Building Krita from Source

If you want to help developing Krita, you need to know how to build Krita yourself. If you merely want to run the latest version of Krita, to test a bug or play with, you can use the nightly build for Windows the nightly build for Linux, or the nightly build for macOS.

You can build Krita on Linux, Windows, macOS and on Linux for Android. The libraries Krita needs (for instance to load and save various image types) are called dependencies.

Linux is the easiest operating system to build Krita on because all the libraries that Krita needs are available on most recent Linux distributions. For an easy guide to building Krita see Building Krita on Linux for Cats.

On macOS you can use tools like homebrew to get the dependencies, or build the dependencies manually. Building the dependencies manually is recommended because we have a number of changes to the source for libraries to make them function better with Krita.

On Windows you will have to build the dependencies yourself.

On all operating systems, you need to be familiar with using a terminal. Building Krita is a technical task and demands accuracy in following instructions and intelligence in understanding what happens.

Building on Linux

Preparing your development environment


The most convenient layout is as follows:

  • $HOME/kritadev/krita – the source code

  • $HOME/kritadev/build – the location where you compile krita

  • $HOME/kritadev/install – the location where you install krita to and run krita from

we will call the “kritadev” folder your build root.

Note: type in what’s shown after ‘>’ in the following commands

[email protected]:~>cd
[email protected]:~>mkdir kritadev
[email protected]:~/>cd kritadev
[email protected]:~/kritadev> mkdir build
[email protected]:~/kritadev> mkdir install

Getting the Source Code


Open a terminal and enter the build root. Clone Krita from kde’s git infrastructure (not github):

[email protected]:~/kritadev> git clone

Configuring the Build

[email protected]:~/kritadev> cd build

Krita uses cmake ( to define how Krita is built on various platforms. You first need to run cmake to generate the build system, in the kritadevs/build directory, then run make to make Krita, then run make install to install krita.

[email protected]:~/kritadev/build>cmake ../krita \
        -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/kritadev/install  \
        -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug \

Unless you have installed all the dependencies Krita needs, on first running cmake, cmake will complain about missing dependencies. For instance:

-- The following RECOMMENDED packages have not been found:

* GSL, <>
Required by Krita's Transform tool.

This is not an error, and you can fix this by installing the missing package using your distribution’s package manager. Do not download these packages manually from the source website and build them manually. Do use your distribution’s package manager to find the right packages.

For example, for Ubuntu, you can start with:

you@yourcomputer:~/kritadev/build>apt-get build-dep krita

Which will install all the dependencies of the version of Krita in the repositories. You might need to enable the deb-src repositories by editing /etc/apt/sources.list (see or, if you’re using the KDE Plasma desktop, enabling them in the Settings of the Discover application.

However, the development version might use different dependencies, to find these, you can use apt-cache search:

[email protected]:~/kritadev/build>apt-cache search quazip
libquazip-dev - C++ wrapper for ZIP/UNZIP (development files, Qt4 build)
libquazip-doc - C++ wrapper for ZIP/UNZIP (documentation)
libquazip-headers - C++ wrapper for ZIP/UNZIP (development header files)
libquazip1 - C++ wrapper for ZIP/UNZIP (Qt4 build)
libquazip5-1 - C++ wrapper for ZIP/UNZIP (Qt5 build)
libquazip5-dev - C++ wrapper for ZIP/UNZIP (development files, Qt5 build)
libquazip5-headers - C++ wrapper for ZIP/UNZIP (development header files, Qt5 build)

You will want to get the ‘dev’ library here, because you’re doing dev, and then Krita is using Qt5, so select that one. If this doesn’t help, check the Ubuntu packages search.

If all dependencies have been installed, cmake will output something like this:

-- Configuring done
-- Generating done
-- Build files have been written to: /home/boud/dev/b-krita


There is one run-time package that you need to install. CMake will not warn about it missing. That is the Qt5 SQLite database driver package. On Ubuntu this is named libqt5sql5-sqlite, the name might be different on other distributions. You need this to be able to start Krita after you have built and installed Krita! This is only needed if you build the master (5.0) branch of Krita.

Until that is shown, cmake has not succeeded and you cannot build Krita. When this is shown, you can build Krita:

[email protected]:~/kritadev/build> make

You can speed this up by enabling multithreading. To do so, you first figure out how many threads your processor can handle:

cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep processor | wc -l

Then, add the resulting number with -j (for ‘Jobs’) at the end, so for example:

[email protected]:~/kritadev/build> make -j4



When the build has fully succeeded, you can install:

[email protected]:~/kritadev/build> make install

And when that is complete, you can run Krita:


Running Krita

You do not have to set environment variables in order to run Krita.

[email protected]:~> cd ~/kritadev/
[email protected]:~> ./install/bin/krita



Now, Krita is in constant development, so you will want to update your build from time to time. Maybe a cool feature got in, or a bug was fixed, or you just want the latest source.


