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Clone the sources (required packages: git):

git clone https://gitlab.xfce.org/xfce/thunar

Enter build folder:

cd thunar

Execute autogen (required packages: build-essential, automake):


If dependencies are missing, autogen will tell you. Depending on your distribution, installing the “dev” version of the dependent packages might be sufficient. (E.g. package: libexo-2-dev, libxfce4ui-2-dev, … (naming might differ between distributions)) If that does not help, you as will need to build and install as well the dependencies from source.

When autogen finished sucessfully (all required dependencies installed), you can build thunar:


You dont need to install Thunar for testing, you as well can run it directly from the source folder. Here my personal script for starting thunar from source:


# Quit any running thunar and starts new thunar from source. Enable debug messages
echo "./thunar/thunar -q;./thunar/thunar $THUNAR_TEST_FOLDER"
./thunar/thunar -q;G_MESSAGES_DEBUG=all ./thunar/thunar $THUNAR_TEST_FOLDER

For debugging Thunar, I use the following:

echo "./thunar/thunar -q; gdb thunar/.libs/thunar"
./thunar/thunar -q; gdb thunar/.libs/thunar

If you want to test thunar-plugins, it is required to install thunar.

You can install Thunar with:

sudo make install

Note that per default Thunar will be installed in parallel to the Thunar of your distro, into the “/usr” folder. You can uninstall it with:

sudo make uninstall

For more info, check the INSTALL file in the source code !

Build Flags

Here a small collection of flags which often needs to be passed to ./autogen.sh :

--enable-gtk-doc : Creates html documentation inside /doc
--enable-introspection : for usage of the GtkInspector
--prefix <install_dir>: install thunar to install_dir