Guidelines and HOWTOs/CMake

Most KDE software uses CMake as a buildsystem. This page is the starting point for CMake-related documentation for KDE software.

You should be aware that there are two main development platforms that KDE software is based on: the older kdelibs4, and its replacement, the KDE Frameworks. Quite a bit of KDE software is in the process of transitioning from kdelibs4 to KDE Frameworks, and the way CMake is used is slightly different between the two.

This page contains some tutorials to help you get started on building a CMake-based buildsystem. This is the recommended way of building your software if you use KDE technologies, such as KDE Frameworks.


  • A first CMake project: if you've never even looked at CMake code before, start here.
  • Using a framework: introduces you to using a KDE Framework - finding the package and linking your program against it.


  • Creating a library: demonstrates best practices when creating a library with a CMake-based buildsystem (such as a KDE Framework).

Building with CMake in short

If you just want to build a CMake-based project on a UNIX system, the following recipe will do that:

cd /path/to/project/source
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/where/to/install/to ..
make install

Don't forget to replace both paths. If you want an explanation of what this command does and how to make CMake behave differently, or you want to build on Windows or OS/X, see the building with CMake chapter.

Useful resources

CMake Resources

You may want to check out the CMake wiki, although beware that it contains quite a bit of out-of-date information.

Reference documentation

Upgrading from KDELibs4



Mailing lists

The kde-buildsystem mailing list
Discussion of CMake in the KDE community, as well as development of Extra CMake Modules.

This page was last edited on 10 November 2020, at 21:08. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.