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Linux build guide

This is the general Linux build guide. Please read it in full before you proceed to familiarize yourself with the build procedure.

Several distribution specific build guides are available.

Table of Contents

  1. Document conventions
  2. Get the source code
  3. Install the required packages
    3.1. Build missing dependencies
    3.2. Enable internal dependencies
  4. Build Kodi
    4.1. Configure build
    4.2. Build
  5. Build binary add-ons
  6. Run Kodi
  7. Uninstall Kodi
  8. Test suite

1. Document conventions

This guide assumes you are using terminal, also known as console, command-line or simply cli. Commands need to be run at the terminal, one at a time and in the provided order.

This is a comment that provides context:

this is a command
this is another command
and yet another one

Example: Clone Kodi's current master branch:

git clone kodi

Commands that contain strings enclosed in angle brackets denote something you need to change to suit your needs.

git clone -b <branch-name> kodi

Example: Clone Kodi's current Krypton branch:

git clone -b Krypton kodi

Several different strategies are used to draw your attention to certain pieces of information. In order of how critical the information is, these items are marked as a note, tip, or warning. For example:

NOTE: Linux is user friendly... It's just very particular about who its friends are.
TIP: Algorithm is what developers call code they do not want to explain.
WARNING: Developers don't change light bulbs. It's a hardware problem.

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2. Get the source code

First install the git package provided by your distribution. How to do it can be found with a quick search in your favorite search engine.

Change to your home directory:

cd $HOME

Clone Kodi's current master branch:

git clone kodi

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3. Install the required packages

The following is the list of packages that are used to build Kodi on Debian/Ubuntu (with all supported external libraries enabled).

  • autoconf, automake, autopoint, gettext, autotools-dev, cmake, curl, default-jre | openjdk-6-jre | openjdk-7-jre, gawk, gcc (>= 4.9) | gcc-4.9, g++ (>= 4.9) | g++-4.9, cpp (>= 4.9) | cpp-4.9, flatbuffers, gdc, gperf, libasound2-dev | libasound-dev, libass-dev (>= 0.9.8), libavahi-client-dev, libavahi-common-dev, libbluetooth-dev, libbluray-dev, libbz2-dev, libcdio-dev, libcec4-dev | libcec-dev, libp8-platform-dev, libcrossguid-dev, libcurl4-openssl-dev | libcurl4-gnutls-dev | libcurl-dev, libcwiid-dev, libdbus-1-dev, libegl1-mesa-dev, libenca-dev, libflac-dev, libfontconfig-dev, libfmt3-dev | libfmt-dev, libfreetype6-dev, libfribidi-dev, libfstrcmp-dev, libgcrypt-dev, libgif-dev (>= 5.0.5), libgles2-mesa-dev [armel] | libgl1-mesa-dev | libgl-dev, libglew-dev, libglu1-mesa-dev | libglu-dev, libgnutls-dev | libgnutls28-dev, libgpg-error-dev, libiso9660-dev, libjpeg-dev, liblcms2-dev, liblirc-dev, libltdl-dev, liblzo2-dev, libmicrohttpd-dev, libmysqlclient-dev, libnfs-dev, libogg-dev, libomxil-bellagio-dev [armel], libpcre3-dev, libplist-dev, libpng12-dev | libpng-dev, libpulse-dev, libshairplay-dev, libsmbclient-dev, libsqlite3-dev, libssl-dev, libtag1-dev (>= 1.8) | libtag1x8, libtiff5-dev | libtiff-dev | libtiff4-dev, libtinyxml-dev, libtool, libudev-dev, libva-dev, libvdpau-dev, libvorbis-dev, libxkbcommon-dev, libxmu-dev, libxrandr-dev, libxslt1-dev | libxslt-dev, libxt-dev, waylandpp-dev | netcat, wayland-protocols | wipe, lsb-release, nasm [!amd64], python-dev, python-pil | python-imaging, python-support | python-minimal, rapidjson-dev, swig, unzip, uuid-dev, yasm, zip, zlib1g-dev

3.1. Build missing dependencies

Some packages may be missing or outdated in older distributions. Notably crossguid, libfmt, waylandpp, wayland-protocols, etc. are known to be outdated or missing. Fortunately there is an easy way to build individual dependencies with Kodi's unified depends build system.

