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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


Essential dependencies:

These are necessary for Inkscape to compile. 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 \

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.

Optional dependencies:

To enable some additional functionality in Inkscape you might want to install:

  • lcms : color management via LittleCMS
  • loudmouth-1.0 : collaborative whiteboard (only available in DarwinPorts)
  • boost1.31 : auto-organisation of connectors
  • gnome-vfs
  • gnome-print
  • xft2

for each of these you need the developement packages as well (the name ends by -dev)

Setting the build environment:

Fink hierarchy is not searched for libraries by default. Therefore, before the configuration starts, some environment variables need to be set. In addition, you must make sure that Inkscape is compiled with the compiler that Fink uses, otherwise Inkscape won't link properly. On old 10.3 and 10.4 Fink installs, you compiler is probably gcc-3.3. On fresh 10.4 Fink installs, your compiler is probably gcc-4.0. In addition, to speed up the compilation a bit you could use ccache if you have it installed.

The environment variables are presented in bash syntax here. You can create a file named for example and copy/paste this inside:

 export LIBRARY_PATH="/usr/X11R6/lib:$FINK/lib"
 export CPATH="$FINK/include"
 export PATH="/usr/X11R6/bin:$PATH"
 export CPPFLAGS="-I$FINK/include" 
 export LDFLAGS="-L$FINK/lib"
 export CFLAGS="-O3 -Wall"
 export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="$FINK/lib/pkgconfig"

And add this couple of line to set the compiler:

  • On 10.3 and fresh Fink installs on 10.4:
 export CC="gcc"
 export CXX="g++"
  • With old Fink installs on 10.4:
 export CC="gcc-3.3"
 export CXX="g++-3.3"
  • With ccache:
 export CC="ccache gcc-??"
 export CXX="ccache g++-??"

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


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. Of course you can add here classic compilation options such as --enable-lcms for color management or --enable-inkboard for whitboard functionality.


 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
  1. install (the install is system wide so you need administrator rights)
sudo python install

and type your password.

Interesting links

Some packaging links: