Part II. Building Clutter

Emmanuele Bassi



Clutter Dependencies


A general-purpose utility library, not specific to graphical user interfaces. GLib provides many useful data types, macros, type conversions, string utilities, file utilities, a main loop abstraction, and so on.


The GLib Object System provides the required implementations of a flexible, extensible and intentionally easy to map (into other languages) object-oriented framework for C.


Pango is a library for laying out and rendering text, with an emphasis on internationalization.

Backend Windowing System Library

GLX, EGL (1.1), Cocoa (OS X) and WGL (Windows)

Graphics Rendering

Open GL (1.3+ or 1.2 with multitexturing support) or Open GL ES (1.1 or 2.0)

Platform-specific instructions


If you are using Debian or Ubuntu, you can install pre-compiled binary packages the normal Debian way following the instructions at

To build Clutter clutter from sources, get the latest source archives from Once you have extracted the sources from the archive execute the following commands in the top-level directory:

    $ ./configure

    $ make

    # make install


You can configure the build with number of additional arguments passed to the configure script, the full list of which can be obtained by running ./configure --help. The following arguments are specific to Clutter:


Controls the Clutter debugging level. Possible values are: yes (all GLib asserts, checks and runtime debug messages); minimum - just GLib cast checks and runtime debug messages; no (no GLib asserts or checks and no runtime debug messages). The default is yes for development cycles, and minimum for stable releases. You should not use no, unless the only performance critical paths are the GLib type system checks.


Controls the COGL debugging level, similarly to --enable-debug.


Use strict compiler flags; default=no.


Use gtk-doc to build documentation; default=no.


Build application developers manual; requires jw and xmlto binaries; default=no.


Select the Clutter backend; default=glx.


Select the image loading backend; default is set to gdk-pixbuf on Linux and Windows, and to quartz on OS X. The internal image loading backend should only be used when porting to a new platform or for testing purposes, and its stability or functionality are not guaranteed.


Select the version of GLES to support in COGL; default is 1.1.


Select whether to use the internal copy of JSON-GLib to parse the ClutterScript UI definition files, or to check for the system installed library; default is internal.


Whether to enable XInput 1 support; default is no.


Whether to generate GObject Introspection data at build time; default is auto.


The recommended way of building Clutter for Windows is using the mingw tool chain. This will work either by cross compiling from a Linux installation or directly on Windows using MSYS. See the wiki for more information.


Before you start you should install XCode either from the OSX installation disk or by downloading it from the Apple website.

Note: These instructions have only been tested on OS X 10.6 (a.k.a Snow Leopard)

Currently the only way to install Clutter for developing applications, or hacking on Clutter itself, is to build it yourself. The recommended route is to install the dependencies with the MacPorts project, by simply invoking:

$ sudo port install libpixman-devel cairo-devel pango gtk-doc

on a terminal, after installing and updating MacPorts. This should give you all of the required dependencies for building Clutter.

It should be noted that building gtk-doc pulls in a lot of other MacPorts dependencies and takes some considerable time. You can omit this dependency so long as you disable documentation when you are configuring the build with --disable-gtk-doc --disable-docs

The Clutter Quartz backend is built by passing the --with-flavour=osx command line argument to the configure script. If not passed, the GLX backend will be built. By default, the Quartz backend depends on CoreGraphics in order to load images into textures, but it can also depend on GDK-Pixbuf or an internal, highly experimental PNG and JPEG loader.

GTK introspection is untested on OSX (as there isn't a MacPorts package) so it is recommended that you disable this with the --disable-introspection.

If building on top of MacPorts, as recommended, the following configure command should suffice:

./configure --with-flavour=osx --disable-introspection --prefix=/opt