First, we get the new source from the git repository:

[email protected]:~> cd ~/kritadev/krita/
[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> git pull

If you want to get the code from a specific branch, you will need to checkout that branch first:

[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> git checkout <name of the branch>
[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> git pull

Then, we build again:

[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> cd ~/kritadev/build/
[email protected]:~/kritadev/build> make install

If you update daily, you might want to automate these command by making your own minimal bash script.

Trouble Shooting


The recent development version might break, or sometime be just unusable. Experimental changes are made daily.

This will affect your productivity if you don’t know how to ‘go back in time’ (for example, your favorite brush doesn’t work anymore).

But if you know how to do it, no issue can really affect you, because you know how to come back to a previous state.


To travel the source in time we need to read the timeline history. The terminal tool for it is git log.

[email protected]:~> cd ~/kritadev/krita/
[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> git log

With git log, you can consult all the last changes to the code, the ‘commit’. What we’re interested in is the long identification number, the ‘git hash’ (such as cca5819b19e0da3434192c5b352285b987a48796). You can scroll the git log, copy the ID number then quit(letter Q on keyboard). Then time-travel in your source directory:

[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> git checkout cca5819b19e0da3434192c5b352285b987a48796
[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> git pull

And, we build again:

[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> cd ~/kritadev/build/
[email protected]:~/kritadev/build> make install

To update again to the actual and ‘fresh from a minute ago’ source-code named master, simply ask git to come back to it with git checkout then pull to update :

[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> git checkout master
[email protected]:~/kritadev/krita> git pull

Common problems


Outside of the source being unstable, there’s the following common problems:

  • The most common problem is a missing dependency. Install it. A missing dependency is not an “error” that you need to report to the other Krita developers.

  • A dependency can also be too old. CMake will report when the version of a dependency is too old. That is also not an “error”. You might need to update your Linux installation to a newer version.

  • You can also have a successful build, then update your linux installation, and then find that Krita no longer builds. A library got updated, and you need to remove the CMakeCache.txt file in your build dir and run cmake again.

  • Sometimes, changes in Krita’s source code from git revision to git revision make it necessary to make your installation and/or build dir empty and build from scratch. One example is where a plugin is removed from Krita; the plugin will be in your install dir, and won’t get updated when Krita’s internals change.

Building on Windows

On Windows, you will have to build all the dependencies yourself. This will take a long time. Note that you will do all your work in a CMD command window.

This is also more difficult than building Krita on Linux, so you need to pay attention to details. If you follow the guide closely, install correct dependencies and make sure your PATH doesn’t contain anything unwanted, there should be no issues.


  1. Git -

  2. CMake 3.3.2 or later -
    • CMake 3.9 does not build Krita properly at the moment, please use 3.8 or 3.10 instead.

  3. Make sure you have a compiler - Only mingw-w64 7.3 (by mingw-builds) -
    • For threading, select posix.

    • For exceptions, select seh (64-bit) or dwarf (32-bit).

    • Unzip mingw with 7zip into a folder like C:mingw-w64; the full path must not contain any spaces.

    • MSVC is not supported at the moment.

    • CLANG is not supported at the moment.

    • MSYS is not supported at the moment.

  4. You will also need a release of Python 3.8 (not 3.7, not 3.9) -
    • Make sure to have that version of python.exe in your path. This version of Python will be used for two things to configure Qt and to build the Python scripting module. Do not set PYTHONHOME or PYTHONPATH.

    • Make sure that your Python will have the correct architecture for the version you are trying to build. If building for 32-bit target, you need the 32-bit release of Python.

  5. Install the Windows 10 SDK -

  6. It is useful to install Qt Creator -




After installing the Prerequisites, prepare your working directory. Keep this as short as possible.

cd  c:\
mkdir c:\dev
mkdir c:\d
mkdir c:\i

Then prepare a batch file to set the environment. Every time you want to build or run your home-grown Krita, open the CMD windows, go to the c:dev folder and run the env.bat file. Read this example and ADJUST THE VERSION NUMBERS where necessary so the PATH is correct.

set DLLTOOL_EXE=C:\mingw-w64\x86_64-7.3.0-posix-seh-rt_v5-rev0\mingw64\bin\dlltool.exe
set MINGW_GCC_BIN=C:\mingw-w64\x86_64-7.3.0-posix-seh-rt_v5-rev0\mingw64\\bin
set MINGW_BIN_DIR=C:\mingw-w64\x86_64-7.3.0-posix-seh-rt_v5-rev0\mingw64\\bin
set BUILDROOT=c:\dev
set PATH=%BUILDROOT%\i\bin;%BUILDROOT%\i\lib;%MINGW_GCC_BIN%;C:\Program Files\CMake\bin;c:\qt\qtcreator-4.12.0\bin;%PATH%
set "WindowsSdkDir=%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Kits\10"
set "WindowsSdkVerBinPath=%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Kits\10\bin\10.0.17763.0"

:: Since Krita 5.1 when using SIP5+ you also need to set up PYTHONPATH manually
set PYTHONPATH=%BUILDROOT%\i\lib\site-packages;%PYTHONPATH%
cd c:\dev

Then get krita:

cd c:\dev
git clone

Getting the dependencies


Here we have two options. The quick one is to reuse prebuilt dependencies from the binary factory (you need to have the same version of the compiler locally as the one used on the binary factory). And the slow one is to build everything ourselves.

