Qt Configure Options

configure is a command-line tool which determines how to build Qt for a particular platform. Configure can exclude a feature in Qt as well as determine how Qt builds and deploys applications onto host platforms. This page discusses some of the configure options, but for the full list of options, enter the command configure -h. Configure should be run from the main Qt source directory.

Unless stated otherwise, the commands in this page are for the Linux platforms. On macOS and on Windows, the PATH and directory structure are different, therefore the commands will vary. Also, on Windows systems, the configure script is called configure.bat.

After running configure, build the sources with the make tool belonging to the chosen toolchain.

Source, Build, and Install Directories

With configure, it is possible to configure Qt to install to a different directory than the source directory or the build directory. The source directory contains the source code and it is obtained from the source package. The build directory is where the build related files such as Makefiles, object files, and other intermediate files are stored. The install directory is where the binaries and libraries are installed, for use either by the system or by the application.

It is often convenient to use a shadow build, when the build directory is not the same as the source directory. This method allows the source directory to be free from intermediate or generated files, and allows for multiple simultaneous builds with different configurations. To shadow-build, run configure from a separate directory:

mkdir ~/qt-build
cd ~/qt-build

The Makefiles are at ~/qt-build and not in the source directory.

After building, it may be necessary to install the libraries and binaries into the install directory. The default for the installation directory depends on the platform; configure's output mentions it. To modify the installation directory, use the -prefix option:

./configure -prefix /opt/Qt-5.1

The installation directory serves as the parent directory of the bin, lib, and other installed Qt subdirectories.

It is possible to set the install directory to the same directory as the build directory (this is termed a non-prefix build). In this case, Qt can be used straight out of the build directory, and must not be installed. This is the default under Windows, and when Qt is configured with the -developer-build option.

Note: When you are explicitly requesting a non-prefix configuration for a top-level build of Qt (all modules at once), set the prefix to $builddir/qtbase, not $builddir.

Including and Excluding Qt Modules

With configure, it is possible to include or exclude particular Qt modules in a Qt build. However, keep in mind that many modules depend on other modules, therefore, dependency issues can arise with some build configurations.

Excluding a Qt Submodule

Configure's -skip option allows certain Qt submodules to be excluded from the Qt build. These submodules correspond to the Git submodules in the standard Qt 5 repository. Note that many packages contain multiple Qt modules. For example, to exclude Qt NFC and Qt Bluetooth from the Qt build, provide -skip qtconnectivity as the argument to configure.

./configure -skip qtconnectivity

Including or Excluding Features

The -feature-<feature> and -no-feature-<feature> options include and exclude specific features, respectively, where <feature> is listed in the file qtbase/src/corelib/global/qfeatures.txt.

For example, to disable Accessibility, provide -no-feature-accessibility as the argument:

./configure -no-feature-accessibility

Note: Features outside of qtbase are not included in the features list.

Third-Party Libraries

The Qt source packages include third-party libraries. To set whether Qt should use the system's versions of the libraries or to use the bundled version, pass either -system or -qt before the name of the library to configure.

The table below summarizes the third-party options:

Library NameBundled in QtInstalled in System

It is also possible to disable support for these libraries by using -no instead of -qt. For example, to use the system's xcb library and disable zlib support, enter the following:

./configure -no-zlib -qt-libjpeg -qt-libpng -system-xcb

For a full list of options, consult the help with configure -help.

Compiler Options

The -platform option sets the host platform and the compiler for building the Qt sources. The list of supported platforms and compilers is found in the supported platforms page while the full list is available in qtbase/mkspecs directory.

For example, on Ubuntu Linux systems, Qt can be compiled by several compilers such as clang or g++:

./configure -platform linux-clang
./configure -platform linux-g++
./configure -platform linux-g++-32

For Windows machines, either MinGW or Visual Studio toolchains can be used to compile Qt.

configure.bat -platform win32-g++
configure.bat -platform win32-msvc2010

Afterwards, the generated Makefiles will use the appropriate compiler commands.

Cross-Compilation Options

To configure Qt for cross-platform development and deployment, the development toolchain for the target platform needs to be set up. This set up varies among the Supported Platforms.

Common options are:

  • -xplatform - the target platform. Valid xplatform options are the same as the -platform options which are found in qtbase/mkspecs.
  • -device - a specific device or chipsets. The list of devices that configure is compatible with are found in qtbase/mkspecs/devices. For more information, visit the Devices Wiki page.
  • -device-option - sets additional qmake variables. For example, -device-option CROSS_COMPILE=<path-to-toolchain> provides the environment variable, CROSS_COMPILE, as needed by certain devices.

Note: Toolchains for non-desktop targets often come with a so-called sysroot which Qt needs to be configured against.

Specific Options for Platforms

The following pages provide guidelines on how to configure Qt for specific platform development:

OpenGL Options for Windows

On Windows, Qt can be configured with the system OpenGL or with ANGLE. By default, Qt is configured to use ANGLE, which is bundled with Qt and depends on the DirectX SDK. ANGLE enables running Qt applications that depend on OpenGL, without installing the latest OpenGL libraries.

The -opengl option can be used to configure Qt to use the OpenGL in the target system, a different version of OpenGL ES (with or without ANGLE), or dynamically switch between the available OpenGL implementations.

configure.bat -opengl desktop

With the desktop option, Qt uses the OpenGL installed on Windows, requiring that the OpenGL in the target Windows machine is compatible with the application. The -opengl option accepts two versions of OpenGL ES, es2 for OpenGL ES 2.0 or es1 for OpenGL ES Common Profile.

configure.bat -opengl es2

You can also use -opengl dynamic, which enable applications to dynamically switch between the available options at runtime. For more details about the benefits of using dynamic GL-switching, see Graphics Drivers.

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