Compiling Inkscape

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Revision as of 07:00, 13 January 2013 by Marko (talk | contribs) (→‎Developer Compilation: -j does not optimize Inkscape, instead it affects compilation.)
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Hopefully, Inkscape will compile right out of the box. If it doesn't, well that's what this page is for.

Jot down notes, questions, findings, tips, etc. here on things you run into. It's a good idea to make mention of what version of the code you're trying to compile, the distribution you're running, and other such information that might be pertinent.

If legitimate bugs are found or patches developed, please move them to the tracker at Sourceforge rather than inlining them here.


Inkscape needs automake 1.7, 1.8 or 1.10 and higher. Please consider NOT using automake1.9, because it has a bug ( link: ) that prevents compiling of Inkscape. If you have already tried to do a $ make with automake1.9 then $ ./ from your inkscape-cvs dir and proceed as normal. (On the other hand, I've repeatedly built it with automake-1.9.4. ralf)

You may want to also add plugins during or after compiling.

OS & Distribution Specific

Package Config (pkg-config)

If you must compile and install any of these from source, you may find an error like this when trying to compile them or Inkscape itself:

checking for gtk+-2.0 >= 2.0.0  libxml-2.0 >= 2-2.4.24  sigc++-1.2  gtkmm-2.0... Package gtkmm-2.0 was not found in the  pkg-config search path.
Perhaps you should add the directory containing `gtkmm-2.0.pc'
to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
No package 'gtkmm-2.0' found

A solution is to set the PKG_CONFIG_PATH variable as so:

for bash:

    export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/pkgconfig

for csh:

    setenv PKG_CONFIG_PATH /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/pkgconfig

A good place to put this line is in your .bashrc or .cshrc file


If your distro does not have some packages available (like many don't, ie, Fedora Core 2), you must often download and build source packages and/or install them yourself. See Tracking Dependencies.

Developer Compilation

Plain vanilla compilation is done as documented in INSTALL; ./ (optionally); ./configure; make; su && make test; make install (optional). See INSTALL for more on that.

But if you're going to be doing a lot of development, there's some tricks and techniques you should know, to get best results.

  1. Turn off optimization
  2. Use ccache for faster compilation
  3. Set up a separate build directory (nice for testing both gcc and g++, or cross compiling)
  4. Use the -j N flag to increment the number of processors available to make, with N = 1 + number of processors

Example: Setting up both gcc and g++ build environments (in separate tree), and using ccache for faster compilations on a dual-processor machine, with no optimization, assuming /bin/bash:

mkdir build-gcc build-g++
bzr branch lp:inkscape
cd inkscape
cd ../build-gcc
CFLAGS='-g -O0 -Wall' CC='ccache gcc' ../inkscape/configure
cd ../build-g++
CXXFLAGS='-g -O0 -Wall' CXX='ccache g++' ../inkscape/configure
cd ../build-gcc && make -j 3
cd ../build-g++ && make -j 3

Turning off just optimization (which can produce strange results in debuggers):

export CXXFLAGS='-g -O0 -Wall'
export CFLAGS='-g -O0 -Wall'

See TestingInkscape for information on building and executing (unit) tests.