Getting Started/Build

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Revision as of 19:45, 7 March 2011 by Odysseus (Talk | contribs) (Deciding How To Build KDE Software)

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These pages are currently being completely re-written to reflect the new KDE infrastructure and may not be in a consistent state. Information and commands on some page may no longer be valid and should be used with care.

Getting Started/Build


This page provides an overview of the KDE build process. once you complete the steps dscribed here you will have a complete KDE development system customized to your needs.

Platform Specific Information

The build process described in these pages is kept as simple and generic as possible, but it is generally assumed you are building KDE4 on Linux. Extra information about building KDE Software on specific distributions or platforms, or under certain conditions can be found at the following links:

Build Steps

This section will briefly explain the concepts and steps involved in building software so you are not being asked to blindly follow some recipes you do not understand.

It is assumed you are at least familiar with the basics of using the command line.

Once you have read the summary you can see a worked example here.


The Source step is obtaining a local copy of the source code that you want to build. For a detailed explanation of where to obtain the source code and how KDE stores and organizes our source code please read the KDE Sources section.

The two main options here are to either download a snapshot tarball of the code, or to directly access the source code repository. For developing on the unstable branch of the KDE SC it is recommended you directly access the required repositories.


The Configure step is setting up how the source code is to be built and installed.


The Build step is compiling the source code and linking it to other libraries to create the new executables and libraries.


The Install step is copy the new executables and libraries somewhere that they can be found and run from.


The Update step is updating an existing build to use the latest version of the source code and then re-building and re-installing it.

Scripted Builds

The easiest way to build the KDE SC from scratch is to use one of the build scripts that are available. This approach is highly recommended for those new to building KDE SC as it takes care of the Source, Configure, Build, Install and Update steps for you. The builds remain compatible with the manual methods of building KDE SC so you can change later if you want.

Deciding How To Build KDE Software

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 once it is built.

You may want to:

  • Develop a standalone application using the KDE Platform
  • Develop one of the KDE Applications
  • Develop the KDE Workspace or the KDE Platform
  • Test the latest KDE Software or an earlier stable version

In particular, for application development you may only need to build some parts of the KDE SC while relying on the KDE Development Platform stable packages from your distribution.

The tables below provide some guidance in making this decision.

TODO: Complete these options.

Usage Method
Developing an application outside of the KDE development infrastructure using the stable KDE Development Platform. Packaged Stable Release
Developing an application outside of the KDE development infrastructure using features from the unstable KDE Development Platform. Snapshot Build
Unstable Source Build
Developing an application in the KDE SC using the stable KDE Development Platform. Stable Source Build
Developing an application in the KDE SC using features in the unstable KDE Development Platform. Unstable Source Build
Developing the unstable KDE Development Platform. Unstable Source Build

Method Description
Stable Release Packages Install a stable release of the KDE Development Platform from packages using your distributions standard software installer.
Unstable Packages Install an unstable version of the KDE Development Platform using your distributions standard software installer. Some distributions provide unstable packages for Nightly Snapshots, Weekly Snapshots, or unstable development releases.
Snapshot Build Build a snapshot of the source code as at a given time or release from a tarball download. These may be stable or unstable releases or nightly snapshots
Stable Source Build Build a version of the source code for an official release directly from the source repository.
Unstable Source Build Build the current unstable development code directly from the source repository.

Build and Install

You need to complete each of the following steps to build and/or install a working KDE development system Manually building KDE Software requires that you first set up the build environment and install the required development tools and libraries.

These steps are yet to be completed:

Short version: Using exactly the same recipe and environment you used to build kdesupport build the core KDE modules from Git in the following order:


After this you are able to build whatever module you are interested in from the appropriate Git or Subversion repository.

The old instructions can be found here:

Troubleshooting The Build

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 read the instructions carefully.

Please review your logs and do searches for fixes. If you cannot find a solution, try the Troubleshooting page. If you still cannot resolve the problem then please ask for help on IRC or a Mailing List.

Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.