Building RKWard From Source

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The purpose of this page is to give you step-by-step instructions to compile and install RKWard from sources.

Note: These are generic instructions, which should work on most systems. However, for many systems, more detailed instructions, or even ready-made binary packages are available. See Binaries_and_Build_Scripts.

Note: For instructions on compiling the KDE 3 versions of RKWard (before RKWard 0.5.0), please refer to an older version of this page.

Related pages

Building RKWard


RKWard requires:

  • KDE-libraries and headers (>= 4.0) (
    • The names of the required packages differ from distribution to distribution. Some are called "kdelibs4", some "libkde4", on Debian and Ubuntu the name is "kdelibs5". For the headers you will generally need packages called "kdelibs4-dev", "libkde4-devel" or similar.
  • Qt-libraries and headers (>= 4.3) (
    • On most systems these should be installed automatically, when you install the KDE-libraries, above.
  • X11-libraries and headers (
    • On many systems these will be installed automatically, when you install the KDE-libaries. On other systems you may need to install libx11-dev/x11lib-dev, manually.
  • R and headers (
    • Common package names are "r", "r-base", etc. Note that some distributions package the HTML-documentation in a separate package, so look out for "r-base-html" or similar package names.
    • If you compile R from source, make sure to use the "--enable-R-shlib" option to configure.
  • CMake (
    • Generally this package is called "cmake".

If you can't find the required packages for your distribution, take a look at Binaries_and_Build_Scripts for distribution specific information, or contact us for help.

Debian derivatives:

  • On Debian based systems (such as Ubuntu) the following will get all the dependencies installed (and hopefully the package names will be similar on other distributions):
$ apt-get install kdelibs5 kdelibs5-dev libx11-dev r-base-core r-base-dev cmake


IMPORTANT: You will need to have the R shared library installed. This is typically located in a place like /usr/lib/R/lib/ Unfortunately, some distributions do not yet ship their R binary with the shared library. In those (rare) cases, you'll have to compile and install R on your own with the option --enable-R-shlib.

Suppose the source is obtained as (here rkward-0.5.3.tar.gz is used as an example, change it accordingly):

$ tar xzf rkward-0.5.3.tar.gz # extracts to rkward-0.5.3 directory
$ cd rkward-0.5.3

Then, the recommended way to build from source is:

$ mkdir build; cd build
$ cmake .. [options]	# see Path to sources and CMake options below
$ make
$ sudo make install

Path to sources

The cmake command needs to know the path to rkward sources. Typically this where the CMakeLists.txt file exists. Since, in the example above, the build directory was created inside the extracted source directory, CMakeLists.txt exists in the directory immediately above; hence '..' is the appropriate path.

CMake options (configuring)

The cmake command offers a number of parameters to control the build process. Some commonly needed are:

    • set the installation base directory. Generally -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=`kde4-config --prefix` should be correct.
    • When installing as a normal user (i.e., w/o root access), `kde4-config --localprefix` should work.
    • type of build. Useful settings include -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release and -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull

In some cases you may want to set the following options:

    • path to the R executable. You may want to set this, if you have multiple versions of R installed, or R is not in your path. Example: -DR_EXECUTABLE=/usr/bin/R
    • directory where R packages should be installed. This option is mainly of interest to packagers.
    • When installing as a normal user (i.e., w/o root access), this needs to be explicitely specified. Generally this is the R_LIBS_USER variable from the Renviron file which can be identified from withing R using:
$ R --silent
 > Sys.getenv ("R_LIBS_USER"). 
For example, on a i386 Debian with R 2.9, ~/R/i486-pc-linux-gnu-library/2.9 is the default. Create the directory manually, if it doesn't exist: mkdir -p ~/R/i486-pc-linux-gnu-library/2.9 . Then, using -DR_LIBDIR=$HOME/R/i486-pc-linux-gnu-library/2.9 should work.
  • -DR_HOME
    • R home directory. Almost certainly this option is not needed.
    • path to R include files. Almost certainly this option is not needed.

Further generic options are listed on .


As a last step, you _have to_ run 'make install'. Otherwise RKWard will be missing important menu-options, may behave strangely, or may not run at all. As root run:

$ make install

Make sure you have set the correct path in cmake (the -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX option).


For now it's recommended to run RKWard from the command-line for debug-output. For the few available command-line options see

$ rkward --help


The most common source of problems are

  1. Missing some of the build requirements
  2. Wrong / missing parameters to cmake

So please re-read the corresponding sections, first. If you're still in trouble, let us know, we'll be happy to help you.

For some systems, Binaries_and_Build_Scripts has more information.

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