KDE Utils/Ark

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Revision as of 12:15, 26 November 2022 by Elvis Angelaccio (talk | contribs) (Update to gitlab)

How to build Ark on Linux

Step 0 - Install build dependencies

Some distributions allow to install the build-time dependencies of any package with a single command. For example, on Debian or Ubuntu you can just run the following command:

sudo apt-get build-dep ark

If you are running the Plasma desktop, you should have most of these dependencies already installed. Usually one needs to manually install only the extra-cmake-modules.

Step 1 - Build ark

Like most KDE projects, Ark relies on the CMake build-system. This means that compiling Ark is as simple as running the following commands:

mkdir build && cd build
cmake ..

Everything should work fine, provided that you installed all the required build dependencies.


You can speed-up the compilation by using make -jN, where N is the number of parallel jobs you will run. This number is usually set to the number of CPU cores of your machines.

Step 2 - Install ark

Once you built Ark, it's time to install it with the make install command. However, by default CMake will use /usr/local as install prefix, so you will have to run sudo make install.

At this point your should be able to run /usr/local/bin/ark. If Ark fails to start with the Unable to find Ark's KPart component, please check your installation. error, you need to run cmake with the additional -DKDE_INSTALL_USE_QT_SYS_PATHS=ON argument:


Install to custom location

When running cmake, you can set the install prefix to whatever directory you want to install Ark in. For example

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/home/foo/whatever -DKDE_INSTALL_LIBDIR=lib ..

This way you can run make install without having to type the sudo password. However, you will need to set a bunch of environment variables, in order to have everything working:

# Install prefix, replace with any folder you want
export KF5=~/foo/whatever

export XDG_CONFIG_DIRS=$KF5/etc/xdg:/etc/xdg
export PATH=$KF5/bin:$PATH
export QT_PLUGIN_PATH=$KF5/lib/plugins:$QT_PLUGIN_PATH

You can wrap the above exports in a bash script, for convenience. Then you just need to source this script before running the usual cmake/make commands.


The KDE_INSTALL_LIBDIR cmake argument is not really necessary. If you don't use it, cmake will install the plugins in a lib64 folder and you will just need a different QT_PLUGIN_PATH variable:
export QT_PLUGIN_PATH=$KF5/lib64/plugins:$QT_PLUGIN_PATH


If you want to install Ark in a custom location, do not pass the KDE_INSTALL_USE_QT_SYS_PATHS option to cmake. It's not necessary and it conflicts with CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX.

Step 3 - Run the Ark tests

Ark's unit tests are built by default (unless you pass -DBUILD_TESTING=OFF to cmake). Once Ark is built and installed, you should run the tests to check that all of them are passing. You can do so by running the ctest command from the build directory:

ctest --output-on-failure

Build with Clazy

Clazy is a useful tool for static-analysis of Qt projects. It is recommended to use it if you use a recent-enough clang compiler. To install clazy, please referer to its README: https://phabricator.kde.org/diffusion/CLAZY/

Once you have installed clazy, it is very simple to use it. Just set clang as your C++ compiler and tell cmake to enable clazy:

export CXX=$(which clang++)

You will see the clazy warnings as soon as you start compiling Ark.

Build with debug symbols

Debug symbols are useful to debug Ark with GDB. To build Ark with debug symbols enabled, just pass the -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug option to cmake. This will also make Ark crash if a Q_ASSERT fails to validate at runtime. So it is highly recommended to enable this option while hacking on Ark.

Enable debug output

The Ark debug output is useful to understand what's going on while Ark is running. If you are going to work with Ark, is a good idea to enable it, by setting the following environment variable:

export QT_LOGGING_RULES=ark.*.debug=true

How to contribute to Ark

Development of Ark is tracked on Gitlab: https://invent.kde.org/utilities/ark

Sending patches

Follow the instructions in the HACKING file: https://invent.kde.org/utilities/ark/-/blob/master/HACKING