Build Instructions (Linux)

Follow the guidelines below for building Electron on Linux.


  • At least 25GB disk space and 8GB RAM.
  • Python 2.7.x. Some distributions like CentOS 6.x still use Python 2.6.x so you may need to check your Python version with python -V.
  • Node.js. There are various ways to install Node. You can download source code from Node.js and compile from source. Doing so permits installing Node on your own home directory as a standard user. Or try repositories such as NodeSource.
  • Clang 3.4 or later.
  • Development headers of GTK+ and libnotify.

On Ubuntu, install the following libraries:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential clang libdbus-1-dev libgtk2.0-dev \
                       libnotify-dev libgnome-keyring-dev libgconf2-dev \
                       libasound2-dev libcap-dev libcups2-dev libxtst-dev \
                       libxss1 libnss3-dev gcc-multilib g++-multilib curl \
                       gperf bison

On RHEL / CentOS, install the following libraries:

$ sudo yum install clang dbus-devel gtk2-devel libnotify-devel \
                   libgnome-keyring-devel xorg-x11-server-utils libcap-devel \
                   cups-devel libXtst-devel alsa-lib-devel libXrandr-devel \
                   GConf2-devel nss-devel

On Fedora, install the following libraries:

$ sudo dnf install clang dbus-devel gtk2-devel libnotify-devel \
                   libgnome-keyring-devel xorg-x11-server-utils libcap-devel \
                   cups-devel libXtst-devel alsa-lib-devel libXrandr-devel \
                   GConf2-devel nss-devel

Other distributions may offer similar packages for installation via package managers such as pacman. Or one can compile from source code.

Getting the Code

$ git clone


The bootstrap script will download all necessary build dependencies and create the build project files. You must have Python 2.7.x for the script to succeed. Downloading certain files can take a long time. Notice that we are using ninja to build Electron so there is no Makefile generated.

$ cd electron
$ ./script/ -v

Cross compilation

If you want to build for an arm target you should also install the following dependencies:

$ sudo apt-get install libc6-dev-armhf-cross linux-libc-dev-armhf-cross \

And to cross compile for arm or ia32 targets, you should pass the --target_arch parameter to the script:

$ ./script/ -v --target_arch=arm


If you would like to build both Release and Debug targets:

$ ./script/

This script will cause a very large Electron executable to be placed in the directory out/R. The file size is in excess of 1.3 gigabytes. This happens because the Release target binary contains debugging symbols. To reduce the file size, run the script:

$ ./script/

This will put a working distribution with much smaller file sizes in the dist directory. After running the script, you may want to remove the 1.3+ gigabyte binary which is still in out/R.

You can also build the Debug target only:

$ ./script/ -c D

After building is done, you can find the electron debug binary under out/D.


To clean the build files:

$ npm run clean


Error While Loading Shared Libraries:

Prebulit clang will try to link to Depending on the host architecture, symlink to appropriate libncurses:

$ sudo ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/


See Build System Overview: Tests

Advanced topics

The default building configuration is targeted for major desktop Linux distributions, to build for a specific distribution or device, following information may help you.

Building libchromiumcontent locally

To avoid using the prebuilt binaries of libchromiumcontent, you can pass the --build_libchromiumcontent switch to script:

$ ./script/ -v --build_libchromiumcontent

Note that by default the shared_library configuration is not built, so you can only build Release version of Electron if you use this mode:

$ ./script/ -c R

Using system clang instead of downloaded clang binaries

By default Electron is built with prebuilt clang binaries provided by Chromium project. If for some reason you want to build with the clang installed in your system, you can call with --clang_dir=<path> switch. By passing it the build script will assume the clang binaries reside in <path>/bin/.

For example if you installed clang under /user/local/bin/clang:

$ ./script/ -v --build_libchromiumcontent --clang_dir /usr/local
$ ./script/ -c R

Using other compilers other than clang

To build Electron with compilers like g++, you first need to disable clang with --disable_clang switch first, and then set CC and CXX environment variables to the ones you want.

For example building with GCC toolchain:

$ env CC=gcc CXX=g++ ./script/ -v --build_libchromiumcontent --disable_clang
$ ./script/ -c R

Environment variables

Apart from CC and CXX, you can also set following environment variables to custom the building configurations:

  • CPPFLAGS_host
  • CFLAGS_host
  • CXXFLAGS_host
  • AR
  • AR_host
  • CC
  • CC_host
  • CXX
  • CXX_host

The environment variables have to be set when executing the script, it won't work in the script.

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