libinput build instructions

Instructions on how to build libinput and its tools and how to build against libinput.

The build instruction on this page detail how to overwrite your system-provided libinput with one from the git repository, see see Reverting to the system-provided libinput package to revert to the previous state.

Building libinput

libinput uses meson and ninja. A build is usually the three-step process below. A successful build requires the Build dependencies to be installed before running meson.

$> git clone
$> cd libinput
$> meson --prefix=/usr builddir/
$> ninja -C builddir/
$> sudo ninja -C builddir/ install

When running libinput versions 1.11.x or earlier, you must run

$> sudo systemd-hwdb update

Additional options may also be specified. For example:

$> meson --prefix=/usr -Ddocumentation=false builddir/

We recommend that users disable the documentation, it’s not usually required for testing and reduces the number of dependencies needed.

The prefix or other options can be changed later with the meson configure command. For example:

$> meson configure builddir/ -Dprefix=/some/other/prefix -Ddocumentation=true
$> ninja -C builddir
$> sudo ninja -C builddir/ install

Running meson configure builddir/ with no other arguments lists all configurable options meson provides.

To rebuild from scratch, simply remove the build directory and run meson again:

$> rm -r builddir/
$> meson --prefix=....

Verifying the install

To verify the install worked correctly, check that is in the library path and that all symlinks point to the new library.

$> ls -l /usr/lib64/libinput.*
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root    946 Apr 28  2015 /usr/lib64/
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root     19 Feb  1 15:12 /usr/lib64/ ->
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root     19 Feb  1 15:12 /usr/lib64/ ->
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 204992 Feb  1 15:12 /usr/lib64/

Reverting to the system-provided libinput package

The recommended way to revert to the system install is to use the package manager to reinstall the libinput package. In some cases, this may leave files in the system (e.g. /usr/lib/ but these files are usually harmless. To definitely remove all files, run the following command from the libinput source directory:

$> sudo ninja -C builddir/ uninstall
# WARNING: Do not restart the computer/X/the Wayland compositor after
# uninstall, reinstall the system package immediately!

The following commands reinstall the current system package for libinput, overwriting manually installed files.

  • Debian/Ubuntu based distributions: sudo apt-get install --reinstall libinput
  • Fedora 22 and later: sudo dnf reinstall libinput
  • RHEL/CentOS/Fedora 21 and earlier: sudo yum reinstall libinput
  • openSUSE: sudo zypper install --force libinput10
  • Arch: sudo packman -S libinput

SELinux adjustments


This section only applies to meson version < 0.42.0

On systems with SELinux, overwriting the distribution-provided package with a manually built libinput may cause SELinux denials. This usually manifests when gdm does not start because it is denied access to libinput. The journal shows a log message in the form of:

May 25 15:28:42 localhost.localdomain audit[23268]: AVC avc:  denied  { execute } for  pid=23268 comm="gnome-shell" path="/usr/lib64/" dev="dm-0" ino=1709093 scontext=system_u:system_r:xdm_t:s0-s0:c0.c1023 tcontext=unconfined_u:object_r:user_home_t:s0 tclass=file permissive=0
May 25 15:28:42 localhost.localdomain org.gnome.Shell.desktop[23270]: /usr/bin/gnome-shell: error while loading shared libraries: failed to map segment from shared object

The summary of this error message is that gdm’s gnome-shell runs in the system_u:system_r:xdm_t context but libinput is installed with the context unconfined_u:object_r:user_home_t.

To avoid this issue, restore the SELinux context for any system files.

$> sudo restorecon /usr/lib*/*

This issue is tracked in

Build dependencies

libinput has a few build-time dependencies that must be installed prior to running meson.


The build dependencies for some distributions can be found in the GitLab Continuous Integration file. Search for FEDORA_RPMS in the variables: definition and check the list for an entry for your distribution.

In most cases, it is sufficient to install the dependencies that your distribution uses to build the libinput package. These can be installed with one of the following commands:

  • Debian/Ubuntu based distributions: sudo apt-get build-dep libinput

  • Fedora 22 and later: sudo dnf builddep libinput

  • RHEL/CentOS/Fedora 21 and earlier: sudo yum-builddep libinput

  • openSUSE:

    $> sudo zypper modifyrepo --enable ``zypper repos | grep source | awk '{print $5}'``
    $> sudo zypper source-install -d libinput10
    $> sudo zypper install autoconf automake libtool
    $> sudo zypper modifyrepo --disable ``zypper repos | grep source | awk '{print $5}'``
  • Arch:

    $> sudo pacman -S asp
    $> cd $(mktemp -d)
    $> asp export libinput
    $> cd libinput
    $> makepkg --syncdeps --nobuild --noextract

If dependencies are missing, meson shows a message No package 'foo' found. See this blog post here for instructions on how to fix it.

Conditional builds

libinput supports several meson options to disable parts of the build. See the meson_options.txt file in the source tree for a full list of available options. The default build enables most options and thus requires more build dependencies. On systems where build dependencies are an issue, options may be disabled with this meson command:

meson --prefix=/usr -Dsomefeature=false builddir

Where -Dsomefeature=false may be one of:

  • -Ddocumentation=false
    Disables the documentation build (this website). Building the documentation is only needed on the maintainer machine.
  • -Dtests=false
    Disables the test suite. The test suite is only needed on developer systems.
  • -Ddebug-gui=false
    Disables the libinput debug-gui helper tool (see Helper tools), dropping GTK and other build dependencies. The debug-gui is only required for troubleshooting.
  • -Dlibwacom=false
    libwacom is required by libinput’s tablet code to gather additional information about tablets that is not available from the kernel device. It is not recommended to disable libwacom unless libinput is used in an environment where tablet support is not required. libinput provides tablet support even without libwacom, but some features may be missing or working differently.

Building against libinput

libinput provides a pkg-config file. Software that uses autotools should use the PKG_CHECK_MODULES autoconf macro:


Software that uses meson should use the dependency() function:

pkgconfig = import('pkgconfig')
dep_libinput = dependency('libinput')

Otherwise, the most rudimentary way to compile and link a program against libinput is:

gcc -o myprogram myprogram.c ``pkg-config --cflags --libs libinput``

For further information on using pkgconfig see the pkg-config documentation.