KDE Frameworks/Getting Started
There are many different ways to become involved in the KDE Community, ranging all the way from a simply using our software through to being a core platform developer.
This section of KDE TechBase is designed to help get you started in participating in the technical side of the KDE community. It will explain to you how KDE Software is structured and built, and how you can participate by building KDE Software for yourself.
If you just want to get started building the code then you can skip to the build instructions, but it is recommended you first understand the background material presented here.
Using KDE Software
If you just want to use stable KDE Software for your everyday computing needs, then you do not need to build KDE Software for yourself. You should instead use the software installer provided by your Linux distribution to install KDE Software.
The best place to learn how to do this is through your distribution's normal support channels, although you may find some useful information on the following pages:
- Linux and BSD Distributions shipping KDE
- Install KDE Software on Windows
- Install KDE Software on Mac OS X
If you are looking for help in using KDE Plasma or KDE Applications then please visit the KDE UserBase.
If you have any questions or problems with building or developing KDE Software please feel free to ask for help. The IRC channel #kde-devel is recommended as the best source of general help. For application specific help please try their specific mailing list or IRC channel.
Be patient while waiting for a response, and try to work through the problem yourself, we aren't going to do it all for you. Working your way through and understanding why something doesn't work is a good way to learn how to do things the right way.
Once you have a copy of KDE Software built you can then start contributing code back to the KDE Community. The pages below will help you find out how you can help make KDE Software even better.
The KDE Community is a very large and complex community that has developed many policies and processes to make the KDE Software development process a lot easier. These are documented elsewhere in TechBase and you should try to familiarise yourself with them over time.
- Development Policies and Procedures to follow
- The KDE Software Engineering Framework
- The development lifecycle for a new application
- The KDE Release Schedule
Building From Source
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. In particular if you are only wanting to build and develop a single KDE application you may not need to build the latest KDE Frameworks or KDE Plasma to do so, you may only need to build the application itself.
The easiest and recommended way to build and run KDE Software from source is using the kdesrc-build tool written by Michael Pyne. These pages will describe how to use this tool to build the KDE Software you want to work on. Other more manual methods are possible but not recommended due to the complex dependency requirements that kdesrc-build will manage for you. You can build both KDE4 and KF5 based code using kdesrc-build, but these instructions will focus on KF5.
The following sections explain the steps you need to understand and give the instructions you need to follow to successfully build KDE Software from source:
You should follow the following sections to gain a better understanding of how KDE Software is organized, how to build it, and how to run it:
- Development Tools
- How the KDE Software source code is structured
- How to Build and Install the software
Browsing The Code
All KDE Software is free and open source. You are free to view the source code, and free to make changes to the code in line with the (L)GPL family of licences.
Most KDE Software developed within the KDE Community is stored in Git repositories which are hosted at KDE Projects. There are a number of ways to browse or search the code online:
- https://projects.kde.org/projects is a list of all KDE Projects, choose a project and then click on Repository to browse the source
- https://quickgit.kde.org/ is an alternative online code browser for code in Git repositories
- https://websvn.kde.org/ is an online code browser for code still in the Subversion repository
- http://lxr.kde.org/ lets you search the code for identifiers like API calls
- http://lxr.kde.org/search lets you search the code for any string
- http://api.kde.org lets you browse or search the API documentation generated from the code
Read the Source Code section to learn how the KDE Software repositories are organized.