Building

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General Instructions

Disclaimer

This page deals with building the developers version of GnuCash from the Git repository. If you are searching instructions for the stable version, you should read GnuCash#Installation.

This page doesn't provide instructions for optional third-party modules like Perl Finance::Quote.

Get the Sources

For the very latest source code, get the sources from Git or use the latest release source file of type gnucash-<version>.tar.gz from Sourceforge. Do not attempt to use tarballs from GitHub. Examine the Dependencies wiki page and the README.dependencies file for the list of build dependencies for your distribution, the README.git file for notes on compiling gnucash, and the HACKING file for notes on hacking the code.

Building: Autotools

1. Change to gnucash directory

 cd gnucash

2. If this code was retrieved from Git, generate the configure script (otherwise skip this step)

 ./autogen.sh 

3. Look at available configure options

 ./configure --help
(Note: There are issues with the guile configuration of slib which will cause configure to fail on many distributions. See: #slib Issues)

4. For an "in-tree" build (where the compiled files are located in the same directories as the source code files), run configure with the appropriate options. Alternatively, create a separate build directory as explained below. Some example options for configure might look as follows

 ./configure --prefix=/opt/gnucash-devel \
    --enable-debug --enable-doxygen \
    --enable-error-on-warning --enable-compile-warnings \
    [--enable-ofx [...]]
--prefix
Where should the package be installed? If you install for test purposes, you might consider installing it below your home directory to avoid sudoing. You should never use the same path as your distribution!

5. Compile and install

 make
optional - if you changed something in the sources:
 make check
If your prefix was below $HOME:
 make install
else
 sudo make install
Sudo will ask you for the administrator password.

6. Run

 /opt/gnucash-devel/bin/gnucash [options]
Again use the option --help to see a list.

Using separate build directory

It is possible, and even preferable, to separate the directories containing source code, build files, and installed files.

To build in another directory, cd to it before starting, then call the configure script by the relative path. Avoid known problems with intltool and locate your build directory outside of your source directory. For example:

cd gnucash
./autogen.sh

These steps were identical to the description above. Now the part which is different:

cd .. 
mkdir build        # Create the separate build directory
cd build

From within the build directory, you now have to call configure by its relative path. In this example, this is

../configure --prefix...    # and all the other options

Then you can run make, and make install as normal.

Reverse commands

In case you dislike your installation, run from your build directory

[sudo] make uninstall

to remove it, before you change relevant options like the prefix.

To clean up your build directory, run

make clean

If you use a separate build directory, you can remove its content instead.

In some cases, that might not be sufficient, then clean your git gnucash directory with

git clean -f

To remove everything not part of the repo, including directories and ignored files, run

git clean -fdx -e /.project  -e /.cproject -e /.autotools -e /.settings/

Note: The exceptions are only necessary for Eclipse users. Else all their project information would be lost.

In this case you will have to start with ./autogen-sh again.

Building: CMake

CMake is another popular configuration and build system. One of its major advantages is the ability to generate project files for a variety of tools including make, ninja, CodeBlocks, Eclipse, and Xcode. Ninja is particularly interesting because it is extremely efficient and highly parallel.

To configure GnuCash with cmake you'll first need to ensure that cmake and your chosen build tool are installed. Users of the MacOSX/Quartz build instructions will find that cmake is already present, and users of the Windows build scripts will find both cmake and ninja can be installed by adding a couple of lines to custom.sh. Most others will be able to install both easily enough via their package managers.

Cmake configuration is done by running cmake with some variable definitions, for example:

 cmake -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/gnucash-devel ../gnucash.git

Will make a default configuration in the current directory from the sources in ../gnucash.git to be built with make. To build with ninja instead you'd use

 cmake -G Ninja -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/gnucash-devel ../gnucash.git

and to make a debug build

 cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/gnucash-devel ../gnucash.git

Unlike autotools, GnuCash's cmake configuration is written to build all of the standard optional features. Some other important variables that you may need to define:

  • CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH declares a : (or ; on Windows) separated set of search paths for roots of include and library files, needed if some dependencies are not installed in the default locations, i.e. /usr and /usr/local on most Unix systems. For example if you've built some dependencies from source and installed them in /opt you'd need to use
 cmake -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/gnucash-devel -D CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/opt ../gnucash.git
  • GTEST_ROOT and GMOCK_ROOT may be needed if cmake can't find Googletest in the normal locations for your distro.
  • GNC_DBD_DIR The location of the DBD driver modules (e.g. libdbd-mysql.so) if not /usr/lib/dbd.
  • TEST_MYSQL_URLThe complete URL including password for a MySQL test database for running the SQL backend tests with MySQL.
  • TEST_PGSQL_URLThe complete URL including password for a PostgreSQL test database for running the SQL backend tests with PostgreSQL.

Configuration options are also set using -D; for example, include -D DISABLE_DEPRECATED_GLIB=ON to configure the build to raise errors when attempting to compile functions marked as deprecated in the version of GLib you're using. The options and default values at the time of writing were:

  • WITH_SQL, ON, enable the SQL backends. Requires LibDBI.
  • WITH_AQBANKING, ON, enable the Online Banking features. Requires AQBanking, Gwenhywfar, and Ktoblzcheck.
  • WITH_GNUCASH, ON, builds the Gnome GUI. Requires Gtk+ and its dependencies.
  • WITH_CUTECASH, OFF, builds the experimental and incomplete Qt GUI.
  • WITH_OFX, ON, builds the OFX importer code. Requires LibOFX and its dependencies.
  • WITH_PYTHON, OFF, builds the Python bindings and console. Requires Python 2.7 headers and library.
  • ENABLE_BINRELOC, ON, enables the built GnuCash to be moved to a different path from CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX after it's been built.
  • ENABLE_DEBUG, OFF, the same as CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug.
  • ENABLE_REGISTER2, OFF, builds the not-quite-finished GtkTreeView register replacement.
  • DISABLE_NLS, OFF, turns off generating translation calls for strings.
  • DISABLE_DEPRECATED_GLIB, OFF, raises an error when deprecated GLib functions are encountered.
  • DISABLE_DEPRECATED_GTK, OFF, raises an error when deprecated Gtk, Gdk, or GdkPixbuf functions are encountered.
  • DISABLE_DEPRECATED_GNOME, OFF, raises an error when deprecated functions in other Gnome libraries are encountered.
  • GNC_BUILD_AS_INSTALL, ON, Mirrors the installation layout instead of the source layout for final build products.

Consult the root CMakeLists.txt in the GnuCash source directory for a current list of settings and options.

Once cmake has completed its configuration you can run make, make check, or make install as usual. If you configured with -G Ninja you'd use ninja, ninja check, or ninja install instead.

Notes

  • ninja does not have an uninstall target. To uninstall a ninja build run
 xargs rm < install_manifest.txt

from the root build directory.

  • cmake builds do not use libtool and by default install compilation targets including test programs in a bin subdirectory of the root build directory, and all the libraries are built into a lib subdirectory with linkage temporarily set up so that the binaries can find their libraries, so to re-run a single test file you can simply run e.g.
 bin/test-engine

and to debug the same

 gdb bin/test-engine

Scheme tests reside in directories that mirror their source directories and require some environment fiddling to get them to run outside of make check or ninja check.

Distro-specific Information

See the README.dependencies file for library dependency notes. Also check out the dependencies page.

Slackware

Slackware installation is covered on this page.

Debian

If you are lucky, running

 aptitude build-dep gnucash

will install everything you need to build gnucash.

On Debian, the packages you'll probably need are (among many others):

guile-1.8-dev
swig
goffice-0-dev
libgsf-1-dev
libwebkitgtk-dev
libofx-dev (to enable ofx support)
libaqbanking16-dev (to enable aqbanking support. Don't use the newer libaqbanking20-dev - see AqBanking#Compatibility)
postgresql-dev (to enable sql support)

If you are building from git, you will also need the following installed before running autogen.sh:

automake
intltool
libtool

Ubuntu

Ubuntu releases are supported for various lengths of time; Wikipedia has a handy chart showing which versions are still supported.

Note: Dear Ubunteros, please do not copy and paste whole paragraphs. Instead adjust single sections in the form

Version x and newer:
do this
Version x-1 and before:
do that.
Can someone of you clean up this chapter and later remove this note?

Compiling Newer Ubuntu Packages on an Older Release ("self-backporting")

If you are on an older version of Ubuntu (or Debian for that matter) such as Trusty 14.04 LTS, you may be able to compile a newer Ubuntu or Debian version yourself (essentially backporting it yourself).

If the newer package is available in Utopic 14.10, add a line in your /etc/apt/sources.list (or for newer versions of Ubuntu, include a new file in the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ directory) with the correct format. For Utopic, the line would be:

deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu utopic main restricted universe

You want the version (Utopic in above example) to be newer than the system release you have installed. Then you can use the following lines to compile and install whatever software version is in the newer Ubuntu release, "backporting" the newer software to your older release of Ubuntu.

cd ~/src/
sudo aptitude update
sudo apt-get install build-essential fakeroot
sudo apt-get build-dep gnucash
apt-get --compile source gnucash
sudo dpkg -i *.deb

Easy as 1-2-3!*

  • If apt-get build-dep fails on the gnucash packages with a message like "E: Build-Depends dependency for gnucash cannot be satisfied because the package XXXXX cannot be found" then that means you need additional updated libraries on your system in order to backport the software. Unless you know there are only one or two new libraries needed, it's most likely MUCH easier just to build GnuCash from source. (See directions below.)
  • If dpkg -i *.deb fails because it lists a bunch of dependencies (this happens if you've never installed gnucash before) the easiest way to get apt to bring them in is using -f (fix broken) install:
sudo apt-get -f install

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

To build Gnucash 2.8 from source you need to install following packages:

sudo apt-get install intltool
sudo apt-get install autoconf automake autotools-dev libsigsegv2 m4
sudo apt-get install libtool libltdl-dev
sudo apt-get install libglib2.0-dev
sudo apt-get install icu-devtools libicu-dev
sudo apt-get install libboost-all-dev
sudo apt-get install guile-2.0 guile-2.0-dev
sudo apt-get install swig2.0
sudo apt-get install libxml++2.6-dev
sudo apt-get install libxslt1-dev
sudo apt-get install xsltproc
sudo apt-get install libgtest-dev
sudo apt-get install google-mock
sudo apt-get install gtk+3.0
sudo apt-get install libgtk-3-dev
sudo apt-get install webkit2gtk-3.0 # >600 MB !

After that it is at the moment still possible to build with Autotools in a separate build directory (for xml backend):

 mkdir build
 cd build
 ../gnucash/autogen.sh
 ../gnucash/configure --prefix=<target>/gnucash --enable-compile-warnings --disable-error-on-warning --disable-dbi
 make
 sudo make install

Note that the Autotools will soon be replaced by Cmake - at that point this description must be updated.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr)

To build from the source tarball download the source code tarball from http://www.gnucash.org/download.phtml and extract to an appropriate directory.

Next install the build dependencies

sudo apt-get build-dep gnucash

(On a fresh install I also needed to purge guile-2.0 and install these packages as well follow the guide below for issues with slib)

sudo apt-get purge guile-2.0
sudo apt-get install slib libgnomeui-common libgnomeui-dev guile-1.8 guile-1.8-dev checkinstall

if want to use the alternative database backends then:

sudo apt-get install libdbd-{sqlite3,pgsql,mysql}

In a terminal cd to the gnucash directory and run

./configure --prefix=/path/to/install/gnucash/to --enable-compile-warnings --with-html-engine=webkit
make
sudo checkinstall

The prefix might be, for example,

--prefix=/usr/bin/gnucash2.4

Running checkinstall will ask you some options on how the package is named, etc. This will produce a .DEB which you can then simply install (adjust the path/filename accordingly)

sudo dpkg -i /path/to/deb/gnucash_2.4.15-1_amd64.deb

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)

To build using the git repository first install git

sudo apt-get install git

then in an appropriate directory run

git clone  git://github.com/Gnucash/gnucash.git gnucash

which will make a git repository in a directory gnucash.

Next install the build dependencies

sudo apt-get build-dep gnucash

and a few required or useful tools

sudo apt-get install libtool swig git libgnomeui-dev xsltproc libxslt-dev doxygen

if want to use the alternative database backends then:

sudo apt-get install libdbd-{sqlite3,pgsql,mysql}

In a terminal cd to the gnucash directory and checkout the version that you want, so to get the latest 2.4 branch version:

git checkout 2.4

or to build a released version, for example:

git checkout 2.4.9

Then to build it

./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=/path/to/install/to/gnucash --enable-compile-warnings --with-html-engine=webkit --disable-error-on-warning
make
sudo make install

The prefix might be, for example,

--prefix=/usr/bin/gnucash2.4

Then to run it, assuming there were no errors

/usr/bin/gnucash2.4/bin/gnucash

Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

To build using the git repository first install git-core

sudo apt-get install git-core

then in an appropriate directory run

git clone  git://github.com/Gnucash/gnucash.git gnucash

which will make a git repository in a directory gnucash.

Next install the build dependencies

sudo apt-get build-dep gnucash

and a few required or useful tools

sudo apt-get install libtool swig git

if want to use the alternative database backends then:

sudo apt-get install libdbd-{sqlite3,pgsql,mysql}

In a terminal cd to the gnucash directory and checkout the version that you want, so to get the latest 2.4 branch version:

git checkout 2.4

or to build a released version, for example:

git checkout 2.4.7

Then to build it

./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=/path/to/install/to/gnucash --enable-compile-warnings --with-html-engine=webkit
make
sudo make install

The prefix might be, for example,

--prefix=/usr/bin/gnucash2.4

Then to run it, assuming there were no errors

/usr/bin/gnucash2.4/bin/gnucash

Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)

Follow the steps described for #Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx).

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)

First, we need install all dependencies of building GnuCash.

sudo aptitude build-dep gnucash
sudo aptitude install texinfo git intltool libdbi0-dev libdbd-{sqlite3,pgsql,mysql} guile-1.8 guile-1.8-dev doxygen libwebkit-dev

Since Ubuntu/Debian doesn't have guile-1.8-slib, which is actually just a softlink to slib, we create the softlink and generate the catalog manually.

cd /usr/share/guile/1.8
sudo ln -s ../../slib slib
sudo guile -c "(use-modules (ice-9 slib)) (require 'new-catalog)"

And then we create the directories for source code and installation, and check out source code from git master

mkdir -p ~/unstable ~/development
rm -rf ~/unstable/gnucash ~/development/gnucash
cd ~/development
git clone https://github.com/Gnucash/gnucash/ gnucash
cd gnucash

Then, we build it by following commands:

./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=$HOME/unstable/gnucash --enable-debug --enable-doxygen --enable-error-on-warning --enable-compile-warnings
make all install

If there are no errors, we can run it:

~/unstable/gnucash/bin/gnucash

Gentoo

Gentoo instructions can be found on Gnucash-svn installation on Gentoo.

Mac OS X

Mac OS X instructions can be found on MacOSX/Quartz (This is the procedure used for building the binary packages) or gnucash installation from source on Mac OS X.

Fedora

Fedora 13

On Fedora 13, the build instructions are very similar to the ones for Ubuntu 10.04 (above). First, we need install all dependencies of building GnuCash.

sudo yum-builddep gnucash -y
sudo yum install texinfo git intltool libdbi-devel libdbi guile guile-devel doxygen gtkhtml3-devel -y

And then we create the directories for source code, and check out source code from git master

mkdir -p ~/development
cd ~/development
git clone https://github.com/Gnucash/gnucash/ gnucash
cd gnucash

Then, we build it by following commands:

./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=$HOME/unstable/gnucash --enable-debug --enable-doxygen --enable-error-on-warning --enable-compile-warnings
make all install

If there are no errors, we can run it:

~/unstable/gnucash/bin/gnucash

Fedora 23

On Fedora 23, yum has been replaced with dnf. But other than that the instructions remain the same. First, we need install all dependencies of building GnuCash.

sudo dnf builddep gnucash -y
sudo dnf install texinfo git intltool libdbi-devel guile-devel doxygen webkitgtk-devel -y

And then we create the directories for source code, and check out source code from git master

mkdir -p ~/development
cd ~/development
git clone https://github.com/Gnucash/gnucash/ gnucash
cd gnucash

Then, we build it by following commands:

./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=$HOME/unstable/gnucash --enable-debug --enable-doxygen --enable-error-on-warning --enable-compile-warnings
make all install

If there are no errors, we can run it:

~/unstable/gnucash/bin/gnucash

slib Issues

Ubuntu Hardy and Intrepid, and if the mailing lists are to be believed, many other distributions as well, produce the following error when running the configure script:

configure:27495: checking for SLIB support
configure:27509: error:
Cannot find SLIB. Are you sure you have it installed?
See http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=347922
...

This is not a problem with gnucash! The issue seems to be that the slib installation does not properly configure guile. Two items need to be fixed: a guile initialization file has an incorrect path, and the initialization of the slib catalog is not done. On Ubuntu, the initialization file is /usr/share/guile/1.8/ice-9/slib.scm. There is no guarantee that this will be the same on another distribution. This file references the guile.init file supplied by slib to hook slib into guile. Look in the file to find:

(load-from-path "slib/guile.init")

This line must be changed to reflect the correct location of the guile.init file:

(load-from-path "/usr/share/slib/init/guile.init")

This path is correct for Ubuntu. It will probably not be the same on other distributions. Once this is fixed, slib must be invoked from guile to initialize the catalog:

sudo guile -c "(use-modules (ice-9 slib)) (require 'printf)"

Then, if there were no errors, the returned status will be "0". We can check this by echoing the status variable from the environment:

echo $?

Which should return 0. If it does, then the configure script should now get past the section which checks for slib. Note that since standard users probably do not have write permissions to the slib and guile directories, the catalog initialization will fail unless you sudo! I recently discovered (7/1/09) that upgrading Ubuntu from Hardy to Intrepid silently breaks slib by undoing this change, forcing you to repeat the fix.

Finally, there are several additional suggestions that can be gleaned from others who have had this problem. I've listed these below in case they are needed on some distributions. As far as I can tell, on Ubuntu at least, all of these additional actions are superfluous.

Environment Strings:
export SCM_INIT_PATH=/usr/share/slib/init/guile.init
export SCHEME_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/share/slib
export GUILE_LOAD_PATH=/usr/share/guile/site /usr/share/guile/1.8 /usr/share/guile
Symbolic Links:
ln -s /usr/share/guile/1.8/ /usr/share/guile/site
ln -s /usr/share/slib/ /usr/share/guile/1.8/slib

Obviously, the paths here refer to the Ubuntu install. Yours may differ.

Tutorial on Plugins

This section describes how to build a plugin from scratch.

A plugin is a runtime loadable module which provides optional functions for GnuCash. There are a couple of plugins plus a skeleton example in src/plugins. To add your own plugin:

  • Copy the example to a new plugin subdirectory:
 cd src/plugins
 cp -R example your-plugin-name
  • edit Makefile.am to add your-plugin-name to the subdirs list
  • edit configure.ac, inserting the following line near the end just before AC_OUTPUT:
 AC_CONFIG_FILES(src/plugins/your-plugin-name/Makefile src/plugins/your-plugin-name/ui/Makefile src/plugins/your-plugin-name/glade/Makefile)
  • edit the source files in your-plugin-name to actually do what you want, rename them to make sense, and adjust the filenames in the three Makefile.am to match.
  • Rebuild GnuCash:
 cd ../..
 ./autogen.sh
 ./configure --whatever options you usually use
 make
 make install
  • to force GnuCash to load the plugin upon start
 echo '(gnc:module-load "gnucash/plugins/your-plugin-name" 0)' >> ~/.gnucash/config.user

The result will be your new plugin being available in the Tools menu, or wherever you added it in the UI file.

Microsoft Windows

Compiling GnuCash in Windows is possible, but much more difficult than in linux. For details, see GnuCash on Microsoft Windows.