Change to Kodi's source code directory:

cd $HOME/kodi

Build and install crossguid:

sudo make -C tools/depends/target/crossguid PREFIX=/usr/local

Build and install flatbuffers:

sudo make -C tools/depends/target/flatbuffers PREFIX=/usr/local

Build and install libfmt:

sudo make -C tools/depends/target/libfmt PREFIX=/usr/local

Build and install wayland-protocols:

sudo make -C tools/depends/target/wayland-protocols PREFIX=/usr/local

Build and install waylandpp:

sudo make -C tools/depends/target/waylandpp PREFIX=/usr/local

WARNING: Building waylandpp has some dependencies of its own, namely scons, libwayland-dev (>= 1.11.0) and libwayland-egl1-mesa

TIP: Complete list of dependencies is available here.

3.2. Enable internal dependencies

Some dependencies can be configured to build before Kodi. That's the case with flatbuffers, crossguid, libfmt and rapidjson. To enable the internal build of a dependency, append -DENABLE_INTERNAL_<DEPENDENCY_NAME>=ON to the configure command below. For example, configuring an X11 build with internal fmt would become cmake ../kodi -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local -DENABLE_INTERNAL_FMT=ON instead of cmake ../kodi -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local.

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4. Build Kodi

4.1. Configure build

If you get a Could NOT find... error message during CMake configuration step, take a note of the missing dependencies and either install them from repositories (if available) or build the missing dependencies manually.

Create an out-of-source build directory:

mkdir $HOME/kodi-build

TIP: Look for comments starting with Or ... and only execute the command(s) you need.

Change to build directory:

cd $HOME/kodi-build

Configure build for X11:

cmake ../kodi -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local

Or configure build for Wayland:


NOTE: You can use gles instead of gl if you want to build with GLES.

Or configure build for GBM:


NOTE: You can use gl instead of gles if you want to build with GL.

4.2. Build

cmake --build . -- VERBOSE=1 -j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN)

TIP: By adding -j<number> to the make command, you can choose how many concurrent jobs will be used and expedite the build process. It is recommended to use -j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN) to compile on all available processor cores. The build machine can also be configured to do this automatically by adding export MAKEFLAGS="-j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN)" to your shell config (e.g. ~/.bashrc).

After the build process completes successfully you can test your shiny new Kodi build while in the build directory:


Or if you built for Wayland:


Or if you built for GBM:


WARNING: User running kodi-gbm needs to be part of input and video groups. Otherwise you'll have to use sudo.

Add user to input and video groups:

sudo usermod -a -G input,video <username>

You will need to log out and log back in to see the new groups added to your user. Check groups your user belongs to with:


If everything was OK during your test you can now install the binaries to their place, in this example /usr/local.

sudo make install

This will install Kodi in the prefix provided in section 4.1.

TIP: To override Kodi's install location, use DESTDIR=<path>. For example:

sudo make install DESTDIR=$HOME/kodi

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5. Build binary add-ons

You can find a complete list of available binary add-ons here.

Change to Kodi's source code directory:

cd $HOME/kodi

Build all add-ons:

sudo make -j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN) -C tools/depends/target/binary-addons PREFIX=/usr/local

Build specific add-ons:

sudo make -j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN) -C tools/depends/target/binary-addons PREFIX=/usr/local ADDONS="audioencoder.flac pvr.vdr.vnsi audiodecoder.snesapu"

Build a specific group of add-ons:

sudo make -j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN) -C tools/depends/target/binary-addons PREFIX=/usr/local ADDONS="pvr.*"

NOTE: PREFIX=/usr/local should match Kodi's -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX= prefix used in section 4.1.

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6. Run Kodi

If you chose to install Kodi using /usr or /usr/local as the -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=, you can just issue kodi in a terminal session.

If you changed -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX= to install Kodi into some non-standard location, you will have to run Kodi directly:


To run Kodi in portable mode (useful for testing):


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7. Uninstall Kodi

sudo make uninstall

WARNING:: If you reran CMakes' configure step with a different -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=, you will need to rerun configure with the correct path for this step to work correctly.

If you would like to also remove any settings and third-party addons (skins, scripts, etc.) and Kodi configuration files, you should also run:

rm -rf ~/.kodi

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8. Test suite

Kodi has a test suite which uses the Google C++ Testing Framework. This framework is provided directly in Kodi's source tree.

Build and run Kodi's test suite:

make check

Build Kodi's test suite without running it:

make kodi-test

Run Kodi's test suite manually:


Show Kodi's test suite help notes:

./kodi-test --gtest_help

Useful options:

  List the names of all tests instead of running them.
  The name of TEST(Foo, Bar) is "Foo.Bar".

  Run only the tests whose name matches one of the positive patterns but
  none of the negative patterns. '?' matches any single character; '*'
  matches any substring; ':' separates two patterns.

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