Apache OpenOffice Building Guide

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This guide will help you to build Apache OpenOffice from its source code. It details the prerequisites and explains how to download the source code, prepare and then run the build. Step-by-step instructions for resolving the pre-requisites of individual platforms and building on them are available.

Here is the short version for the brave and impatient:

  1. Download the source: svn co https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/openoffice/trunk aoo
  2. Configure: cd main/ ; autoconf ; ./configure <some-switches> ; ./bootstrap
  3. Build: source <platform-dependend-name>.sh ; cd instsetoo_native ; build --all
  4. Wait for an hour or more (The build can take up to 3 hours.)
  5. Enjoy

The detailed description below gives a broader introduction into the build process and explains for the various steps.

Documentation note.png This document is loosely based on an older version. I have tried to avoid duplication and to move anything that all platforms have in common to this page. Many details have been removed on purpose because they refer to older version of OpenOffice.
  • How to use cache

See Also

Getting help

You can get help by searching this wiki or by asking questions on the developers mailing list.

You can help us improve this guide by pointing out any errors (preferably after finding a solution). Or don't be shy and edit (and improve) these pages yourself.


In order to build Apache OpenOffice you need a proper environment. This includes

  • a command line interpreter, typically bourne shell compatible (sh or bash) inside a terminal. On Windows you will need to install Cygwin to provide it.
  • C++ compiler and linker. The exact choice depends on the operating system.
  • Perl interpreter and several modules.
  • Many tools from the Unix world like make or sed.

See section General Build Requirements for an exact list of requirements.

Getting the source

The source code is available as SVN repository at https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/openoffice

Check it out with

  svn co https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/openoffice/trunk aoo

More details about how to check out source code from SVN can be found here.

Space Requirements

The checked out files take up somewhat over 5GB on disk (more than 150000 files in more than 7000 folders and the SVN overhead).

After building this becomes (on Windows7) almost 17GB (more than 406000 files in more than 23000 folders).

You can use git as well. There exists no guide for this, therefore ask on dev@openoffice.apache.org, if you want to use git.

Organization of the source and output tree

The source code has five top level directories:

contains most of the so called modules. Each module typically provides one or more libraries. The source code of the writer application for example can be found in main/sw/. More information on the organization of the modules in the source code directories here.
contains the new automated testing framework
is the new home of modules that build external libraries (libraries maintained outside of Apache OpenOffice and often outside Apache).
contains the tar balls (archives) of external libraries. They are included both for convenience and to make sure that specific versions remain available. Note that the source package of the Apache OpenOffice release does not contain any external tar balls.
holds the localization data.

Most tools and scripts that are used for building are located below main/solenv/:

  • dmake makefiles in main/solenv/inc/
  • gmake makefiles in main/solenv/gbuild/
  • executables and perl files in main/solenv/bin/
  • perl modules in main/bin/modules/

Libraries and other output files that are shared between modules are stored in main/solver/.



Building Apache OpenOffice consists of three steps:

Detect platform, operating system, compiler, etc. and write the information into a shell script for later use. The developer can turn on or off certain features in this phase.
Compile the source code, transform other input files, apply localization.
Create a set of files, the installation set, that can be installed on the respective operating system. This can be msi/cab files for windows, deb or rpm for Linux, dmg for Mac.

The configure step has to be carried out only once. Building and packing is necessary after every source code change. There are short cuts to avoid parts of these steps (when you know what you are doing.)

The building examples in this wiki document use only command line approaches to building. Depending on your expertise, it may be possible to use an IDE which allows specification of custom build scripts.

General Build Requirements

The general requirements for all platforms are

Requirement Description Configure switch
Java JDK Java Implementation compatible with JDK 1.7 or higher. OpenJDK is supported as well.

For Windows JDK 1.7 or JDK 1.8 is recommended. The JDK's bitness must match the target platform's, eg. when building for Win32, use a 32 bit JDK even if compiling on Win64.

Perl Perl 5 - note: for Windows Perl will be installed as part of the cygwin environment.

Also required are the perl packages

  • Archive::Zip
  • XML::Parser
  • LWP::UserAgent
  • Digest::SHA
  • Digest::MD5
  • LWP::Protocol::https

On Linux, use whenever possible your package manager to install the required modules. On Windows, use cygwin's setup-x86.exe.

The name of packages varies depending on the system:

Perl Module CentOS/Fedora Debian/Ubuntu Windows/cygwin
Archive::Zip perl-Archive-Zip libarchive-zip-perl perl-Archive-Zip
XML::Parser perl-XML-Parser libxml-parser-perl perl-XML-Parser
LWP::UserAgent perl-libwww-perl libwww-perl perl-libwww-perl
Digest::SHA perl-Digest-SHA perl perl-Digest-SHA
Digest::MD5 perl-Digest-MD5 perl perl
LWP::Protocol::https perl-LWP-Protocol-https liblwp-protocol-https-perl perl-LWP-Protocol-https

On some rather old systems, LWP::Protocol::https is installed in the same package as LWP::UserAgent; in this case, you need to install further dependencies in order to use LWP::UserAgent with the HTTPS protocol with no errors; on CentOS 5, for example, you need to install the Crypt::SSLeay module, provided by the perl-Crypt-SSLeay package.

