The Meson Build System
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Meson® is a project to create the best possible next-generation build system.


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  • Python (version 3.5 or newer)
  • Ninja (version 1.5 or newer)

Installing from source

You can run Meson directly from a revision control checkout or an extracted tarball. If you wish you can install it locally with the standard Python distutils command python3 install <your options here>.

Meson is also available from PyPi, so it can be installed with pip3 install meson (this does not require a source checkout, pip will download the package automatically). The exact command to type to install with pip can vary between systems, be sure to use the Python 3 version of pip.


Meson requires that you have a source directory and a build directory and that these two are different. In your source root must exist a file called ‘’. To generate the build system run this command:

meson <source directory> <build directory>

Depending on how you obtained Meson the command might also be called instead of plain meson. In the rest of this document we are going to use the latter form.

You can omit either of the two directories, and Meson will substitute the current directory and autodetect what you mean. This allows you to do things like this:

cd source_root; mkdir builddir; cd builddir; meson ..


cd source_root; mkdir builddir; meson builddir

To compile, cd into your build directory and type ninja. To run unit tests, type ninja test.

Install is the same but it can take an extra argument:

DESTDIR=/destdir/path ninja install

DESTDIR can be omitted. If you are installing to system directories, you may need to run this command with sudo.


We love code contributions. See the file for details.


The irc channel for Meson is #mesonbuild over at Freenode.

You can use FreeNode’s official webchat to connect to this channel.

Further info

More information about the Meson build system can be found at the project’s home page.

Meson is a registered trademark of Jussi Pakkanen.