< Getting Started‎ | Build
Revision as of 06:40, 25 February 2007 by Tampakrap (talk | contribs) (Fixed code to compile kdelibs, so that the user changes to build dir first before running cmakekde.)

Getting Started/Build/KDE4


This tutorial shows one way to get KDE from trunk running. It consolidates info from several places, e.g. the official KDE developer pages. The official pages may be updated without this page being updated too, so check there if you have problems.

Throughout the tutorial the bash shell is used. Expect a higher risk of build failure Monday when critical changes are implemented. Dashboard reports unexpected breakages. You are encouraged to fix failing modules.

Set up the development user account

Instead of using the command line as described below, you can also use the User module in the KDE Control Center if you already have KDE3 installed.

useradd kde-devel mkdir /home/kde-devel passwd kde-devel chown kde-devel:kde-devel /home/kde-devel 2>/dev/null || \ chown kde-devel:users /home/kde-devel

Switch to the user kde-devel: (the dash also changes to the new home directory) su - kde-devel

The kde-devel User's Shell

On some systems a new user is configured by default to use /bin/sh. If this is not the case on your system, you can skip this section. Using /bin/sh can be very inconvenient to work with and you may want to change it to /bin/bash or another shell.

To change the user's default shell you will need write access to /etc/passwd. Usually this means running a command as root. See below for a possible way to do this without requiring root privileges, but which will not work in all circumstances.

If your system comes with the usermod application you can run the following command as root: usermod -s /bin/bash.

If you don't have root privileges and your system supports the changing of your own shell with the chsh application, then you could try to change your shell to /bin/bash by using chsh -s /bin/bash your-kde-devel-username.

Another option is to use the vipw application as root to safely edit your /etc/passwd. Locate 'kde-devel' in the the file. Change '/bin/sh' at the end of the line to read '/bin/bash', save your changes and exit.

The new shell will be started automatically when you log in as the kde-devel user again.

Prepare for software setup

Please look also in Getting Started/Increased Productivity in KDE4 with Scripts.

You might first want to copy the ~/.bashrc of your normal user account to the new kde-devel account.

Than copy and paste this .bashrc to ~/.bashrc.

Now either relogin or activate the settings with: source ~/.bashrc

Set up D-Bus

Skip this if you have D-Bus >=0.93 installed. wget http://dbus.freedesktop.org/releases/dbus/dbus-1.0.2.tar.gz tar xvfz dbus-1.0.2.tar.gz cd dbus-1.0.2/ ./configure --disable-qt --disable-qt3 --prefix=$DBUSDIR \ --localstatedir=/var && make && make install dbus-uuidgen --ensure

Set up CMake

Skip this if you have CMake >=2.4.5 installed.

The default prefix is /usr/local, make sure /usr/local/bin is in your $PATH.

cd .. wget http://www.cmake.org/files/v2.4/cmake-2.4.5.tar.gz tar zxf cmake-2.4.5.tar.gz mkdir cmake-build cd cmake-build ../cmake-2.4.5/bootstrap make sudo make install

Set up Qt

cd .. svn checkout svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/qt-copy cd ~/qt-copy && ./apply_patches && \

./configure -qt-gif -no-exceptions -debug -fast \
-prefix $QTDIR -qdbus && make && make install

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 xorg-devel on ubuntu).

Set up kdelibs

If you use the aforementioned .bashrc this is were those new functions come in handy:

cs mkdir KDE && cd KDE svn checkout svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/KDE/kdelibs cb mkdir KDE mkdir KDE/kdelibs && cd KDE/kdelibs cmakekde

Additional KDE-specific CMake modules

There are additional CMake modules in kdelibs/cmake/modules/ that are necessary for building KDE4 applications. These will be installed for you when kdelibs itself is installed.


If you have problems compiling kdelibs, first make sure the following commands can be executed: gcc, g++, pkg-config.

If you get "Could NOT find GIF", install the devel package of libungif (the actual name may vary between operating systems).
In order to avoid compilation problems, GCC should be at least of version 4.1. The minimum supported compiler is not yet determined at the time of writing this.

If the problems persist, try the make-option --keep-going

Set up kdepimlibs

Before kdebase you need to install kdepimlibs

cs KDE svn checkout svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/KDE/kdepimlibs cd kdepimlibs cmakekde

Set up kdebase

You may need kdebase for some kioslaves. cs KDE svn checkout svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/KDE/kdebase cd kdebase cmakekde


If you have troubles compiling kdebase:

  • Make sure you have the libxss headers installed. (Usually you got undefined references on xscreensaver objects if you haven't those headers)
  • which meinproc has to deliver /home/kde-devel/kde/bin/meinproc
  • if cmakekde cannot find the path of kdepimlibs, edit the file /home/kde-devel/kdebase-build/CMakeCache.txt and manually set KDEPIMLIBS_INCLUDE_DIR:PATH=/home/kde-devel/kdepimlibs-build
  • if you get an error saying "Please set the following variables: X11_XTest_LIB (ADVANCED)", install the devel package of Xtst. On some systems, this is packaged separately from xext and called x11proto-xext-dev or libxtst-dev. You may also need to remove the CMakeCache.txt file in the build dir after installing the package.
  • the same for "X11_Xinerama_LIB (ADVANCED)" where you will need the devel package for xinerama.

Generating local API documentation

Although the API documentation for KDE is available online at api.kde.org, it is sometimes useful to have it on your own disk, for example when you want to use KDevelop for browsing the documentation or when you are not able to be online all the time.

Be aware that generating the API documentation can take several hours and takes almost half a gigabyte of diskspace. The generation is handled by a script in kdelibs/doc/api, you need doxygen to be able to run it.

To build the API documentation for kdelibs, type the following: cd mkdir apidox cd apidox ../kdelibs/doc/api/doxygen.sh ../kdelibs/


You are now ready to start building other svn modules in the same fashion as you built kdebase, running and testing KDE4 or writing your own patches and applications.

See the Starting a KDE4 Environment and Applications tutorial for how to start working on your new KDE4 installation.

Additional notes

This page was last edited on 20 March 2011, at 16:34. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.