Build Instructions

This document contains the instructions for building this repository on Linux and Windows.

This repository does not contain a Vulkan-capable driver. Before proceeding, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a Vulkan driver from your graphics hardware vendor and install it.


If you intend to contribute, the preferred work flow is for you to develop your contribution in a fork of this repo in your GitHub account and then submit a pull request. Please see the CONTRIBUTING file in this repository for more details.

Git the Bits

To create your local git repository:

git clone

Linux Build

The build process uses CMake to generate makefiles for this project. The build generates the loader, layers, and tests.

This repo has been built and tested on the two most recent Ubuntu LTS versions. It should be straightforward to use it on other Linux distros.

These packages are needed to build this repository:

sudo apt-get install git cmake build-essential bison libx11-xcb-dev libxkbcommon-dev libmirclient-dev libwayland-dev libxrandr-dev

Example debug build (Note that the update_external_sources script used below builds external tools into predefined locations. See Loader and Validation Layer Dependencies for more information and other options):

cd Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers  # cd to the root of the cloned git repository
cmake -H. -Bdbuild -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug
cd dbuild

If you have installed a Vulkan driver obtained from your graphics hardware vendor, the install process should have configured the driver so that the Vulkan loader can find and load it.

If you want to use the loader and layers that you have just built:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=<path to your repository root>/dbuild/loader
export VK_LAYER_PATH=<path to your repository root>/dbuild/layers

You can run the vulkaninfo application to see which driver, loader and layers are being used.

The LoaderAndLayerInterface document in the loader folder in this repository is a specification that describes both how ICDs and layers should be properly packaged, and how developers can point to ICDs and layers within their builds.

WSI Support Build Options

By default, the Vulkan Loader and Validation Layers are built with support for all 4 Vulkan-defined WSI display systems, Xcb, Xlib, Wayland, and Mir. It is recommended to build these modules with support for these display systems to maximize their usability across Linux platforms. If it is necessary to build these modules without support for one of the display systems, the appropriate CMake option of the form BUILD_WSI_xxx_SUPPORT can be set to OFF. See the top-level CMakeLists.txt file for more info.

Linux Install to System Directories

Installing the files resulting from your build to the systems directories is optional since environment variables can usually be used instead to locate the binaries. There are also risks with interfering with binaries installed by packages. If you are certain that you would like to install your binaries to system directories, you can proceed with these instructions.

Assuming that you've built the code as described above and the current directory is still dbuild, you can execute:

sudo make install

This command installs files to:

  • /usr/local/include/vulkan: Vulkan include files
  • /usr/local/lib: Vulkan loader and layers shared objects
  • /usr/local/bin: vulkaninfo application
  • /usr/local/etc/vulkan/explicit_layer.d: Layer JSON files

You may need to run ldconfig in order to refresh the system loader search cache on some Linux systems.

The list of installed files appears in the build directory in a file named install_manifest.txt. You can easily remove the installed files with:

cat install_manifest.txt | sudo xargs rm

You can further customize the installation location by setting additional CMake variables to override their defaults. For example, if you would like to install to /tmp/build instead of /usr/local, specify:


on your CMake command line and run make install as before. The install step places the files in /tmp/build.

Using the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX to customize the install location also modifies the loader search paths to include searching for layers in the specified install location. In this example, setting CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX to /tmp/build causes the loader to search /tmp/build/etc/vulkan/explicit_layer.d and /tmp/build/share/vulkan/explicit_layer.d for the layer JSON files. The loader also searches the “standard” system locations of /etc/vulkan/explicit_layer.d and /usr/share/vulkan/explicit_layer.d after searching the two locations under /tmp/build.

You can further customize the installation directories by using the CMake variables CMAKE_INSTALL_SYSCONFDIR to rename the etc directory and CMAKE_INSTALL_DATADIR to rename the share directory.

See the CMake documentation for more details on using these variables to further customize your installation.

Also see the LoaderAndLayerInterface document in the loader folder in this repository for more information about loader operation.

Note that some executables in this repository (e.g., cube) use the “rpath” linker directive to load the Vulkan loader from the build directory, dbuild in this example. This means that even after installing the loader to the system directories, these executables still use the loader from the build directory.

Linux 32-bit support

Usage of this repository's contents in 32-bit Linux environments is not officially supported. However, since this repository is supported on 32-bit Windows, these modules should generally work on 32-bit Linux.

Here are some notes for building 32-bit targets on a 64-bit Ubuntu “reference” platform:

If not already installed, install the following 32-bit development libraries:

gcc-multilib g++-multilib libx11-dev:i386

This list may vary depending on your distro and which windowing systems you are building for.

Set up your environment for building 32-bit targets:

export ASFLAGS=--32
export CFLAGS=-m32
export CXXFLAGS=-m32
export PKG_CONFIG_LIBDIR=/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu

Again, your PKG_CONFIG configuration may be different, depending on your distro.

If the libraries in the external directory have already been built for 64-bit targets, delete or “clean” this directory and rebuild it with the above settings using the update_external_sources shell script. This is required because the libraries in external must be built for 32-bit in order to be usable by the rest of the components in the repository.

