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How to hack the budgie desktop on ubuntu


Often the hardest part for budding new developers is how to start. So here are a few notes I made on how to start changing code in budgie-desktop itself.

Make sure your package management system is up-to-date and install the dev scripts

sudo apt update
sudo apt install devscripts

now run to enable the source code files from the repo:


Click on the “Source code” checkbox
Click Close, Reload

Install all the development package dependencies:

sudo apt build-dep budgie-desktop

To get the current package source code (no need for root access from now on):

apt-get source budgie-desktop
cd budgie*

To compile first setup your build environment:

mkdir build
cd build
meson --buildtype plain --prefix=/usr --libdir=/usr/lib --sysconfdir=/etc ..
ninja -v

To install, make sure you are in the build folder you created previously:

sudo ninja install

Make changes in the .vala files, then recompile in the build folder (hint use two tilix windows - one for building, one for editing code:


If there are no compilation issues, install the compiled code:

sudo ninja install

After installation, you can use:

budgie-panel --replace &


budgie-wm --replace &

to restart the panel or window manager and see your glorious new code take effect (depending if you are changing in the panel or window-manager)

Developers wanted to work on Budgie Desktop 10.x
How to compile a vala app?
Build clock applet

Hi! One question please: Is there any way to debug it? For example, echos to the shell. Thanks in advance!


It is kind of old fashioned - but one way is to use stderr.printf("this is the value of an integer variable %d and this is the value of a string %s", integer variable, string_variable); type statements that appear in the terminal when the code module is being executed - you’ll see them when running budgie-panel --replace & in the terminal