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Prerequisites for Debian based systems (Ubuntu, Mint, ...)

Using apt-get to get dependencies from the package maintainers

The universal way to get dependencies for a package is below. The disadvantage is that the distribution list of dependencies can be outdated.

apt-get build-dep swi-prolog

After building you may wish to run ?- check_installation. in swipl to check that all components have been built properly.

Installing the dependencies manually

Use the following commands to obtain all dependencies for a full build from source. Note that there are no known version dependencies on any of these packages. If your (debian-based) distribution is lacking any of these package use apt search <name> to find an alternative, where <name> is e.g., jdk (i.e., remove version and details). Some remarks:

  • ninja-build may be dropped, building using make. Using make is fine for a one-time build, but ninja is advised for developers or people that regularly update using git.
  • It is possible to use iodbc instead of unixodbc for ODBC connectivity.
  • The SWI-Prolog Java interface (JPL) works with many Java development kits. Junit4 is needed as of version 8.1.29. Older versions require junit (Junit 3).
  • The package libarchive-dev is needed for library(archive), which is needed by pack_install/1.
  • The package libossp-uuid-dev is needed for library(uuid).
  • The package libdb-dev is needed for library(bdb), the BerkeleyDB embedded database interface.
  • The package libreadline-dev and libedit-dev both provide command line editing for interactive usage. None is strictly needed and one of them suffices. libedit-dev is the preferred command line editor.
  • libgoogle-perftools-dev provides tcmalloc, which can reduce memory usage a lot on some heavily multithreaded applications.
  • libpcre2-dev is required for library(pcre). SWI-Prolog versions before 8.5.9 require libpcre3-dev (which is older than libpcre2-dev ...)
  • cmake must be at least version 3.5 See CMAKE.md
sudo apt-get install \
        build-essential cmake ninja-build pkg-config \
        ncurses-dev libreadline-dev libedit-dev \
        libgoogle-perftools-dev \
        libgmp-dev \
        libssl-dev \
        unixodbc-dev \
        zlib1g-dev libarchive-dev \
        libossp-uuid-dev \
        libxext-dev libice-dev libjpeg-dev libxinerama-dev libxft-dev \
        libxpm-dev libxt-dev \
        libdb-dev \
        libpcre2-dev \
        libyaml-dev \
        python3 libpython3-dev \
        default-jdk junit4

Raspbian is fully supported and can be used to build SWI-Prolog including all packages without issues. If you want to reduce resources, the following packages are optional:

default-jdk junit
Without you do not have Java connectivity (JPL)
libxext-dev libice-dev libjpeg-dev libxinerama-dev libxft-dev libxpm-dev libxt-dev
Without these xpce will not be built and the graphical IDE tools are not available.
Without, you have no ODBC database connectivity (e.g., MySQL)
Without, you have no SSL (and HTTPS) support.
Without, you lack unbounded integer support, rational numbers, good random number generators, etc.
Without, you have no regular expression support (library(pcre)).
Without you have no YAML support (library(yaml)).
python3 libpython3-dev
Without you have no library(janus), providing access to an embedded Python interpreter, neither teh MQI package to access SWI-Prolog using network communication from Python.

Note that including GMP support makes the memory footprint bigger, but mostly if you have no other applications depending on GMP. All the other optional components are only loaded when you use them.

Prerequisites to build swipl-win

The swipl-win executable provides a Qt based console for SWI-Prolog by Carlo Capelli. This console is used to provide the MacOS app, but can also be used on Linux. To include it, install the Qt development environment:

sudo apt install qt5-default

The qt5-default package is dropped from Ubuntu 21.04 and has never existed on some other Debian based distributions. In that case, use the command below.

sudo apt-get install qtbase5-dev qtchooser qt5-qmake qtbase5-dev-tools

Prerequisites to build the documentation

The HTML documentation is built as part of the default build procedure and only depends on Prolog itself and some of its packages. The dependencies below are needed to build the PDF documentation. Configuring the build to include the PDF docs requires

sudo apt-get install \
        texlive-latex-extra \
        texlive-font-utils \
        texlive-fonts-extra \
        texlive-fonts-extra-doc \
        texlive-fonts-recommended \

Now that after you have installed dependencies, return to Build SWI-Prolog from source to complete installation.