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Building HarfBuzz

Building on Linux

(1) To build HarfBuzz on Linux, you must first install the development packages for FreeType, Cairo, and GLib. The exact commands required for this step will vary depending on the Linux distribution you use.

For example, on an Ubuntu or Debian system, you would run:

sudo apt install gcc g++ libfreetype6-dev libglib2.0-dev libcairo2-dev

On Fedora, RHEL, CentOS, or other Red-Hat–based systems, you would run:

sudo yum install gcc gcc-c++ freetype-devel glib2-devel cairo-devel

(2) The next step depends on whether you are building from the source in a downloaded release tarball or from the source directly from the git repository.

(2)(a) If you downloaded the HarfBuzz source code in a tarball, you can now extract the source.

From a shell in the top-level directory of the extracted source code, you can run meson build followed by meson compile -C build as with any other standard package.

This should leave you with a shared library in the src/ directory, and a few utility programs including hb-view and hb-shape under the util/ directory.

(2)(b) If you are building from the source in the HarfBuzz git repository, rather than installing from a downloaded tarball release, then you must install two more auxiliary tools before you can build for the first time: pkg-config.

On Ubuntu or Debian, run:

sudo apt-get install meson pkg-config gtk-doc-tools

On Fedora, RHEL, CentOS, run:

sudo yum install meson pkgconfig gtk-doc

With pkg-config installed, you can now run meson build then meson compile -C build to build HarfBuzz.

Building on Windows

Install meson and run (from the console) meson build (by default bundled dependencies are not built, --wrap-mode=default overrides this), then meson compile -C build to build HarfBuzz.

Building on macOS

There are two ways to build HarfBuzz on Mac systems: MacPorts and Homebrew. The process is similar to the process used on a Linux system.

(1) You must first install the development packages for FreeType, Cairo, and GLib. If you are using MacPorts, you should run:

sudo port install freetype glib2 cairo

If you are using Homebrew, you should run:

brew install freetype glib cairo

(2) The next step depends on whether you are building from the source in a downloaded release tarball or from the source directly from the git repository.

(2)(a) If you are installing HarfBuzz from a downloaded tarball release, extract the tarball and open a Terminal in the extracted source-code directory. Run:

meson build

followed by:

meson compile -C build

to build HarfBuzz.

(2)(b) Alternatively, if you are building HarfBuzz from the source in the HarfBuzz git repository, then you must install several built-time dependencies before proceeding.

If you are using MacPorts, you should run:

sudo port install meson pkgconfig gtk-doc

to install the build dependencies.

If you are using Homebrew, you should run:

brew install meson pkgconfig gtk-doc

Finally, you can run:

meson build

(3) You can now build HarfBuzz (on either a MacPorts or a Homebrew system) by running:

meson build

followed by:

meson compile -C build

This should leave you with a shared library in the src/ directory, and a few utility programs including hb-view and hb-shape under the util/ directory.

Configuration options

The instructions in the "Building HarfBuzz" section will build the source code under its default configuration. If needed, the following additional configuration options are available.

-Dglib=enabled

Use GLib. (Default = auto)

This option enables or disables usage of the GLib library. The default setting is to check for the presence of GLib and, if it is found, build with GLib support. GLib is native to GNU/Linux systems but is available on other operating system as well.

-Dgobject=enabled

Use GObject. (Default = no)

This option enables or disables usage of the GObject library. The default setting is to check for the presence of GObject and, if it is found, build with GObject support. GObject is native to GNU/Linux systems but is available on other operating system as well.

-Dcairo=enabled

Use Cairo. (Default = auto)

This option enables or disables usage of the Cairo graphics-rendering library. The default setting is to check for the presence of Cairo and, if it is found, build with Cairo support.

Note: Cairo is used only by the HarfBuzz command-line utilities, and not by the HarfBuzz library.

-Dfontconfig=enabled

Use Fontconfig. (Default = auto)

This option enables or disables usage of the Fontconfig library, which provides font-matching functions and provides access to font properties. The default setting is to check for the presence of Fontconfig and, if it is found, build with Fontconfig support.

Note: Fontconfig is used only by the HarfBuzz command-line utilities, and not by the HarfBuzz library.

-Dicu=enabled

Use the ICU library. (Default = auto)

This option enables or disables usage of the International Components for Unicode (ICU) library, which provides access to Unicode Character Database (UCD) properties as well as normalization and conversion functions. The default setting is to check for the presence of ICU and, if it is found, build with ICU support.

-Dgraphite=enabled

Use the Graphite2 library. (Default = no)

This option enables or disables usage of the Graphite2 library, which provides support for the Graphite shaping model.

-Dfreetype=enabled

Use the FreeType library. (Default = auto)

This option enables or disables usage of the FreeType font-rendering library. The default setting is to check for the presence of FreeType and, if it is found, build with FreeType support.

-Dgdi=enabled

Use the Uniscribe library (experimental). (Default = no)

This option enables or disables usage of the Uniscribe font-rendering library. Uniscribe is available on Windows systems. Uniscribe support is used only for testing purposes and does not need to be enabled for HarfBuzz to run on Windows systems.

-Ddirectwrite=enabled

Use the DirectWrite library (experimental). (Default = no)

This option enables or disables usage of the DirectWrite font-rendering library. DirectWrite is available on Windows systems. DirectWrite support is used only for testing purposes and does not need to be enabled for HarfBuzz to run on Windows systems.

-Dcoretext=enabled

Use the CoreText library. (Default = no)

This option enables or disables usage of the CoreText library. CoreText is available on macOS and iOS systems.

-Ddocs=enabled

Use GTK-Doc. (Default = no)

This option enables the building of the documentation.

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