Compiling KDE snapshots

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Reason: Outdated, KDE snapshots don't seem to be available anymore. (Discuss in Talk:Compiling KDE snapshots#)

This article provides step-by-step guide how to compile your own KDE git/svn snapshot from sources using kde-snapshots[dead link 2017-06-01] scripts. These scripts are used for [kde-snapshots] repo.


The [kde-snapshots] used is an unofficial repository with weekly development snapshots of KDE SC. After more the two years the repository was abandoned due to lack of time of the original maintainer and later picked up by member Zolnierz. The scripts are also available in git repository and this article will show you how to use them to build your own snapshots.

Compilation of entire KDE SC takes 4 to 5 hours on quad-core @2.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor. When compiled with debug symbols (RelWithDebInfo) and unstripped, packages have about 1.3 GiB, extracted about 4.5 GiB.


KDE is a very big project. Every project contains lot of bugs and issues. The bigger the project is the more bugs it contains. Repository like [kde-snapshots] are important, because this way users can test the software during development period and provide useful feedback to developers, who can then fix and improve the software before official release.

Another reason is that many people who are developing KDE applications might find it useful to see what's coming in next official release and thus adapt their software to possible API changes etc.


Preparing build chroot

It is recommended to use a new clear build chroot for every new snapshot. For purposes of this article, chroots will be located in /home/build/chroots/{i686,x86_64}.

To prepare 32bit chroot, run

$ CHROOTDIR=/home/build/chroots/i686
$ mkdir -p ${CHROOTDIR}{/var/lib/pacman,home/build}
$ pacman -Sy  -r ${CHROOTDIR} -b ${CHROOTDIR}/var/lib/pacman \
>               --arch i686 --ignore linux \
>               base base-devel cmake sudo svn git

It is recommended to have [testing] and [community-testing] repositories enabled.

When chroot is installed, mount necessary folders into the chroot and copy some configuration files

$ mount /dev ${CHROOTDIR}/dev -o bind
$ mount /proc ${CHROOTDIR}/proc -o bind
$ mount none ${CHROOTDIR}/sys -t sysfs
$ mount /home/build ${CHROOTDIR}/home/build -o bind
$ cp /etc/resolv.conf ${CHROOTDIR}/etc/resolv.conf

Now you can switch to the chroot and create a new user build:

$ screen
$ linux32 chroot ${CHROOTDIR}
# useradd -d /home/build -M -g build build

It is really good idea to run the chroot from screen, so that when you accidentally close your terminal or X crashes the compilation won't be interrupted.

If you want to have full access to the buildroot even from outside the chroot, it's good practice to create a user with the same UID and GID as your normal user. This can make things easier later.


At this point you need to configure pacman mirrors in /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist. You can also enable [testing] and [community-testing] repositories. Sometimes the git snapshots depend on a pre-release or brand new release of some library or program. Thanks to our great devs and TUs, these updates are usually already waiting for you in testing repositories, so it's good to have them enabled.


If you intend to use the packages only on your computer, you can change CFLAGS and CXXFLAGS to match your processor. There is a very nice page with safe CFLAGS for individual processors on Gentoo Wiki - Intel, AMD. See also here.

Also to speed up packaging, you can change PKGEXT to pkg.tar.gz. Gzipp'ed tarballs are bigger then XZ'ed, but it takes much less time to compress and decompress them.

To achieve maximum performance during compilations, set MAKEFLAGS to number of your cores + 1.

If you want to publish your packages somewhere, it is good to set PACKAGER variable too.


Since we are in a chroot, we can allow some little security risks. We will grant unlimited password-less sudo privileges to the build user by adding following line to /etc/sudoers:


If you are really paranoid, you can use

build ALL=NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/pacman

to limit the 'unlimited' access only to pacman.

Build scripts

To automate the build process a bit, the kde-build scripts were originally taken and modified to work with the latest development snapshots. The "new" scripts can be obtained from their gitorious page by command

git clone

Here are the most important scripts and files:

  • build-packages - the main script that will compile all the packages.
  • create-sources - this script fetches sources from KDE git and SVN repos
  • config - main configuration
  • extra/ - this folder contains additional extra packages (see Extra Packages section)
  • packages - contains list of GIT and SVN packages and their submodules
  • run-namcap - runs namcap on all packages
  • setup-chroot - not-completely-working script to automatically prepare and setup build chroot
  • update-pkgbuilds - updates pkgver and resets pkgrel in all PKGBUILDS

There are other scripts as well, but they mostly not working against the current config and packages file. since I didn't use them when making the repository, they are left after the original kde-build scripts.

Folders Layout

By default, the scripts expect following directory structure:

  `- build
     |- build            # here will the compilations take place
     |- build-scripts    # build scripts and PKGBUILDS
     |  |- build         # contains subfolders with PKGBUILDs
     |  |- extra         # extra packages needed to build KDE
     |- logs             # makepkg logs
     |- namcap           # namcap logs (optional)
     |- packages         # new packages are moved in here
     `- sources          # sources of KDE

You can adjust the layout to your needs in the config file by modifying $*dir variables. It is suggested to change only $buildroot, because the scripts are not tested with another folder layout and may not work properly.

