This page covers the basic steps needed to build a bleeding-edge, development version of Instantbird. For additional, more detailed information, see the build documentation. This should be kept in sync with Simple Thunderbird build, you might want to take a look at that page too.
- While you can build Instantbird on older hardware it can take quite a bit of time to compile on slower machines, and having 8GB of RAM is recommended (though you can probably still get away with 4Gb).
- Good internet connection for the initial source download.
Depending on your Operating System you will need to carry out a different process to prepare your machine. So firstly complete the instructions for your OS and then continue following these build instructions.
TIP: After completing Setup for your OS, and before you Get the source, you can opt to add the progressExtension to your mercurial.ini (for Windows) or .hgrc (for *Nix / Mac) file. This will provide status feedback during the lengthy clone / download process. see: Configure Mercurial .hgrc file for Progress Extension.
Get the source
Get the latest source code from Mozilla's
comm-central Mercurial code repository:
hg clone http://hg.mozilla.org/comm-central
Then, get all the repositories it depends on. The comm-central repository includes a script to do just that. This may take a while, it's a lot of code! First, cd into the
central subdirectory (created automatically by the previous command):
python client.py checkout
The source code requires 1.5GB of free space or more.
For more on getting the source code, see the page Getting comm-central Source Code Using Mercurial [en-US].
By default, the build system creates a release build of Instantbird roughly equivalent to the official Instantbird release builds. If that's not exactly what you want, there are many build configuration options to choose from, although it's strongly recommended that you only use options that you fully understand. The normal way to specify build options is to place them in a file called '.mozconfig' at the root of your mozilla source tree, i.e. your comm-central repo. For example, to create a debug build instead of a release build, that file would contain:
For more on configuration options, see the page Configuring build options. Note that if you use an MOZ_OBJDIR it cannot be a sibling folder to your source directory. Use an absolute path to be sure!
What you need to do to build Instantbird rather than Firefox is:
echo 'ac_add_options --enable-application=im' >> .mozconfig
To start the build, cd into the
comm-central subdirectory (created automatically by the
hg clone command), and run:
mach is our command-line tool to streamline common developer tasks. See the mach article for more.
Building can take a significant amount of time, depending on your system, OS, and chosen build options. Linux builds on a fast box may take under 15 minutes, but Windows builds on a slow box may take several hours.
Building purplexpcom and libpurple
First download the purplexpcom code:
hg clone http://hg.mozilla.org/users/florian_queze.net/purple mozilla/extensions/purple
If you've set up your build environment as above, then all you need to do is:
echo 'ac_add_options --enable-extensions=purple' >> .mozconfig
comm-central directory, or just add the
ac_add_options --enable-extensions=purple line to your .mozconfig with your favorite editor.
Then just re-run the mach command above (you may need to clobber (see below), or you can do the addition before running make for the first time).
To run your build, you can use
There are various command line parameters you can add, e.g. to specify a profile.
Various temporary files, libraries, and the Instantbird executable will be found in your object directory (under
comm-central/), which is prefixed with
obj-. The exact name depends on your system and OS. For example, a Mac user may get an object directory name of
The Instantbird executable in particular, and its dependencies, are located under the
dist/bin folder under the object directory. To run the executable from your
comm-central working directory:
- OS X:
How to update and build again
Simply re-run the mach command above. This will only recompile files that changed.
When you are working on your own patches, an incremental build is often enough, and is very fast indeed. This will only rebuild a particular folder. So, for Instantbird, you would run
mach build im
which has been configured to automatically rebuild
/chat as well.
To fetch the latest upstream changes, in your
comm-central directory, run the same command as before:
python client.py checkout
- Tried a clobber? This means deleting the object directory so that your next build is completely fresh. To do this you can use
- Checked the Instantbird buildbot for known failures at the time you pulled the code?
- If the trunk is broken, you may wish to consider building one of the branches (to pull the source code from a branch, just replace the url to the repository in the hg clone instruction).
- Checked to make sure that the path in which you placed the source code has no spaces, and is not too long?
- Have you searched the bug database for issues relating to your problem (e.g., platform-specific issues)?
- Try asking in mozilla.dev.chat - don't forget to include details of what is in your mozconfig, and what the actual error is.