On Mac OS X, bootstrap may fail to download external dependencies from HTTPS URLs (you may get an error with a message like "Can't verify SSL peers without knowing which Certificate Authorities to trust"), even if configure found all required modules; in this case, install the Mozilla::CA module using cpan.

On CentOS, perl-Digest-SHA might be only provided through the EPEL repository.

The prefered way to install Perl modules is using your system's package manager; alternatively, and as last resort, Perl modules can be installed from the shell with (you may have to run it with super user/administrator rights)

   perl -MCPAN -e shell

If it is executed for the first time then CPAN will ask for configuration. Choose autoconfiguration. Eventually the CPAN shell appears accepts commands. Install missing modules with

   install <module-name>

Find more details here.5

CUPS cups headers. Provided by a cups-devel package or a libcups2-devel

note: not for Windows

PAM PAM support. Provided by a pam-devel package or a libpam-dev

note: not for Windows

Apache Ant Ant 1.9 or later (see note) --with-ant-home=
Archiver zip and unzip - note: for Windows zip and unzip will be installed as part of the cygwin environment.
gperf gperf tool - note: for Windows gperf will be installed as part of the cygwin environment.
NSS1 For Windows the Mozilla build tools2 are needed to build the nss module. It is recommended to use version 2.2.0 or older. OpenOffice is not yet compatible with version 3.0 or newer. They can be obtained here.
unowinreg.dll pre-built unowinreg.dll (see NOTE)

Required for building the ODK which is included in the build unless disabled. This file is required for non-Windows builds. Without this file, configure will try to set up cross-compiling with windows. NOTE: Not for windows. Required on all non-windows platforms. Download by directly saving unowinreg.dll into /main/external from the link provided above, or by using wget:

   cd $SRC/main &&  wget -O external/unowinreg/unowinreg.dll http://tools.openoffice.org/unowinreg_prebuild/680/unowinreg.dll


  1. The nss module ("Network Security Services") provides security services needed for e.g. password protection. NSS can be disabled using the configure switch --disable-nss-module.
  2. NSS is provided by the Mozilla project. Building it on Windows requires the MozillaBuild tools. It is recommended to use version 2.2.0 or older. OpenOffice is not yet compatible with version 3.0 or newer. Install it and use the configure switch --with-mozilla-build to tell configure where the tools are installed. For example: --with-mozilla-build=c:/mozilla-build
  3. Please note that CPAN is not able to deal with usernames containing spaces. To work around this fact, when CPAN asks you to specify the CPAN build and cache directory, change the default suggestion to /cpan.
  4. Apache Ant: Assure a proper ant set-up by downloading and installing ant, in total, from the ant site linked above. If you are a Linux developer, your distro may not have ant setup correctly for building Apache OpenOffice.
  5. Use ./configure --help to see all possible configuration options

See also the platform specific requirements for

Configuration and bootstrapping

This is typically done only once after the source code is checked out. Repeat this after changing your mind about options given to configure.

The call to


creates the main/configure script from main/configure.in and some other input files.

The set of options/switches given to configure depends on the platform and your choice of features. To see all configure options for your system, type:

 configure --help

A typical configuration call starts like this --

   configure                                                                                         \
       --with-dmake-url=https://sourceforge.net/projects/oooextras.mirror/files/dmake-4.12.tar.bz2 \
       --with-epm-url=https://sourceforge.net/projects/oooextras.mirror/files/epm-3.7.tar.gz       \

It tells configure where to find the source code of external tools dmake and epm.

By default only source code under category A licenses is compiled and included. Besides the Apache License 2.0 this includes for example BSD and MIT/X11 license. If you want to enable features that rely on third party code under category B licenses (like MPL, CPL, EPL, etc) then add the option


For inclusion of externally hosted dictionary extensions add option


Note that dictionaries rely on a category B third party library (hunspell). Therefore --enable-category-b is a prerequisite for --enable-bundled-dictionaries. Dictionaries have a variety of licenses and are bundled without modification: they are not compiled.

The --with-lang option will introduce the build of additional language resources. This switch accepts one or more RFC 1766 language tags as arguments, unfortunately not all languages are supported. Check the solenv/inc/langlist.mk file for all the currently supported language tags. The environment variable WITH_LANG will then contain the language tags of the additional (en-US will always be build) languages. Example:

       --with-lang="de fr"

enables the build of the localized German and French version.