Finally, rebuild the repository using cmake and make, as explained above.

Validation Test

The test executables can be found in the dbuild/tests directory. Some of the tests that are available:

  • vk_layer_validation_tests: Test Vulkan layers.

There are also a few shell and Python scripts that run test collections (eg,

Linux Demos

Some demos that can be found in the dbuild/demos directory are:

  • vulkaninfo: report GPU properties
  • cube: a textured spinning cube
  • smoke/smoke: A “smoke” test using a more complex Vulkan demo

You can select which WSI subsystem is used to build the demos using a cmake option called DEMOS_WSI_SELECTION. Supported options are XCB (default), XLIB, WAYLAND, and MIR. Note that you must build using the corresponding BUILD_WSI_*_SUPPORT enabled at the base repo level (all SUPPORT options are ON by default). For instance, creating a build that will use Xlib to build the demos, your cmake command line might look like:


Windows System Requirements

Windows 7+ with additional required software packages:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Professional. Note: it is possible that lesser/older versions may work, but that has not been tested.
  • CMake. Notes:
    • Tell the installer to “Add CMake to the system PATH” environment variable.
  • Python 3. Notes:
    • Select to install the optional sub-package to add Python to the system PATH environment variable.
    • Ensure the pip module is installed (it should be by default)
    • Need python3.3 or later to get the Windows py.exe launcher that is used to get python3 rather than python2 if both are installed on Windows
    • 32 bit python works
  • Git.
    • Note: If you use Cygwin, you can normally use Cygwin‘s “git.exe”, and “ --no-build” does support Cygwin’s git. However, in order to use the “update_external_sources.bat” script, you must have this version.
    • Tell the installer to allow it to be used for “Developer Prompt” as well as “Git Bash”.
    • Tell the installer to treat line endings “as is” (i.e. both DOS and Unix-style line endings).
    • Install each a 32-bit and a 64-bit version, as the 64-bit installer does not install the 32-bit libraries and tools.
  • glslang is required for demos and tests.
    • You can download and configure it (in a peer directory) here
    • A windows batch file has been included that will pull and build the correct version. Run it from Developer Command Prompt for VS2013 like so:
      • update_external_sources.bat --build-glslang (Note: see Loader and Validation Layer Dependencies below for other options)

Windows Build - MSVC

Before building on Windows, you may want to modify the customize section in loader/loader.rc to so as to set the version numbers and build description for your build. Doing so will set the information displayed for the Properties->Details tab of the loader vulkan-1.dll file that is built.

Build all Windows targets after installing required software and cloning the Loader and Validation Layer repo as described above by completing the following steps in a “Developer Command Prompt for VS2013” window (Note that the update_external_sources script used below builds external tools into predefined locations. See Loader and Validation Layer Dependencies for more information and other options):

cd Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers  # cd to the root of the cloned git repository

At this point, you can use Windows Explorer to launch Visual Studio by double-clicking on the “VULKAN.sln” file in the \build folder. Once Visual Studio comes up, you can select “Debug” or “Release” from a drop-down list. You can start a build with either the menu (Build->Build Solution), or a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+B). As part of the build process, Python scripts will create additional Visual Studio files and projects, along with additional source files. All of these auto-generated files are under the “build” folder.

Vulkan programs must be able to find and use the vulkan-1.dll library. Make sure it is either installed in the C:\Windows\System32 folder, or the PATH environment variable includes the folder that it is located in.

To run Vulkan programs you must tell the icd loader where to find the libraries. This is described in a LoaderAndLayerInterface document in the loader folder in this repository. This specification describes both how ICDs and layers should be properly packaged, and how developers can point to ICDs and layers within their builds.

Using Cygwin Git

If you are using Cygwin git instead of win32-native git, you can use the sh script to sync using Cygwin's git (but not also build), then use the bat script to build (but not also sync).

In a cygwin shell do this:

./ --no-build

Then in a Visual Studio Developer Command Prompt shell do this:

update_external_sources.bat --no-sync

Android Build

Install the required tools for Linux and Windows covered above, then add the following.

Android Studio

  • Install Android Studio 2.3 or later.
  • From the “Welcome to Android Studio” splash screen, add the following components using Configure > SDK Manager:
    • SDK Platforms > Android 6.0 and newer
    • SDK Tools > Android SDK Build-Tools
    • SDK Tools > Android SDK Platform-Tools
    • SDK Tools > Android SDK Tools
    • SDK Tools > Android NDK

Add Android specifics to environment

On Linux:

export ANDROID_SDK_HOME=$HOME/Android/sdk
export ANDROID_NDK_HOME=$HOME/Android/sdk/ndk-bundle
export PATH=$ANDROID_SDK_HOME/build-tools/23.0.3:$PATH

On Windows:

set ANDROID_NDK_HOME=%LOCALAPPDATA%\Android\sdk\ndk-bundle
set PATH=%LOCALAPPDATA%\Android\sdk\ndk-bundle;%PATH%


export ANDROID_SDK_HOME=$HOME/Library/Android/sdk
export ANDROID_NDK_HOME=$HOME/Library/Android/sdk/ndk-bundle
export PATH=$ANDROID_SDK_HOME/build-tools/23.0.3:$PATH

Note: If jarsigner is missing from your platform, you can find it in the Android Studio install.

