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These instructions are for the Qt4-based Calligra on Unix and similar operating systems. These instruction won't be extended much as development of the Qt4-based Calligra ends with the 2.9 series. For the new Qt5-based Calligra, look at Calligra/Building/3. For Windows, click here, for Mac OS X click here.



First, to avoid conflicting copies of software, make sure you do not have other copy of Calligra or KOffice either installed through the package manager of your distribution or installed in any other way. Calligra and KOffice are mutually exclusive!

Follow this guide as an ordinary user. Do not login as root!

Some distributions (*Buntu, Arch) are now making Qt5 the defaulft! That does not work. Do not try to use Qt5, use Qt4. Make sure packages like qt4-default are installed. You might have to also switch your default Qt setup with a tool like qtchooser

Recommended Setup

Here is recommendation of a directory structure:

source code
directory that Calligra will be built in
directory that Calligra will be installed in

The build directory is needed because you cannot (or should not) build Calligra inside the source directory; the source and build directory have to be separated.

Create these directories with:

mkdir -p ~/kde4/src; mkdir -p ~/kde4/build; mkdir -p ~/kde4/inst

Advantages of this setup:

  • It is possible to have different builds (e.g. with different options out of the same source code)
  • David Faure's scripts can be used to make development easier. With those scripts "make" can be typed in the source directory and building will happen in the right (build) directory automatically.

Also, check the Techbase instructions on setting up a build environment. That contains some useful scripts and functions.

Getting the Source Code

There are two most useful options:

  1. Get the source code for the latest stable version.
  2. Get the source code for the current development version. Needed to test, check and give feedback about features that is in development and have not been released yet.

If unsure pick the stable version.

Latest Stable Version

The latest stable Calligra version is 2.9.7.

tar xJf calligra-2.9.7.tar.xz
Then calligra-2.9.7 will appear. You do not need to execute in it, the code is ready to build. Please note there is a price for smaller download: to update the source code to a newer version, another .tar.xz should be downloaded. See the option 2 to see how to address this with one-time bigger updatable download.
When the source code is properly downloaded, the next step is to ensure that build requirements are met and to build Calligra.
  • Option 2: Alternative download from the git repository, what weights about 650MB. If you prefer, stable versions are also available on the git repository too. It is heavier but one-time download, the advantage is that lightweight updates can be obtained without a need for downloading entire source code again.
To get stable version x.y (currently 2.9.7) from git, first follow instructions for downloading the development version below, either the Option #1 (directly from git) or the Option #2 (download a repository tarball). Then you need to switch from the development version to stable version of the source code. To do so, in the main Calligra source code directory that has been downloaded, type:
cd $HOME/kde4/src/calligra
git checkout calligra/2.9
calligra/x.y is a notation for branches in the Calligra project. For the latest stable version 2.9.7 the branch is called calligra/2.9 and contains code updates for current minor stable release 2.9.7 plus updates for the next minor planned stable update (if there is any planned).
When the source code is properly downloaded, the next step is to ensure that build requirements are met and to build Calligra.

Development Version

The latest development version of Calligra is 3.0.0 Alpha; developers always refer to it as to master. Applications from master should always compile and be reasonably stable. Calligra developers never place experimental features there. Once tested and released, master becomes the new current stable version 3.0.

TODO: Here we should explain local branches, staging and always-release-ready master, if we have that setup.

  • Option 1: directly from git

To retrieve the source code from Git you have to use the following setup:

Add the following text to your ~/.gitconfig:

[url "git://"]
    insteadOf = kde:
[url "ssh://"]
    pushInsteadOf = kde:

Then execute

$ git clone kde:calligra

By using the kde: prefix, read access will automatically happen over Git, and authenticated SSH is only required for pushes.

Note that pushing your changes will only work if you have a KDE developer identity. You can get a contributor account as explained on the KDE Techbase.

The $HOME/kde4/src/calligra directory will be created regardless of the way how the source code has been downloaded.

  • Option 2: download a repository tarball

Go to Press the "Tarball" button. Copy the url text and paste it on your command line. It will look like:

wget -c

Unpack and cd into directory, then run

$ ./

From now on to update, you can run

$ git pull

or if you have local changes:

$ git pull --rebase origin master
  • Option 3: if beta or rc version was released, the source code for the latest beta can be found on KDE's ftp calligra-latest. Uncompress the code so that $HOME/kde4/src/calligra is created.

Working with Multiple Versions

You will often want to have more than one build environment in parallel, for example if you want to work on stable (master, calligra/x.y) and various feature branches.

Recommended way is to use git-new-workdir tool. This solution saves space (300MiB for a calligra branch instead of 1200MiB) and time. It based on a single git repository clone multiplied to many separate source directories for each branch you wish to use, all without performing full clone (what consumes disk space and requires fetching each clone separately). It is explained in the Techbase article Multiple Work Branches and you can find the script there.

Example commands to have code for both Calligra 3.0.x and master versions:

To get the master into $HOME/kde4/src/calligra:

$ git clone kde:calligra

Then, to get the Calligra 3.0.x into $HOME/kde4/src/calligra-3.0:

$ git-new-workdir $HOME/kde4/src/calligra $HOME/kde4/src/calligra-3.0 calligra/3.0

The above means git-new-workdir <original clone's directory> <new source directory> <branch name>. As you see the <original clone's directory> is the master branch, and this is recommended convention.

Working with Qt Creator. Every source directory can be opened as a project in Qt Creator (by opening the central CMakeLists.txt, see Developing With QtCreator). Creator supports many projects opened concurrently. One of them is made active. Remember to set up variables for all Qt Creator projects (for each source directory) that you want to use in this IDE (see Developing With QtCreator again for instructions). Then you can switch between projects easily in Creator, build, run and debug projects.

Build directories. Please use separate build directory per branch, never share the same build directory for many branches if you don't want to encounter compile and configuration errors. A good naming scheme for building kde4/src/{branchname} code is kde4/build/{branchname}.

When many build directories are used, it's easy to switch between builds: just type make -j*** install in given build dir.

Removing directories. If you no longer need a build directory, you can safely remove it to safe space. You can also remove source directory that you created using git-new-workdir before. But the base source directory used by the git-new-workdir (or <original clone's directory> as mentioned before, typically containing master branch code, shall not be removed. Otherwise, 'workdir' branches (such as kde4/src/calligra-x.y) will no longer work. This is because hard links to files in the <original clone's directory> are used while by each 'workdir'.

Build Requirements

This section provides information about hard (required) and optional software packages needed to build the Calligra software.

Required Dependencies

A note for developers: to add (or remove) a hard dependency, an explanation of the reason, and possibly a discussion must be posted in advance on The new dependency need to be packaged in the most widely used distributions (Debian, Fedora Core, OpenSuSE, (K)ubuntu). First try to make your new feature optional.

Following are the general must-have dependencies for Calligra (unless you really need to do otherwise, just install relevant binary packages):

  • Qt 4.7.0 or newer (recommended) with development files (headers, etc.); 4.6.x is minimal for 2.9 but may result with reduced Calligra features)
  • kdelibs and kdelibs development files (headers)
    • the minimal requirement is currently 4.3.0, that or any later release packaged in your distribution is OK
    • On opensuse the development package is called libkde4-devel; on Ubuntu and Debian it is called kdelibs5-dev. (TODO: add info for other distributions)
    • Calligra should also build fine with either kdelibs from git repository (see techbase for an explanation on how to compile kdelibs from svn), needed for parts of Calligra build with the Mobile Frameworks Profile of the KDE platform (Calligra Words, Calligra Sheets, Calligra Stage, krita)
  • kdebase/runtime 4.3 or newer
  • cmake 2.6.2 or newer
  • lcms 2.4 or newer
  • libpng development package (libpng14-devel on opensuse, libpng-dev on Ubuntu/Debian)
    • development packages for other libraries may be needed; on ubuntu/Debian these can be installed using 'apt-get build-dep kdelibs5'

For Calligra Sheets:

  • libeigen 3.0

For Krita:

  • libeigen 3.0
  • libexiv2 >= 0.16

For Stage:

  • boost

For Kexi:

  • sqlite3 and sqlite3-devel packages (package names can differ on various distributions), version >= 3.7.10
  • icu, libicu and libicu-devel (unicode support)

Optional Dependencies

All optional dependencies are logged at the end of the cmake run, so it is easy to figure out what is missing. The buildsystem also reports what component will not be built because given missing dependency.

For users who want to use Krita it is also recommended to install the Vc library. It is optional, but makes the performance much higher. Use version 0.7.

Distribution Specific Instructions

Debian-based Distributions

On Debian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Mint, all the dependencies used for the packages can be installed by running :

sudo apt-get build-dep calligra

Note you'll need to activate 'software sources' in your repositories.

Additional more or less mandatory libraries for Ubuntu and derivatives:

sudo apt-get install libeigen3-dev libxi-dev phonon-backend-gstreamer kdelibs5-dev libboost-dev libboost-all-dev exiv2

For a better appearance on non-KDE desktop environment :

sudo apt-get install kde-style-oxygen

(Even better, you could consider Kubuntu or Linux Mint KDE Edition. They're very good!)

