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Please report bugs/issues at

EFL is a collection of libraries for handling many common tasks a developer may have such as data structures, communication, rendering, widgets and more.

There are many components inside EFL. They also build various things like shared libraries, loadable plug-in modules and also binary executables. Different elements will end up being licensed differently too. Below is a rundown of the components, what they do and their licensing.

All library source is in the src/lib/ directory. All binaries are in src/bin/. All loadable modules are in src/modules/. All data files are in the data/ directory. Licensing details are listed in COPYING and the licenses/ directory. The pc/ directory holds all the Package Config files installed to help developers build against EFL.

For more documentation please see:


EFL is primarily developed on Linux (GNU/Linux) and should work on most distributions as long as dependencies are provided. It has been compiled and run also on Windows (using MSYS2 + mingw-w64 - please see Phabricator windows docs), Mac OS X, FreeBSD and NetBSD.



BSD 2-Clause license

This is the core main-loop, system events and execution layer. This handles running the main loop, integrating with external data and timing sources (the system clock, file descriptors, system signals), and producing an event queue, walking that queue and dispatching events to appropriate callbacks.

Ecore Audio:

BSD 2-Clause license

This library provides an API for audio playback and recording. It uses pulse audio underneath to handle mixing and policies. The API for this should not be considered stable right now because it relies on EO and EO is not considered finalized yet.

Ecore Cocoa:

BSD 2-Clause license

This provides wrappers/abstractions around Max OS-X Cocoa APIs to help Mac porting.

Ecore Con:

BSD 2-Clause license

This provides a completely event-based TCP/UDP and Unix domain socket API that integrates with the main-loop. This means no blocking to send or receive data, supporting "infinite send buffers" with storage and spooling being done by Ecore Con. It also supports SSL encryption transparently turned on or not on the same connection, certificate verification, CURL wrapping for HTTP connection usage (GETs, POSTs etc.), asynchronous DNS lookups and provides the ability to also be a server, not just a client, with the same event-based API.

Ecore Evas:

BSD 2-Clause license

This acts as glue between the display target (X11, Wayland, Frame buffer, Cocoa on OSX, Win32 etc.) and Evas. It creates/provides a target for Evas to render to (a Window or Surface etc.) and feeds input events (Keyboard, Mouse, Multi-touch) into Evas, which then selects the target object and calls the callbacks. It also provides wrappers/glue for manipulating the Window/Surface.

Ecore Fb:

BSD 2-Clause license

This provides virtual terminal allocation, access and handling, frame buffer information, raw input handling for keyboard, mouse and touch (via tslib).

Ecore File:

BSD 2-Clause license

This provides file access convenience APIs for doing simple file operations like renames, copies, listing directories and more. It also supports file change monitoring and URL downloads.

Ecore IMF:

BSD 2-Clause license

This is an input method abstraction framework to allow EFL to talk to things like SCIM, IBus, Wayland and XIM. This allows for complex text entry in languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Ecore IMF Evas:

BSD 2-Clause license

This library glues Input method support from Ecore IMF and Evas together.

Ecore Input:

BSD 2-Clause license

This acts as a generic input layer where multiple display systems can post events in the same format to the event queue.

Ecore Input Evas:

BSD 2-Clause license

This Routes events from Ecore Input into a given Evas canvas which will then route the event further to the destination object and callbacks.

Ecore IPC:

BSD 2-Clause license

This acts as a layer on top of Ecore Con which handles entire IPC message packets, dealing with header delta compression and portability, as well as ensuring an entire message is received in one go as a single IPC message, regardless of payload data size. The entire API is event based almost exactly like Ecore Con and thus it supports all the transport layers Ecore Con supports.

Ecore SDL:

BSD 2-Clause license

This acts as a wrapper/glue around SDL to handle SDL Windows as well as input events from SDL and tie them to the Ecore main-loop and event queue.

Ecore Wayland:

BSD 2-Clause license

This is a glue/wrapper library to interface EFL to Wayland libraries to tie them into the Ecore main-loop and event queue.

Ecore Win32:

BSD 2-Clause license

This acts as glue/wrapper around Windows Win32 APIs to tie them into the Ecore main-loop and event queue.

Ecore X:

BSD 2-Clause license

This is a library to wrap/deal with Xlib make dealing with X11 less painful and less footwork as well as being glue to tie these into the Ecore main-loop and event queue.


BSD 2-Clause license (except the epp binary which is GPLv2)

This is a graphics event, input, theme, animation and theme abstraction library used to place many UI/UX elements into data files (called edj files) that define how to react to incoming events/signals, and define animation time lines, states, relative scalable layout and much much more. It comes with a compiler that compiles source "edc" files into "edj" files (which are actually just data files managed by Eet). These "edj" files are fully portable and can work on any OS/Architecture just like a JPEG or PNG might be portable.


BSD 2-Clause license

This library is a data storage, encoding and decoding library designed to be extremely compact, fast and easy to use. It can take data structures directly from memory and serialize them portably to disk, then de-serialize them right back to the same data structures in memory, handling allocation and population of memory all for you in 1 call. It handles indirections such as pointers, linked lists, arrays and hash tables too, so almost any level of data structure complexity can be easily saved and loaded back. It is used for "edj" files by Edje as well as all configuration in Enlightenment, Elementary and Terminology. It supports encryption of data too via SSL, signing of files, as well as various compression techniques. It also supports encoding and decoding of image data in lossless or lossy form.


BSD 2-Clause license

This library acts as an abstraction to discovering hardware interfaces for sensors as well as removable media and much more.


BSD 2-Clause license

This is just some core common header data like a common version number for EFL and how to expose the EO API.


BSD 2-Clause license

This library provides code for handling standards such as .desktop files, XDG Menus, Icon search paths and more. It provides a central daemon to handle monitoring for changes that the library talks to, and the daemon handles updating local cache files the library reads.


LGPL v2 license

This library provides low-level routines for common things like linked lists, hash tables, growable arrays, basic string buffers, shared string tokens, mmaped() file access, thread abstraction and locking, memory pools, copy-on-write segments, iterators, matrices, general data models, red/black trees, quad-trees, a simple SAX XML parser and more.


LGPL v2 license

This is an asynchronous I/O library for doing disk I/O without blocking.


LGPL v2 license

This is a DBus access library to allow you to create DBus services as well as clients. This glues in DBus into the main-loop so all access is asynchronous.


Small license (same as ZLib license)

This is a small C-like language compiler and byte-code interpreter library. This is used for scripting in Edje. The code is based on original source from the Pawn/Small Language but has been made portable (endianness issues fixed) and 64bit issues fixed, with the runtime library being refactored to be extremely small.


BSD 2-Clause license

This is a wrapper around Gstreamer 1.x pluggable decoder libraries This glues in the decoder library, and its output into a smart Evas object that will display the playback for you as the video plays, as well as providing higher level controls to seek, play, pause and query the stream regardless of the back-end used.


BSD 2-Clause license

This is a core object system API that EFL 1.8 and on depend on. The API is not finalized, so do not depend on it yet in EFL 1.8, but future EFL versions will lock it down.

This object system does simple and multiple inheritance, refcounting, strong and weak references, auto-deletion of child objects, unifies callback handling with a single path, and also abstracts object pointers to be indirect table lookups for increased safety at runtime.


BSD 2-Clause license

This library provides a wrapper around the Bullet physics library, allowing for it to be linked directly with Evas objects and control their behavior as if they were real physical objects. This is now disabled by default as it's rarely if ever used by anything.


LGPL v2 license

This library provides core API for a thumbnailing daemon as well as the thumbnail daemon itself. Ethumb Client talks with Ethumb to pass off thumbnail generation to a central location to be done asynchronously.

Ethumb Client:

LGPL v2 license

This is the client-side part of Ethumb that provides an API for clients to request the Ethumb thumbnailer to generate or find cached thumbnails of files.


BSD 2-Clause license

This is the core rendering and scene graph abstraction library for EFL. It manages a stateful 2D scene graph that defines the entire content of any canvas. This supplies rendering back-ends for many display systems like X11, Windows, Wayland, Frame-buffer etc. and via many rendering APIs like OpenGL, OpenGL-ES 2, and pure software implementations that are fast and accurate.


BSD 2-Clause license

This library acts as a porting library for Windows to provide missing libc calls not in Mingw32 that EFL needs. It is used internally and no symbol is public.


EFL requires a C and C++ compiler by default. C++ exists mostly to interface to C++ libraries like Bullet and our C++ bindings.

Required by default:

  • libpng
  • libjpeg
  • openjpeg2
  • gstreamer (Ensure all codecs you want are installed.)
  • zlib
  • luajit (lua 5.1 or 5.2 support optional)
  • libtiff
  • openssl
  • curl
  • dbus
  • libc
  • fontconfig
  • freetype2
  • fribidi
  • harfbuzz
  • libpulse
  • libsndfile
  • libx11
  • libxau
  • libxcomposite
  • libxdamage
  • libxdmcp
  • libxext
  • libxfixes
  • libxinerama
  • libxrandr
  • libxrender
  • libxss
  • libxtst
  • libxcursor
  • libxi (2.2 or newer)
  • opengl(mesa etc.) (opengl/glx/full or opengl-es2/egl. full opengl only on osx - must be explicitly specified to be full to have support)
  • giflib/libgif
  • util-linux (limbount + libblkid)
  • systemd / libudev
  • poppler / poppler-cpp
  • libraw
  • libspectre
  • librsvg
  • openmp (clang needs libomp, while gcc uses libgomp)
  • libwebp

Wayland support

You may also want wayland support when on Linux. This enables support for EFL to target wayland support for client applications. To do this supply:


Framebuffer support

For more modern framebuffer support you may want drm/kms rendering support so enable this. This is what you also want for wayland compositor support in enlightenment as it will want to be able to render to a modern framebuffer target with atomic buffer swapping. To do this provide:


Legacy fbcon support also exists, but you probably no longer want to use this as it is not maintained anymore. This supports basic frame-buffers like /dev/fb as well as input via /dev/input for keyboards and mice in a basic way. Enable this with:


You may want to change the install prefix for EFL with:


The default prefix if not given is "/usr/local". Many people like to use prefixes like /opt/e or /opt/efl or /home/USERNAME/software etc.

Compiler flags

You can affect compilation optimization, debugging and other factors by setting your CFLAGS environment variable (and CXXFLAGS). Be aware that to ensure ABI stability you should use the exact same CFLAGS / CXXFLAGS for all the build of EFL and any applications/libraries that depend on them.

There are many other configure options that can be used, but in general it is not a good idea to go enabling or disabling things unless you wish to break things. The defaults are well tested, with the above recommended options also being well tested. Go much further and your mileage may vary wildly. Disabling features is a good way of breaking EFL functionality, so it is not recommended to mess with these without understanding the implications. The defaults have been carefully considered to provide full functionality so users will not be missing anything.


EFL officially offers openssl or gnutls as cryptography backends. By default it uses "openssl" to do signature, cipher and related. Alternatively one can use "gnutls" (some distros are strict about licenses and want gnutls instead of openssl) You can switch to gnutls with:


Compiling and Installing

Meson is the build system used for this project. For more information please see

You will need normal build tooling installed such as a compiler (gcc or clang for example), pkg-config, ninja, any relevant package-dev or package-devel packages if your distribution splits out development headers (e.g. libc6-dev) etc.

Depending on where dependencies, you might have to set your PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable like:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/pkgconfig

Also note that some distributions like to add extra arch directories to your library locations so you might have to have more like:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/local/lib64/pkgconfig:/usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/lib64/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/pkgconfig

You will need to ensure that the destination library directory (e.g. /usr/local/lib is in your /etc/ or /etc/ files and after installing anything that installs libraries you re-run ldconfig. Please see relevant documentation on ldconfig and for your distribution.

You might also want to add the destination bin dir to your environment variable PATH (see documentation on your shell PATH variable) such as:

export PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin

Normal compilation in /usr/local:

meson . build
ninja -C build
sudo ninja -C build install

For meson build generic options:

meson --help

For a list of project specific options supported:

cat meson_options.txt

To set 1 or more project specific options:

meson --prefix=/path/to -Doption=value [-Dother=value2] [...] . build

To display current configuration:

meson configure build

The above will only work after at least the following is done:

meson . build

Quick build help

How to clean out the build and config and start fresh:

rm -rf build

How to make a dist tarball and check its build: (must do it from git tree clone and commit all changes to git first)

ninja -C build dist

How to change prefix:

meson --prefix=/path/to/prefix . build

How to install in a specific destination directory for packaging:

DESTDIR=/path/to/destdir ninja -C build install

How to build with verbose output (full commands run):

ninja -C build -v