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Building Blender on Linux

These are instructions to build Blender on common Linux distributions.

To exactly match the official release build setup, see the Rocky Linux 8 and CentOS 7 instructions.

Quick Setup

The following instructions will create a Blender build in a blender-git folder in your home directory.

Install Initial Packages

Ensure Python3, Git and Git LFS are installed.

sudo pacman -S python git git-lfs
sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3 git git-lfs
sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install python3 git git-lfs
sudo zypper update
sudo zypper install python3 git git-lfs

Install the Python3, Git and Git LFS packages through your package manager.

Download Sources

Download the latest source code from projects.blender.org.

mkdir ~/blender-git
cd ~/blender-git
git clone https://projects.blender.org/blender/blender.git

Install Basic Building Environment

Run this command to install basic building dependencies.

cd ~/blender-git/blender/
./build_files/build_environment/install_linux_packages.py

Some commands in this script requires sudo, so you'll be likely be asked for your password.

Alternatively, you can also install all basic dependencies manually with the package manager.

sudo pacman -S base-devel cmake libepoxy libxi libxcursor libxrandr libxinerama libxxf86vm python wayland-protocols libxkbcommon libdecor

Run this command to install basic building dependencies.

cd ~/blender-git/blender/
./build_files/build_environment/install_linux_packages.py

Some commands in this script requires sudo, so you'll be likely be asked for your password.

Alternatively, you can also install all basic dependencies manually with the package manager.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install build-essential git git-lfs cmake libx11-dev libxxf86vm-dev libxcursor-dev libxi-dev libxrandr-dev libxinerama-dev libegl-dev
sudo apt install libwayland-dev wayland-protocols libxkbcommon-dev libdbus-1-dev linux-libc-dev

Run this command to install basic building dependencies.

cd ~/blender-git/blender/
./build_files/build_environment/install_linux_packages.py

Some commands in this script requires sudo, so you'll be likely be asked for your password.

Alternatively, you can also install all basic dependencies manually with the package manager.

sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install gcc gcc-c++ git git-lfs make cmake mesa-libGL-devel mesa-libEGL-devel libX11-devel libXxf86vm-devel libXi-devel libXcursor-devel libXrandr-devel libXinerama-devel libstdc++-static
sudo dnf install wayland-devel wayland-protocols-devel libxkbcommon-devel dbus-devel kernel-headers

Run this command to install basic building dependencies.

cd ~/blender-git/blender/
./build_files/build_environment/install_linux_packages.py

Some commands in this script requires sudo, so you'll be likely be asked for your password.

Alternatively, you can also install all basic dependencies manually with the package manager.

sudo zypper update
sudo zypper install gcc gcc-c++ git git-lfs make cmake libX11-devel libXxf86vm-devel libXi-devel libXcursor-devel libXrandr-devel  libXinerama-devel Mesa-libGL-devel Mesa-libEGL-devel

You need to install all the basic dependencies manually, using packages specific to your Linux distribution:

gcc g++ make cmake
git git-lfs
libx11-dev libxxf86vm-dev libxcursor-dev libxi-dev libxrandr-dev libxinerama-dev libegl-dev
libwayland-dev wayland-protocols libxkbcommon-dev libdbus-1-dev linux-libc-dev

Running this command will also give you the list of required dependencies.

cd ~/blender-git/blender/
./build_files/build_environment/install_linux_packages.py

Download Libraries

For Intel and AMD Linux systems, we recommend using precompiled libraries. These are the quickest way to get a feature complete Blender build and can be downloaded as follows.

cd ~/blender-git/blender
./build_files/utils/make_update.py --use-linux-libraries

These libraries are built on Rocky8 for VFX reference platform compatibility, but they work fine on other Linux distributions.

To use system packages, see Advanced Setup.

Update and Build

Get latest source code and add-ons, and build. These commands can be used for the first build, and repeated whenever you want to update to the latest version.

cd ~/blender-git/blender
make update
make

After the build finished, you will find blender ready to run in ~/blender-git/build_linux/bin.

If building fails after an update, it sometimes helps to remove the ~/blender-git/build_linux folder to get a completely clean build.

Branches

With the quick setup instructions the main branch will be built by default, which contains the latest Blender version under development.

To build another branch or a pull request, first checkout the branch and then run make update to update the add-ons, libraries and tests to match.

cd ~/blender-git/blender
git checkout <branch-name>
make update
make

Depending on how big the changes are compared to the main branch, it may be necessary to remove the build folder ~/blender-git/build_linux. Otherwise the build folder may still refer to libraries from another branch.

