Building Ardour on Linux


Do you really need to do this? We provide ready-to-run packages of Ardour. Unless you are a developer with experience compiling and building applications from source, this document is not for you. Please go back to the download page

We do not provide support for building from source. We do not make regular efforts to keep this page up to date. Please do not ask for help with this process.

Before You Start

  1. make sure you have gcc/g++ installed. gcc --version will check this. You should ideally have version 4.3 or above.
  2. You will need git installed
  3. You will need Python version 2.6 or later installed
  4. If you want JACK support, you must have a suitably new version of JACK installed. For JackOSX, version 0.89 or newer. For JACK1, 0.121 or newer.

Getting Required Libraries and Tools

Ardour uses a lot of software libraries to provide functionality needed by the program. Before you can build Ardour, you will need to make sure that your system has all of the current dependencies installed. You can do this using your system's software update/install tool, or if you are comfortable compiling source code, from the source code of each dependency. Ardour developers in general do not provide assistance with this task, so please don't ask us for help.

Building GTK+ (the graphical toolkit we use) from source is a monumental task and can require a lot of other libraries to be built and installed along the way. This is particularly true on OS X, where many of GTK's own dependencies are not easily (or correctly) available.

If you use your system software update/install tool, you must have the "development" versions of all packages. The "normal" versions are there to be able to run software that uses the package, but they do not work when trying to build other software.

Building Ardour 5.x

From here on, we will refer to the directory where your Ardour source code is located as $AD. It does not matter where it is located on your system. Typically it will be a location such as ~/ardour

If building from git, checkout Ardour

cd $AD
git clone git://
cd $AD/ardour

OR If building from a source tarball, unpack it

cd $AD
tar xf /where/you/put/the/src/tarball
cd ardour-<VERSION>

Now, the build

./waf configure

You do not need to install in order to use your new build of Ardour. You can run it from within the build tree:

cd gtk2_ardour

To install the results:

./waf install

To uninstall:

./waf uninstall

To clean up results of a build (objects, libraries, etc) use

./waf clean

Creating an Application Bundle

Ardour is distributed by in the form of "bundles", which are nothing more than a directory tree which contain everything the app needs to run.

cd tools/linux_packaging
./build --public --strip some
./package --public --singlearch

You now have a functioning binary bundle, in the form a .tar file.

Building with Windows VST Support

Please read this document about using Windows VST on Linux. We don't wish to encourage this practice, even though it is possible to do so.