Solaris (and OpenSolaris) are Free Software operating systems released under the CDDL by Sun Microsystems. They are vaguely SysV-like. KDE4 runs on this operating system.

The KDE Project on the OpenSolaris site is intended to be the definitive source of information, but this page on TechBase is intended to collect information, porting and compilation guides, etc. Since TechBase is a wiki, this is much easier than going through the OpenSolaris editing process.

For an overview of the remaining issues, see the KDE4 on Solaris status page. It lists showstopper bugs and issues with dependencies. This page is concerned with instructions on how to build it all.

Solaris and OpenSolaris are trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc.


This page is about KDE4 (the KDE 4.1 branch; we are aiming for having KDE4.1 fully functional on Solaris) on Sun Solaris S10U5 or OpenSolaris Nevada 70b or OpenSolaris Nevada 83 running on both amd64 or SPARCv9 hardware and compiled with Sun Studio 12. No other KDE releases, operating system versions or hardware platforms are the target of this project, simply because the core contributors to the project do not have them or the time to work on them.

That's not to say it will not necessarily work; people have and continue to contribute work for obsolete hardware platforms (32-bit only like i386 and SPARCv8). You can probably run the binaries produced by the project on other OpenSolaris releases, even OpenSolaris 2008.5, but you're on your own.

On your own, that is, unless you register for Techbase and add your comments on what needed doing and what was problematic somewhere below.

The core team for KDE4 on Solaris is Adriaan de Groot, Lukas Oboril, Stefan Teleman. We'd like to thank E. O'Callaghan, Ben Taylor and Mark Wright for their help in particular.


You can use either Solaris 10 update 5 (S10U5) or Solaris Express (Nevada build 70b or 83 -- these two versions run on our build machine and on at least one developer's desktop). Other versions of the operating system might work, but there are no guarantees and probably not much sympathy either; OpenSolaris 2008.5 is downright broken as a development platform.

Studio 12 There is a command line install and a GUI. Having installed with both types, I much prefer the GUI. It has finer grain control, and you can choose not to patch immediately (select the Advanced Options tab when you get to the install options, and unselect "Install Product Patches"). The reason to not patch immediately, is that you're going to have patch Studio 12 after installing, and there's no sense carrying around an extra 400MB in saved patches because the Studio 12 distro already has some older patches included in the distribution. Using [ Patch Check Advanced (PCA)] works well on both S10 and SXCE to handle patches for Studio 12.

Solaris 10 Install Sun Studio 12. Patch Sun Studio 12 with at least the following (there's an up-to-date list), assuming amd64; for SPARC, check that download page:

  • 124864-04
  • 124868-05
  • 124869-02
  • 124873-04
  • 124876-02
  • 126496-02
  • 126498-07
  • 126504-01
  • 126996-03
  • 127002-04
  • 127003-01
  • 127144-03
  • 127148-01
  • 127153-01
  • 127157-01

Also patch your OS with (again, these are listed on the SS12 patches page):

  • 119964-08
  • 120754-05
  • 118677-03
  • 119961-04
  • 119255-57

You can check with CC -V if you are up-to-date for the 124864 patch and cc -V for the 124868. Those are the most important ones.

Solaris Express Solaris Express, also known as Nevada, ships with Sun Studio Express instead of Sun Studio 12. You should remove it and manually download/install Sun Studio 12. Apply the required patches as mentioned in the section above, although you can skip the OS patches.

There is some confusion about which version(s) of Sun Studio 12 are really supported; it seems that SXDE 1/08 nv79 is the best version to have. Some (even newer) versions of the compile cause trouble when compiling the dependencies and KDE itself. That's for you to find out, though, and we appreciate hearing about bug reports. The developers themselves use nv70b and nv83. The more recent nv91 seems to have some issues which we have not yet fully identified. OpenSolaris 2008.5 is not a viable development platform for KDE4 on Solaris.

Compilation and Installation

The Techbase documentation gets out of date quite quickly. Do not follow it blindly; step into the IRC channel or on to the mailing list for more details or help with issues.

Getting KDE4 on your Solaris machine is a three step process:

  • You need the tools with which we will build everything else. This is CBE (Common Build Environment) 1.7.0. The CBE was originally used for building GNOME / JDS on Solaris and now contains all the tools for all the desktops. However, CBE 1.7.0 is not released in its final form yet, so there are some tricks needed. Short-term goal: Get CBE 1.7.0 final out there for use.
  • You need all of the dependencies for KDE. This is a lot of software and is held in the CVSDude SVN repository. The dependencies are all provided as RPM-style SPEC files and sources. The packages produced by this step are all called FOSS<something> and are in the category KCE. KCE lies below KDE, hence the name. The software installs in /opt/foss. Long-term goal: Merge as much as possible with the existing Solaris packages.
  • You need KDE4 itself. The current version is KDE 4.1.0 and the released tarballs will be downloaded automatically. Medium-term goal: IPS packages as well.

There's actually a zero'th step: getting the sources which you need. We'll go over the four steps in turn.

Getting the Sources

First, we need to get the sources to KBE and the KDE dependencies. These all live in an SVN repository called CVSDude (which is a SVN hosting company that the KDE-Solaris team pays for an account). But not all Solaris installations have SVN installed already. If you do not have SVN installed, get it first (somehow).

SVN is also included in KBE itself, so there is some chicken-and-egg solution here: get a tarball of KBE only, then install that, then use the SVN included in there to restart the process from here. See #KBE Compilation and Installation, below.

Once you have SVN, check out the CVSDude repository (it might be over 3GB in size - be prepared for a long download and lots of disk use) as follows:svn co Dude This will leave a gigantic checkout in a subdirectory Dude/. Inside, you will find KBE/ (for KBE itself), SPECS/ (for building dependencies) and Build/ (for KDE4 building). And another hundred or more directories, each one of which contains one dependency package for KDE4 in the following form: <PACKAGE>/<version>/ with pristine (unmodified from release versions) source and a Solaris/ directory which contains our patches and some build infrastructure.

KBE Compilation and Installation

SVN is included in KBE. There is also make and cmake and other build tools. There is also pkgtool, which is used for building SysV packages. Compilation and installation is automated through a script. You must have the "Software Installation" permission (in /etc/user_attr) or be root to run this. cd Dude/KBE bash kbe-install This script will install dependencies that KBE has which are on the Solaris install media (SUNWi2c and twenty others, I think). Then it will start building the packages for KBE itself, starting with pkgtool. It should go off without a hitch (otherwise post output to the mailing list). If it craps out somehow, you will have to start over from scratch; clean out the parts it has installed and start over: pkgrm -Y KBE ; bash kbe-install

Once KBE is done installing, you can check with pkginfo -c KBE to see what it has installed. You will have a /opt/kdebld filled with "stuff". Right. Now source the environment from KBE, which you will use in later steps:

. /opt/kdebld/bin/

(Use source /opt/kdebld/bin/env.csh if the C shell is your poison). If you don't have an at the end, something is definitely wrong. I end up with 170 or so files in /opt/kdebld/bin, so keep that in mind as a metric. There are 18 packages in the KBE group (there used to be more, but we removed vim as 'non-essential').

You can give kbe-install a --nodeps flag to avoid the SUNW packages that it wants to install. These are apparently needed for full internationalization and UTF-8 support. I do not know what avoiding the SUNW dependencies will do, actually: they don't really seem to be essential, but I would suggest skipping this step only if you don't have the install media handy.

Using packages

There are SYSV packages for the parts of KBE available from, see the index of packages for details. You can get the packages from the individual links there. Mind you get the right ones for your architecture (x86 SPARC).

Use pkgadd on each unpacked package to install it.

Getting help

If kbe-install does not work, please pop into #kde-solaris on Freenode ( works) and ask questions.


KDE4 has a lot of dependencies. Without getting near to porting all of the optional dependencies for the first four KDE SVN modules, the KDE Solaris team has already done about 120 different Open Source packages. These need to be installed first before you can compile KDE4. The packages range from single header files to Qt 4.4.0, which is kind of big. All of the dependencies are distributed as SysV packages.

Getting spec files

The next part of the equation is getting all of the dependencies of KDE to build. These are numerous, multifarious, and huge. And at least one of them will break. See #Getting the Sources, above. When it's done, go to the SPECS. $ cd Dude/SPECS

In the SPECS/ directory you will find a whole bunch of *.pspc files. These represent all the dependencies currently packaged. Some of these may conflict with files and packages already sitting in your ~/packages/ directory, so it is safest to remove ~/packages/BUILD/* and ~/packages/SPECS/* and ~/packages/SOURCES/* (but not the directories themselves).

The pspc files are "Pre-SPEC files", meaning that they need to be processed in order to produce the .spec files that pkgtool understands. We do this for two reasons:

  • The build and install sequence for each package is the same; all the logic lives in the Solaris/ directory of each source tarball.
  • We need to create 32- and 64-bit spec files which are almost alike anyway.

Patching your System

Boost, one of the dependencies, builds Python bindings, and the Python headers installed by the system Python package are broken. So you will have to edit them as root to fix this. Fortunately it will take a while before Boost gets there, so start the make process and then an editor. In /usr/include/python2.4/pyport.h there is a gethostname() prototype that must be commented out. Or get a good copy of pyport.h here.


You will have to source the environment from KBE and then run make in the Dude/SPECS folder: $ cd Dude/SPECS; nohup time make & tail -f nohup.out That will start building all of the packages, one by one. For each package, the perl script is used to create the .spec files and tar up the source directory which you have checked out of SVN. Then pkgtool is used to build the resulting packages (both 32- and 64-bit if your hardware supports it). Typical output from one package looks like this:

perl --with-all --without-upload --without-build flac Respect: Reading pspc file flac ... Respect: Reading pspc file flac ... Respect: Creating spec file flac.spec ... Respect: Checking consistency ... Respect: Creating spec file flac.spec ... Respect: Warning - no dependency packages specified. Respect: Installing replacement libtool ... Respect: Creating source tarball ... Respect: Copying tarball to packages/SOURCES ... Respect: Skipping upload of tarball. Respect: Use --with-upload to enable. Respect: Skipping package build. Respect: Use --with-build to enable. pkginfo -q "FOSSflac" || pkgtool build "FOSSflac.spec" INFO: Copying %use'd or %include'd spec files to SPECS directory INFO: Processing spec files INFO: Finding sources INFO: Running pkgbuild -ba [...] FOSSflac.spec (FOSSflac)

If a package build fails, there will be a /tmp/FOSS*.log file explaining what went wrong. If configure fails in these packages, look for /tmp/config.log as well. Unfortunately pkgtool seems to destroy the build results directory even when it fails; you may also be able to look into ~/packages/BUILD/ to find the directory where things were building.

In case you face error like this: ERROR: FOSSa52dec: Source file not found

Just run perl --with-spec --with-libtool --with-tarball --with-copy *.pspc in the SPECS dir. Then run a "make". Things, will build, hopefully ;)

Compiling by hand

You may want to work on a single pspc file or a single package by hand. has a whole bunch of options, but what you will most commonly do is create .spec files, create a tarball, build and install the package. This is straightforward:perl --with-all --without-upload pspc-file If you forget the --without-upload, it will try uploading the resulting package to bionicmutton, which probably is not what you want.

Using packages

You can get packages from just as you can for KBE. Use

/usr/sfw/bin/wget --recursive<arch>

Getting help

As usual, the IRC channel is a good place to start, but you must be able to pastebin compilation errors in order to get any help.

Removing FOSS* packages

If you want to remove the packages, run for i in 1 2 3 4 ; do yes | pfexec pkgrm -Y KCE ; done

As usual, pkgrm -Y KCE removes all the packages in the category KCE (which is the category for our FOSS packages). However, there are some nasty circular dependencies that need special kinds of violence. This is why we need to remove the packages repeatedly. Each run through removes one cycle of packages.

KDE4 Proper

KDE4 still builds out of KDE SVN. We have a setup that applies a handful of Solaris-specific patches to the code and then builds everything. We don't use kdesvn-build yet, but probably should when there are no external patches left.

Setting up an SVN checkout

Get a checkout of KDE SVN 4.1 branch, like so:

/opt/kdebld/bin/svn co svn://

That's a huge checkout. Remember where you put it. kdesupport and koffice are not part

of that repository, so you'll also need to pull kdesupport like

svn co svn:// kdesupport

and koffice like

svn co svn:// koffice

Using the build system

The build system lives in CVSDude SVN, so you need to check it out as well:

/opt/kdebld/bin/svn co

Now is probably the right time to source /opt/kdebld/bin/ again. Notice that Build/ just contains Makefiles. Everything here is driven by (GNU) make.

Configuration is stored in Makefile.config and you can override most of that in a file Makefile.config.local. The contents of my local configuration file are as follows:KDESVN_DIR=/export/home/adridg/KDE DESTRUCTIVE_UNPACK=YES SVN_UPDATE=YESThat ought to be self-explanitory: I have the KDE SVN checkout under ~/KDE; I want to start from a clean svn state each time (set this to NO while working on patches in the checkout, of course) and I want to run svn up before each build.

A good trial run is of the kdesupport SVN module, so run make -f Makefile.kdesupport

Getting help

The IRC channel is never too busy. #kde-solaris on . However, keep in mind that IRC is a live medium and it may not be the best place to ask questions. The mailing list kde-discuss at is much more patient.

Also, you are expected to do your homework. Compiling KDE4 on Solaris is not for the faint of heart and you really need to know your way around compiling stuff and dealing with system software installation; otherwise you will be quickly ignored.

Adding a KDE Session to DTLogin

(Material taken from Pradhap's blog entry) To be able to choose KDE4 from the login screen, you need to add a session to the dtlogin configurations -- and you need to have at least KDEBase compiled and installed. Then (as root):# cd /usr/dt/config/C/Xresources.d

  1. cp -Ppr Xresources.jds Xresources.kde
  2. # Edit that file so it goes to KDE instead of GNOME
  3. cd /usr/dt/config
  4. cp -Ppr Xsession2.jds Xsession.kde
  5. # Edit that file so it goes to KDE instead of GNOME
  6. cp -Rpr Xinitrc.jds Xinitrc.kde
  7. # Edit that file so it goed to KDE instead of GNOME

You can also get a tarball with the fixed-up files.

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