Compilation on Linux

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Each time Stellarium is released, the sourcecode is released in Sourceforge's packaging system. Building sourcecode that is released in this way should give you a working copy of Stellarium which is functionally identical to the binaries for that release.

It is also possible to get the "in development" sourcecode using Bazaar. This may contain new features which have been implemented since the last release of Stellarium, so it's often more fun. Warning: Bazaar versions of the Stellarium sourcecode are work in progress, and as such may produce an unstable program, may not work at all, or may not even compile.

If you're new to the command line, you might also find this page interesting.



First make sure all build dependencies are installed on your system.

We now use CMake instead of automake/autoconf. A common problem is that you don't have a recent enough version of CMake. Make sure you have the version specified in the build dependencies page (the error which is seen if you have an old version of CMake is something to do with curl).

If you have both QT version 4 development tools and QT version 3 development tools installed on your system, make sure the commands for moc, uic and so on point at the QT4 versions. Ubuntu/Debian users might want to use this script to swap between them.

Extract the tarball containing the source code. Open a terminal and cd to the directory where you wish to build Stellarium. Save the tarball to that directory and do this command in a terminal (if you prefer, you might use arK or some other graphical archive tool):

 $ tar zxf stellarium-0.10.6.tar.gz

You should now have a directory stellarium-0.10.6 with the source code in it.


  • In a terminal and change into the source directory:
cd stellarium-0.10.6
  • Make the build directory and change into it
mkdir -p builds/unix
cd builds/unix
  • Configure the build using CMake:
cmake ../..

By default this will configure Stellarium to be installed in the /usr/local area. If you want another location, use this option to cmake, e.g.:

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/stellarium ../..
  • Run make
  • Install the program (as root if necessary)
make install

That's it. You should now have Stellarium built and installed. Build takes about five minutes on a P4 1.7Ghz/512 Mb.

Creating source package

After building of Stellarium you can create a source package for distributions:

make package_source

Creating binary packages

After building of Stellarium you can create a binary packages for distributions.


  • After building of source code (simple binary package):
make package


  • After building of TGZ binary package (Note: a building recommended with -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr):
cpack -G RPM


  • After building of TGZ binary package (Note: a building recommended with -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr):
cpack -G DEB

Bazaar (development) version

First, make sure you have all the Build Dependencies installed.

Getting the sourcecode

Execute these commands:

bzr checkout lp:stellarium

or if you do not intend to change any source code (quicker):

bzr checkout --lightweight lp:stellarium

This will create the directory stellarium which contains the source code.

Building the source

  • Change into the stellarium directory which was created by the bzr command above
cd stellarium 
  • Make a builds/unix directory and change into it:
mkdir -p builds/unix
cd builds/unix

By default this will configure Stellarium to be installed in the /usr/local/ area. If this is OK, run CMake like this:

cmake ../..

or, if you would prefer to specify an alternative installation prefix, select it like this

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/mylocation/ ../..
  • Now build using make:
  • To run Stellarium from the source tree, change back to the root of the source tree, and call the binary like this:
cd ../..
  • If you want to run from the stellarium folder without using the terminal copy the stellarium binary from builds/unix/src to the stellarium folder. Then a click on the binary will start stellarium.
  • If you want to install the program, from the builds/unix directory enter this command (as root if necessary):
make install

Updating BZR

If you have previously built the BZR code, but want to see what changes have been made since you did that, just cd into the stellarium directory and use the command:

bzr up

This will download just the changes which were made since you last retrieved files from the repository. Often, all that will be required is to build from the make stage, but if there are new files you will need to build from the CMake stage.

If you modify any files, bazaar will attempt to merge new updates with your changed files. This can lead to build problems, and you may want to revert your changes before updating. To revert such local edits, from the stellarium directory, do this before the update:

bzr status

And for all files which are listed under modified:, do

bzr revert filename filesname2 ...

Enabling Sound Support

Stellarium's sound support is a compile time option. To use sound in Stellarium you need to have a version of QT which supports the Phonon audio system. You also need a recent version of CMake.

Sound support is controlled by the CMake option ENABLE_SOUND. You can change this setting using ccmake, by editing the CMakeCache.txt file, or by supplying the -DENABLE_SOUND=1 option when you first run CMake.

NOTE: In Ubuntu 9.10 you should install the libqt4-phonon-dev package, but NOT the libphonon-dev package.

Current Build Issues

Note that the development code is a work in progress, and as such, please don't expect it to build straight off the bat. Often it will be fine, but sometimes the build will be broken.

If the build seems to be broken for extended periods, try a thorough clean of the build directory (i.e. remove builds/unix), and start from the beginning. Check there are no new dependencies which you are missing. If you still have trouble, post to the forums or stellarium-pubdevel mailing list.

2009-03-10: CMake's detection of Phonon for audio support is not working properly right now. It is necessary to hack up the CMakeLists.txt file to gt it working. I'm working on it. -Matthew

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