EDE Installation Howto


Make sure you have listed requirements or EDE might not compile (properly). If a required version was mentioned, please use that (or a newer) release.

Required programs and libraries

This is the list of must-have programs and libraries or EDE and edelib (EDE Library) compilation will fail. All these programs and libraries are usually already part of a default installation on most distributions. If not, they can most likely be installed via your distributions repositories. If all else fails, you can compile them from source, too (in that case please refer to the documentation of that packages for more information on how to do that).

  • C++ compiler (g++ >= 2.95 or newer, Clang or any recent SunStudio versions). Compiling with Intel C++ wasn't tested, but should be possible
  • FLTK >= 1.1.7
  • DBus >= 1.0
  • autoconf and aclocal (aclocal is part of automake package) are needed only if you downloaded EDE sources directly from the source repository

Optional programs and libraries

This is the list of programs and libraries used by EDE and edelib we would like you to have, but which are not mandatory. If they are not present, certain features might be disabled.


  • doxygen - used to create API documentation
  • inotify (present in linux kernel since 2.6.13) or Gamin/Fam


  • python >= 2.3 - used to create documentation
  • UPower - comes with newer distributions (you can find out more at http://upower.freedesktop.org)
  • librsvg (only used rsvg tool) - used to create the edeneu theme from .svg icons; this is only needed if you downloaded EDE directly from the source repository
  • xscreensaver - usually comes with your distribution
  • cURL - used for the bug reporting tool; it should come with your distribution

There is a known issue (Bug 156) with python >= 2.6.2 and building EDE documentation. If you get into the problems as described in the bug report, please use the solution given in the comment on that report.

EDE programs and libraries

This is the list of EDE related programs and libraries you should download from our download pages:

  • jam
  • edelib 2.0
  • ede 2.0

:!: If you are going to install EDE on default location (/usr/local), make sure you uninstall previous EDE version or use different prefix (like: ./configure –prefix=/opt/ede).

Compiling EDE

After you extracted each of EDE related programs, compile them in the order given below.

Compiling jam

JAM (“Just Another Make”) is a make replacement we are using to compile EDE and edelib. Some distributions provide a JAM package. Make sure it is the official JAM or FTJAM; another common version tody is Boost JAM, but EDE can't be built with it!

To see if it is the official jam, execute:

 jam -v

and if you get something like:

 Jam 2.5. OS=LINUX. Copyright 1993-2002 Christopher Seiwald.


 FT-Jam 2.5.3. OS=LINUX. (C) 1993-2003 Christopher Seiwald, see www.freetype.org/jam/

then it is ok. If you are not sure what jam version you have (but already one installed), let edelib's configure script detect it and report if it can be used. You can always download the JAM version we are using from our download pages if you are not sure.

Once you downloaded the JAM source decompress it. It already comes with a Makefile, so simply running:


will compile it.

Installation is done by copying JAMs' binary to a common binary location, like /usr/local/bin. The binary will be compiled in bin.YOUROS location, where YOUROS is operating system you are running, e.g. on Linux, the executable will be in bin.linuxx86 and on FreeBSD will be in bin.freebsdx86. If you are using FTJAM, the binary directory will be bin.unix.

Copying is done with:

 cp bin.YOUROS/jam /usr/local/bin

Compiling edelib

In case you downloaded edelib from the source repository, make sure to run:


first as that will create the correct configure script. If you downloaded the official source release, this step is not needed because a configure script was already created. The rest is executing:


then running jam (not make!):


and finally as superuser:

 jam install

Compiling ede

If you installed edelib with different prefix than /usr, export that path to pkg-config so it can find the edelib libraries. To do so, run:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=<your-prefix>/lib/pkgconfig

Compiling EDE is the same as for edelib. Also, if you downloaded EDE sources from source repository, make sure to run:


first, then:




and finally as superuser:

 jam install

:!: Note: if you downloaded EDE source code from repository (ede2 module) the default icon theme is not built, so you must do it manually. This is a really simple procedure where you should pass only one parameter to the JAM tool (you have to have librsvg installed, too). So, instead of just jam and jam install as given above, you should run:



 jam -sBUILD_ICON_THEMES=1 install

This will build EDE and icon theme, installing both.

Starting EDE

If you are using display or login manager (like gdm, kdm or xdm) and you installed EDE with default prefix (it will use /usr by default), you will see a session entry named EDE in your display manager's list of available sessions. However, if you install EDE with different prefix, make sure to copy the ede.desktop file (you will find it at <prefix>/share/xsessions/ede.desktop path) to /usr/share/xsessions folder, or configure your display manager to find EDE's installation path.

If you are not using a display manager (you start X session from terminal with startx command), put startede at the end of the .xinitrc file (found in your home directory, like /home/your_username/.xinitrc, but make sure you comment previous window managers or desktop starting scripts if they exist.

If you do not have .xinitrc file in your home directory or you are not sure how things should be modified, here is a working sample you can copy and paste:


# merge in defaults and keymaps

if [ -f $sysresources ]; then
    xrdb -merge $sysresources

if [ -f $sysmodmap ]; then
    xmodmap $sysmodmap

if [ -f $userresources ]; then
    xrdb -merge $userresources

if [ -f $usermodmap ]; then
    xmodmap $usermodmap

# Comment your previously used window managers or desktops
# /usr/bin/cool-window-manager
# /usr/local/bin/cool-desktop

# Start EDE


That would be it. Happy using and let us know what you are thinking about it! Please report any issues you might encounter on http://bugs.equinox-project.org.