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Building Ricochet

These instructions are intended for people who wish to build or modify Ricochet from source. Most users should download releases instead.

Clone with git from, or download source packages on github. Then proceed to instructions for your platform.

If you're interested in helping to package Ricochet for common Linux platforms, please get in touch!


Add CONFIG+=debug or CONFIG+=release to the qmake command for a debug or release build. Debug builds enable logging to standard output, and shouldn't be used in sensitive environments.

By default, Ricochet will be portable, and configuration is stored in a folder named config next to the binary. Add DEFINES+=RICOCHET_NO_PORTABLE to the qmake command for a system-wide installation using platform configuration paths instead.


You will need:

  • Qt >= 5.1.0
  • OpenSSL (libcrypto)
  • pkg-config
  • Protocol Buffers (libprotobuf, protoc)


yum install make gcc-c++ protobuf-devel protobuf-compiler openssl-devel
yum install qt5-qtbase qt5-qttools-devel qt5-qttools qt5-qtquickcontrols qt5-qtdeclarative qt5-qtbase-devel qt5-qtbase-gui qt5-qtdeclarative-devel qt5-qtmultimedia-devel
yum install tor # or build your own

Debian & Ubuntu

apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev pkg-config libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler
apt-get install qt5-qmake qt5-default qtbase5-dev qttools5-dev-tools qtdeclarative5-dev qtmultimedia5-dev
apt-get install qml-module-qtquick-controls qml-module-qtquick-dialogs qml-module-qtmultimedia
apt-get install tor # or build your own

If the qml-module-qtquick packages aren't available, try qtdeclarative5-controls-plugin instead.


The Qt SDK is available for most Linux systems and includes an IDE as well as all Qt dependencies.

To build, simply run:

qmake # qmake-qt5 for some platforms

For a system-wide installation, use:

make install # as root

You must have a tor binary installed on the system (in $PATH), or placed next to the ricochet binary.

In portable mode (default), all configuration is stored in a folder called config with the binary. When installed, the platform's user configuration path is used instead.

The buildscripts repository contains a set of scripts to build a fully static Ricochet on a clean Debian system. These are used to create the generic linux binary packages.


Ricochet will use aggressive compiler hardening flags if available. qmake will print the results of these tests on first run, or when run with CONFIG+=recheck.

To take full advantage of the sanitizer options, you may need to install libasan and libubsan.


You will need:

  • Xcode (for toolchain)
  • Qt 5 - preferably the Qt SDK
  • Protocol Buffers (libprotobuf, protoc) - brew install protobuf
  • pkg-config - brew install pkg-config

You can either load in Qt Creator and build normally, or build command-line with:


You also need a tor binary in $PATH or inside the build's folder. The easiest solution is to use brew install tor. If you copy the tor binary, you will need to keep it up to date.

Normally, configuration will be stored in a config.ricochet folder, in the same location as However, if the bundle is installed to /Applications, the system location ~/Library/Application Support/Ricochet is used instead. You can force that behavior by adding DEFINES+=RICOCHET_NO_PORTABLE to the qmake command.

The packaging/osx/ script demonstrates how to build a redistributable app bundle.

Since the openssl header files were removed in El Capitan, have qmake use the openssl that comes with brew (see the OPENSSLDIR var below).


brew install protobuf qt5 tor
/usr/local/opt/qt5/bin/qmake OPENSSLDIR=/usr/local/opt/openssl/ CONFIG+=debug


Building for Windows is difficult. The process and scripts used for release builds are documented in the buildscripts repository.

For development builds, you will want:

  • Visual Studio C++ or MinGW
  • Qt 5 - preferably the Qt SDK
  • OpenSSL (including libs and headers)
  • Protocol Buffers >= 2.6.0

Compile OpenSSL and protobuf first, according to their instructions.

After installing the Qt SDK, open the project in Qt Creator. Before building, you must click the 'Projects' tab on the left side, and under 'Build Steps', modify 'Additional arguments' to add:

    OPENSSLDIR=C:\path\to\openssl\ PROTOBUFDIR=C:\path\to\protobuf

Use the 'Build -> Run qmake' menu to test your changes.

You also need a tor.exe binary, placed in the same folder as ricochet.exe.

The windows installer can be built using Inno Setup. See packaging\installer for more information.