Manually build Netdata from source

These instructions are for advanced users and distribution package maintainers. Unless this describes you, you almost certainly want to follow our guide for manually installing Netdata from a git checkout instead.

Required dependencies

At a bare minimum, Netdata requires the following libraries and tools to build and run successfully:

  • libuuid
  • libuv version 1.0 or newer
  • zlib
  • GNU autoconf
  • GNU automake
  • GCC or Xcode (Clang is known to have issues in certain configurations, see Using Clang)
  • A version of make compatible with GNU automake
  • Git (we use git in the build system to generate version info, don't need a full install, just a working git show command)

Additionally, the following build time features require additional dependencies:

  • TLS support for the web GUI:
    • OpenSSL 1.0.2 or newer or LibreSSL 3.0.0 or newer.
  • dbengine metric storage:
    • liblz4 r129 or newer
    • OpenSSL 1.0 or newer (LibreSSL amy work, but is largely untested).
    • libJudy
  • Netdata Cloud support:
    • A working internet connection
    • A recent version of CMake
    • OpenSSL 1.0.2 or newer or LibreSSL 3.0.0 or newer.
    • JSON-C (may be provided by the user as shown below, or by the system)

Preparing the source tree

Certain features in Netdata require custom versions of specific libraries, which the the build system will link statically into Netdata. These libraries and their header files must be copied into specific locations in the source tree to be used.

Netdata cloud

Netdata Cloud functionality requires custom builds of libmosquitto and libwebsockets.

libmosquitto

Netdata maintains a custom fork of libmosquitto at https://github.com/netdata/mosquitto with patches to allow for proper integration with libwebsockets, which is needed for correct operation of Netdata Cloud functionality. To prepare this library for the build system:

  1. Verify the tag that Netdata expects to be used by checking the contents of packaging/mosquitto.version in your Netdata sources.
  2. Obtain the sources for that version by either:
  3. If building on a platfom other than Linux, prepare the mosquitto sources by running cmake -D WITH_STATIC_LIBRARIES:boolean=YES . in the mosquitto source directory.
  4. Build mosquitto by running make -C lib in the mosquitto source directory.
  5. In the Netdata source directory, create a directory called externaldeps/mosquitto.
  6. Copy lib/mosquitto.h from the mosquitto source directory to externaldeps/mosquitto/mosquitto.h in the Netdata source tree.
  7. Copy lib/libmosquitto.a from the mosquitto source directory to externaldeps/mosquitto/libmosquitto.a in the Netdata source tree. If building on a platform other than Linux, the file that needs to be copied will instead be named lib/libmosquitto_static.a, but it still needs to be copied to externaldeps/mosquitto/libmosquitto.a.

libwebsockets

Netdata uses the standard upstream version of libwebsockets located at https://github.com/warmcat/libwebsockets, but requires a build with SOCKS5 support, which is not enabled by most pre-built versions. Currently, we do not support using a system copy of libwebsockets. To prepare this library for the build system:

  1. Verify the tag that Netdata expects to be used by checking the contents of packaging/libwebsockets.version in your Netdata sources.
  2. Obtain the sources for that version by either:
  3. Prepare the libweboskcets sources by running cmake -D LWS_WITH_SOCKS5:bool=ON . in the libwebsockets source directory.
  4. Build libwebsockets by running make in the libwebsockets source directory.
  5. In the Netdata source directory, create a directory called externaldeps/libwebsockets.
  6. Copy lib/libwebsockets.a from the libwebsockets source directory to externaldeps/libwebsockets/libwebsockets.a in the Netdata source tree.
  7. Copy the entire contents of lib/include from the libwebsockets source directory to externaldeps/libwebsockets/include in the Netdata source tree.

JSON-C

Netdata requires the use of JSON-C for JSON parsing when using Netdata Cloud. Netdata is able to use a system-provided copy of JSON-C, but some systems may not provide it. If your system does not provide JSON-C, you can do the following to prepare a copy for the build system:

  1. Verify the tag that Netdata expects to be used by checking the contents of packaging/jsonc.version in your Netdata sources.
  2. Obtain the sources for that version by either:
    • Navigating to https://github.com/json-c/json-c and donwloading and unpacking the source code archive for that release.
    • Cloning the repository with git and checking out the required tag.
  3. Prepare the JSON-C sources by running cmake -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=OFF . in the JSON-C source directory.
  4. Build JSON-C by running make in the JSON-C source directory.
  5. In the Netdata source directory, create a directory called externaldeps/jsonc.
  6. Copy libjson-c.a fro the JSON-C source directory to externaldeps/jsonc/libjson-c.a in the Netdata source tree.
  7. Copy all of the header files (*.h) from the JSON-C source directory to externaldeps/jsonc/json-c in the Netdata source tree.

Building Netdata

Once the source tree has been prepared, Netdata is ready to be configured and built. Netdata currently uses GNU autotools as it's primary build system. To build Netdata this way:

  1. Run autoreconf -ivf in the Netdata source tree.
  2. Run ./configure in the Netdata source tree.
  3. Run make in the Netdata source tree.

Configure options

Netdata provides a number of build time configure options. This section lists some of the ones you are most likely to need:

  • --prefix: Specify the prefix under which Netdata will be installed.
  • --with-webdir: Specify a path relative to the prefix in which to install the web UI files.
  • --disable-cloud: Disables all Netdata Cloud functionality for this build.

Using Clang

Netdata is primarily developed using GCC, but in most cases we also build just fine using Clang. Under some build configurations of Clang itself, you may see build failures with the linker reporting errors about nonrepresentable section on output. We currently do not have a conclusive fix for this issue (the obvious fix leads to other issues which we haven't been able to fix yet), and unfortunately the only workaround is to use a different build of Clang or to use GCC.

Linking errors relating to OpenSSL

Netdata's build system currently does not reliably support building on systems which have multiple ABI incompatible versions of OpenSSL installed. In such situations, you may encounter linking errors due to Netdata trying to build against headers for one version but link to a different version.

Additional components

A full featured install of Netdata requires some additional components which must be built and installed separately from the main Netdata agent. All of these should be handled after installing Netdata itself.

React dashboard

The above build steps include a deprecated web UI for Netdata that lacks support for Netdata Cloud. To get a fully featured dashboard, you must install our new React dashboard.

Installing the pre-built React dashboard

We provide pre-built archives of the React dashboard for each release (these are also used during our normal install process). To use one of these:

  1. Verify the release version that Netdata expects to be used by checking the contents of packaging/dashboard.version in your Netdata sources.
  2. Go to https://github.com/netdata/dashboard/releases and download the dashboard.tar.gz file for the required release.
  3. Unpack the downloaded archive to a temporary directory.
  4. Copy the contents of the build directory from the extracted archive to /usr/share/netdata/web or the equivalent location for your build of Netdata. This will overwrite some files in the target location.

Building the React dashboard locally

Alternatively, you may wish to build the React dashboard locally. Doing so requires a recent version of Node.JS with a working install of NPM. Once you have the required tools, do the following:

  1. Verify the release version that Netdata expects to be used by checking the contents of packaging/dashboard.version in your Netdata sources.
  2. Obtain the sources for that version by either:
    • Navigating to https://github.com/netdata/dashboard and donwloading and unpacking the source code archive for that release.
    • Cloning the repository with git and checking out the required tag.
  3. Run npm install in the dashboard source tree.
  4. Run npm run build in the dashboard source tree.
  5. Copy the contents of the build directory just like step 4 of installing the pre-built React dashboard.

Go collectors

A number of the collectors for Netdata are written in Go instead of C, and are developed in a separate repository from the mian Netdata code. An installation without these collectors is still usable, but will be unable to collect metrics for a number of network services the system may be providing. You can either install a pre-built copy of these eollectors, or build them locally.

Installing the pre-built Go collectors

We provide pre-built binaries of the Go collectors for all the platforms we officially support. To use one of these:

  1. Verify the release version that Netdata expects to be used by checking the contents of packaging/go.d.version in your Netdata sources.
  2. Go to https://github.com/netdata/go.d.plugin/releases, select the required release, and download the go.d.plugin-*.tar.gz file for your system type and CPu architecture and the config.tar.gz configuration file archive.
  3. Extract the go.d.plugin-*.tar.gz archive into a temprary location, and then copy the single file in the archive to /usr/libexec/netdata/plugins.d or the equivalent location for your build of Netdata and rename it to go.d.plugin.
  4. Extract the config.tar.gz archive to a temporarylocation and then copy the contents of the archive to /etc/netdata or the equivalent location for your build of Netdata.

Building the Go collectors locally

Alternatively, you may wish to build the Go collectors locally yourself. Doing so requires a working installation of Golang 1.13 or newer. Once you have the required tools, do the following:

  1. Verify the release version that Netdata expects to be used by checking the contents of packaging/go.d.version in your Netdata sources.
  2. Obtain the sources for that version by either:
    • Navigating to https://github.com/netdata/go.d.plugin and donwloading and unpacking the source code archive for that release.
    • Cloning the repository with git and checking out the required tag.
  3. Run make in the go.d.plugin source tree.
  4. Copy bin/godplugin to /usr/libexec/netdata/plugins.d or th eequivalent location for your build of Netdata and rename it to go.d.plugin.
  5. Copy the contents of the config directory to /etc/netdata or the equivalent location for your build of Netdata.

eBPF collector

On Linux systems, Netdata has support for using the kernel's eBPF interface to monitor performance-related VFS, network, and process events, allowing for insights into process lifetimes and file access patterns. Using this functionality requires additional code managed in a separate repository from the core Netdata agent. You can either install a pre-built copy of the required code, or build it locally.

Installing the pre-built eBPF code

We provide pre-built copies of the eBPF code for 64-bit x86 systems using glibc or musl. To use one of these:

  1. Verify the release version that Netdata expects to be used by checking the contents of packaging/ebpf.version in your Netdata sources.
  2. Go to https://github.com/netdata/kernel-collector/releases, select the required release, and download the netdata-kernel-collector-*.tar.xz file for the libc variant your system uses (eithe rmusl or glibc).
  3. Extract the contents of the archive to a temporary location, and then copy all of the .o and .so.* files and the contents of the library/ directory to /usr/libexec/netdata/plugins.d or the equivalent location for your build of Netdata.

Building the eBPF code locally

Alternatively, you may wish to build the eBPF code locally yourself. For instructions, please consult the README file for our kernel-collector repository, which outlines both the required dependencies, as well as multiple options for building the code.

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