Adapter Build Instructions (pEpEngine 3.x) DRAFT

ATTENTION: This document cover Release_3.x branch only. (Not Release_2.1.x)
For the normative version for 2.1, please see Adapter Build Instructions (pEpEngine 2.1)

Intended Purpose Of This Document

The original and still valid intent of these instructions is to provide and support ONE working way to build and use the stack from dev to dev. Whenever there is a change in the build process relevant for the user of the component, please reflect that in these instructions. The aim is that they are being kept up to date at all times. Its is perfectly ok of course that dev’s all have their own preference regarding dev setup. But if you have a different setup than the ‘reference build’ resulting from these instructions, you will have to translate these changes yourself, and you cant expect your particular way of doing things to be supported by the respective component maintainer.

Last Verified

The definition of a ‘verification’ is to complete all of the instructions up to at least one adapter, starting from scratch with an equivalent of a fresh, vanilla OS installation.

On 23.8.2022 by heck, on macOS 12.5.

Changes to be incorporated for Debian 11:

  • Rust can be installed with apt install rustc
  • libboost-locale1.67-dev gone, now libboost-locale1.74-dev
  •, use libboost-python39 not libboost-python3

Adapter Build Instructions

This document covers the whole download/build/install process for the whole pEp software stack on platforms:

  • Debian Linux (10/stable)
  • MacOS (>=10.10)

Adapters included in this build are:

The prerequisite for this manual is a machine running Debian Linux 10 with standard system utilities installed.

About this document

This is work in progress, if you have any problems please get in touch with me via:

  • IRC pEp Intern: heck
  • Mail:

I depend on your feedback to improve this document and i will help you build your adapter. How to contribute:

  • Use the suggestions section in the appendix of this document
  • Change the document BUT mark your change, using “TODO:”
  • Ask me if you want to become a co-maintainer

As i am the maintainer of this document, please do not change this document in any other way.
If you are not working at pEp, please contact irc:// (please highlight sva)


Component Versions

Currently, if you follow these instructions, what will be built is the last WIP version of engine/adapter on the master branch heading towards the first release of a 3.x version. Or put differently: This is one of the prossible, working conbinations of versions of components. Whenever there is the requirement to use a new version of a dependency, then this document will be updated, and you see what engine/adapter versions are the ones that start using this recently updated component. So, its is supported to use any engine/adapter versions >= the one specified (in the git checkout command) in combination with the versions of all other components in here.
As a developer what you would want to do, is to use the latest master/tip versions of engine/adapter on the master branch.

Currently, if you follow these instructions, what will be built is just the very latest commit from each software repository. Please note that we use a repo “master/HEAD” is unstable policy. That means if you like to build a stable version of an adapter and its dependencies, you would need to build a released version of the adapter and its dependencies. But as of now, these instructions dont describe how to build specific versions of adapters/engine/etc.

Dir Layout

Currently, the instructions will only work using the following directory layout. These folder will be created while you cary out the instructions in this manual.

~/src               - source src main dir
~/local/include     - target install dir for header files
~/local/lib         - target install dir for libraries
~/local/bin         - target install dir for binaries
~/local/share        - target install dir for shared files

Installing System Dependencies

Debian Linux

As verified to work on Debian 10 (64bit) - minimal installation

Debian Packages

Prepare your linux system, by installing all these packages. Login as root, and execute the following line.

apt install sudo curl git build-essential python3 clang pkg-config nettle-dev capnproto libssl-dev python3-lxml libtool autoconf uuid-dev sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev

This will install all the dependencies listed below.


system: sudo curl
build: git build-essential python3 clang pkg-config

Component Dependencies

Sequoia: nettle-dev capnproto libssl-dev
yml2: python3-lxml
libetpan: libtool autoconf
pEpEngine: uuid-dev sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev


Currently, in Debian10/stable the version of rust is too old. Please install rust Rust from (1.46 or later) After the rust installation has finished, logout and back in to refresh your shell environment.


We need to configure sudo, so your normal user has sudo rights.
Login as root, and execute the following line, where has to be replaced with the username of your normal user.
Make sure to logout/login any session with the respective user, for the changes to become effective.

usermod -a -G sudo <USERNAME>


As verified to work on MacOS 10.14

sudo port install gnupg2 capnproto nettle pkgconfig coreutils libtool autoconf automake

Building Dependencies


The pEp engine is based on Sequoia as encryption backend, written in Rust.
Login as your normal user and execute the following lines to build and install Sequoia.

please note: this build might take some time, 1, 2, or 3 coffees, depending on your system

mkdir -p ~/src/sequoia
cd ~/src/sequoia
git clone .
git checkout openpgp/v1.3.1
cargo update -p nettle-sys --precise 2.0.8
cargo build -p sequoia-openpgp-ffi --release
make -C openpgp-ffi install PREFIX=$HOME/local


Build and install YML2 (more info:

mkdir -p ~/src/yml2
cd ~/src/yml2
echo 'export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/src/yml2' >> ~/.bash_profile
source ~/.bash_profile
git clone .
git checkout 2.7.1
make install


pEp Engine requires libetpan with a set of patches that have not been upstreamed yet.

mkdir -p ~/src/libetpan
cd ~/src/libetpan
git clone .
mkdir build
./ --prefix=$HOME/local
make install


Build and install ASN1c interface description language.

mkdir -p ~/src/asn1c
cd ~/src/asn1c
git clone .
git checkout tags/v0.9.28 -b pep-engine
autoreconf -iv
./configure --prefix=$HOME/local
make install

Building The pEpEngine


We develop on the master branch towards a first 3.x release. Therefore use master/tip always.


mkdir -p ~/src/pEpEngine
cd ~/src/pEpEngine
git clone .

