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Getting the Source Code

KBibTeX's source is available through KDE's Git infrastructure, the repository's name is kbibtex. How to clone a Git repository is explained in the Git Recipes in TechBase. In short, run the following command in your terminal:

   git clone git://anongit.kde.org/kbibtex

You can browse KBibTeX's source code at its KDE Project page.


Main development happends in the master branch (named master). It is an objective that this branch is functional and mostly stable, although it is not guaranteed. Use this branch to enjoy new features.

For releases, release branches are created. The naming scheme is kbibtex/versionnumber, where 'versionnumber' may be 0.6. Actual releases are tagged commits in such a branch, such as v0.5.1.

For bugs or features that require multiple commits and where individual commits may break master or a release branch, so-called feature branches are used. These branches are supposed to track master or a release branch. Branches for bugs are meant to be merged into the release branch where the bug was reported for and into the master branch (for future releases). Feature branches are merged into the master branch and only in rare cases back-ported to release branches. Names for bug report-related branches are bugs/bugsystem ('bugsystem' would be kde or the name of a Linux distribution) followed by the number. An example would be bugs/kde338375. Feature branches start with feature/ followed by a short descriptive name for this feature. Merged branches will be delete after some time.

Compiling the Code

The following instructions provide information how to compile KBibTeX on the command line. When compiling KBibTeX from inside of an IDE like KDevelop or Qt Creator, those settings have to be applied as well.

Running CMake

KBibTeX is configured using CMake. There are a few options relevant for the configuration of this project:

  1. CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH specifies the installation location. There are a number of choices available for this option:
    1. The location of your KDE installation, for example /usr. The command kde4-config --prefix prints this location. Requires root permissions (e. g. via sudo). Caution: This choice will interfere with the package management.
    2. A directory outside the package management's control, for example /usr/local. Requires setting some environment variables as explained below. This installation stays available across reboots and is available to all users. Requires root permissions (e. g. via sudo).
    3. A user-writable directory like /tmp/usr or ~/usr. Similar to above choice, it requires setting some environment variables, but no root permissions. Many distributions are configured to clean /tmp on reboot.
  2. CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE determines the amount of debug information included in the final code. Regular users may set it to release, developers to debug, and for step-by-step debugging debugfull works best. All available options are discussed in the CMake documentation in TechBase.

A complete example looks like this:

   cmake ../kbibtex -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=/tmp/usr -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debug


GNU Make is the default choice for source code compilation. The number of parallel processes should be specified to shorten the time to finish on multi-core systems. The priority of the compilation tasks may get reduced.

   nice -n 16 make -j4


KBibTeX uses KDE 4's KParts technology, which requires you to install some libraries. KBibTeX may not run properly if the following steps are omitted.

Running make install will install KBibTeX into the directory as specified as installation prefix earlier. Unless the installation prefix equals KDE install directory, the following environment variables have to be specified and commands have to be executed:

  1. Set variable KDEDIRS to include the KDE installation directory and KBibTeX's installation directory, for example /usr:/tmp/usr
  2. Set variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH to the library directory inside the installation directory, for example /tmp/usr/lib64
  3. Set variable XDG_DATA_HOME to the installation directory's shared data directory, for example /tmp/usr/share
  4. Set variable XDG_DATA_DIRS to include the shared data directories of the KDE installation directory, KBibTeX's installation directory, and other relevant prefixes, for example /usr/share:/usr/local/share:/tmp/usr/share
  5. Run kbuildsycoca4

Now KBibTeX can be started, like shown in this example:


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