< Getting Started
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Getting Started/Using Project Neon to contribute to KDE


Project Neon can help you with builds current as of ---

This Page is currently being reworked for the new Project Neon archive - Please disregard the content as long as this note is here!

Project Neon is a nightly build of the latest KDE trunk. It is an easy way for new contributors to KDE to get started without having to build the entire KDE-SVN tree and maintain the checkout. Additionally, dependencies are automatically handled and updated. This is suitable for new developers, translators, usability designers, documenters, promoters, bug triagers etc. This process makes the steps detailed on this page, including changes to your .bashrc unnecessary.

However, for developers, it may at some point become necessary to build more components from SVN as you become more involved in the project. The kdesvn-build script is an easy way to build all or parts of KDE SVN.


Project neon always requires the latest stable Kubuntu release. As of January 2009, that is version 8.10. Previous versions of Kubuntu are not supported. It is possible to port Project Neon to other distributions, though there are currently no maintainers for other distributions working on the project. OpenSuse provides their own weekly build of KDE trunk. Find instructions on how to use it here.

Installing Project Neon

To use Project Neon, add the following PPA (Personal Package Archive) to your sources.list using your preferred method:

  1. Project neon nightly KDE4 build

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/project-neon/ubuntu jaunty main

  1. above repository is PGP signed, refer to below link for getting PGP key


After that, you can simply install the nightly package of whichever modules you want to work on. The following packages are available:


You can install all of the packages or just the ones you are interested in, depending on what you want to use them for. For example if you want to install the latest KDE Workspace (plasma, kwin etc), install the kde-nightly-kdebase package and kde-nightly-kdeplasma-addons package for extra plasmoids.

sudo aptitude install kde-nightly-kdebase kde-nightly-kdeplasma-addons

If you are only interested in application development in another module, you can install just the module package.

sudo aptitude install kde-nightly-kdepim

That command will also install the kdelibs, kdepimlibs and other dependencies too. In your regular (stable) KDE session you can then run the nightly version of your chosen application by using the full path from the command line.


This will correctly use the nightly version of libraries instead of using the stable versions, so no other changes are necessary to your library path etc.

Alternatively, instead of using the full path to the executable, you could add the following to your .bashrc

_STABLE_PATH=$PATH function switchtonightly {

 export PATH=/opt/kde-nightly/bin:$_STABLE_PATH


function switchtostable {



This will allow you to optionally run unstable applications when you choose to in your session.

  1. Runs the stable version of kmail

kmail switchtonightly

  1. runs the nightly version of kmail


  1. runs the nightly version of knode

knode switchtostable

  1. runs the stable version of kmail


Note that settings for applications that you run from project neon do not conflict with your regular application settings and data. .kde-neon/ is used instead of .kde/

Using Project Neon for development

If you are joining one of the development teams in KDE, you will need a real SVN checkout in order to contribute your code back to the project and create patches easily.

Some extra tools (neonmake) are provided for this purpose in the package amarok-nightly-tools. The packages come with development headers and debugging symbols built in.

sudo aptitude install amarok-nightly-tools

If you are already using a nightly package of the module you want to develop for, you should remove that, and checkout the development version. For example:

  1. Remove the packaged nightly version

sudo aptitude purge kde-nightly-kdepim

  1. Add below Project Neon source code repository to sources.list

deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/project-neon/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

  1. Get the dependencies for building kdepim

sudo apt-get build-dep kde-nightly-kdepim cd ~

  1. You may choose to do your development in a different folder.

cd Development

  1. Gets the latest version of the kdepim module.

svn co svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/KDE/kdepim cd kdepim

  1. Shortcut provided by Project Neon to make the module
  2. and install it to the prefix /opt/kde-nightly/

sudo neonmake

Note that you should usually checkout a module from KDE, not an application. Most modules contain libraries shared within the module and which are necessary to build the applications in the module.

Also of note is the neonmake command. This is a shortcut which temporarily sets some environment variables like the LD_LIBRARY_PATH, the install prefix etc, then runs the equivalent of cmake && make && make install. It also runs rpath to configure the executable file to use the nightly libraries.

Using Project Neon for translation

The Project Neon nightly packages include English language strings only. Translated packages are not available. However, if you are translating KDE applications, you can install the translations from KDE SVN in your normal workflow.

cd ~ cd Translations

  1. The -N switch checks out only the top level directory from svn.

svn co -N svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/l10n-kde4 cd l10n-kde4

  1. scripts necessary to build translations.

svn up scripts

  1. Get the German translations

svn up de

  1. Generate the build files for the German language pack

./scripts/autogen.sh de cd de neonmake

After building the translations it is possible to either change the language in system settings, or run applications in another language using the environment variable KDE_LANG.

switchtonightly KDE_LANG=de kmail switchtostable

Using Project Neon for documentation

The Project Neon nightly source packages include the official KDE User Documentation in English.

TODO: How to build user docs from SVN.

Using Project Neon for promotion

If you are creating screenshots or screencasts of the latest version of KDE, project Neon is a simple and fast way of getting a default KDE4 session.

The KDE Promotion team recommends using the default background, theme, icons etc when preparing official promotional materials (unless the feature you are showing is related to configuring KDE artwork). Project Neon uses the default artwork that comes with KDE4, so it is useful for creating promo materials.

Here is a shortcut to get all available modules from the PPA:

sudo aptitude install kde-nightly-kdebase kde-nightly-kdeplasma-addons \ kde-nightly-kdepim kde-nightly-kdeedu kde-nightly-kdenetwork \ kde-nightly-kdeutils kde-nightly-kdegraphics kde-nightly-kdemultimedia

The application screenie is provided in Kubuntu 8.10 as screenie-qt.

sudo aptitude install screenie-qt

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