To build with symbolic generation, add option


This would allow you to work with debugging symbols in gdb.

Another useful option for interactive debugging features is dbgutil. Add option,


for this feature. Also see the Debugging information on this page.

By default the result binaries will be packaged in the default format used by your OS/Distribution. Using 'installed' for package format puts OpenOffice into your installset directory (browse down ../installed/install). This will save you time for testing since you can then directly run OpenOffice from this area.

Add option


This will speed up development process since it skipped packaging. In some cases, packaging rips the debugging symbol so this would be necessary for symbolic generation. NOTE: Additional package format options will be ignored with the "installed" option.

You can run the rat scan while building with option


Here you can find details of the rat scan.

Finish this step by running


This will build dmake and epm, download missing source code tar balls of external libraries, and download missing external dictionary extensions.


Start by including the environment variables prepared by configure into your current environment with

  source <shell-script-name>

where <shell-script-name> depends on your platform:

platform id <shell-script-name>
wntmsci12 winenv.set.sh
unxlngi6 LinuxX86Env.Set.sh
unxlngx6 LinuxX86-64Env.Set.sh
unxmacci MacOSXX64Env.Set.sh

Look into main/set_soenv for more platforms. (search for lines $OUTPATH = "<platform>"; and the nearby line $outfile = "<shell-script-name>";. Add the suffix .sh for the bash variant.

If you want to build the whole office and the install sets then

   cd main/instsetoo_native
   build --all

You may want to experiment with the -P options for multi process builds to reduce the build time.

   build --all -P<m> -- -P<n>

tells build to use m processes (build up to m modules in parallel) and n threads for each module.

Details about creating installation sets can be found here.

Building Apache OpenOffice uses a custom build command, build.pl, located in /main/solenv/bin. You may find it helpful to learn more about build options from the Build Documentation

Partial Builds

Building the whole office takes a lot of time. Therefore it may be preferable to build only parts after making changes to the source code. There are two different types of partial builds:

Can be used only when the code changes do not change exported interfaces. Use with care and only when you know what you are doing.
Use for code changes that modify exported C++ or IDL interfaces, that modify resources that are used by other modules, or when you are not sure.
If you are a new developer, you should probably always assume your changes are "incompatible" and follow the instructions for Incompatible Build.

Make Systems Used by Apache OpenOffice

For the following Build sections you should be aware that Apache OpenOffice uses two different make systems to build its modules.

  • The older one is based on dmake
  • The other and newer one is based on GNU make. This system is often referred to as gbuild.

When a module contains, among others, a Makefile and a Module_<module>.mk file then it is a gbuild module.

Compatible Build

After changing code in module <module> which does not change any exported interfaces do

dmake gbuild
   cd <module>
   cd <module>
   make -sr

No explicit call to deliver is necessary for gbuild modules.

to compile and deliver the resulting libraries to main/solver/.

You may want to erase the output of a previous compilation. In some cases a new compilation will not work correctly unless the old output is removed.

dmake gbuild
   cd <module>
   build --from <module> --prepare

or faster (but without the un-deliver)

   cd <module>
   rm -fr <platform>/
   cd <module>
   make clean

Incompatible Build

Modifications that change exported interfaces require not only the module to be rebuild that contains the modified code. All depending modules (dependencies are defined in <module>/prj/build.lst) have to be rebuild as well. This is best done from main/instsetoo_native/:

 cd main/instsetoo_native/
 build --from <incompatible-module> --prepare
 build --from <incompatible-module>

The second line removes the output of all modules that have to be recompiled. The drawback of this command is that the output of modules which are build via gbuild are not removed. Thus, the following additional command performed after the second one will do the trick:

 build --from <incompatible-module> --job="make clean; make clean debug=t" --ignore

Frequently used options

In order to add debug information to libraries and executables, add the debug switch to any build or make command:

dmake gbuild
   cd <module>
   build debug=t
   cd <module>
   make -sr debug=t

Remember that for the gbuild system you have to use the debug flag also when cleaning a module (otherwise eg the wrong precompiled headers are deleted and are not rebuilt):

   make clean debug=t

You can force make to rebuild dependency information by first deleting it with the depend option. It would be rebuilt automatically with the next build:

dmake gbuild
   cd <module>
   build depend=t
   cd <module>
   make -sr depend=t
   make -sr

Build Cleanup

In the event that you want to change configuration parameters used for building, you will probably need to "clean" your build output tree before starting again.

To do this, navigate to the "main" directory, then source your environment shell script as you did for building:

    source <shell-script-name>

then do:

    dmake clean

Step-by-Step Building Guide for Different Platforms

Building Apache OpenOffice with an IDE

Building with Eclipse

Additional Build Resources


Personal tools