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Compiling and Packaging Inkscape under Mac OS X

Before you start

If you want an Official Release, note that from version 0.42 of Inkscape a Mac OS X package (in .dmg form) will be available. In addition, regular Development Versions will be build. Both can be downloaded from Inkscape's downloads page:

Inkscape for Mac OS X is an X client: it runs under the X Windows System. You will need an X Windows Server installed for it to work. For 10.4.x users, X11 can be installed from your installation DVD. For 10.3.x users, you can get Apple's X Server here:

Compiling How To

Note: You could use the Inkscape package from the Fink project to install Inkscape from source but this package is usally older that the precompiled Development Versions and even that the Official Release so this does not seem useful.


  1. Mac OS X 10.3 of higher
  2. A full unstable fink installation
  3. Inkscape's source code. You can get the official release source code, a CVS snapshot or a copy of the cvs repository (the module name is "inkscape")

Installing dependencies:

In a Terminal type:

fink install �
        intltool �
        glib2 glib2-dev glib2-shlibs �
        gtk+2 gtk+2-shlibs gtk+2-dev �
        libpng3 libpng3-shlibs �
        libsigc++2 libsigc++2-shlibs �
        gtkmm2.4 gtkmm2.4-dev gtkmm2.4-shlibs �
        libtool14 libtool14-shlibs �
        libxml2 libxml2-shlibs �
        popt popt-shlibs �
        gc gc-shlibs automake1.8

You need automake 1.8 and not the latest in fink (1.9.6-1). Fink installs many packages from source so this is usually long.

Setting the build environment:

You need set the following environment variables (taken right out of fink's .info file) for the compilation to work. They are in bash syntax. You can create a file named set_variables for example and copy/paste this inside:

export [[LIBRARY_PATH]]="/usr[[/X11R6/lib]]:$FINK/lib"
export CPATH="$FINK/include"
export PATH="/usr[[/X11R6/bin]]:$PATH"
export CC="gcc"
export CXX="g++"
export CPPFLAGS="-I$FINK/include" 
export LDFLAGS="-L$FINK/lib"
export CFLAGS="-O3 -Wall"

Optionaly, to speed up the compilation a bit you could use ccache if you have it installed:

export CC="ccache gcc"
export CXX="ccache g++"

Note: Inkscape won't link properly on OS X 10.4.x using gcc 4 (the default) since many of the libraries it needs in fink are still built with gcc-3.3. Thus, Tiger users will probably want to modify a couple of lines:

export CC="gcc-3.3"
export CXX="g++-3.3"

Then, open a Terminal and, in the directory where you created the file set_variables, type:

source set_variables

Then you need to build the configure script. Cd to Inkscape's source directory and run:


Cd to Inkscape's sources directory and type

 ./configure --prefix=/path/to/build/products/ --enable-osxapp

The --prefix option sets the directory where the build products are placed. It must be somewhere you have write access to. The option --enable-osxapp allows you to package Inkscape into an .app bundle in order to access it like a regular OS X application. Remove this option if you only want to build Inskscape, not to package it afterwards.


 make install


Assuming that you have used the --enable-osxapp option during configure, the process is fully automatized. You just have to open a Terminal, cd to Inkscape's sources directory and type:

cd packaging
./ /path/to/build/products/bin/inkscape ..[[/Info]].plist macosx

You will end up with two files in current directory: that you can copy to your Applications directory and Inkscape.dmg for distribution.

-- Kees Cook, Michael Wybrow, Jean-Olivier Irisson

Enabling python effects

Many "effects" in the Effect menu of Inkscape use python as a scripting language. Mac OS X ships with python but not with pyXML which is needed by Inkscape effects. To install it you need to

  1. download the source code from sourceforge
  2. unpack the .tar.gz file
  3. cd into the newly created directory
  4. set the variable MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET to the number of your operating system (10.3 for Panther, 10.4 for Tiger. It probably won't work on previous systems). In bash syntax this means typing:


  1. move the python files and build C extensions
    python build
  2. install (the install is system wide so you need administrator rights)
    sudo python install
    and type your password.

Interesting links

Some packaging links: