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Building QGIS from source - step by step

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

This document is the original installation guide of the described software QGIS. The software and hardware descriptions named in this document are in most cases registered trademarks and are therefore subject to the legal requirements. QGIS is subject to the GNU General Public License. Find more information on the QGIS Homepage: https://qgis.org

The details, that are given in this document have been written and verified to the best of knowledge and responsibility of the editors. Nevertheless, mistakes concerning the content are possible. Therefore, all data are not liable to any duties or guarantees. The editors and publishers do not take any responsibility or liability for failures and their consequences. You are always welcome for indicating possible mistakes.

Because the code of QGIS evolves from release to release, These instructions are regularly updated to match the corresponding release. Instructions for the current master branch are available at https://github.com/qgis/QGIS/blob/master/INSTALL.md. If you wish to build another version of QGIS, ensure to checkout the appropriate release branch. The QGIS source code can be found in the repository.

Please visit https://qgis.org for information on joining our mailing lists and getting involved in the project further.

Note to document writers: Please use this document as the central place for describing build procedures. Please do not remove this notice.

2. Overview

QGIS, like a number of major projects (e.g., KDE 4.0), uses CMake for building from source.

Following a summary of the required dependencies for building:

Required build tools:

  • CMake >= 3.12.0
  • Flex >= 2.5.6
  • Bison >= 2.4
  • Python >= 3.7

Required build dependencies:

  • Qt >= 5.14.0
  • Proj >= 7.2.0
  • GEOS >= 3.9
  • Sqlite3 >= 3.0.0
  • SpatiaLite >= 4.2.0
  • libspatialindex
  • GDAL/OGR >= 3.2.0
  • Qwt >= 5.0 & (< 6.1 with internal QwtPolar)
  • expat >= 1.95
  • QScintilla2
  • QCA
  • qtkeychain (>= 0.5)
  • libzip

Optional dependencies:

  • for GRASS providers and plugin - GRASS >= 7.0.0.
  • for georeferencer - GSL >= 1.8
  • for PostGIS support - PostgreSQL >= 8.0.x
  • for gps plugin - gpsbabel
  • for mapserver export and PyQGIS - Python >= 3.6
  • for python support - SIP >= 4.12, PyQt >= 5.3 must match Qt version, Qscintilla2
  • for qgis mapserver - FastCGI
  • for oracle provider - Oracle OCI library

Indirect dependencies:

Some proprietary formats (e.g., ECW and MrSid) supported by GDAL require proprietary third party libraries. QGIS doesn't need any of those itself to build, but will only support those formats if GDAL is built accordingly. Refer to format list for instructions how to include those formats in GDAL.

3. Building on GNU/Linux

3.1. Building QGIS with Qt 5.x

Requires: Ubuntu / Debian derived distro

Note: Refer to the section Building Debian packages for building debian packages. Unless you plan to develop on QGIS, that is probably the easiest option to compile and install QGIS.

These notes are for Ubuntu - other versions and Debian derived distros may require slight variations in package names.

These notes are for if you want to build QGIS from source. One of the major aims here is to show how this can be done using binary packages for all dependencies - building only the core QGIS stuff from source. I prefer this approach because it means we can leave the business of managing system packages to apt and only concern ourselves with coding QGIS!

This document assumes you have made a fresh install and have a 'clean' system. These instructions should work fine if this is a system that has already been in use for a while, you may need to just skip those steps which are irrelevant to you.

3.2. Prepare apt

The packages QGIS depends on to build are available in the "universe" component of Ubuntu. This is not activated by default, so you need to activate it:

  1. Edit your /etc/apt/sources.list file.
  2. Uncomment all the lines starting with "deb"

Also you will need a recent enough distribution in order for all dependencies to be met. The supported distributions are listed in the following section.

Now update your local sources database:

sudo apt-get update

3.3. Install build dependencies

Distribution Install command for packages
bullseye apt-get install bison ca-certificates ccache cmake cmake-curses-gui dh-python doxygen expect flex flip gdal-bin git graphviz grass-dev libexiv2-dev libexpat1-dev libfcgi-dev libgdal-dev libgeos-dev libgsl-dev libpdal-dev libpq-dev libproj-dev libprotobuf-dev libqca-qt5-2-dev libqca-qt5-2-plugins libqscintilla2-qt5-dev libqt5opengl5-dev libqt5serialport5-dev libqt5sql5-sqlite libqt5svg5-dev libqt5webkit5-dev libqt5xmlpatterns5-dev libqwt-qt5-dev libspatialindex-dev libspatialite-dev libsqlite3-dev libsqlite3-mod-spatialite libyaml-tiny-perl libzip-dev libzstd-dev lighttpd locales ninja-build ocl-icd-opencl-dev opencl-headers pandoc pdal pkg-config poppler-utils protobuf-compiler pyqt5-dev pyqt5-dev-tools pyqt5.qsci-dev python3-all-dev python3-autopep8 python3-dateutil python3-dev python3-future python3-gdal python3-httplib2 python3-jinja2 python3-lxml python3-markupsafe python3-mock python3-nose2 python3-owslib python3-plotly python3-psycopg2 python3-pygments python3-pyproj python3-pyqt5 python3-pyqt5.qsci python3-pyqt5.qtpositioning python3-pyqt5.qtsql python3-pyqt5.qtsvg python3-pyqt5.qtwebkit python3-requests python3-sip python3-sip-dev python3-six python3-termcolor python3-tz python3-yaml qt3d-assimpsceneimport-plugin qt3d-defaultgeometryloader-plugin qt3d-gltfsceneio-plugin qt3d-scene2d-plugin qt3d5-dev qt5keychain-dev qtbase5-dev qtbase5-private-dev qtpositioning5-dev qttools5-dev qttools5-dev-tools saga spawn-fcgi xauth xfonts-100dpi xfonts-75dpi xfonts-base xfonts-scalable xvfb
focal apt-get install bison ca-certificates ccache cmake cmake-curses-gui dh-python doxygen expect flex flip gdal-bin git graphviz grass-dev libexiv2-dev libexpat1-dev libfcgi-dev libgdal-dev libgeos-dev libgsl-dev libpdal-dev libpq-dev libproj-dev libprotobuf-dev libqca-qt5-2-dev libqca-qt5-2-plugins libqscintilla2-qt5-dev libqt5opengl5-dev libqt5serialport5-dev libqt5sql5-sqlite libqt5svg5-dev libqt5webkit5-dev libqt5xmlpatterns5-dev libqwt-qt5-dev libspatialindex-dev libspatialite-dev libsqlite3-dev libsqlite3-mod-spatialite libyaml-tiny-perl libzip-dev libzstd-dev lighttpd locales ninja-build ocl-icd-opencl-dev opencl-headers pandoc pdal pkg-config poppler-utils protobuf-compiler pyqt5-dev pyqt5-dev-tools pyqt5.qsci-dev python3-all-dev python3-autopep8 python3-dateutil python3-dev python3-future python3-gdal python3-httplib2 python3-jinja2 python3-lxml python3-markupsafe python3-mock python3-nose2 python3-owslib python3-plotly python3-psycopg2 python3-pygments python3-pyproj python3-pyqt5 python3-pyqt5.qsci python3-pyqt5.qtpositioning python3-pyqt5.qtsql python3-pyqt5.qtsvg python3-pyqt5.qtwebkit python3-requests python3-sip python3-sip-dev python3-six python3-termcolor python3-tz python3-yaml qt3d-assimpsceneimport-plugin qt3d-defaultgeometryloader-plugin qt3d-gltfsceneio-plugin qt3d-scene2d-plugin qt3d5-dev qt5-default qt5keychain-dev qtbase5-dev qtbase5-private-dev qtpositioning5-dev qttools5-dev qttools5-dev-tools saga spawn-fcgi xauth xfonts-100dpi xfonts-75dpi xfonts-base xfonts-scalable xvfb
jammy apt-get install bison ca-certificates ccache cmake cmake-curses-gui dh-python doxygen expect flex flip gdal-bin git graphviz grass-dev libexiv2-dev libexpat1-dev libfcgi-dev libgdal-dev libgeos-dev libgsl-dev libpdal-dev libpq-dev libproj-dev libprotobuf-dev libqca-qt5-2-dev libqca-qt5-2-plugins libqscintilla2-qt5-dev libqt5opengl5-dev libqt5serialport5-dev libqt5sql5-sqlite libqt5svg5-dev libqt5webkit5-dev libqt5xmlpatterns5-dev libqwt-qt5-dev libspatialindex-dev libspatialite-dev libsqlite3-dev libsqlite3-mod-spatialite libyaml-tiny-perl libzip-dev libzstd-dev lighttpd locales ninja-build ocl-icd-opencl-dev opencl-headers pandoc pdal pkg-config poppler-utils protobuf-compiler pyqt5-dev pyqt5-dev-tools pyqt5.qsci-dev python3-all-dev python3-autopep8 python3-dateutil python3-dev python3-future python3-gdal python3-httplib2 python3-jinja2 python3-lxml python3-markupsafe python3-mock python3-nose2 python3-owslib python3-plotly python3-psycopg2 python3-pygments python3-pyproj python3-pyqt5 python3-pyqt5.qsci python3-pyqt5.qtpositioning python3-pyqt5.qtsql python3-pyqt5.qtsvg python3-pyqt5.qtwebkit python3-pyqtbuild python3-requests python3-sip python3-six python3-termcolor python3-tz python3-yaml qt3d-assimpsceneimport-plugin qt3d-defaultgeometryloader-plugin qt3d-gltfsceneio-plugin qt3d-scene2d-plugin qt3d5-dev qtbase5-dev qtbase5-private-dev qtkeychain-qt5-dev qtpositioning5-dev qttools5-dev qttools5-dev-tools saga sip-tools spawn-fcgi xauth xfonts-100dpi xfonts-75dpi xfonts-base xfonts-scalable xvfb
kinetic apt-get install bison ca-certificates ccache cmake cmake-curses-gui dh-python doxygen expect flex flip gdal-bin git graphviz grass-dev libexiv2-dev libexpat1-dev libfcgi-dev libgdal-dev libgeos-dev libgsl-dev libpq-dev libproj-dev libprotobuf-dev libqca-qt5-2-dev libqca-qt5-2-plugins libqscintilla2-qt5-dev libqt5opengl5-dev libqt5serialport5-dev libqt5sql5-sqlite libqt5svg5-dev libqt5webkit5-dev libqt5xmlpatterns5-dev libqwt-qt5-dev libspatialindex-dev libspatialite-dev libsqlite3-dev libsqlite3-mod-spatialite libyaml-tiny-perl libzip-dev libzstd-dev lighttpd locales ninja-build ocl-icd-opencl-dev opencl-headers pandoc pkg-config poppler-utils protobuf-compiler pyqt5-dev pyqt5-dev-tools pyqt5.qsci-dev python3-all-dev python3-autopep8 python3-dateutil python3-dev python3-future python3-gdal python3-httplib2 python3-jinja2 python3-lxml python3-markupsafe python3-mock python3-nose2 python3-owslib python3-plotly python3-psycopg2 python3-pygments python3-pyproj python3-pyqt5 python3-pyqt5.qsci python3-pyqt5.qtpositioning python3-pyqt5.qtsql python3-pyqt5.qtsvg python3-pyqt5.qtwebkit python3-pyqtbuild python3-requests python3-sip python3-six python3-termcolor python3-tz python3-yaml qt3d-assimpsceneimport-plugin qt3d-defaultgeometryloader-plugin qt3d-gltfsceneio-plugin qt3d-scene2d-plugin qt3d5-dev qtbase5-dev qtbase5-private-dev qtkeychain-qt5-dev qtpositioning5-dev qttools5-dev qttools5-dev-tools saga sip-tools spawn-fcgi xauth xfonts-100dpi xfonts-75dpi xfonts-base xfonts-scalable xvfb
sid apt-get install bison ca-certificates ccache cmake cmake-curses-gui dh-python doxygen expect flex flip gdal-bin git graphviz grass-dev libexiv2-dev libexpat1-dev libfcgi-dev libgdal-dev libgeos-dev libgsl-dev libpq-dev libproj-dev libprotobuf-dev libqca-qt5-2-dev libqca-qt5-2-plugins libqscintilla2-qt5-dev libqt5opengl5-dev libqt5serialport5-dev libqt5sql5-sqlite libqt5svg5-dev libqt5webkit5-dev libqt5xmlpatterns5-dev libqwt-qt5-dev libspatialindex-dev libspatialite-dev libsqlite3-dev libsqlite3-mod-spatialite libyaml-tiny-perl libzip-dev libzstd-dev lighttpd locales ninja-build ocl-icd-opencl-dev opencl-headers pandoc pkg-config poppler-utils protobuf-compiler pyqt5-dev pyqt5-dev-tools pyqt5.qsci-dev python3-all-dev python3-autopep8 python3-dateutil python3-dev python3-future python3-gdal python3-httplib2 python3-jinja2 python3-lxml python3-markupsafe python3-mock python3-nose2 python3-owslib python3-plotly python3-psycopg2 python3-pygments python3-pyproj python3-pyqt5 python3-pyqt5.qsci python3-pyqt5.qtpositioning python3-pyqt5.qtsql python3-pyqt5.qtsvg python3-pyqt5.qtwebkit python3-pyqtbuild python3-requests python3-sip python3-six python3-termcolor python3-tz python3-yaml qt3d-assimpsceneimport-plugin qt3d-defaultgeometryloader-plugin qt3d-gltfsceneio-plugin qt3d-scene2d-plugin qt3d5-dev qtbase5-dev qtbase5-private-dev qtkeychain-qt5-dev qtpositioning5-dev qttools5-dev qttools5-dev-tools saga sip-tools spawn-fcgi xauth xfonts-100dpi xfonts-75dpi xfonts-base xfonts-scalable xvfb

(extracted from the control.in file in debian/)

See debian-ubuntu for currently supported distributions (plain xenial's GDAL for instance is too old and we build with GDAL2 from ubuntugis).

To build QGIS server landing page/catalog webapp additional dependencies are required:

Node.js (current LTS recommended): https://nodejs.org/en/download/
Yarn Package Manager: https://yarnpkg.com/getting-started/install

Additionally, the cmake flag WITH_SERVER_LANDINGPAGE_WEBAPP needs to be turned on.

3.4. Setup ccache (Optional, but recommended)

You should also setup ccache to speed up compile times:

cd /usr/local/bin
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/ccache gcc
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/ccache g++

or simply add /usr/lib/ccache to your PATH.

3.5. Prepare your development environment

As a convention I do all my development work in $HOME/dev/, so in this case we will create a work environment for C++ development work like this:

mkdir -p ${HOME}/dev/cpp
cd ${HOME}/dev/cpp

This directory path will be assumed for all instructions that follow.

3.6. Check out the QGIS Source Code

There are two ways the source can be checked out. Use the anonymous method if you do not have edit privileges for the QGIS source repository, or use the developer checkout if you have permissions to commit source code changes.

  1. Anonymous Checkout
cd ${HOME}/dev/cpp
git clone git://github.com/qgis/QGIS.git
  1. Developer Checkout
cd ${HOME}/dev/cpp
git clone git@github.com:qgis/QGIS.git

3.7. Starting the compile

I compile my development version of QGIS into my ~/apps directory to avoid conflicts with Ubuntu packages that may be under /usr. This way for example you can use the binary packages of QGIS on your system along side with your development version. I suggest you do something similar:

mkdir -p ${HOME}/apps

Now we create a build directory and run ccmake:

cd QGIS
mkdir build-master
cd build-master
ccmake ..

When you run ccmake (note the .. is required!), a menu will appear where you can configure various aspects of the build:

  • If you want QGIS to have debugging capabilities then set CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE to Debug.
  • If you do not have root access or do not want to overwrite existing QGIS installs (by your package manager for example), set the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX to somewhere you have write access to (For example ${HOME}/apps).

Now press 'c' to configure, 'e' to dismiss any error messages that may appear. and 'g' to generate the make files. Note that sometimes 'c' needs to be pressed several times before the 'g' option becomes available. After the 'g' generation is complete, press 'q' to exit the ccmake interactive dialog.

Warning: Make sure that your build directory is completely empty when you enter the command. Do never try to "re-use" an existing Qt5 build directory. If you want to use ccmake or other interactive tools, run the command in the empty build directory once before starting to use the interactive tools.

Now on with the build:

make -jX

where X is the number of available cores. Depending on your platform, this can speed up the build time considerably.

Then you can directly run from the build directory:

./output/bin/qgis

Another option is to install to your system:

make install

After that you can try to run QGIS:

$HOME/apps/bin/qgis

If all has worked properly the QGIS application should start up and appear on your screen. If you get the error message "error while loading shared libraries", execute this command in your shell.

sudo ldconfig

If that doesn't help add the install path to LD_LIBRARY_PATH:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:${HOME}/apps/lib/

Optionally, if you already know what aspects you want in your custom build then you can skip the interactive ccmake .. part by using the cmake -D option for each aspect, e.g.:

cmake -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=${HOME}/apps ..

Also, if you want to speed your build times, you can easily do it with ninja, an alternative to make with similar build options.

For example, to configure your build you can do either one of:

ccmake -G Ninja ..
cmake -G Ninja -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=${HOME}/apps ..

Build and install with ninja:

ninja   # (uses all cores by default; also supports the above described -jX option)
ninja install

To build even faster, you can build just the targets you need using, for example:

ninja qgis
ninja pycore
# if it's on desktop related code only:
ninja qgis_desktop

3.8. Compiling with 3D

In the cmake, you need to enable:

WITH_3D=True

3.8.1. Compiling with 3D on old Debian based distributions

QGIS 3D requires Qt53DExtras. These headers have been removed from Qt upstream on Debian Buster and Ubuntu focal (20.04) based distributions. A copy has been made in the QGIS repository in external/qt3dextra-headers. To compile with 3D enabled on these distributions, you need to add some cmake options:

CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH={path to QGIS Git repo}/external/qt3dextra-headers/cmake
QT5_3DEXTRA_INCLUDE_DIR={path to QGIS Git repo}/external/qt3dextra-headers
QT5_3DEXTRA_LIBRARY=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libQt53DExtras.so
Qt53DExtras_DIR={path to QGIS Git repo}/external/qt3dextra-headers/cmake/Qt53DExtras

Above instructions do not apply to newer versions of Debian and Ubuntu.

3.9. Building different branches

By using git worktree, you can switch between different branches to use several sources in parallel, based on the same Git configuration. We recommend you to read the documentation about this Git command:

git commit
git worktree add ../my_new_functionality
cd ../my_new_functionality
git fetch qgis/master
git rebase -i qgis/master
# only keep the commits to be pushed
git push -u my_own_repo my_new_functionality

3.10. Building Debian packages

Instead of creating a personal installation as in the previous step you can also create debian package. This is done from the QGIS root directory, where you'll find a debian directory.

First you need to install the debian packaging tools once:

apt-get install build-essential

First you need to create an changelog entry for your distribution. For example for Ubuntu Precise:

dch -l ~precise --force-distribution --distribution precise "precise build"

The QGIS packages will be created with:

dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc -b

Note: Install devscripts to get dch.

Note: If dpkg-buildpackage complains about unmet build dependencies you can install them using apt-get and re-run the command.

Note: If you have libqgis1-dev installed, you need to remove it first using dpkg -r libqgis1-dev. Otherwise dpkg-buildpackage will complain about a build conflict.

Note: By default tests are run in the process of building and their results are uploaded to https://cdash.orfeo-toolbox.org/index.php?project=QGIS. You can turn the tests off using DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS=nocheck in front of the build command. The upload of results can be avoided with DEB_TEST_TARGET=test.

The packages are created in the parent directory (ie. one level up). Install them using dpkg. E.g.:

sudo debi

3.11. On Fedora Linux

We assume that you have the source code of QGIS ready and created a new subdirectory called build or build-qt5 in it.

3.11.1. Install build dependencies

Distribution Install command for packages
Fedora 35 Workstation dnf install qt5-qtbase-private-devel qt5-qtwebkit-devel qt5-qtlocation-devel qt5-qttools-static qca-qt5-devel qca-qt5-ossl qt5-qt3d-devel python3-qt5-devel python3-qscintilla-qt5-devel qscintilla-qt5-devel python3-qscintilla-qt5 clang flex bison geos-devel gdal-devel hdf5-devel sqlite-devel libspatialite-devel qt5-qtsvg-devel spatialindex-devel expat-devel netcdf-devel proj-devel qwt-qt5-devel gsl-devel PDAL PDAL-devel postgresql-devel cmake python3-future gdal-python3 gdal-python-tools python3-psycopg2 python3-PyYAML python3-pygments python3-jinja2 python3-OWSLib qca-qt5-ossl qwt-qt5-devel qtkeychain-qt5-devel qwt-devel libzip-devel exiv2-devel python3-sip-devel protobuf-lite protobuf-lite-devel libzstd-devel qt5-qtserialport-devel
older versions dnf install qt5-qtbase-private-devel qt5-qtwebkit-devel qt5-qtlocation-devel qt5-qttools-static qca-qt5-devel qca-qt5-ossl qt5-qt3d-devel python3-qt5-devel python3-qscintilla-qt5-devel qscintilla-qt5-devel python3-qscintilla-devel python3-qscintilla-qt5 clang flex bison geos-devel gdal-devel sqlite-devel libspatialite-devel qt5-qtsvg-devel qt5-qtbase-tds qt5-qtbase-odbc spatialindex-devel expat-devel proj-devel qwt-qt5-devel gsl-devel postgresql-devel cmake python3-future gdal-python3 python3-psycopg2 python3-PyYAML python3-pygments python3-jinja2 python3-OWSLib qca-qt5-ossl qwt-qt5-devel qtkeychain-qt5-devel qwt-devel sip-devel libzip-devel exiv2-devel

To build QGIS server additional dependencies are required:

dnf install fcgi-devel

And for building QGIS server landing page/catalog webapp:

dnf install nodejs yarnpkg

Additionally, the cmake flag WITH_SERVER_LANDINGPAGE_WEBAPP needs to be turned on.

Make sure that your build directory is completely empty when you enter the following command. Do never try to "re-use" an existing Qt5 build directory. If you want to use ccmake or other interactive tools, run the following command in the empty build directory once before starting to use the interactive tools.

cmake ..

If everything went OK you can finally start to compile. (As usual append a -jX where X is the number of available cores option to make to speed up your build process)

make

Run from the build directory

./output/bin/qgis

Or install to your system

make install

3.11.2. Suggested system tweaks

By default Fedora disables debugging calls from Qt applications. This prevents the useful debug output which is normally printed when running the unit tests.

To enable debug prints for the current user, execute:

cat > ~/.config/QtProject/qtlogging.ini << EOL
[Rules]
default.debug=true
EOL

3.11.3. Additional tools for QGIS development

If you're going to be developing QGIS on a Fedora system, the following extra packages are required for the various QGIS source formatting and preparation scripts.

dnf install ccache ninja-build astyle python3-autopep8 perl-YAML-Tiny

4. Building on Windows

4.1. Building with Microsoft Visual Studio

This section describes how to build QGIS using Visual Studio (MSVC) 2015 on Windows. This is currently also how the binary QGIS packages are made (earlier versions used MinGW).

This section describes the setup required to allow Visual Studio to be used to build QGIS.

4.1.1. Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition

Download the free (as in free beer) Community installer

Select "Custom" install and add the following packages:

  • "Common Tools for Visual C++ 2015" under "Visual C++"
  • "Tools (1.4.1) and Windows 10 SDK (10.0.14393)" under "Universal Windows App Development Tools".

4.1.2. Other tools and dependencies

Download and install following packages:

For the QGIS build you need to install following packages from cygwin:

  • bison
  • flex
  • git (even if you already have Git for Windows installed)

and from OSGeo4W (select Advanced Install):

  • qgis-dev-deps

    • This will also select packages the above packages depend on.

    • Note: If you install other packages, this might cause issues. Particularly, make sure not to install the msinttypes package. It installs a stdint.h file in OSGeo4W[64]\include, that conflicts with Visual Studio own stdint.h, which for example breaks the build of the virtual layer provider.

Earlier versions of this document also covered how to build all above dependencies. If you're interested in that, check the history of this page in the Wiki or the SVN repository.

4.1.3. Clone the QGIS Source Code

Choose a directory to store the QGIS source code. For example, to put it in the OSGeo4W64 install, navigate there:

cd C:\OSGeo4W64

This directory will be assumed for all instructions that follow.

On the command prompt clone the QGIS source from git to the source directory QGIS:

git clone git://github.com/qgis/QGIS.git

This requires Git. If you have Git for Windows on your PATH already, you can do this from a normal command prompt. If you do not, you can use the Git package that was installed as part of Cygwin by opening a Cygwin[64] Terminal

And, to avoid Git in Windows reporting changes to files not actually modified:

cd QGIS
git config core.filemode false

4.1.4. Configure and build with CMake from command line

Note: Consider this section as example. It tends to outdate, when OSGeo4W and SDKs move on. ms-windows/osgeo4w/package-nightly.cmd is used for the nightly builds and constantly updated and hence might contain necessary updates that are not yet reflected here.

To start a command prompt with an environment that both has the VC++ and the OSGeo4W variables create the following batch file (assuming the above packages were installed in the default locations):

@echo off
call C:\OSGeo4W64\QGIS\ms-windows\osgeo4w\msvc-env.bat x86_64
@cmd

Save the batch file as C:\OSGeo4W64\OSGeo4W-dev.bat and run it.

4.1.4.1 Using configonly.bat to create the MSVC solution file

We will be using the file ms-windows/osgeo4w/configonly.bat to create an MSVC solution file. There are two supported CMake generators for creating a solution file: Ninja, and native MSVC. The advantage of using native MSVC solution is that you can find the root of build problems much more easily. configonly.bat is meant to create a configured build directory with a MSVC solution file:

cd C:\OSGeo4W64\QGIS\ms-windows\osgeo4w
configonly.bat

4.1.4.2 Compiling QGIS with MSVC

We will need to run MSVC with all the environment variables set, thus we will run it as follows:

  • Run the batch file OSGeo4W-dev.bat you created before.
  • On the command prompt run call gdal-dev-env.bat to add the release gdal and proj libraries to your PATH.
  • On the command prompt run devenv to open MSVC.
  • From MSVC, open the solution file C:\OSGeo4W64\QGIS\ms-windows\osgeo4w\build-qgis-test-x86_64\qgis.sln.
  • Try to build the solution (go grab a cup of tea, it may take a while).
  • If it fails, run it again and again until there are (hopefully) no errors.

Running QGIS from within MSVC:

  • Edit the properties of the project ALL_BUILD to include the path to the executable:
  • Debugging -> Command -> C:\OSGeo4W64\QGIS\ms-windows\osgeo4w\build-qgis-test-x86_64\output\bin\RelWithDebInfo\qgis.exe.
  • To run, use the menu commands: Debug -> Start Debugging (F5) or Start Without Debugging (Ctrl+F5).
  • Ignore the "These projects are out of date" message, it appears even if no files were changed.

4.1.5 Old alternative method that might still work using cmake-gui

Create a 'build' directory somewhere. This will be where all the build output will be generated.

Now run cmake-gui (still from cmd) and in the Where is the source code: box, browse to the top level QGIS directory.

In the Where to build the binaries: box, browse to the build directory you created.

If the path to bison and flex contains blanks, you need to use the short name for the directory (i.e. C:\Program Files should be rewritten to C:\Progra~n, where n is the number as shown in dir /x C:\).

Verify that the BINDINGS_GLOBAL_INSTALL option is not checked, so that python bindings are placed into the output directory when you run the INSTALL target.

Hit Configure to start the configuration and select Visual Studio 9 2008 and keep native compilers and click Finish.

The configuration should complete without any further questions and allow you to click Generate.

Now close cmake-gui and continue on the command prompt by starting vcexpress. Use File / Open / Project/Solutions and open the qgis-x.y.z.sln File in your project directory.

Change Solution Configuration from Debug to RelWithDebInfo (Release with Debug Info) or Release before you build QGIS using the ALL_BUILD target (otherwise you need debug libraries that are not included).

After the build completed you should install QGIS using the INSTALL target.

Install QGIS by building the INSTALL project. By default this will install to C:\Program Files\qgis<version> (this can be changed by changing the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX variable in cmake-gui).

You will also either need to add all the dependency DLLs to the QGIS install directory or add their respective directories to your PATH.

4.1.6. Packaging

To create a standalone installer there is a perl script named creatensis.pl in qgis/ms-windows/osgeo4w. It downloads all required packages from OSGeo4W and repackages them into an installer using NSIS.

The script can be run on both Windows and Linux.

On Debian/Ubuntu you can just install the nsis package.

NSIS for Windows can be downloaded at:

https://nsis.sourceforge.io/Main_Page

And Perl for Windows (including other requirements like wget, unzip, tar and bzip2) is available at:

https://cygwin.com

4.1.7. Packaging your own build of QGIS

Assuming you have completed the above packaging step, if you want to include your own hand built QGIS executables, you need to copy them in from your windows installation into the ms-windows file tree created by the creatensis script.

cd ms-windows/
rm -rf osgeo4w/unpacked/apps/qgis/*
cp -r /tmp/qgis1.7.0/* osgeo4w/unpacked/apps/qgis/

Now create a package.

./quickpackage.sh

After this you should now have a nsis installer containing your own build of QGIS and all dependencies needed to run it on a windows machine.

4.1.8. Osgeo4w packaging

The actual packaging process is currently not documented, for now please take a look at ms-windows/osgeo4w/package.cmd.

4.2. Building on Linux with mingw64

With this approach you can cross build a Windows binary on Linux using mingw64 in a Docker container.

To build on Linux from your QGIS sources directory, launch:

ms-windows/mingw/build.sh

After a successful build, you will find two packages in the QGIS sources directory:

  • qgis-portable-win64.zip (QGIS for Windows 64bit)
  • qgis-portable-win64-debugsym.zip (debug symbols)

This method is also used in the continuous integrations process. After each pull request the two packages mentioned above are stored as GitHub actions artifacts and are available for download making it possible to quickly test changes on Windows.

4.2.1. Building with Docker

This is the simplest way, but you need to have Docker installed on your system.

You can use a Docker image to cross build QGIS by calling the script ms-windows/mxe/build.sh from the root directory of QGIS repository.

=== Building without Docker ====

This requires to install mxe toolchain on your system and build all dependencies by yourself.

4.2.1.1. Initial setup

Please follow the instructions on mxe website to setup your building toolchain http://mxe.cc/, take note of the path where you have installed mxe.

4.2.1.2. Building the dependencies

Please see README.md under ms-windows/mxe for detailed instructions and for the list of dependencies that need to be built in mxe before attempting to build QGIS.

4.2.1.3. Cross-Building QGIS

Edit the build-mxe.sh script and optionally adjust the path where your mxe installation is located, you can also change the build and release directories.

4.2.2. Testing QGIS

Copy and unzip on the Windows machine package produced by the build and launch the qgis binary: no installation is required.

5. Building on MacOS X

If you want to test QGIS, easiest option is to download and install all-in-one self-containing bundle directly from

https://qgis.org/downloads/macos

On the other hand, if you want to build or develop QGIS on your own, you need a set of dependencies and tools. These instructions will use the same set of dependencies that are used for all-in-one QGIS bundle, but you can build QGIS with Homebrew, MacPorts or Conda dependencies too.

https://github.com/qgis/QGIS-Mac-Packager

Included are notes for building on latest Mac OS X with latest updates installed. The build uses clang compiler.

Parallel Compilation: On multiprocessor/multicore Macs, it's possible to speed up compilation, but it's not automatic. Whenever you type "make" (but NOT "make install"), instead type:

make -j [#cpus]

Replace [#cpus] with the number of cores and/or processors your Mac has. To find out how many CPUs you have available, run the following in Terminal:

/usr/sbin/sysctl -n hw.ncpu

5.1. Install Developer Tools

Developer tools are not a part of a standard OS X installation. As minimum you require command line tools

sudo xcode-select --install

but installation of Xcode from the App Store is recommended too.

5.2. Install CMake and other build tools

For example install Homebrew

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"

and these development/build tools

brew install git cmake ninja pkg-config wget bash-completion curl gnu-sed coreutils ccache libtool astyle help2man autoconf automake pandoc

if you have these tools installed from MacPorts or Conda, it is the same, but we will need to be able to run cmake and others from Terminal in the following steps

5.3. Install Qt5 and QGIS-Deps

To build QGIS, we need Qt5 and FOSS dependencies on hand. The Qt5 version ideally should match the version that was used to build dependency package.

Download the latest QGIS-Deps install script, qt package and QGIS-Deps packages from

https://qgis.org/downloads/macos/deps

You should have one bash script and two tar archive in your download folder. Run the install script to install Qt and QGIS-Deps to /opt/ area. You need root privileges or have write access to /opt/Qt and /opt/QGIS.

Alternatively you can download and install Qt Open Source for MacOS from the

https://www.qt.io/

in the same version as referenced in the install script. It must be installed in /opt/Qt

Note that the QGIS-Deps package is not yet signed, so you may need to add Terminal to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Developer Tools or manually accept usage of the libraries when asked by system.

5.4. QGIS source

Unzip the QGIS source to a working folder of your choice. If you are reading this from the source, you've already done this.

If you want to experiment with the latest development sources, go to the github QGIS project page:

http://github.com/qgis/QGIS

It should default to the master branch. Click the Downloads button and select Download .tar.gz. Double-click the tarball to unzip it.

Alternatively, use git and clone the repository by

git clone git://github.com/qgis/QGIS.git

5.5. Configure the build

CMake supports out of source build so we will create a 'build' dir for the build process. OS X uses ${HOME}/Applications as a standard user app folder (it gives it the system app folder icon). If you have the correct permissions you may want to build straight into your /Applications folder. The instructions below assume you are building into a ${HOME}/Applications directory.

In a Terminal cd to the qgis source folder previously downloaded, then:

cd ..
mkdir build
cd build

QGIS_DEPS_VERSION=0.9;\
QT_VERSION=5.15.2;\
PATH=/opt/QGIS/qgis-deps-${QGIS_DEPS_VERSION}/stage/bin:$PATH;\
cmake \
  -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=~/Applications \
  -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
  -DQGIS_MAC_DEPS_DIR=/opt/QGIS/qgis-deps-${QGIS_DEPS_VERSION}/stage \
  -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/opt/Qt/${QT_VERSION}/clang_64 \
  ../QGIS

Note: Don't forget the ../QGIS on the last line, which tells CMake to look for the source files.

Note: Double check on the screen output that all libraries are picked from QGIS-Deps /opt/QGIS and not from system /usr/lib or Homebrew's /usr/local/ or system Frameworks /Library/Frameworks/. Especially check Proj, GDAL, sqlite3 and Python paths.

After the initial Terminal configure, you can use ccmake to make further changes:

cd build
ccmake ../QGIS

5.6. Building

Now we can start the build process (remember the parallel compilation note at the beginning, this is a good place to use it, if you can):

make -j [#cpus]

Now you can run the QGIS from build directory by ./output/bin/QGIS.app/Contents/MacOS/QGIS

If all built without errors you can then install it:

make install

or, for an /Applications build:

sudo make install

For running the installed QGIS, you need to keep the dependencies in /opt/ folder in place. If you want to create bundle that runs without these dependencies, please read the documentation in project

https://github.com/qgis/QGIS-Mac-Packager

6. Setting up the WCS test server on GNU/Linux

Requires: Ubuntu / Debian derived distro

These notes are for Ubuntu - other versions and Debian derived distros may require slight variations in package names.

6.1. Preparation

Note the git repo below will change to the default QGIS repo once this work is integrated into master.

git remote add blazek git://github.com/blazek/Quantum-GIS.git
git fetch blazek
git branch --track wcs2 blazek/wcs2
git checkout wcs2
cd /var/www/
sudo mkdir wcs
sudo chown timlinux wcs
cd wcs/
mkdir cgi-bin
cd cgi-bin/

6.2. Setup mapserver

sudo apt-get install cgi-mapserver

Set the contents of /var/www/wcs/cgi-bin/wcstest-1.9.0 to:

#! /bin/sh
MS_MAPFILE=/var/www/wcs/testdata/qgis-1.9.0/raster/wcs.map
export MS_MAPFILE
/usr/lib/cgi-bin/mapserv

Then do:

chmod +x var/www/wcs/cgi-bin/wcstest-1.9.0
mkdir -p /var/www/wcs/testdata/qgis-1.9.0/raster/
cd /var/www/wcs/testdata/qgis-1.9.0/raster/
cp -r /home/timlinux/QGIS/tests/testdata/raster/* .

Edit /var/www/wcs/testdata/qgis-1.9.0/raster/wcs.map and set the shapepath to this:

SHAPEPATH "/var/www/wcs/testdata/qgis-1.9.0/raster"

Then create /var/www/wcs/7-wcs.example.com.conf setting the contents to this:

<VirtualHost*:80>
ServerName wcs.example.com
ServerAdmin wcs-admin@example.com

LogLevel warn
LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\" \"%{forensic-id}n\"" combined
CustomLog /var/log/apache2/wcs_example.com/access.log combined
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/wcs_example.com/error.log

DocumentRoot /var/www/wcs/html

ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /var/www/wcs/cgi-bin/
<Directory "/var/www/wcs/cgi-bin">
	AllowOverride None
	Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
	Order allow,deny
	Allow from all
</Directory>

RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule /1.9.0/wcs /cgi-bin/wcstest-1.9.0 [PT]

</VirtualHost>

6.3. Create a home page

mkdir html
vim html/index.html

Set the contents to:

This is the test platform for QGIS' wcs client. You can use these services
from QGIS directly (to try out WCS for example) by pointing your QGIS to:
http://wcs.example.com/1.9.0/wcs

6.4. Now deploy it

sudo mkdir /var/log/apache2/wcs_example.com
sudo chown www-data /var/log/apache2/wcs_example.com
cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
sudo ln -s /var/www/wcs/7-wcs.example.com.conf .
cd /var/www/wcs/
sudo a2ensite 7-wcs.example.com.conf
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 reload

6.5. Debugging

sudo tail -f /var/log/apache2/wcs_example.com/error.log

7. Setting up a Jenkins Build Server

Assumption: You know how to make a working build environment and want to deploy it under Jenkins for continuous integration testing now.

These notes are terse, I will expand on them later as the need arises. The procedure is:

  • Install Jenkins and get it configured according to your own preferences
  • Make sure you have the git, github, junit etc plugins installed. A complete list of the plugins I have installed follows (note that you almost certainly don't need evey plugin listed here):
    • External Monitor Job Type Plugin
    • LDAP Plugin
    • pam-auth
    • javadoc
    • ant
    • Jenkins Subversion Plug-in
    • Git Plugin
    • Maven 2 Project Plugin
    • Jenkins SLOCCount Plug-in
    • Jenkins Sounds plugin
    • Jenkins Translation Assistance plugin
    • ruby-runtime
    • Jenkins CVS Plug-in
    • Coverage/Complexity Scatter Plot PlugIn
    • Status Monitor Plugin
    • Git Parameter Plug-In
    • github-api
    • GitHub plugin
    • Jenkins Violations plugin
    • git-notes Plugin
    • Twitter plugin
    • Jenkins Cobertura Plugin
    • Jenkins Gravatar plugin
    • Jenkins SSH Slaves plugin
  • Create a Job called 'QGIS'
  • Use the following options for your job:
    • Job Name: QGIS
    • Job Type: Build a free-style software project
    • Tick enable project based security (you need to elsewhere configure your Jenkins security to per project settings)
    • Allow Anonymous user Read and Discover access
    • Set the github project to https://github.com/qgis/QGIS/
    • Set source code management to Git
    • Set repository url to git://github.com/qgis/QGIS.git
    • In advanced repository url settings set refspec to +refs/heads/master:refs/remotes/origin/master
    • Set branch to build to master
    • Repository Browser: Auto
    • Build triggers: set to Poll SCM and set schedule to ***** (polls every minute)
    • Build - Execute shell and set shell script to:
cd build
cmake ..
xvfb-run --auto-servernum --server-num=1 \
  --server-args="-screen 0 1024x768x24" \
  make Experimental || true
if [ -f Testing/TAG ] ; then
  xsltproc ../tests/ctest2junix.xsl \
    Testing/`head -n 1 < Testing/TAG`/Test.xml > \
    CTestResults.xml
fi
  • Add Junit post build action and set 'Publish Junit test result report' to: build/CTestResults.xml
  • Email notification: Send separate e-mails to individuals who broke the build
  • Jenkins sounds - set up sounds for Failure, Success and Unstable.
  • Save

Now open the Job dash board and push something to QGIS and wait a minute to validate automated builds work.

Note: You will need to log in to the Jenkins user account and go to /var/lib/jenkins/jobs/QGIS/workspace, then make a build directory and run the initial cmake setup and then do test build. This process is the same as described elsewhere in this doc.

I based some of the set up from this nice blog article here:

http://alexott.blogspot.com/2012/03/jenkins-cmakectest.html

8. Debug output and running tests

If you are interested in seeing embedded debug output, change the following CMake option:

-D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=DEBUG  # (or RELWITHDEBINFO)

This will flood your terminal or system log with lots of useful output from QgsDebugMsg() calls in source code.

If you would like to run the test suite, you will need to do so from the build directory, as it will not work with the installed/bundled app. First set the CMake option to enable tests:

-D ENABLE_TESTS=TRUE

Then run all tests from build directory:

cd build
make test

To run all tests and report to http://cdash.orfeo-toolbox.org/index.php?project=QGIS

cd build
make Experimental

You can define the host name reported via 'make Experimental' by setting a CMake option:

-D SITE="my.domain.org"

To run specific test(s) (see 'man ctest'):

cd build
# show listing of tests, without running them
ctest --show-only

# run specific C++ or Python test(s) matching a regular expression
ctest --verbose --tests-regex SomeTestName

9. Authors and Acknowledgments

The following people have contributed to this document:

  • Windows MINGW Section

    • Tim Sutton, Godofredo Contreras 2006
    • CMake additions Magnus Homann 2007
    • Python additions Martin Dobias 2007
    • With thanks to Tisham Dhar for preparing the initial msys environment
  • Windows MSVC Section (Detailed install)

    • David Willis 2007
    • MSVC install additions Tim Sutton 2007
    • PostgreSQL, Qt compile, SIP, Python, AutoExp additions Juergen Fischer 2007
  • Windows MSVC Section (Simplified install)

    • Tim Sutton 2007
    • Juergen Fischer 2007
    • Florian Hillen 2010
  • OSX Section

    • Tim Sutton 2007
    • With special thanks to Tom Elwertowski and William Kyngesburye
    • Larry Shaffer 2012
    • Peter Petrik 2020
  • GNU/Linux Section

    • Tim Sutton 2006
    • Debian package section: Juergen Fischer 2008
  • WCS Test Server Section

    • Tim Sutton, Radim Blazek 2012
  • Jenkins CI Configuration

    • Tim Sutton 2012
  • Latex Generator

    • Tim Sutton 2011
  • Debug Output/Tests Section

    • Larry Shaffer 2012, by way of 'Test Friday' Tim Sutton
  • MXE/Mingw64 section

    • Alessandro Pasotti (2018-2021)