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Consider using stable

This is a short how to build the latest svn version. Please note that SVN version may be buggy and crash often. This is released for people who want to help testing or need the very latest features. If you are not of developer kind, you are suggested to install the stable version from the repositories using Synaptic or from command line:

   sudo apt-get install inkscape

Using prebuilt packages

For Ubuntu there is developers repository with prebuilt Inkscape which is updated occassionally. You should append the following lines to file /etc/apt/sources.list

deb gutsy main
deb-src gutsy main

Run following commands to update the repository information and install all the latest programs available.

   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get upgrade

Compiling unstable developement version

Installing dependencies

If you are sure you can face Inkscape being unstable, then please continue reading. First you should install all the requirements. This can be done by:

   sudo apt-get install build-essential autoconf automake intltool \
libglib2.0-dev libpng12-dev libgc-dev libfreetype6-dev liblcms1-dev \
libgtkmm-2.4-dev libxslt1-dev libboost-dev libpopt-dev 

Now you should have every dependency you need to build Inkscape.

Additional dependencies

If you want to have optional features you may need to install some more packages:

   sudo apt-get install libgnome-vfsmm-2.6-dev libssl-dev libmagick++9-dev libwpg-dev

Getting source from SVN

You have to fetch the source from subversion (SVN). If you have not subversion installed, install it:

   sudo apt-get install subversion

After this you can fetch the latest source. It creates a new directory named inkscape into your current working directory.

   svn checkout inkscape

If you want to learn more about subversion, feel free to do so:


Change your current directory to the inkscape.

  cd inkscape

As you may have already noticed this folder contains some files with all CAPITAL letters like README, INSTALL, HACKING, COPYING and probably others. These contain the latest information about how to build the program. The README file says that if you have no configure script in the current directory you should run autogen script to create it:


Now run configure script which detects your system variables, installed software etc.:


or, if you want to have it install to an alternate location so that you can keep the standard version installed and untouched

  ./configure --prefix=/home/yourname/opt/local

(replacing "yourname" with your actual directory user name, of course)

or, if you want to have inkboard enabled,

   ./configure --enable-inkboard

If the configure script ends with no error messages, you are the lucky one, all system requirements are met. Run make for compiling.


This may take some time, probably hours, depending on your machine's speed. On 1,4Ghz P3M with 512Mb it took 32 minutes.

You can continue by installing using "make install" (not recommended, as debian package manager would know nothing about new package) or using checkinstall. If checkinstall is not installed, you can install it the usual way "sudo apt-get install checkinstall".

   sudo checkinstall

Happy inkscapeing.

Dapper and Edgy

If you're going to build Inkscape, you'll need to have a full complement of build requirements. This is very easy to do in Ubuntu Dapper and Edgy:

Note: the libgc-6.7 that is available in Edgy removes the need for the following:

   sudo apt-get build-dep inkscape
   sudo apt-get install liblcms-dev build-essential
   echo "deb-src unstable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get source libgc-dev
   sudo apt-get install fakeroot debhelper
   cd libgc*
   sudo fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -uc -us
   sudo dpkg -i ../libgc*.deb

If you want version 0.44 from Debian Unstable, you can compile it in the same way as libgc above:

   apt-get source inkscape
   cd inkscape*
   fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -uc -us
   sudo dpkg -i ../inkscape*.deb

To build the SVN snapshots:

   # Untar and navigate to the inkscape source folder
   sudo make install

Instead of doing "make install", on Debian-based distributions (such as Ubuntu) it is better to do

   sudo checkinstall

since checkinstall first builds the .deb package and then installs it, thus making the package system aware of the newly installed inkscape. If you get the "command not found" message, do

   sudo apt-get install checkinstall

Notes: build-dep gets all the dependencies for the version of Inkscape that comes with Ubuntu. We're not building the same version, but most of the dependencies are the same.

libcms-dev was required for ./configure to work

This was done on a recently installed Dapper (Ubuntu 6.06) system. I built Inkscape version 0.44.

The following packages are need to compile cvs inkscape under a default Ubuntu Hoary/Breezy/Dapper system:

   apt-get install cvs build-essential intltool libtool libgtkmm-2.4-dev \
libglib2.0-dev libpng12-dev libxslt1-dev libsigc++-2.0-dev libpopt-dev libgc-dev

Inkscape requires libgc-6.7.

Breezy uses 6.4, Dapper uses 6.6, Edgy uses 6.7

Hoary uses version 6.3, which is provided in the Repos. (Is there somewhere to get a .deb for 6.4?)

To overwrite libgc-6.3 with libgc-6.4:

  Download gc6.4
  ./configure --prefix=/usr
  sudo make install

Old libgc 6.5 debs for Breezy