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This page provides an overview of the easiest way to build KDE Software for a number of different scenarios.
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. If you need build instructions for building KDE4 or KF5 using different methods, then see the standard Build documentation.
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.
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 the KDE Community stores and organizes our source code please read the Source Code section.
The two main options here are to either download a snapshot tarball of the code, or to directly access the source code repository. In these instructions you will directly access the required source code 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 copying 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.
The easiest way to build the KDE Software 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 Software so you can change later if you want.
Even KDE Core Developers use build scripts like these as opposed to doing everything manually, as there's just no point otherwise.
Stable versus Unstable
A stable build is a released and supported version of KDE Software, such as KDE Frameworks 5.4. This software is guaranteed to remain unchanged other than bug-fixes. You will want a Stable build if you want to use KDE Software for normal use or to develop bug fixes.
An unstable build is the latest development version of KDE Software and is not guaranteed to build or run properly at any given time. You will want an Unstable build if you want to develop new features for KDE Software.
In Git, the Unstable branch is called Master while in Subversion it is called Trunk.
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.
- Choose the appropriate Build Method for your requirements
- Set up your Build Environment
- Choose the appropriate Build Recipes for your requirements and environment
- Install the Build Requirements
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.