Installing from Source

This page explains how to build and install this version of BuildStream from source. For general purpose installation instructions consult the website.

For full install instructions, read on:

Installing Dependencies

Runtime requirements

BuildStream requires the following Python environment to run:

Some Source plugins require specific tools installed on the host. Here is a commonly used subset based on the core source plugins and buildstream-plugins.

  • git (for git sources)

  • lzip (for .tar.lz support in tar sources)

  • patch (for patch sources)

Some BuildBox tools used by BuildStream require additional host tools:

  • bubblewrap (for buildbox-run-bubblewrap)

  • fusermount3 (for buildbox-fuse)

Install-time requirements

BuildStream contains Cython code which implies the following extra dependencies at install-time only:

  • C and C++ toolchain

  • Python development headers

These instructions use pip3 to install necessary PyPI packages. Packagers and integrators may use a different tool and can ignore the pip dependency below.

Distribution-specific guides

This table gives you a list of packages for specific distros:


Runtime requires

Install requires

Arch Linux

bubblewrap fuse3 git lzip patch python

gcc python-pip


bubblewrap fuse3 git lzip patch python3

g++ python3-dev python3-pip


bubblewrap fuse3 git lzip patch python3

gcc-c++ python3-devel python3-pip


bubblewrap fuse3 git lzip patch python3

g++ python3-dev python3-pip

Installing BuildBox

BuildStream depends on the following tools from BuildBox:

  • buildbox-casd (to manage local and remote content-addressed storage)

  • buildbox-fuse (to check out content from the local CAS)

  • buildbox-run-bubblewrap (to run element commands in a controlled sandbox)

These components can be installed from binaries, or built from source.

Install binaries

Browse the release history of static binaries here.

Linux x86-64 users can download the latest statically linked binaries here, The contents of the tarball should be extracted into a directory in PATH, e.g., ~/.local/bin.

Build from source

Buildbox components can be installed from their git repository. We recommend installing from the latest release tag.

See the <”Installation” section here <>`_.

Buildbox contains many components, BuildStream needs only buildbox-casd, buildbox-fuse and buildbox-run-bubblewrap, which can be selected by passing options -DTOOLS=OFF -DCASD=ON -DFUSE=ON -DRUN_BUBBLEWRAP=ON to CMake.

Finally, configure buildbox-run-bubblewrap as the default buildbox-run implementation:

ln -sv buildbox-run-bubblewrap /usr/local/bin/buildbox-run

Installing BuildStream from a git checkout

First, clone the repository. Please check the existing tags in the git repository and determine which version you want to install:

git clone
cd buildstream
git checkout <desired release tag>

We recommend pip as a frontend to the underlying setuptools build system. The following command will build and install BuildStream into your user’s homedir in ~/.local, and will attempt to fetch and install any required PyPI dependencies from the internet at the same time:

pip3 install --user .

We do not recommend using Pip’s editable mode (the -e flag). See this issue for discussion.

If you want to stop Pip from fetching missing dependencies, use the --no-index and --no-deps options.

Finally, check that the PATH variable contains the ~/.local/bin directory. If it doesn’t, you could add this to the end of your Bash configuration ~/.bashrc and restart Bash:

export PATH="${PATH}:${HOME}/.local/bin"

Note for packagers

Distro packaging standards may recommend a specific installation method for Python packages. BuildStream can be installed with any build frontend that supports the PEP517 standard. You are also welcome to use the underlying setuptools build backend directly.

Installing in virtual environments

You can consider installing BuildStream in a Virtual Environment if you want to install multiple versions of BuildStream, or to isolate BuildStream and its dependencies from other Python packages.

Here is how to install BuildStream stable and development snapshot releases in virtual environments of their own:

# Install BuildStream stable in an environment called "venv-bst-stable"
# (At time of writing, this will be BuildStream 1)
python3 -m venv venv-bst-stable
venv-bst-stable/bin/pip install BuildStream

# Install BuildStream latest development snapshot in an environment
# called "venv-bst-latest"
# (At time of writing, this will be Buildstream 2)
python3 -m venv venv-bst-latest
venv-bst-latest/bin/pip install --pre BuildStream

To start using BuildStream from the desired environment, you will need to activate it first. Activating it will automatically add bst to your PATH and set up other necessary environment variables:

# Use BuildStream stable from venv-bst-stable
source venv-bst-stable/bin/activate
bst --version

# Use BuildStream latest from venv-bst-latest
source venv-bst-latest/bin/activate
bst --version

# Once you are done, remember to deactivate the virtual environment

If you do not want to manage your virtual environments manually, you can consider using pipx.

Installing completions

BuildStream integrates with Bash and Zsh to provide helpful tab-completion. These completion scripts require manual installation.

Bash completions

Bash completions are provided by the bst completion script, available online (src/buildstream/data/bst) and in your local Git clone at src/buildstream/data/bst.

To install for the current user, paste the contents of the completion script into the file ~/.bash_completion.

To install completions system-wide, copy the completion script to the system-wide bash-completion installation path, which you can discover as follows:

pkg-config --variable=completionsdir bash-completion

See the bash-completion FAQ for more information.

Zsh completions

Zsh completions are provided by the _bst completion script, available online (src/buildstream/data/zsh/_bst) and in your local Git clone at src/buildstream/data/zsh/_bst.

Copy the above file to your Zsh completions location. Here are some instructions for vanilla Zsh, as well as the Prezto and Oh My Zsh frameworks:


cp src/buildstream/data/zsh/_bst ~/.zfunc/_bst

You must then add the following lines in your ~/.zshrc, if they do not already exist:

autoload -Uz compinit && compinit


cp src/buildstream/data/zsh/_bst ~/.zprezto/modules/completion/external/src/_bst

You may have to reset your zcompdump cache, if you have one, and then restart your shell:

rm ~/.zcompdump ${XDG_CACHE_HOME:-$HOME/.cache}/prezto/zcompdump

Oh My Zsh:

mkdir $ZSH_CUSTOM/plugins/bst
cp src/buildstream/data/zsh/_bst $ZSH_CUSTOM/plugins/bst/_bst

You must then add bst to your plugins array in ~/.zshrc: