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Compiling KStars from SVN


This page provides instructions for downloading, compiling and installing the latest development version of the KStars codebase.

Before you begin, you should think hard about the following question:
Do I really want to compile the latest development code?
Before you proceed, keep the following in mind:

  • KStars code is undergoing major changes. Many things now work, but some things do not. You should not expect to have a fully functioning KStars program from the current SVN codebase.

  • Getting your system set up to compile the latest KStars code involves many steps and a lot of compiling. You will likely have problems along the way.

KStars development takes place on the KDE Subversion server. Subversion is a version control system, similar to CVS. It's essentially a code repository that keeps track of every incremental version of all files. You can browse the codebase through our web interface, but that's not useful for downloading the code, just for browsing specific files and checking the commit logs.


The Qt and KDE libraries are the biggest dependencies of KStars. Building them can be a difficult task and a steep learning curve, but it's really almost always a one-time effort. To build KStars from SVN, you should first have the dependencies in place. This article on the KDE techbase is the canonical guide to building the dependencies. However, you might want to use Project Neon, which will save a lot of time and effort, but is not generally recommended, because you cannot fix bugs in the KDE libraries this way. The minimum set of dependencies for KStars from KDE are kdelibs (which in turn, depends on kdesupport and a lot of other things), and kdebase/runtime (apps and workspace are not necessary in general). Other dependencies (eigen2, OpenGL) can be used in packaged form. There are also a lot of optional dependencies that add useful functionality -- libindi for driving telescopes and other instrumentation, libcfitsio for FITS file support.

Building KStars

Once you have the KDE dependencies built, you can get on to building KStars. If you like to build the whole of KDE-Edu from trunk, you could do so. The following instructions are minamilistic, and tell you how to build only KStars:

$ cs # cs is not a typo.
$ cd KDE/
$ svn up --depth files kdeedu
$ cd kdeedu
$ svn up cmake data doc libkdeedu kstars # Some of these are superfluous as well
# Install eigen2 and opengl, using your distribution specific tools
$ cmakekde
You should now be able to run KStars by just typing "kstars" in the appropriate directory / user account.

(If you want to be more minimalistic, you need not have doc, libkdeedu and data to build KStars as of this update. But CMake will complain because those are listed as required directories. You will need to uncomment entries that add those directories.)

(PS: This is not tested. Please report any errors to akarsh DOT simha AT kdemail DOT net)

Jason Harris, Akarsh Simha
kstars AT 30doradus DOT org
akarsh DOT simha AT kdemail DOT net
Last update: 2014-07-29

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