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Revision as of 12:21, 29 October 2006 by Jiho (talk | contribs) (→‎Configuring)
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Compiling Inkscape


To compile Inkscape from source you will need:

To install Inkscape dependencies you can use:

  • Fink with an unstable installation (does not provide support for loudmouth, the librarie that Inkboard uses, therefore you won't be able to use Inkboard)
  • DarwinPorts

Preparing the build using Fink

Installing dependencies

Inkscape can be installed via Fink. Therefore, as for any other package, Fink provides you with a list of its dependencies:

fink show-deps inkscape

Some are mandatory and you must install them:

fink install gtkmm2.4-dev  gconf2-dev gnome-vfs2-dev\
   gtkspell2-dev intltool lcms libbonobo2-dev libxslt gc

Some provide additional functionality in Inkscape

  • aspell : check spelling of text elements [Note: I have never seen it working on OS X]
  • boost >= 1.32 : auto-organisation of connectors [Note: is boost still needed?]
  • gnome-print
fink install aspell-dev boost gnome-print-dev

If you use MMX optimization (available on Intel processors) you need version 1.8.5 of automake (and not 1.9.6 which is the latest in Fink). Otherwise you will need suppress the check on the version of automake (see the Configuring section).

fink install automake1.8

Setting the build environment

Fink's hierarchy is not searched for libraries by default. Therefore, before the configuration starts, some environment variables need to be set. The environment variables are presented in bash syntax here. You can create a file named and copy/paste this inside:

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

In addition, you must make sure that Inkscape is compiled with the compiler version that Fink uses, otherwise Inkscape will not link properly. To determine which compiler to use type:

head -n 5 $FINK/etc/fink.conf | grep "Distribution"

If your fink distribution is 10.4 add:

export CC="gcc-4.0"
export CXX="g++-4.0"

to, else (10.3, 10.4-transitional) add:

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

You can also use ccache (fink install ccache) to speed up the compilation a bit. To do so, modify the compiler lines accordingly:

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

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


You are ready to configure, compile and install Inkscape. Go to the section 'Configuring' now.

Preparing the build using DarwinPorts

Installing dependencies

You can use DarwinPorts to list Inkscape dependencies:

port deps inkscape

Some are mandatory and you can install them with the command:

sudo port install boehmgc gtkmm gnome-vfs intltool libxslt lcms popt

Others provide additional functionality to Inkscape:

  • aspell : check spelling of text elements [Note: I have never seen it working on OS X]
  • boost : auto-organisation of connectors [Note: is boost still needed?]
  • libgnomeprintui
  • loudmouth : jabber library used by InkBoard
sudo port install aspell boost libgnomeprintui loudmouth

Using MMX optimization (available on Intel processors only) requires that you use automake 1.8 but only automake 1.9.6 is available in DarwinPorts. Therefore, unless you install version 1.8.5 by hand ([1]) you will need to disable MMX optimization and to disable the check on automake version during the configure step.

Setting the build environment


First, if you have and Intel processor, you need to decide if you use MMX optimization or not. If you have a G3/G4/G5 processor you cannot use it anyway. [Note: please someone confirm that MMX optimization is available on Mac Intel processors] If you do not use MMX optimization, you can use automake 1.9 and you need to disable the check on automake version in by commenting the lines (around line 110):

    # Exclude automake 1.9.[0-6]
    if expr $VER \>= 1.9.0 >/dev/null && expr $VER \<= 1.9.6 >/dev/null ; then
        echo "  You must have automake less than 1.9.0 or newer than 1.9.6"
        echo "  Get"
        echo "  (or a newer version of 1.8 if it is available)"

Then, you might need to build the configure script (if you compile Inkscape for the first time for example). Cd to Inkscape's source directory and run:


Then run the configure script with the option --prefix which sets the directory where the build products are placed. It must be somewhere you have write access to.

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

If you decided to disable MMX optimization on Intel procesors, add the --disable-mmx option.

I you want to package Inkscape into an .app bundle in order to access it like a regular OS X application (you probably want to do it), you need to add the option --enable-osxapp:

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

If you have loudmouth installed and you want to enable whiteboard functionality in Inkscape, add --enable-inkboard.

Other configuration options can be set, check the list of options by using:

./configure --help

Building and Installing

Just run:

make install

Automated compilation

You can try downloading a bash script which automates the processes of updating Inkscape from the svn repository, setting the build environment, building and producing a package of Inkscape. Modify it with your favorite text editor in order to set a correct install prefix and to change configuration options according to your needs. Two scripts are prodived, depending on wether you use Fink or DarwinPorts. [2] [3]

To use this script, place it in the directory where Inkscape source code is and make it executable

chmod +x osxmake_???.sh

To obtain help on how to use it run it with the -h option:

./osxmake_???.sh -h

To run the whole process use the command:

./osxmake_???.sh -s -a -c -b -i -p

Packaging Inkscape into an .app bundle

Creating the .app and a simple .dmg

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
./ -s /path/to/build/products/bin/inkscape ../Info.plist macosx

The -s options produces an app bundle stripped of debugging information (which is therefore smaller). Omit this option if you want to keep debugging info.

Either way, this creates two files in current directory: that you can copy to your Applications directory and Inkscape.dmg for distribution.

Creating a more complete .dmg

The steps that used to comprise this section have since been integrated into the official build script, refered to above.

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. You can install a binary version downloadable with the developement builds of Inkscape:

Or you can install it from source:

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


Apple Documentation

  • Introduction to Runtime Configuration Covers the Info.plist files, Preferences, Environment variables and has a list of the most important Properties that the Property List should contain.


  • Sveinbjorn Thordarson's Website The author of Platypus, the Script Exec wrapper that launches the Inkscape binary.
  • Creating OS X application bundles step by step Covers the bundle concepts, copying libraries into the bundle, editing libraries with the install_name_tool, the Info.plist file and adding an icon.
  • Bringing your Java Application to Mac OS X I would regard this a little dated, and the detail is (unsurprisingly) Java-related, but it is a gentle introduction to the role of the .app bundle and give a most clear account of how to create one.
  • The Gimp .app Howto This is a very bare document, and would be of little help to you if you were new to making packages. Note that it seems to refer to a more mature Clipboard technique and Online help than we currently have; and we ought to move to parity in these areas.