Current Build-time Dependencies for Ardour

Full Build Stack

The full list of our current dependencies can be seen on this page which shows the precise library versions used for our nightly builds. Scroll down to "Build Dependencies". You will need ALL of these libraries available (which include the modified versions mentioned below) in order to build Ardour.

Libraries Requiring Modified Versions

The binary ("ready to run") versions of Ardour available on are built using modified versions of recent releases of the following libraries.

  • Cairo
  • GTK+ 2
These modifications are required for building and running Ardour. To comply with the license that they (and Ardour) use, we make modified releases of them available (links can be found on this page). The patches used to create them can be found in Ardour's repository at

How do these versions differ?

The changes to the libraries listed above are relatively minor but important for the smooth operation of Ardour and/or packaging it as a binary bundle. You could build a functioning version of Ardour with the normal releases of thes libraries if you chose to do so.

patched to allow users to disable h/w gradient rendering on buggy video drivers

On OS X, contains several patches need to make GTK+ function correctly for Ardour. Some of these changes break the GTK+ ABI, and so will never be accepted for the GTK+ 2.x releases. Building Ardour against the official release of GTK+ 2.x will create a non-functioning application.

On both Linux and OS X, contains a patch to allow GTK+ to be fully relocatable. You do NOT need this version of GTK+ on Linux unless you intend to try to build your own binary bundles of Ardour.

The modified version of GTK+ must be built with the --enable-relocation argument given to the configure command.


Ardour is currently built using Freetype 2.4.9 plus this patch. The patch turns off the bytecode interpreter which Ardour's lead developer thinks produces nicer font rendering. The patch not actually required on Linux systems, and is irrelevant on non-Linux systems (since Freetype is not used to render fonts there).

At the present time, there appears to be no way for a 3rd party to repackage Freetype into a source tarball. The maintainers of the library have been notified of this issue.