From ArchWiki
(Redirected from Jhbuild)
Jump to: navigation, search

JHBuild is a tool that allows you to automatically download and compile "modules" (i.e. source code packages). It can pull modules from a variety of sources (CVS, Subversion, Git, Bazaar, tarballs, etc.) and handle dependencies. You can also choose which specific modules you want to build, instead of building the whole project.

JHBuild was originally written for building GNOME, but has since been extended to be usable with other projects.


Install the jhbuildAUR package, which provides the stable version.


The configuration file for JHBuild is located at ~/.config/jhbuildrc. It uses Python syntax to set configuration variables. Here is the sample file provided for building GNOME:

# -*- mode: python -*-
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

# edit this file to match your settings and copy it to ~/.config/jhbuildrc

# if you have a GNOME git account, uncomment this line
# repos['git.gnome.org'] = 'ssh://user@git.gnome.org/git/'

# what module set should be used. The default can be found in
# jhbuild/defaults.jhbuildrc, but can be any file in the modulesets directory
# or a URL of a module set file on a web server.
# moduleset = 'gnome-apps-3.12'
# A list of the modules to build. Defaults to the GNOME core and tested apps.
# modules = [ 'meta-gnome-core', 'meta-gnome-apps-tested' ]

# Or to build the old GNOME 2.32:
# moduleset = 'gnome2/gnome-2.32'
# modules = ['meta-gnome-desktop']

# what directory should the source be checked out to?
checkoutroot = os.path.expanduser('~/checkout/gnome')

# the prefix to configure/install modules to (must have write access)
prefix = '/opt/gnome'

# custom CFLAGS / environment pieces for the build
# os.environ['CFLAGS'] = '-Wall -g -O0'

# extra arguments to pass to all autogen.sh scripts
# to speed up builds of GNOME, try '--disable-static --disable-gtk-doc'

# On multiprocessor systems setting makeargs to '-j2' may improve compilation
# time. Be aware that not all modules compile correctly with '-j2'.
# Set makeargs to 'V=1' for verbose build output.
#makeargs = '-j2'

You should edit (at least) modules to the desired modules to be built. A reference for most configuration variables is available at GNOME JHBuild Manual.


Installing prerequisites

JHBuild can check if the required tools are installed by running sysdeps:

$ jhbuild sysdeps

sanitycheck has the similar function of sysdeps, but it fails on checking automake version due to an regexp error in automake until 1.15 (Already fixed next automake version).

If any errors are shown, missing packages may be installed from repositories or running the bootstrap command, which tries to download, build and install the build prerequisites:

$ jhbuild bootstrap


To build all the modules selected in the configuration file, just run the build command:

$ jhbuild build

JHBuild will download, configure, compile and install each of the modules. See

$ jhbuild help

for more details.

If an error occurs at any stage, JHBuild will present a menu asking what to do. The choices include dropping to a shell to fix the error, rerunning the build from various stages, giving up on the module, or ignore the error and continue. Often, dropping to a shell and checking makefiles and configuration files can be helpful. If you face a build error, for example, you can try to manually make and check errors on the shell.

Giving up on a module will cause any modules depending on it to fail.

To build as many packages as possible, skipping broken packages, run:

$ yes 3 | jhbuild --try-checkout build


Note: If you encounter an issue that is not documented below, please report it in a comment on the jhbuildAUR package.

Python issues

Building from scratch without JHBuild, or in a JHBuild shell

If you are building from scratch on your own, it may be necessary to run autogen.sh with the following:

$ PYTHON=/usr/bin/python2 ./autogen.sh

And set the PYTHON environment variable in ~/.config/jhbuildrc

os.environ['PYTHON'] = '/usr/bin/python2'
Note: JHBuild uses its own python lib directory in /opt/gnome/lib/python2.7; if you are having problems with python imports check to see that the .py files are there.

itstool missing Python modules

Chose [4] Start shell and run:

$ sed -ir 's/| python /| python2 /' configure

Then, exit the shell and choose [1] Rerun phase configure. See this merge request for more details.

pkg-config issues

If you have a malformatted .pc file on your PKG_CONFIG_PATH, JHBuild will not be able to detect all the (valid) .pc files you have installed and will complain that the .pc files are missing. Look at the output of jhbuild sysdeps—there should be a message about the problematic .pc files.

gnome-devel-docs does not build

Choose [4] Start shell and run:

$ git revert --no-edit 9ba0d959

Then, exit the shell and choose [1] Rerun phase build. See this bug for further details.

pango does not build

If build failed due to cairo.h not found, do the following: Enter [4]shell, edit pango/pangocairo.h changing:

 #define <cairo.h>


 #define <cairo/cairo.h>

geary does not build

If you are getting this error message...

[ 78%] Generating webkitgtk-3.0.vapi
error: /home/rffontenelle/jhbuild/install/share/gir-1.0/WebKit-3.0.gir not found
Generation failed: 1 error(s), 0 warning(s)
make[2]: *** [src/CMakeFiles/geary.dir/build.make:1277: src/webkitgtk-3.0.vapi] Error 1
make[1]: *** [CMakeFiles/Makefile2:798: src/CMakeFiles/geary.dir/all] Error 2

... then please notice that geary depends on WebKitGTK (<= 2.4), but JHBuild compiles WebKit2GTK (newer). This is a known issue (#741866 and mailing list) and there is a plan for porting Geary (#728002)

Other broken modules

The following modules do not build, and there are no known/immediate fixes (feel free to jump in and investigate):

  • aisleriot—bug report (probably easy to fix if you poke around)
  • gegl
  • gnome-boxes—bug report (a fix is provided there)
  • gnome-photos
  • gtksourceviewmm
  • meta-gnome-apps-tested
  • nemiver
  • orca
  • rygel
  • valadoc

This list includes modules transitively depending on broken modules (i.e. some of the modules might be fine; I did not check).

Packages needed to build specific modules

See also

GNOME JHBuild Manual