Getting KDE sources

You may want to check packages file first and make sure that no new modules were migrated from SVN to git. Syntax of the file is explained in detail in the Advanced Configuration section at the end of this article.

To pull sources from SVN and git repositories, enter the scripts dir and run

$ ./create-sources

Despite it's name, the script will only call git pull or svn up if a source is already available. The initial cloning will take some time though, so you can go get your first coffee.

Setting KDE version

Before you can start building, it's good to specify a version of KDE snapshot. You can find current version of the KDE SC in kdelibs/CMakeLists.txt. The snapshots are usually numbered 4.X.Y where X is next release - 1 and Y is development snapshot version, somewhere between 40 and 60 or 70. Beta releases are usually between 80 and 90, Alphas and RCs are 90 through 99.

The version is specified in config file in {codeline|kdever}} variable. Update it to match the KDE version and update the git date as well. When you do it, save the changes and run

$ ./update-pkgbuilds

This script will update pkgver in all PKGBUILDS to the value you just set and will reset all pkgrel's to 1. It will also add options=(!strip) to every PKGBUILD. If you do not want to have debug symbols in your KDE, you need to comment it in the update-pkgbuilds script.

Note: Installed KDE with full debug symbols has about 4.2 GiB, KDE from [extra] has about 600 MiB. If you can, please build KDE with full debug symbols. You will get more useful backtraces from crashed programs which can be very helpful to KDE developers. Testing and providing feedback during the development cycle is very important, this way many bugs can be found and fixed before official release.

Extra Packages

The extra subfolder contains some packages that might be needed to successfully compile KDE or that provide additional useful or interesting KDE-related packages.

You may want to compile and install create-svn, dbusmenu-qt-git, gluon-git, kwebkitpart-git, libktorrent-git and {{ic|qhull} packages before building KDE. It is very well possible, that you will have no troubles compiling against packages from official repositories.

Building KDE

Before starting the compilation make sure you do not have any old KDE packages installed in the chroot. You can verify this by running

$ ./uninstall-packages

Now we can finally start the compilation:

$ ./build-packages

Base packages


Sometimes kdesupport-phonon-{gstreamer,vlc} won't compile, unless an older version of the package is already installed. You can work around this by installing kdesupport-phonon from your previous snapshot, or phonon-gitAUR[broken link: archived in aur-mirror] from the AUR if you are building snapshot for the very first time.

Possible fix: split the kdesupport-phonon to a separate PKGBUILD so that it would be installed before the backends will be compiled.


Usually compiles without problems.


No problems here.




Make sure you do not have qwt installed in the chroot. kdebindings-smokegen will compile against Qwt, but Qt bindings (for any language) will fail with Qwt 6. There seems to be no switch to make smokegen ignore Qwt, so the only solution is to have it not installed.

Note: Please update this section when Qt bindings will compile against Qwt 6


Builds without trouble.


Smooth and soft...


Works like a charm.


Some submodules (namely kanagram, khangman, parley and kwordquiz) use hardcoded location of and libkdeedu include directory. This values are modified in the source codes from PKGBUILD during compilation. Make sure you will never compile kdeedu for both architectures at the same time. The compilations are running on top of same sources (symlinked from /home/build/sources), so they would be overwriting the changes each other.

Possible fix: move libkdeedu to separate PKGBUILD that would be installed before compiling other kdeedu submodules.

Note: Please update this section when the locations can be set manually or when libkdeedu is moved to a separate PKGBUILD

Optional Packages


Builds OK.


Builds OK.


Builds OK.


Builds OK.


Builds OK.


Builds OK.

Fails to compile when kdelibs are built without Nepomuk, so make sure Nepomuk is properly compiled.


Builds OK.


Builds OK.


Builds OK.


Builds OK.


Builds OK.

Final checks

Cool, your own KDE snapshot is now compiled. If some of the optional packages failed to compile, check the logs for errors and try to rebuild them manually.

Creating a repository

This is an optional step. If you want to have a (not necessarily public) repository with KDE, enter the packages directory in build root and in the architecture sub folder run

$ repo-add my-repo-name.db.tar.gz *.pkg.tar.xz

This will create a DB file to be fetched by pacman. Now just upload it somewhere together with the packages and you are done.

Advanced Configuration

packages file

Since KDE is now in the middle of SVN->git migration, it's necessary to check packages file before pulling sources. The syntax of the file is quite simple:

  • base_pkgs - Packages that are mandatory and other packages depend on them. When compilation of a base_pkg fails, the entire compilation process is interrupted.
  • opt_pkgs - Packages that are not mandatory. When compilation of a opt_pkg fails, the scripts will automatically proceed to next package. After all packages are compiled, you will be displayed list of broken packages.
  • ${pkgbase}_${scm}_pkgs is array of ${pkgbase}'s submodules located in ${scm} (git or svn) repository. For example, all kdesupport submodules are in git already, so the array kdesupport_git_pkgs will fetch all submodules from git://${submodule} to ${srcdir}/${pkgbase}/${submodule}. When the submodule is named like ${submodule}:${alternative_name}, it will be cloned from git://${submodule} to ${srcdir}/${pkgbase}/${alternative_name}. You can specify alternative URL of a submodule by entering @git://alternative.git/repository. When the base package does not have any submodules, like for example kdelibs, a @${pkgbase} must be provided in the submodules.