Additional OSX System Requirements

Tested on OSX version 10.12.4

Setup Homebrew and components

  • Follow instructions on to get homebrew installed.
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
  • Ensure Homebrew is at the beginning of your PATH:
export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH
  • Add packages with the following (may need refinement)
brew install cmake python python3 git

Build steps for Android

Use the following script to build everything in the repo for Android, including validation layers, tests, demos, and APK packaging:

cd build-android

Resulting validation layer binaries will be in build-android/libs. Test and demo APKs can be installed on production devices with:

./ -s <serial number>

Note that there are no equivalent scripts on Windows yet, that work needs to be completed. The following per platform commands can be used for layer only builds:

Linux and OSX

Follow the setup steps for Linux or OSX above, then from your terminal:

cd build-android
ndk-build -j $(sysctl -n hw.ncpu)


Follow the setup steps for Windows above, then from Developer Command Prompt for VS2013:

cd build-android

Android tests

Use the following steps to build, install, and run the layer validation tests for Android:

cd build-android
adb install -r bin/VulkanLayerValidationTests.apk
adb shell am start com.example.VulkanLayerValidationTests/

Alternatively, you can use the test_APK script to install and run the layer validation tests: -s <serial number> -p <plaform name> -f <gtest_filter>

Android demos

Use the following steps to build, install, and run Cube and Smoke for Android:

cd build-android
adb install -r ../demos/android/cube/bin/cube.apk
adb shell am start com.example.Cube/

To build, install, and run Cube with validation layers, first build layers using steps above, then run:

cd build-android
adb install -r ../demos/android/cube-with-layers/bin/cube-with-layers.apk
adb shell am start com.example.CubeWithLayers/
adb shell am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -c android-intent.category.LAUNCH -n com.example.CubeWithLayers/ --es args "--validate"

vkjson_info for Android is built as an executable for devices with root access.

To use, simply push it to the device and run it:

adb push obj/local/<abi>/vkjson_info /data/tmp/
adb shell /data/tmp/vkjson_info

The resulting json file will be found in:


To build, install, and run the Smoke demo for Android, run the following, and any prompts that come back from the script:

./ --glslang
cd demos/smoke/android
export ANDROID_SDK_HOME=<path to Android/Sdk>
export ANDROID_NDK_HOME=<path to Android/Sdk/ndk-bundle>
adb shell am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -c android-intent.category.LAUNCH -n com.example.Smoke/ --es args "--validate"

Ninja Builds - All Platforms

The Qt Creator IDE can open a root CMakeList.txt as a project directly, and it provides tools within Creator to configure and generate Vulkan SDK build files for one to many targets concurrently, resolving configuration issues as needed. Alternatively, when invoking CMake use the -G Codeblocks Ninja option to generate Ninja build files to be used as project files for QtCreator

  • Follow the steps defined elsewhere for the OS using the update_external_sources script or as shown in Loader and Validation Layer Dependencies below
  • Open, configure, and build the gslang and spirv-tools CMakeList.txt files
  • Then do the same with the Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers CMakeList.txt file.
  • In order to debug with QtCreator, a Microsoft WDK: eg WDK 10 is required. Note that installing the WDK breaks the MSVC vcvarsall.bat build scripts provided by MSVC, requiring that the LIB, INCLUDE, and PATH env variables be set to the WDK paths by some other means

Loader and Validation Layer Dependencies

gslang and SPIRV-Tools repos are required to build and run Loader and Validation Layer components. They are not git sub-modules of Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers but Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers is linked to specific revisions of gslang and spirv-tools. These can be automatically cloned and built to predefined locations with the update_external_sources scripts. If a custom configuration is required, do the following steps:

  1. clone the repos:

    git clone git clone

  2. checkout the correct version of each tree based on the contents of the glslang_revision and spirv-tools_revision files at the root of the Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers tree (do the same anytime that Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers is updated from remote)

on windows

git checkout < [path to Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers]\glslang_revision [in glslang repo]
git checkout < [path to Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers]\spirv-tools_revision[in spriv-tools repo]

non windows

git checkout `cat [path to Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers]\glslang_revision` [in glslang repo]
git checkout `cat [path to Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers]\spirv-tools_revision` [in spriv-tools repo]
  1. Configure the gslang and spirv-tools source trees with cmake and build them with your IDE of choice

  2. Enable the CUSTOM_GSLANG_BIN_PATH and CUSTOM_SPIRV_TOOLS_BIN_PATH options in the Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers cmake configuration and point the GSLANG_BINARY_PATH and SPIRV_TOOLS_BINARY_PATH variables to the correct location

  3. If building on Windows with MSVC, set DISABLE_BUILDTGT_DIR_DECORATION to On. If building on Windows, but without MSVC set DISABLE_BUILD_PATH_DECORATION to On

Optional software packages: