Installing EFL on Debian

The Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) power millions of systems from mobile phones to set-top boxes, desktops, laptops, game systems and more. You'll need EFL if you want to develop apps for Enlightenment and for any of the devices that use Enlightenment for its visual interface.

This tutorial describes several ways to install EFL on your system. You will only need to use one of these. Select your chosen method using the index on the right.

Many distributions offer EFL as an installable package from their default repositories. In this case you only need to use your distribution's software management system to install. However most versions of EFL in default repositories are out of date and will not compile more recent Enlightenment applications. If this is not an issue for you, read through the "From Distribution Repositories" section below.

Distributions often provide a special repository maintained by users or a method of integrating a bleeding edge version of EFL with your software management system. This means that once installed you can keep EFL current just by running system updates. If your distribution offers this, take a look at the section "Installing from a Special Repository".

The Enlightenment developers provide a pre-packaged source of EFL. Although not bleeding edge it is up to date and considered stable for production environments. You can download, compile and install it yourself by following the instructions in "Installing from Packaged Source".

You can also download the source code for the most recent version from the EFL git repositories. To get started, read the section "Installing from Git".

Whichever installation method you use, visit "Compiling EFL Applications" to discover how to compile your Enlightenment applications.

From Distribution Repositories

There's no EFL package in the official Debian repositories nor in any of the working user-maintained repositories. In light of this either [install EFL from the packaged source](#Installing_from Packaged_Source) or download and install the most recent source code from the git repository as described below.

Installing from Packaged Source

There are two versions of EFL available from the Enlightenment website. One is the bleeding edge version which you can download using git. The other comes already packaged and is available from the EFL's download site, which is the focus of this section.

Step 1: Downloading Stable Version

Download the latest version of EFL and check it against its SHA256 hash:

cat efl-X.XX.X.tar.xz.sha256; sha256sum efl-X.XX.X.tar.xz

Note that you will have to change X.XX.X to the actual version of EFL.

Step 2: Unpacking

Once you have the archive file containing EFL on your hard disk unpack it with:

tar xvf efl-X.XX.X.tar.xz

This will create a folder named efl-X.XX.X.

Step 3: Installing Dependencies

In order to compile and install EFL, first download the necessary software:

sudo apt install build-essential meson ninja-build pkg-config libssl-dev libsystemd-dev libjpeg-dev libglib2.0-dev libgstreamer1.0-dev liblua5.2-dev libfreetype6-dev libfontconfig1-dev libfribidi-dev libavahi-client-dev libharfbuzz-dev libibus-1.0-dev libx11-dev libxext-dev libxrender-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libopenjp2-7-dev libwebp-dev libgif-dev libtiff5-dev libpoppler-dev libpoppler-cpp-dev libspectre-dev libraw-dev librsvg2-dev libudev-dev libmount-dev libdbus-1-dev libpulse-dev libsndfile1-dev libxcursor-dev libxcomposite-dev libxinerama-dev libxrandr-dev libxtst-dev libxss-dev libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0-dev doxygen libscim-dev libxdamage-dev libwebp-dev libunwind-dev libheif-dev libluajit-5.1-dev libinput-dev check libpam-dev libexif-dev

Step 4: Building and Installing

Once you have installed all the required packages to compile and install EFL, cd into the efl-X.XX.X folder and run

meson build
ninja -C build
su -c "ninja -C build install"

This will configure the files needed to compile software, then compile and install it.

Step 5: Carrying out Post Installation Tasks

As you are not installing to /usr but to /usr/local, ensure that some files are visible to dbus:

su -c "ln -s /usr/local/share/dbus-1/services/org.enlightenment.Ethumb.service /usr/share/dbus-1/services/org.enlightenment.Ethumb.service"

You may also need to refresh your library path to make sure your apps can find the EFL libraries:

su -c "/sbin/ldconfig"

Installing from Git

You can also get the bleeding edge version of EFL by cloning it from the git repository.

By default, git is not installed in Debian so the first step is to install it:

su -c "apt install git"

Next clone EFL's source code:

git clone

This will create a a directory named efl/. You can now cd into the efl/ folder and follow step 3, 4 and 5 from the above instructions.

For a faster and smaller download you can add the --depth 1 to the previous git command, in this way you will not get the full history of changes but just the latest snapshot of the source code.


If you're having problems compiling and installing EFL, you can find help on any of our IRC channels or post a ticket to our Gitea.

Installing on Other Operating Systems

If you would like to install EFL on a different operating system visit the Installing EFL page.