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Thunar - build, test, and debugging suggestions

Building Thunar

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 any 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 will need to build and install the dependencies from source as well.

When autogen has finished successfully (all required dependencies have been installed), you can build thunar:


You don't need to install Thunar for testing, you can run it directly from the source folder. Here is my personal script for starting thunar from source:


# Quit any running thunar instance and start a 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

Debugging Thunar

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 distribution, into the “/usr” folder. You can uninstall it with:

sudo make uninstall

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

Thunar Build Flags

Here is 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

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