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GTK+ FAQ: How to find, configure, install, and troubleshoot GTK+ Next Previous Contents

2. How to find, configure, install, and troubleshoot GTK+

2.1 What do I need to run GTK+?

To compile GTK+, all you need is a C compiler (gcc) and the X Window System and associated libraries on your system.

2.2 Where can I get GTK+?

The canonical site is:

This site tends to get busy around the time of a new GTK+ release so try and use one of the mirror sites that are listed in ftp://ftp.gtk.org/etc/mirrors

Here's a few mirror sites to get you started:

  • Africa - ftp://ftp.is.co.za/applications/gimp/
  • Australia - ftp://ftp.au.gimp.org/pub/gimp/
  • Finland - ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/sci/graphics/packages/gimp
  • Germany - ftp://infosoc.uni-koeln.de/pub/ftp.gimp.org/
  • Japan - ftp://SunSITE.sut.ac.jp/pub/archives/packages/gimp/
  • UK - ftp://ftp.flirble.org/pub/X/gimp/
  • US - ftp://ftp.insync.net/pub/mirrors/ftp.gimp.org/

2.3 How do I configure/compile GTK+?

Generally, all you will need to do is issue the commands:

in the gtk+-version/ directory.

2.4 When compiling GTK+ I get an error like: make: file `Makefile' line 456: Syntax error

Make sure that you are using GNU make (use make -v to check). There are many weird and wonderful versions of make out there, and not all of them handle the automatically generated Makefiles.

2.5 I've compiled and installed GTK+, but I can't get any programs to link with it!

This problem is most often encountered when the GTK+ libraries can't be found or are the wrong version. Generally, the compiler will complain about an 'unresolved symbol'. There are two things you need to check:

  • Make sure that the libraries can be found. You want to edit /etc/ld.so.conf to include the directories which contain the GTK libraries, so it looks something like:
    Then you need to run /sbin/ldconfig as root. You can find what directory GTK is in using
    gtk-config --libs
    If your system doesn't use ld.so to find libraries (such as Solaris), then you will have to use the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable (or compile the path into your program, which I'm not going to cover here). So, with a Bourne type shell you can do (if your GTK libraries are in /usr/local/lib):
    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib
    and in a csh, you can do:
    setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH /usr/local/lib
  • Make sure the linker is finding the correct set of libraries. If you have a Linux distribution that installs GTK+ (e.g. RedHat 5.0) then this older version may be used. Now (assuming you have a RedHat system), issue the command
    rpm -e gtk gtk-devel
    You may also want to remove the packages that depend on gtk (rpm will tell you which ones they are). If you don't have a RedHat Linux system, check to make sure that neither
    contain any of the libraries libgtk, libgdk, libglib, or libgck. If they do exist, remove them (and any gtk include files, such as /usr/include/gtk and /usr/include/gdk) and reinstall gtk+.

2.6 When compiling programs with GTK+, I get compiler error messages about not being able to find "glibconfig.h".

The header file "glibconfig.h" was moved to the directory $exec_prefix/lib/glib/include/. $exec_prefix is the directory that was specified by giving the --exec-prefix flags to ./configure when compiling GTK+. It defaults to $prefix, (specified with --prefix), which in turn defaults to /usr/local/.

This was done because "glibconfig.h" includes architecture dependent information, and the rest of the include files are put in $prefix/include, which can be shared between different architectures.

GTK+ includes a shell script, gtk-config, that makes it easy to find out the correct include paths. The GTK+ tutorial includes an example of using gtk-config for simple compilation from the command line. For information about more complicated configuration, see the file docs/gtk-config.txt in the GTK+ distribution.

If you are trying to compile an old program, you may be able to work around the problem by configuring it with a command line like:

CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include/glib/include" ./configure

for Bourne-compatible shells like bash, or for csh variants:

setenv CPPFLAGS "-I/usr/local/include/glib/include" 

(Substitute the appropriate value of $exec_prefix for /usr/local.)

2.7 When installing a GTK+ application, configure reports that it can't find GTK.

There are several common reasons for this:

  • You have an old version of GTK installed somewhere. RedHat 5.0, for example, installs an older copy of GTK that may not work with the latest applications. You should remove this old copy, but note that in the case of RedHat 5.0 this will break the control-panel applications.

  • gtk-config (or another component of GTK) isn't in your path, or there is an old version on your system. Type:
    gtk-config --version
    to check for both of these. If it returns a value different from what you expect, then you have an old version of GTK on your system.

  • The ./configure script can't find the GTK libraries. As ./configure compiles various test programs, it needs to be able to find the GTK libraries. See the question above for help on this.

If none of the above help, then have a look in config.log, which is generated by ./configure as it runs. At the bottom will be the last action it took before failing. If it is a section of source code, copy the source code to a file and compile it with the line just above it in config.log. If the compilation is successful, try executing it.

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