On Linux Mint , you'll need to activate the software sources repositories manually. ( Search for 'Software Sources' in your menu then open it, On the tab 'Linux Mint Software' , check to activate 'Source code', On the tab 'Other Software' check to activate 'Ubuntu **.** <name> (source code) then close the windows to finish )


All the dependencies used for building Calligra can be installed by running:

zypper si -d calligra

( Note : enable in 'Yast' > 'Software Repository' the sources packages )


All the dependencies used for building Calligra can be installed by running:

yum-builddep calligra
yum install gcc gcc-c++

On Fedora 22 and later:

dnf builddep calligra
dnf install gcc gcc-c++

Note: to build Krita you'll need to compile the VC library on your own, version 0.7. Instructions are here.

Arch Linux & Manjaro

All the dependencies used for building Calligra can be installed by running:

# pacman -Syu
# pacman -S base-devel
# pacman -S cmake automoc4 boost kdepimlibs eigen2 kdeedu-marble lcms2 libmariadbclient freetds xbase libwpg opencolorio libwps gsl glew fftw poppler-qt libkdcraw libodfgen openjpeg kdegraphics-okular pstoedit vc libvisio libetonyek libpqxx libspnav


All the dependencies used for building Calligra can be installed by running:

sudo pacman -S kdelibs kdepimlibs eigen freetds kdegraphics-okular kdeedu-marble xbase libgsf libwpd libwpg libwps libvisio pstoedit glew gsl cmake automoc4 libspnav libqtgtl boost libkdcraw libpqxx fftw opengtl docbook-xsl create-resources lcms2 qrencode libdmtx


(Mageia 5 alpha 1/Cauldron recommended for current git master version)
All the dependencies used for building Calligra can be installed by running as root:

urpmi task-c++-devel git li64boost-static-devel && urpmi --buildrequires 
change the link to the src.rpm file to an actual up-to-date location.
TODO: Dependency list tested for Krita+Karbon, only librevenge is missing required library. We probably need to add some more dependencies for other calligra applications.

Build Calligra

It is not possible to build Calligra in the source directory. Set up your directories as described in the Recommended setup section above


mkdir -p $HOME/kde4/build/calligra
mkdir -p $HOME/kde4/inst
cd $HOME/kde4/build/calligra

Read the advice below regarding speeding up the build process and adding extra debugging capabilities.

If you don't plan to develop Kexi, just type this command:

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/kde4/inst $HOME/kde4/src/calligra \

Note: if version of your Qt framework is exactly 4.8.0 or 4.8.1 add an extra parameter to the above command as explained here.

(cmakekde tool can be used as explained on the build instructions for KDE4)

Then type:


Then type this command to install the software:

make install

Please follow the Running Calligra Applications instructions before trying to run an application.

Speed up

Recommended: Taking advantage of multi-core processors. On dual-core machines compilation can be greatly speed up with the -j parameter of the make program. For example whenever you are invoking make, for dual-core processor try to invoke:

make -j3

Similarly, for quad-core processor:

make -j5

Generaly for N-core processor use the -jN+1 parameter.

Recommended: Faster linking on Linux. Linking can take noticeable time in large software such as Calligra. On Linux Gold linker can be used to speed up this task. If you're building for Linux, install the Gold linker package and add the following to your cmake command:

-DCMAKE_C_FLAGS=-fuse-linker-plugin -DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS=-fuse-linker-plugin

(you can set the CMAKE_C_FLAGS adn CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS variables in your {build dir}/CMakeCache.txt file either using text editor or the ccmake tool)

Debugging options

Recommended for accurate debugging: The default debug setting is RelWithDebInfo which is suitable only for obtaining backtraces. If you are developing or debugging an application by setting breakpoints, watchpoints, using step by step command accurately in your debugger, if you rely on assertions, debug and warning messages, you can replace -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo with:


Using DebugFull results in a slower code. That can be acceptable in most cases during testing and development given the machine is fast enough. It is not intended for production releases of the software unless you know what you're doing.

Special case for Krita: If you are working on Krita, always use the KritaDevs option by setting:


Updating and Rebuilding

If the source code has been cloned using Git, it is possible to update the source code with newly added changes and build again. Usually only changing parts will be built, so this operation would be faster than building the source code from scratch.


cd $HOME/kde4/src/calligra
git pull --rebase
cd $HOME/kde4/build/calligra
make install

(note that you can always append the -jN option to the make command to speed up the build as explained earlier in the Speed up section.

Building Selected Applications

Using Product Sets

By default, the build system tries to build all applications. The recommended way to change this is to specify a different product set by setting the PRODUCTSET CMake variable. The following table illustrates the most interesting predefined product sets.

Application Product Set
Active X X
Author X X X
Braindump X X X
Converter X X X X
Flow X X X
Karbon X X X X
Kexi X X X
Krita X X X X
Plan X X X
Sheets X X X
Stage X X X
Words X X X

For example, to build the CREATIVE product set, pass


on the CMake command line.

The set of included plugins, import/export filters and extra tools may differ between product sets. Consult the product set definitions in the cmake/productsets directory of the Calligra sources for detailed information about what is included in each product set.

For those interested only in a single application, there are also product sets per application. These will only build all those internal products which are required or useful for the respective application.

The app-specific products sets are named by the app name:


For example, to just build the KRITA product set, pass


on the CMake command line.

Fine-grained Selection

Advanced users and developers wishing to design completely own product sets can do so. An introduction into the product set system and how to define own sets can be found in the file CalligraProducts.cmake in the toplevel directory of the Calligra sources. This file also contains the complete list of internal products and their internal dependencies. Defining own product sets in a separate file, like described at the end there, is the recommended solution for this wish.

The easist approach is to combine multiple product sets together directly on the call to cmake, e.g.:


This combines and tries to build all internal required and useful dependencies of the apps Kexi and Sheets.

Alternatively, though not recommended, instead of designing completely own productsets, it is also possible to disabe products from a selected pre-defined productset. One does so by setting the corresponding BUILD_{application} variable to OFF. For example, to disable compilation of Krita and Karbon, you can pass

-DBUILD_krita=OFF -DBUILD_karbon=OFF

on the CMake command line. You can also do this using the ccmake tool included with CMake, which you may run after the initial CMake run but before you run make.

The BUILD_{something} variables are intended for backwards compatibility. For that reason, they are only supported for the braindump, flow, karbon, kexi, krita, plan, sheets, stage and words products, and may be dropped for another mechanism in the future.

Running Calligra Applications

After you installed them, there are two options to now make the Calligra applications available for running.

Running from Command Line

If you have installed Calligra in a different prefix than KDElibs (which is recommended in this document), you have to set the environment variables as folows. These are example values reflecting the the recommended directory structure:

export KDEDIRS=$HOME/kde4/inst:$KDEDIRS
export PATH=$HOME/kde4/inst/bin:$PATH
export KDEHOME=$HOME/kde4/.kde
export KDETMP=/tmp/kdedev-$USER
export KDEVARTMP=/var/tmp/kdedev-$USER

Make sure temporary directories exist:

mkdir -p $KDETMP
mkdir -p $KDEVARTMP
It is important to set KDEHOME to a directory different of $HOME/.kde, and if the directory does not exist, it will be created automatically.

Then in this special environment you need to register all the Calligra internal plugins, by executing:


Running from Menus or Desktop Icons

Instead of using KDEDIRS, you can add these lines to $HOME/.kde/share/config/kdeglobals file using text editor:


And then you need to register all the Calligra internal plugins to the system, by executing:


The advantage of this is that KDE will always look for the services where Calligra is installed. For example for the recommended directory structure:


Executing Unit Tests

1. To be able to execute unit tests, you need to explicitly enable them in the build configuration. To do so, set the KDE4_BUILD_TESTS variable to "ON", either by issuing the command in the build directory:

cd $HOME/kde4/build/calligra

Or you can run ccmake . in the buld directory and set KDE4_BUILD_TESTS to "on".

2. Then run the test by executing:

make test

or run a test app individually in the tests directories.

3. Note: It is recommended to execute

make install

before running tests.

CMake Build Options

When you enter your build directory, you can type "ccmake ." to see many build options, e.g. you can turn off compilation of apps you don't want - you can save time when compiling.

Here is list for Krita related options:

  • HAVE_MEMORY_LEAK_TRACKER [On/Off] - You can turn on compilation of the tool in krita which detects memory leak. If you want to help debug Krita memory usage, it is useful. Otherwise you just slow down your Krita.
  • HAVE_BACKTRACE_SUPPORT [On/Off] - It is related to the memory leak tool. If you activate, you will be able to see code path which leads to memory leak.


Possible Issues

If you get errors when running an application like:

krita(8565)/calligra (lib komain) KoPluginLoader::load: Loading plugin "Animation Tool" failed, 
"Cannot load library /home/michael/kde4/inst/lib/kde4/ 
(/home/michael/kde4/inst/lib/ undefined symbol:
_ZN28KoShapeContainerDefaultModel3addEP7KoShape)" ( 1 ) 

or crashes when starting an application, then you very likely have a version of Calligra installed through your package manager. As emphasized earlier in this document, you can only have one version of Calligra, and you should uninstall your packaged Calligra.

See also

Note: if you want to build FreOffice using the Nokia Qt SDK, please check out the build instructions on techbase.

This page was last modified on 29 August 2015, at 07:30. This page has been accessed 11,656 times. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 3.0 as well as the GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.
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