Using prebuilt dependencies from the binary factory

To fetch prebuilt dependencies just run the embedded cmake script:

cd c:\dev
mkdir b
cd b
cmake ..\krita\build-tools\ci-deps -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=..\i
cmake --build .

Building dependencies yourself

We will build everything on Windows with the same script that is used to make the nightly builds and the releases:

cd c:\dev
krita\build-tools\windows\build.cmd --no-interactive --jobs 8 --skip-krita --src-dir c:\dev\krita --download-dir c:\dev\d --deps-build-dir c:\dev\b --deps-install-dir c:\dev\i

This will take several hours, but you only need to do it once. When it’s ready, make a zip archive of the c:devi folder. That’s a backup because we will install krita into the same folder as the dependencies, and if you need to nuke your krita build (because you’re switching between branches or for some other reason, you’ll also nuke your built dependencies. You can also build the depedencies into another folder, like c:devi_deps, BUT in that case you’re going to have trouble running Krita without first packaging it.

Building Krita


Again, on the command line, with the same script that is used to make the nightly builds and the releases:

cd c:\dev
krita\build-tools\windows\build.cmd --no-interactive --jobs 8 --skip-deps --src-dir c:\dev\krita --download-dir c:\dev\d --deps-build-dir c:\dev\b --deps-install-dir c:\dev\is --krita-build-dir c:\dev\b_krita --krita-install-dir c:\dev\i

If you are hacking on Krita, you can rebuild Krita without running this script by entering the build directory and running mingw3-make install.

cd c:\dev\b_krita
mingw32-make install

Running Krita

You must start Krita from the command prompt, after having run env.bat:

cd c:\dev\b_krita

Building on macOS

We will build Krita on macOS with the same scripts that are used to build the nightly builds and the releases. We will NOT be building krita from within XCode, but from within the terminal.


You will need to install:



mkdir dev
cd dev
git clone

Create an file that should contain the following lines:

export BUILDROOT=$HOME/dev
export PATH=/Applications/$BUILDROOT/i/bin/:$PATH

Building the dependencies


It is possible to build Krita against dependencies installed through MacPorts or some similar packaging service. If you do that, you’re on your own though.

Open and source the file you just created:

cd ~/dev
./krita/packaging/macos/ builddeps

This will complain several time that it cannot find the Java SDK: just click that away, and don’t worry. Building the dependencies will take several hours.

Building Krita

In the same terminal window (if you open a new one, you will have to source the script again by running “.” – that’s a dot.

./krita/packaging/macos/ buildinstall

This will build and install Krita to $HOME/dev/i/


Running Krita

You can run krita in the same terminal window:


If you want to debug krita with lldb:

lldb ~/dev/i/
(lldb) target create "./i/bin/"
Current executable set to './i/bin/' (x86_64).
(lldb) r

Building on Android

Use Linux to build Krita for Android. Building Krita for Android on another system is NOT supported.

Setting up Android SDK and NDK

We right now use Android NDK version r18b to do our builds. So, I would recommend to use that. Download it from google’s website then extract it.

Next, Android SDK. You can either download Android Studio or just the sdk-tools. Both could be downloaded from google’s website.

If you downloaded Android Studio then open SDK manager and download Android SDK Build-Tools. (more info:

If you download just sdk-tools, then, extract it and run:

cd <extracted-android-sdk-tools>/tools/bin
./sdkmanager --licenses
./sdkmanager platform-tools
./sdkmanager "platforms;android-21"
./sdkmanager "platforms;android-28"    # for androiddeployqt
./sdkmanager "build-tools;28.0.2"

If you get some ClasNotFoundException it might be because java version is set to 11. For sdkmanager to work, set it to 8 and then run it again.

That’s the only dependency we have to manage manually!

Building Krita

Now, to build krita, run <krita-source>/packaging/android/ --help and pass the required arguments.


./ -p=all --src=/home/sh_zam/workspace/krita --build-type=Debug --build-root=/home/sh_zam/workspace/build-krita-android --ndk-path=/home/sh_zam/Android/Sdk/ndk-bundle --sdk-path=/home/sh_zam/Android/Sdk --api-level=21 --android-abi=armeabi-v7a

Installing Krita APK

To install run adb install -d -r <build-root>/krita_build_apk/build/outputs/apk/debug/krita_build_apk-debug.apk.

adb should be in <sdk-root>/platform-tools/


If Krita crashes you can look up the logs using adb logcat

Specialized Ways of Building Krita

These are specialized ways of building Krita on Windows and Linux while re-using the dependencies built on KDE’s binary factory. You only need to try this if you don’t want to build Krita’s dependencies yourself on Windows or use distribution dependencies on Linux.