Advanced Setup

System Packages

When not using precompiled libraries, the preferred way to install dependencies under Linux is to use the install_linux_packages.py script in the Blender sources. It will try to install system packages for all known dependencies, required or optional.

It currently supports Debian (and derivatives like Ubuntu), Fedora, SUSE and Arch distributions. It is executed as follows.

cd ~/blender-git/blender
./build_files/build_environment/install_linux_packages.py --all

Some commands in this script requires sudo, so you'll be likely be asked for your password.

For unrecognized distributions, it will only print a list of the dependencies.

Conflicts with Precompiled Libraries

In case both precompiled and system libraries are present, by default CMake will use the pre-compiled ones.

To force it to ignore the precompiled libraries and search for system ones, CMake WITH_LIBS_PRECOMPILED option must be disabled.

Building Dependencies from Source

Instead of using precompiled libraries or system packages, it is possible to build all libraries from source.

This is not recommended for most users, as this is mostly used by Blender platform maintainers and not well tested on other systems. You may need to dig into the CMake code yourself to solve build problems.

The make deps system will build libraries from source and put them in ../lib/linux_x86_64_glibc_228. The Blender build system automatically picks up libraries from this location over precompiled libraries.

Portable Builds

To make a build that works on other computers, in general you need to:

  • Build on an older Linux distribution version. That is because you need to build with a glibc version that is equal or lower than the systems the build needs to run on. Rocky Linux 8 is used for official releases.
  • Use precompiled libraries or libraries built from source. System packages can not be used, as those vary between Linux distributions and versions.

Manual CMake Setup

Instructions

If you want to have more control over your build configuration or have multiple build directories for a single source directory. You can follow these steps.

Typically useful for developers, who build frequently.

CMake Setup

Now you have to choose a location for CMake build files, currently in-source builds in Blender aren't supported.

Out-of-source build

By doing an "out-of-source" build you create a CMake's directory aside from ~/blender-git/blender, for example ~/blender-git/build:

mkdir ~/blender-git/build
cd ~/blender-git/build
cmake ../blender

This will generate makefiles in the build directory (~/blender-git/build).

Important

As said above, in-source-builds where you build blender from the source code directory are not supported.
If CMake finds a CMakeCache.txt in the source code directory, it uses that instead of using ~/blender-git/build/CMakeCache.txt.

If you have tried to do an in-source build, you should remove any CMakeCache.txt from the source code directory before actually running the out-of-source build:

rm ~/blender-git/blender/CMakeCache.txt

Building Blender

After changes have been done and you have generated the makefiles, you can compile using the make command inside the build directory:

cd ~/blender-git/build
make
make install

Also notice the install target is used, this will copy scripts and documentation into ~/blender-git/build/bin

For future builds you can simply update the repository and re-run make.

cd ~/blender-git/blender
make update
cd ~/blender-git/build
make
make install

Build Options

By default Blender builds will be similar to official releases. Many Build Options are available for debugging, faster builds, and to enable or disable various features.

System Installation

Portable installation is the default where scripts and data files will be copied into the build ~/blender-git/build/bin directory and can be moved to other systems easily.

To install Blender into the system directories, a system installation can be used instead. Disable WITH_INSTALL_PORTABLE to install into CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX which uses a typical Unix FHS layout: bin/, share/blender/, man/ etc.

Optimize Rebuilds

Instructions

Now that you can build Blender and run Blender, there are changes you can make which greatly increase the speed of build times.

Use one of the CMake configuration editors (ccmake or cmake-gui), see Editing CMake Options

For really fast rebuilds you can disable Every option with the WITH_ prefix, except for WITH_PYTHON which is needed for the UI. This speeds up linking and gives a smaller binary.

Remove the files created by make install since they will become stale. However, Blender still needs to be able to find its scripts or you will have a very minimalist looking interface. This can be solved by linking the source directory to your Blender binary path so copying isn't needed and scripts are always up to date.

rm -r ~/blender-git/build/bin/*.*
ln -s ~/blender-git/blender/release ~/blender-git/build/bin/

For convenient access, create this symlink to run blender from the source directory:

ln -s ~/blender-git/build/bin/blender ~/blender-git/blender/blender.bin

You can add any files created this way to ~/blender-git/blender/.git/info/exclude so they won't count as untracked files for git. Add your local files here, instead of in .gitignore, because .gitignore is also committed and will affect everyone else.