Find file History
Latest commit 8a58663 Jan 15, 2017 @wsnipex wsnipex [binary-addons] bootstrap: don't filter addons when auto bootstrappin…
…g addon definitions

fixes "no addon found" errors when trying to build addons that were filtered during the first implicit bootstrap
and therefore no definition file exists

Kodi CMake based buildsystem

This files describes Kodi's CMake based buildsystem. CMake is a cross-platform tool for generating makefiles as well as project files used by IDEs.

The current version of the buildsystem is capable of building and packaging Kodi for the following platforms:

  • Linux (GNU Makefiles, Ninja)
  • Windows (NMake Makefiles, Visual Studio 14 (2015), Ninja)
  • macOS and iOS (GNU Makefiles, Xcode, Ninja)
  • Android (GNU Makefiles)
  • FreeBSD (GNU Makefiles)

Before building Kodi with CMake, please ensure that you have the platform specific dependencies installed.

While the legacy build systems typically used in-source builds it's recommended to use out-of-source builds with CMake. The necessary runtime dependencies such as dlls, skins and configuration files are copied over to the build directory automatically.

Dependency installation


The dependencies required to build on Linux can be found in docs/

Raspberry Pi

The cross compilation environment for the Raspberry Pi as well as the dependencies have to be installed as explained in docs/README.raspberrypi.


For Windows the dependencies can be found in the Wiki (Step 1-4). If not already available on your pc, you should install the Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for your Windows version. This is required for HLSL shader offline compiling with the Effect-Compiler Tool (fxc.exe).

On Windows, the CMake based buildsystem requires that the binary dependencies are downloaded using DownloadBuildDeps.bat and DownloadMingwBuildEnv.bat and that the mingw libs (ffmpeg, libdvd and others) are built using make-mingwlibs.bat.


For macOS the required dependencies can be found in docs/

On macOS it is necessary to build the dependencies in tools/depends using ./bootstrap && ./configure --host=<PLATFORM> && make. The other steps such as make -C tools/depends/target/xbmc and make xcode_depends are not needed as these steps are covered already by the CMake project.


The dependencies needed to compile for Android can be found in docs/ . All described steps have to be executed (except 5.2 which is replaced by the respective CMake command below).

Building Kodi

This section lists the necessary commands for building Kodi with CMake. CMake supports different generators that can be classified into two categories: single- and multiconfiguration generators.

A single configuration generator (GNU/NMake Makefiles) generates project files for a single build type (e.g. Debug, Release) specified at configure time. Multi configuration generators (Visual Studio, Xcode) allow to specify the build type at compile time.

All examples below are for out-of-source builds with Kodi checked out to <KODI_SRC>:

mkdir kodi-build && cd kodi-build

Linux with GNU Makefiles

cmake <KODI_SRC>
cmake --build . -- VERBOSE=1 -j$(nproc)  # or: make VERBOSE=1 -j$(nproc)

CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE defaults to Release.

Debian package generation

The buildsystem is capable of generating Debian packages using CPack. To generate them, CPACK_GENERATOR has to be set to DEB, i.e. executing CMake's configure step with -DCPACK_GENERATOR=DEB. You should use CMake/CPack 3.6.0 or higher. Lower versions can generate the packages but package names will be mangled.

The following optional variables (which can be passed to buildsystem when executing cmake with the -D<variable-name>=<value> format) can be used to manipulate package type, name and version:

  • DEBIAN_PACKAGE_TYPE controls the name and version of generated packages. Accepted values are stable, unstable and nightly (default is nightly).
  • DEBIAN_PACKAGE_EPOCH controls package epoch (default is 2)
  • DEBIAN_PACKAGE_VERSION controls package version (default is 0)
  • DEBIAN_PACKAGE_REVISION controls package revision (no default is set)

Packages metadata can be changed simply by editing files present in the cpack/deb folder A lot more variables are available (see cpack/CPackDebian.cmake file) but you shouldn't mess with them unless you know what you're doing.

Generated packages can be found in /packages.

Raspberry Pi with GNU Makefiles

cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=<KODI_SRC>/tools/depends/target/Toolchain.cmake <KODI_SRC>
cmake --build . -- VERBOSE=1 -j$(nproc)  # or: make VERBOSE=1 -j$(nproc)

Windows with Visual Studio project files

cmake -G "Visual Studio 14" <KODI_SRC>
cmake --build . --config "Debug"  # or: Build solution with Visual Studio

Windows installer generation

The script project/Win32BuildSetup builds an installable package for Windows.

