< Getting Started
Revision as of 19:04, 24 November 2012 by Yofel (talk | contribs) (mention the -all meta-packages)

Getting Started/Using Project Neon to contribute to KDE

Project Neon is a nightly build of the latest KDE trunk for Ubuntu. It is an easy way for new contributors to KDE to get started without having to download and build the entire KDE source code tree. 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.

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


Project Neon always requires either the latest stable Kubuntu release or the development release. Previous versions of Kubuntu are not supported.

Installing Project Neon

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

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:neon/ppa


# Project neon nightly KDE4 build
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/neon/ppa/ubuntu maverick main

#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 packages are named project-neon-<git/svn module name>. The packages are installed in /opt/project-neon/ and won't affect your stable KDE install.

You can install all of the packages or just the ones you are interested in, depending on what you want to use them for.

Using Project Neon version of KDE Workspace

To use Project Neon version of KDE Workspace, install the project-neon-base package. You can then log out, select the "Project Neon" session in KDM session list and log in.

sudo apt-get install project-neon-base

You can also install other KDE Workspace goodies, such as extra plasmoids, with:

sudo apt-get install project-neon-kdeplasma-addons

Testing individual applications

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

First install project-neon-utils. This package contains a number of utilities among which neon-env, which is needed to run Project Neon applications:

sudo apt-get install project-neon-utils

You can then install the package for the module you are interested in. For example to test the latest version of kdepim applications:

sudo apt-get install project-neon-kdepim

That command will also install the kdelibs, kdepimlibs and other dependencies too. In your regular (stable) KDE session you can now set up Project Neon environment and run the nightly version of your chosen application.


neon-env will setup the environment and start a subshell from which you can work with your project neon installation. 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. You'll need to close the terminal session for the settings to be undone.

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

Installing everything

If you want to install all packages that are provided by Project Neon in one go, you can use the project-neon-all package which will install all provided packages. To install all debugging symbols (Warning: takes a lot of disk space) project-neon-all-dbg can be used.

Using Project Neon for development

If you are joining one of the development teams in KDE, you will need a real SVN/GIT checkout in order to contribute your code back to the project and create patches easily. If you only code for KDE every now and then, Project Neon provides some extra tools for this purpose in the package project-neon-utils:

NOTE: both neon-cmake and neonmake require neon-env to be run first!

  • neon-env - sets up the necessary environment settings for project neon builds and opens a subshell.
  • neon-cmake - cmake wrapper with neon environment settings for cmake, same synopsis as cmake and passes arguments to cmake
  • neonmake - convenience script which will create a build folder, configure the source, build it and install it in /opt/project-neon/ so you can test your changes.
  • neon-clean - script that resets any changes you made to /opt/project-neon after installing the packages. Since this script reinstalls the packages it might require a working internet connection.
  • neonbuild - pbuilder/pdebuild wrapper to rebuild a neon package in a chroot. Takes the same options as pbuilder. If no pbuilder action is given pdebuild is run instead.

Options for cmake/make

You can change the cmake and make options used by setting these variables in ~/.neonrc:

  • NEON_CMAKE_OPTS="" - Here you can add additional cmake options that should be used together with the default neon options.
  • NEON_CMAKE_OVERRIDE="" - If you set this variable cmake will ignore the default neon options and only use the ones in NEON_CMAKE_OVERRIDE.
  • NEON_MAKE_OVERRIDE="" - If you set this variable make in neonmake will only use your options. By default make uses '-j CPUs+1'

Debugging symbols

The debugging symbols for every package are in its corresponding -dbg package, so to install the debugging symbols for kdelibs you can use

sudo apt-get install project-neon-kdelibs-dbg

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:

# Remove the packaged nightly version
sudo apt-get purge project-neon-kdepim

# Add below Project Neon source code repository to sources.list if you didn't use add-apt-repository
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/neon/ppa/ubuntu maverick main

# Get the dependencies for building kdepim
sudo apt-get build-dep project-neon-kdepim
cd ~
# You may choose to do your development in a different folder.
cd Development
# Gets the latest version of the kdepim module.
git clone git://anongit.kde.org/kdepim
cd kdepim
# Set up neon environment
# Shortcut provided by Project Neon to make the module
# and install it to the prefix /opt/project-neon/

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 note that when using apt-get build-dep it will always get all build-depends, so watch out that it doesn't install a component you want to build yourself as that would overwrite your changes should you install the packages after installing your build.

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
# 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
# scripts necessary to build translations.
svn up scripts
# Get the German translations
svn up de
# Generate the build files for the German language pack - if you get a message
# that revpath couldn't be found you need to install the xutils-dev package
./scripts/autogen.sh de
cd de

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 # or neon-env
KDE_LANG=de kmail

Exit the shell to reset the settings.

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 apt-get install project-neon-all

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

sudo apt-get install screenie-qt

Contact the Team

You can reach the Project Neon team on IRC in

#project-neon on irc.freenode.net

by mail at

or you can ask a question on launchpad

If you think there is a bug in our packaging of the provided software you can file a bug on launchpad

Team page in the Kubuntu Wiki

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