Packaging Polybar

Do you want to package polybar for a distro? Great! Read this page to get started.

First Steps

Before you get started, have a look at the Packaging Label on our GitHub repo and Repology to see if polybar is already packaged for that distro or if there are efforts to do so.

Even if a package already exists, it might still make sense for you to package polybar in some cases. Some of these cases are:

  • The existing package is out-of-date and the packager is no longer able/willing to continue maintaining the package (or they are simply not reachable anymore).
  • The existing package exist in some non-official repository and you are able to introduce the package into the official package repository for the distro/package manager. For example if there is a PPA providing polybar for Ubuntu and you can add polybar to the official Ubuntu repositories, please do :)

The list above is not exhaustive, if you are unsure, feel free to ask in a new GitHub issue or on Gitter. Please also ask if you run into any polybar related issues while packaging.


If you haven't already, carefully read the Compiling wiki page to make sure you fully understand all the dependencies involved and how to build polybar manually.

We can't really tell you how to create a package for your distro, you need to figure that out yourself. But we can give you some guidance on building polybar for a package

Gathering the Source Code

Unless you are creating a package that tracks the master branch, don't clone the git repository. We provide a tarball with all the required source code on our Release Page, use that in your build.

Configuring and Compiling


Do not use the script for building polybar for your package. The usage and flags of the script may change without notice and we don't consider that a breaking change.

You can mostly follow the instructions on the wiki for how to compile polybar, but there are some additional cmake arguments you might want to use:

  • -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release: As of writing this is already the default, but use it just to be on the safe side.
  • -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr: Without this all the polybar files will be installed under /usr/local. However, for packages it is often recommended they directly install to /usr. So this flag will install polybar to /usr/bin/polybar instead of /usr/local/bin/polybar. The packaging guidelines for your distro may disagree with this, in that case be sure to follow your distro's guidelines.

Instead of sudo make install, you will most likely want to use DESTDIR=<dir> make install. That way the files will be installed into <dir> instead of your filesystem root.

Finishing Up

Finally, subscribe to our GitHub thread for package maintainers to get notified about new releases and changes to how polybar is built. If you want to, you can also open a PR to add your package to the Getting Started section of our README.

Thank you very much for maintaining a polybar package! 🎉