk.

Below is additional information you may be interested in before installing KDE.

Build Notes for Special Users


In each installation scenario above, Qt is installed in the most appropriate way. For your reference, there are three ways to install it:

KDE-Qt (Recommended)
Previously known as qt-copy -- This is the minimum version of Qt any of your users are expected to have. It is also the recommended one. Some bugs may be fixed in new Qt, so you may have to work-around bugs in lower versions, including this one. However, it's generally considered more stable, since we manually sync releases from Main Qt, as well as our own patches which also fix bugs not already fixed in Main Qt.
System Qt
Often the easiest way to go, because most people have it already, you may have to install the QCA plugin as root though. However, depending on how up-to-date your distribution is (most aren't) and if you are running KDE from master, then your Qt will probably be far too old.
Main Qt
Get it straight from Nokia, experience the latest cool features and bugfixes (and regressions!). Bear in mind though, that applications which reside in master can only depend on a certain "highest" Qt version. This is because distributions either lag behind, or it is at an awkward time in the KDE Release Schedule, which could end up granting us a loss in stability. Other applications, like KDevelop, Amarok, and applications in playground, etc. have their own rules.

Source Repository

Currently, KDE SC source code is for the most part, accessed using git. For those modules that are still in svn, consult: Getting_Started/Sources/Anonymous_SVN.

Amarok has already migrated to Git, as well as many other modules modules (phonon, parts of kdesupport, kdelibs, kdebase, kdeplasma-addons). Until we are fully migrated at least, it is recommended to use kdesrc-build if you can, as it takes care of all of this for you.

Troubleshooting the build

See Troubleshooting

Compile and Linking errors are frequent sources of discouragement. Make careful note of the first occurrence of an error in your build process. It could be as simple as a bad environment variable, an unexpected version of a library or missing prerequisite.

Please review your logs and do searches for fixes. If you cannot find a solution, try Build/KDE4/Errors, the IRC channel, and the mailing lists. You can post your detailed issue from Build/Stories.

If you are building from trunk and following the instructions linked from here or from Build KDE 4.5 on Kubuntu and would like free support, please contact:

Aaron Peterson
206-334-5925 (lives in GMT -8 hours)
Or leave a message at

Extra Tools

You will likely want to use a stable package from your distribution instead of the ones of the KDE version you are working on.

For most development topics, and documentation, see Development

Opening and creating KDE project files


You probably won't need the latest bleeding-edge version of KDE with which to develop. Much of the code will be similar between versions and your patch might work.

Follow the next articles to find out how to help us make KDE better ;-)

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