Windows with NMake Makefiles

cmake -G "NMake Makefiles" -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release <KODI_SRC>
cmake --build .  # or: nmake

macOS with GNU Makefiles

cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=<KODI_SRC>/tools/depends/target/Toolchain.cmake <KODI_SRC>
cmake --build . -- VERBOSE=1 -j$(sysctl -n hw.ncpu)  # or: make VERBOSE=1 -j$(sysctl -n hw.ncpu)

macOS with Xcode project files

cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=<KODI_SRC>/tools/depends/target/Toolchain.cmake -G "Xcode" <KODI_SRC>
cmake --build . --config "Release" -- -verbose -jobs $(sysctl -n hw.ncpu)  # or: Build solution with Xcode

macOS installer generation

Afterwards an installable DMG for macOS can be built with the following command:

cmake --build . --config "Release" --target "dmg"  # or: make dmg

iOS package generation

Consequently an installable DEB for iOS can be built with the following command:

make deb

Android with GNU Makefiles

cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=<KODI_SRC>/tools/depends/target/Toolchain.cmake <KODI_SRC>
cmake --build . -- VERBOSE=1 -j$(nproc)  # or: make VERBOSE=1 -j$(nproc)

Android package generation

An installable APK for Android can be built with the following command:

make apk


Kodi supports a number of build options that can enable or disable certain functionality.i These options must be set when running CMake with -DENABLE_<OPTION>=<ON|OFF|AUTO. The default is AUTO which enables the option if a certain dependency is found. For example CEC support is enabled if libCEC is available. ON forcefully enables the dependency and the CMake run will fail if the related dependency is not available. This is mostly useful for packagers. OFF will disable the feature.

Example for forcefully enabling VAAPI and disabling VDPAU:


Example for building with external FFMPEG:


For more information and an updated list of option, please check the main CMakeLists.txt.


Kodi uses Google Test as its testing framework. Each test file is scanned for tests and these are added to CTest, which is the native test driver for CMake.

This scanning happens at configuration time. If tests depend on generated support files which should not be scanned, then those support files should be added to the SUPPORT_SOURCES variable as opposed to SOURCES before calling core_add_test. You might want to do this where the generated support files would not exist at configure time, or if they are so large that scanning them would take up an unreasonable amount of configure time.

Extra targets

When using the makefile builds a few extra targets are defined:

  • make check builds and executes the test suite.
  • make check-valgrind builds and executes the test suite with valgrind memcheck.
  • make doc builds the Doxygen documentation.

Code coverage (with Gcov, LCOV and Gcovr) can be built on Linux:

  • CMake has to be executed with -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Coverage
  • make coverage generates an HTML code coverage report.
  • make coverage_xml generates an XML code coverage report.

Building binary addons

The CMake build system integrates with the addon build system if the GNU Makefile generator is used. This offers an easy way to build addons for packagers or Kodi developers who don't work on addons.

make binary-addons

Specific addons can be built with:

make binary-addons ADDONS="visualization.spectrum pvr.demo"

Addon developers can build single addons into the Kodi build directory so that the addon can be tested with self-compiled specific versions of Kodi.

mkdir pvr.demo-build && cd pvr.demo-build

It is recommended to specify the directories as absolute paths. If relative paths are used, they are considered relative to the build directory in which cmake was executed (aka the current working working directory).

Both methods work only for already existing addons. See this forum thread and addons/ for addon development and detailed documentation about the addon build system.


Clang and GCC support different kinds of Sanitizers. To enable a Sanitizer call CMake with the option -DECM_ENABLE_SANITIZERS=’san1;san2;...'. For more information about enabling the Sanitizers read the documentation in modules/extra/ECMEnableSanitizers.cmake.

It is also recommended to read the sections about the Sanitizers in the Clang documentation.

Debugging the build

This section covers some tips that can be useful for debugging a CMake based build.

Verbosity (show compiler and linker parameters)

In order to see the exact compiler commands make and nmake can be executed with a VERBOSE=1 parameter.

On Windows, this is unfortunately not enough because nmake uses temporary files to workaround nmake's command string length limitations. In order to see verbose output the file Modules/Platform/Windows.cmake in the local CMake installation has to be adapted by uncommenting these lines:

# uncomment these out to debug nmake and borland makefiles