The new emerging NLE for GNU/Linux

At the moment you can build Lumiera, start the standard Lumiera GUI and run the Lumiera test suite. The GUI you start might look like a mockup, but in fact is is the real application; just there isn’t much wiring between GUI, model and core yet. This will remain the state of affairs for the foreseeable future, since we’re developing core components against a test suite with unit and integration tests. Thus, the growth of our test suite is the only visible indication of progress.

This tutorial outlines the fundamental steps required to compile Lumiera on Linux (or a comparable) system. We’ll assume that you have a certain familiarity with commandline survival skills on your system. To help you getting started, this tutorial lists all the necessary commands explicitly.
[there are some minor differences between the various Debian based distributions, thus the exact version numbers and package names appearing in our example commands might be slightly different on your system]

There are two distinct methods to build:

  • use the Debian source code package of Lumiera (the »Debian way«)

  • use Git to retrieve all source code and build the »classical way«

Note just compiling Lumiera on a Debian-based system (e.g. Mint, Ubuntu…) is much simpler when using the Debian source package. See the separate tutorial page for this
[besides, there is a separate page with general instructions for installing on Debian/Ubuntu).]
The purpose of this tutorial here is to show you the elementary and generic steps to compile Lumiera from source.


To build Lumiera, you’ll need a build environment together with the development packages of the libraries Lumiera depends on.
[there is a separate documentation page listing the build dependencies explicitly. We’ll try to keep that information up to date — but in the end, the really authoritative information about the build dependencies is encoded into the build system. Thus, when the build system aborts, indicating that a never version of some library is required, then usually the build system is right…]
More specifically, you’ll need the GNU C/C++ compiler with C++17 support (Version >= 7) in addition to the following tools and libraries:

The GUI depends on the following:

Tip Generally speaking, when you want to build software, you’ll need the development version of the packages that contain the headers and pre-built libraries to link against. These packages are usually named -devel or -dev.

For Debian based systems, e.g. Mint, Ubuntu…, you can install these packages as follows:

sudo apt-get install build-essential scons git-core valgrind intltool \
libboost-dev libboost-program-options-dev libboost-regex-dev libboost-filesystem-dev \
libgavl-dev libgtkmm-3.0-dev libgdl-3-dev librsvg2-dev libxv-dev

Build Directory

You’ll need to check out the source code in some directory or other. You’ll also have to use this directory to build Lumiera. This could be a temporary directory, or some "workspace" directory below your home directory. We’ll refer to this directory as workspace directory .

Lumiera Specific Libraries

Now that you have your basic build environment prepared, the next step is to care for some special libraries required by Lumiera that are not directly part of the Lumiera project itself, but aren’t readily available through the usual package manager of the common distributions either.
[we maintain our own Debian package depot at and provide binary Debian packages for a range of distributions; yet this tutorial strives at showing the basic and generic method for building. Thus we’ll show you here how to build these libraries from source yourself]
Thus, we’ll have to get the source code for these support libraries, build and install them before we’re able to compile Lumiera.

Warning Note that the following procedures will try to install files into your base system below /usr/local.
To do so, you’ll need administrative permission for the machine you’re working on. These additions might interfere with other libraries installed by your package manager (if you get into trouble updating your system later on, you might have to manually remove these libraries).

NoBug: building and installing

NoBug is an instrumentation and diagnostics library.
Enter workspace direcory as explained above. Get the NoBug source code:

git clone git://

This will create a (sub)directory called nobug that contains source code.
Compile and install NoBug with the following commands:

cd nobug
autoreconf -i
mkdir build
cd build
sudo make install

GDL-mm: building and installing

The GNOME Docking library is available through your your package manager, but we additionally need the C++ bindings. Since these haven’t made it into the standard repositories yet, we provide a suitable custom package here; the following shows how to build the latter

Version limitation

we rely on GTK-3 and thus need a compatible GDL-3.

There is a dependency on xmlto, which is an xml converter. To install on Debian:

apt-get install xmlto
git clone git://
cd gdlmm
git checkout debian
sudo make install

verify library linkage

The compile might warn you to add various directories to /etc/ and then to run ldconfig. This will allow your dynamic linker to pick up the newly built libraries later when you try to start Lumiera. If you don’t want to reconfigure your system and add /usr/local/lib to the linker configuration, you may alternatively just add the directories to your LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable.

Either way, check that all libraries are accessible and OK:

sudo ldconfig -v | grep 'nobug'

and you should get a list of the libraries, part of which should look like this: -> /usr/local/lib/ -> /usr/local/lib/ -> /usr/local/lib/

or similar. The same applies to other custom libraries you needed to build explicitly for your system. If any of these libraries are not listed, you’ll have to see why before you can continue.

Building Lumiera

Next, after having built and installed the external libraries, go into the workspace directory and retrieve the Lumiera source code. Thereafter, build Lumiera by invoking the scons build
[more options for building with scons can be found via: scons -h ]

git clone git://

maybe build and run the test suite by issuing scons check

The build process will take some time, so sit back and relax.

Note you do not need to install Lumiera. It will find all files it requires relative to the directory structure it generates, which is freely relocatable as a whole. Just invoke the target/lumiera executable. The current working directory is not particularly relevant.

After the build has finished successfully, you should be able to start Lumiera. Currently, this will bring up the GUI, without any further functionality (!)

You should see something like this:

Current Lumiera GUI Screenshot

What’s next?

If you’re a coder, maybe you have found something to improve…?
Contributing to Lumiera is easy, thanks to Git