Create the build config file “local.conf” (paste the whole following code block into your shell)

echo '





export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$(PREFIX)/share/pkgconfig/
' > local.conf

Build the engine

make install
make dbinstall


Currently, we can’t really “test” easily enough that the engine works, without installing external dependencies to run the test suite. But lets check that the freshly built library is existing.

ls -l ~/local/lib/libpEpEngine*
-rwxr-xr-x 1 heck heck 1857744 Feb 24 23:59 /home/heck/lib/ (or .dylib on mac)

That looks good.

Building The Adapters

The build instructions for the various adapters follow here.
Login as normal user to execute those instructions.


We develop on master branches towards a first 3.x release. Therefore use master/tip always.


libpEpAdapter is a static library containing common functionality that can be shared across adapters. Most adapters require libpEpAdapter.

mkdir -p ~/src/libpEpAdapter/
cd ~/src/libpEpAdapter/
git clone .
make install PREFIX=$HOME/local


This adapter requires libpEpAdapter, please see build instructions above.

Dependencies Debian Linux

sudo apt install python3-setuptools libboost-python-dev libboost-locale1.67-dev python3-venv

Dependencies MacOS

sudo port install boost


mkdir -p ~/src/pEpPythonAdapter/
cd ~/src/pEpPythonAdapter/
git clone .

Create the build config file “local.conf” (paste the whole following code block into your shell)

echo 'PREFIX=$(HOME)/local' > local.conf

Build the adapter

make venv


make venv 
make envtest
make[1]: Entering directory '/home/heck/src/pEpPythonAdapter'
python3 -c 'import pEp'
make[1]: Leaving directory '/home/heck/src/pEpPythonAdapter'

That looks good


This adapter requires libpEpAdapter, please see build instructions above.

Dependencies Debian Linux

sudo apt install default-jdk

Dependencies MacOS

sudo port install gsed


mkdir -p ~/src/pEpJNIAdapter/
cd ~/src/pEpJNIAdapter/
git clone .

Create the build config file “local.conf” (paste the whole following code block into your shell)

echo '
' > local.conf

Build the adapter



cd test/java/foundation/pEp/jniadapter/test/basic

main      : ======== TEST: 'startSync()' ================================ CTX: 'BasicTestContext' ========= [0.100 sec] === SUCCESS ======
main      : ======== TEST: 'Keygen2' ==================================== CTX: 'BasicTestContext' ========= [0.106 sec] === SUCCESS ====== - called - sync_is_running - injecting null event

*** sync_protocol thread shutdown pEp sync protocol (null) (null)
Adapter.hxx::sync_thread - sync protocol loop ended
main      : ======== TEST: 'stopSync()' ================================= CTX: 'BasicTestContext' ========= [0.002 sec] === SUCCESS ======
main      : SUCCESS: 12
main      : FAILED : 0
main      : TOTAL  : 12

That looks good.


The p≡p JSON Server Adapter (or short: JSON Adapter) also needs the libpEpAdapter; see above.

Because documentation shall be as near as the code it belongs to the most accurate (and least outdated) documentation is in the in the root of JSON Adapter’s source repo. If that contains errors, is outdated or omitting important informations, please file a bug in the “JSON” project of Gitea.

git clone
cd pEpJSONServerAdapter

Requirements / Dependencies

  • C++ compiler: tested with g++ 4.8, 4.9, 8.3, 9.4.0, 11.2.0 and clang++ 2.8. Newer versions should work, too. If not -> File a bug!
  • GNU make
  • libboost-thread-dev (tested with 1.58, 1.62, 1.67, 1.70 and 1.74)
  • libboost-program-options-dev
  • libboost-filesystem-dev
  • p≡p Engine (which needs pepenginesequoiabackend, a patched libetpan, libboost-system-dev)
  • libpEpAdapter
  • webserver
  • OSSP libuuid

The directory structure of the JSON Adapter does not – yet – fulfill the requirements described above; that is fixed soon.

For the time being, just go into the server subdirectory and type make.

Running the JSON Adapter

The stand-alone JSON Adapter (a.k.a. pEp-mini-json-adapter) can be started directly on command line, e.g. like this:

./pEp-mini-json-adapter -d 1 -D -l stderr -H ../html/

If it starts up without errors you should got a file ~/.pEp/json-token which contains the address and port the JSON Adapter is listening on, and a “security-token” which mus be given in every function call to the JSON Adapter to prevent other users on the same machine from using your JSON Adapter.

You can now open (it is the default port, if available. Consult the json-token file for the actually used port) in your webbrowser and see a demo page where you can emit function calls via the JSON Adapter to the pEpEngine.



Please add your suggestions after this line. Thanks a lot for your contribution.