Other kdesrc-build features

Changing the amount of output from kdesrc-build

kdesrc-build has several options to control the amount of output the script generates. In any case, errors will always be output.

Table 6.1. Table of debug levels

Debug levelLevel nameCommand line option
2INFOSelected by default
5ERRORNo way to select

Color output

When being run from Konsole or a different terminal, kdesrc-build will normally display with colorized text.

You can disable this by using the --no-color on the command line, or by setting the colorful-output option in the configuration file to false.

Disabling color output in the configuration file:

  colorful-output false
end global

Removing unneeded directories after a build

Are you short on disk space but still want to run a bleeding-edge KDE checkout? kdesrc-build can help reduce your disk usage when building KDE from Git.


Be aware that building KDE does take a lot of space. There are several major space-using pieces when using kdesrc-build:

  1. The actual source checkout can take up a fair amount of space. The default modules take up about 1.6 gigabytes of on-disk space. You can reduce this amount by making sure that you are only building as many modules as you actually want. kdesrc-build will not delete source code from disk even if you delete the entry from the configuration file, so make sure that you go and delete unused source checkouts from the source directory. Note that the source files are downloaded from the Internet, you should not delete them if you are actually using them, at least until you are done using kdesrc-build.

    Also, if you already have a Qt™ installed by your distribution (and the odds are good that you do), you probably do not need to install the qt module. That will shave about 200 megabytes off of the on-disk source size.

  2. kdesrc-build will create a separate build directory to build the source code in. Sometimes kdesrc-build will have to copy a source directory to create a fake build directory. When this happens, space-saving symlinks are used, so this should not be a hassle on disk space. The build directory will typically be much larger than the source directory for a module. For example, the build directory for kdebase is about 1050 megabytes, whereas kdebase's source is only around 550 megabytes.

    Luckily, the build directory is not required after a module has successfully been built and installed. kdesrc-build can automatically remove the build directory after installing a module, see the examples below for more information. Note that taking this step will make it impossible for kdesrc-build to perform the time-saving incremental builds.

  3. Finally, there is disk space required for the actual installation of KDE, which does not run from the build directory. This typically takes less space than the build directory. It is harder to get exact figures however.

How do you reduce the space requirements of KDE? One way is to use the proper compiler flags, to optimize for space reduction instead of for speed. Another way, which can have a large effect, is to remove debugging information from your KDE build.


You should be very sure you know what you are doing before deciding to remove debugging information. Running bleeding-edge software means you are running software which is potentially much more likely to crash than a stable release. If you are running software without debugging information, it can be very hard to create a good bug report to get your bug resolved, and you will likely have to re-enable debugging information for the affected application and rebuild to help a developer fix the crash. So, remove debugging information at your own risk!

Removing the build directory after installation of a module. The source directory is still kept, and debugging is enabled:

  configure-flags      --enable-debug
  remove-after-install builddir        # Remove build directory after install
end global

Removing the build directory after installation, without debugging information, with size optimization.

  cxxflags             -Os             # Optimize for size
  configure-flags      --disable-debug
  remove-after-install builddir        # Remove build directory after install
end global