Installing from SVN on Mac OS X

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This article is part of the HOWTOs series.
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This document outlines the build process for Scribus 1.3.5 or higher from CVS/SVN. This is an official Scribus Team document and as such is the currently support build preference on OSX and is also subject to a different licence to the rest of the wiki. This does not currently outline the processs for packaging and bundling Scribus (yet). OS X Tiger

What we use

  • MacPorts (renamed from darwinports in version 1.5)
  • Qt from Trolltech
  • XCode from Apple
  • Scribus SVN

Install development packages

Steps to build and install Scribus 1.3.5 on OSX/Aqua(tested on Intel only)

  • Install X11 (available on the OSX CDs or from the Apple site)
  • Install XCode (available on the OSX CDs or from the Apple developer site)
  • Install MacPorts (downloadable from
  • Install Qt4 for OSX

Building and Installing other required libraries on Tiger/Leopard with MacPorts

  • If your machine has a multicore CPU or multiple CPUs, you can edit the /opt/local/etc/macports/macports.conf file and change the build options to allow for multiple threads. While there, you might as well turn on the pipes option to reduce temporary file usage while building.
  • Install a few ports from MacPorts (any dependencies not already installed will be installed automatically)
    • Install CMake (sudo port install cmake)
    • Install freetype2 (sudo port install freetype). The one included with OSX 10.4.x is not as good as available from darwinports.
    • Install lcms (sudo port install lcms). This will also install jpeg, zlib, tiff
    • Install cairo (sudo port install cairo). This will install fontconfig too.
    • Install libxml2 (sudo port install libxml2).
    • Tiger only: Install subversion (sudo port install subversion), OR optionally install subversion from another source.
    • Optionally (recommended) install ghostscript (sudo port install ghostscript)

You can of course do this all in one line (sudo port install cmake lcms cairo libxml2 ghostscript freetype)

Building and Installing Scribus

  • Make a directory where you want to download to (eg, in Terminal, mkdir -p ~/scribus/135)
  • Change to this directory (cd ~/scribus/135)
  • Check out Scribus from SVN
  • Make a build directory (mkdir builddir)
  • Change to the build directory (cd builddir)
  • Run the cmake command, with the installation path set as you desire. Two common locations would be under /Applications or /Users/<your username>/Applications. As I like to keep compiled software separate to system installed applications, I use the second, but this is a personal preference:

cmake -DBUILD_OSX_BUNDLE=1 -DWANT_CAIRO=1 -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=/Users/username/Applications/Scribus.App/Contents/ ../trunk/Scribus/

  • make
  • make install


Now you can run Scribus 1.3.5+ from OSX if all has gone well.