Becoming a KDE Developer
By joining the ranks of KDE developers, you will get to implement new features and defeat daunting bugs, all while collaborating to make coherent and stable releases. Developers collaborate in teams based on what area they are working in. These can be small teams working on a single application, up to large teams working on group of related pieces of software. Many developers are in more than one team.
KDE runs or participates in several mentoring programs to help new developers, including an informal list of people who are willing to help newcomers get started. See the Mentoring page for more details.
Choosing what to do
A good place to start is with a small bug or feature in an existing piece of software that affects you personally ("scratch your own itch"). Get in touch with the existing developers (see Communicating with the team, below) and they can help you out, by pointing you to the right place in the code and giving advice about how to tackle the problem.
Other starting points are:
- Junior Jobs are small tasks that are suitable for beginners (both bugs and features)
- The English Breakfast Network searches out simple, common issues in code that should be fixed, and going through the problems on there can provide a good overview of the code
Communicating with the team
There are several ways to get in touch with KDE developers, and developers for a specific project. The two most important are:
- the IRC channel #kde-devel on the freenode network (learn more about IRC) is the core channel for developers
- the primary development mailing list is the kde-devel list (learn more about mailing lists)
Both of these are general KDE development communication channels, and you may get directed to a more appropriate place for the project you are interested in. There is a list of mailing lists if you want to find a mailing list for a specific team directly.
You can also try looking for the team's section on the Main Page of this wiki. Many teams have information there for new contributors.
New to (C++/Qt) software development?
Most KDE software is written in C++ using the Qt framework. There are many guides to C++ online, and which one works for you will depend on how you learn best and what previous programming experience you have.
Getting the code
Source code for KDE projects can be found in the KDE Git repositories. These are listed in our repository browser, and the URLs you need to clone can be found there as well. If you are not familiar with Git, the Git Book is a good introduction, although all you really need right now is
git clone https://anongit.kde.org/<repository-name>.git
For almost all KDE software projects, you will need to use CMake to build them. On UNIX systems, the process is fairly straightforward:
mkdir build cd build cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/where/you/want/to/install/it .. make make install
The CMake step will complain if you don't have the project's dependencies installed (don't forget that on many Linux distributions, you need to install the development version of packages). Once you have installed the things it tells you, re-run CMake so it picks them up. If you want a way to get the latest versions of all the dependencies easily, you might want to consider looking at KDE Neon.
Hopefully the project has unit tests, which can be run with
Now you can open your editor and get hacking!
Submitting your first patch
Once you have made a change, you need to send it to someone on the team to review it and (hopefully) apply it. You should find out from the team what their preferred method is, but for most teams it will be either uploading the patch to Phabricator or uploading it to Review Board. In either case, you will need a KDE Identity account to log in.
- The preferred way to submit a patch is through the Arcanist command line too. You can also use the Phabricator web interface (after logging in, go to Differential (on the left menu), choose Create Diff (in the top right) and follow the instructions), but then be prepared to communicate your email address if the patch is accepted, so that it can have the proper credits. More detailed documentation about the KDE instance of Phabricator is available.
- Review Board
- After logging in, choose New Review Request at the top and follow the instructions.
After you have had several patches accepted, a KDE developer is likely to suggest you get a Developer account, which will allow you to commit directly to KDE projects. There will be very few limits on where you can commit, so you are expected to act responsibly. At this point, congratulations! You are officially a KDE developer!