Appendix A: Building the Client

This section explains how to build the ownCloud Client from source for all major platforms. You should read this section if you want to develop for the desktop client.


Building instruction are subject to change as development proceeds. Please check the version for which you want to build.

The instructions contained in this topic were updated to work with version 1.7 of the ownCloud Client.


  1. Add the ownCloud repository from OBS.
  2. Install the dependencies (as root, or using sudo) using the following commands for your specific Linux distribution:
    • Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get update; apt-get build-dep owncloud-client
    • openSUSE: zypper ref; zypper si -d owncloud-client
    • Fedora/CentOS: yum install yum-utils; yum-builddep owncloud-client
  3. Follow the generic build instructions.
  4. (Optional) Call make install to install the client to the /usr/local/bin directory.


This step requires the mingw32-cross-nsis packages be installed on Windows.

Mac OS X

In additon to needing XCode (along with the command line tools), developing in the Mac OS X environment requires extra dependencies. You can install these dependencies through MacPorts or Homebrew. These dependencies are required only on the build machine, because non-standard libs are deployed in the app bundle.

The tested and preferred way to develop in this environment is through the use of HomeBrew. The ownCloud team has its own repository containing non-standard recipes.

To set up your build enviroment for development using HomeBrew:

  1. Add the ownCloud repository using the following command:

    brew tap owncloud/owncloud
  2. Install any missing dependencies:

    brew install $(brew deps owncloud-client)
  3. Add Qt from brew to the path:

    export PATH=/usr/local/Cellar/qt5/5.x.y/bin/qmake

    Where x.z is the current version of Qt 5 that brew has installed on your machine.

  1. For compilation of the client, follow the generic build instructions.
  2. In the build directory, run admin/osx/ <build_dir> <install_dir>. If you have a developer signing certificate, you can specify its Common Name as a third parameter (use quotes) to have the package signed automatically.


Contrary to earlier versions, ownCloud 1.7 and later are packaged as a pkg installer. Do not call “make package” at any time when compiling for OS X, as this will build a disk image, and will not work correctly.

Windows Development Build

If you want to test some changes and deploy them locally, you can build natively on Windows using MinGW. If you want to generate an installer for deployment, please follow Windows Installer Build (Cross-Compile) instead.

  1. Get the required dependencies:

    • Make sure that you have CMake and Git.
    • Download the Qt MinGW package. You will use the MinGW version bundled with it.
    • Download an OpenSSL Windows Build (the non-“Light” version)
  2. Get the QtKeychain sources as well as the latest versions of the ownCloud client from Git as follows:

    git clone
    git clone git://
  3. Open the Qt MinGW shortcut console from the Start Menu

  4. Make sure that OpenSSL’s bin directory as well as your qtkeychain source directories are in your PATH. This will allow CMake to find the library and headers, as well as allow the ownCloud client to find the DLLs at runtime:

    set PATH=C:\<OpenSSL Install Dir>\bin;%PATH%
    set PATH=C:\<qtkeychain Clone Dir>;%PATH%
  5. Build qtkeychain directly in the source directory so that the DLL is built in the same directory as the headers to let CMake find them together through PATH:

    cd <qtkeychain Clone Dir>
    cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" .
    cd ..
  6. Create the build directory:

    mkdir client-build
    cd client-build
  7. Build the client:

    cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" ../client


You can try using ninja to build parallelly using cmake -G Ninja ../client and ninja instead.


Refer to the generic build instructions section for additional options.

The owncloud binary will appear in the bin directory.

Windows Installer Build (Cross-Compile)

Due to the large number of dependencies, building the client installer for Windows is currently only officially supported on openSUSE, by using the MinGW cross compiler. You can set up openSUSE 13.1, 13.2 or openSUSE Factory in a virtual machine if you do not have it installed already.

To cross-compile:

  1. Add the following repositories using YaST or zypper ar (adjust when using another openSUSE version):

    zypper ar
    zypper ar
  2. Install the cross-compiler packages and the cross-compiled dependencies:

    zypper install cmake make mingw32-cross-binutils mingw32-cross-cpp mingw32-cross-gcc \
                      mingw32-cross-gcc-c++ mingw32-cross-pkg-config mingw32-filesystem \
                      mingw32-headers mingw32-runtime site-config \
                      mingw32-cross-libqt5-qmake mingw32-cross-libqt5-qttools mingw32-libqt5* \
  3. For the installer, install the NSIS installer package:

    zypper install mingw32-cross-nsis
  4. Install the following plugin:

    mingw32-cross-nsis-plugin-processes mingw32-cross-nsis-plugin-uac


This plugin is typically required. However, due to a current bug in mingw, the plugins do not currently build properly from source.

  1. Manually download and install the following files using rpm -ivh <package>:
  1. Follow the generic build instructions


When building for Windows platforms, you must specify a special toolchain file that enables cmake to locate the platform-specific tools. To add this parameter to the call to cmake, enter -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../client/admin/win/Toolchain-mingw32-openSUSE.cmake.

  1. Build by running make.


Using make package produces an NSIS-based installer, provided the NSIS mingw32 packages are installed.

  1. If you want to sign the installer, acquire a Microsoft Authenticode Certificate and install osslsigncode to sign the installer:

    zypper install osslsigncode
  2. Sign the package:

    osslsigncode -pkcs12 $HOME/.codesign/packages.pfx -h sha1 \
               -pass yourpass \
               -n "ACME Client" \
               -i "" \
               -ts "http://timestamp.server/" \
               -in ${unsigned_file} \
               -out ${installer_file}

    for -in, use URL to the time stamping server provided by your CA along with the Authenticode certificate. Alternatively, you may use the official Microsoft signtool utility on Microsoft Windows.

Generic Build Instructions

Compared to previous versions, building the desktop sync client has become easier. Unlike earlier versions, CSync, which is the sync engine library of the client, is now part of the client source repository and not a separate module.

You can download the desktop sync client from the ownCloud Client Download Page.

To build the most up to date version of the client:

  1. Clone the latest versions of the client from Git as follows:
git clone git:// git submodule init git submodule update
  1. Create the build directory:
mkdir client-build cd client-build
  1. Configure the client build:

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE="Debug" ../client

..note:: You must use absolute paths for the include and library
..note:: On Mac OS X, you need to specify -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=target,
where target is a private location, i.e. in parallel to your build dir by specifying ../install.
  1. Call make.
The owncloud binary will appear in the bin directory.

The following are known cmake parameters:

  • QTKEYCHAIN_LIBRARY=/path/to/qtkeychain.dylib -DQTKEYCHAIN_INCLUDE_DIR=/path/to/qtkeychain/:
    Used for stored credentials. When compiling with Qt5, the library is called qt5keychain.dylib. You need to compile QtKeychain with the same Qt version.
  • WITH_DOC=TRUE: Creates doc and manpages through running make; also adds install statements, providing the ability to install using make install.
  • CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/path/to/Qt5.2.0/5.2.0/yourarch/lib/cmake/: Builds using Qt5.
  • BUILD_WITH_QT4=ON: Builds using Qt4 (even if Qt5 is found).
  • CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=path: Set an install prefix. This is mandatory on Mac OS