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Building Signal Desktop on Fedora

In 2020-03-29 this guide was re-written from an old method and spec file to a new one fetched from here.

Here's how I build my own RPM for Signal Desktop. This guide has been evolving since Fedora 28, and last tested on Fedora 35.


The Signal org provides no official RPM and I don't trust 3rd parties building their own so I go through this process every time I need to update Signal Desktop.

Setup rpmbuild

Pick somwhere to build your RPMs, I've picked $HOME/src/rpmbuild and hard coded that into my .rpmmacros file. So it looks like this.

%_topdir %(echo $HOME)/src/rpmbuild
%_tmppath %(echo $HOME)/src/rpmbuild/tmp

%__arch_install_post \
    [ "%{buildarch}" = "noarch" ] || QA_CHECK_RPATHS=1 ; \
    case "${QA_CHECK_RPATHS:-}" in [1yY]*) /usr/lib/rpm/check-rpaths ;; esac \
mkdir -p $HOME/src/rpmbuild
mkdir $HOME/src/rpmbuild/{SPECS,SOURCES}

Download SPEC and SOURCE for Signal

Clone the git repo with the SPEC and patch files

mkdir $HOME/src
cd $HOME/src
git clone
cp Signal-Desktop/*.spec ~/src/rpmbuild/SPECS/
cp Signal-Desktop/*.{patch,desktop} ~/src/rpmbuild/SOURCES/
cd ~/src/rpmbuild

NOTE That the last working commit I've successfully built Signal-Desktop with is this one.

Download the source release tarball into the SOURCES directory

Update the command to match the version in Signal-Desktop.spec file.

curl -Lo SOURCES/Signal-Desktop-5.4.0.tar.gz ''

Install yarn

Some might install it using npm as a global package but I prefer using official repos. So follow those instructions on installing the yarn repo.

Install dependency packages

Signal-Desktop requires node 16 and you can install a specific release in Fedora using streams.

sudo dnf module install nodejs:16/common
sudo dnf install rpm-build python2 openssl-devel gcc-c++ \
    '@Development Tools' git-lfs yarnpkg npm
npm install -g node-gyp

If you have an old nodejs module installed from before

sudo dnf remove nodejs
sudo dnf module reset nodejs:14


As of 2021-01-18 I need the QA_RPATHS environment variable set for rpmbuild to succeed, due to my rpmmacros file running check-rpaths so this has nothing to do with Signal or the build patches.

export QA_RPATHS=$(( 0x0001|0x0002|0x0008 ))
rpmbuild -bb SPECS/Signal-Desktop.spec


sudo dnf install RPMS/x86_64/Signal-Desktop-1.39.4-1.fc33.x86_64.rpm

Known issues

Yarn cache

Rpmbuild results in something like this error:

error Command failed.
Exit code: 128
Command: git
Arguments: pull
Directory: /home/stemid/.cache/yarn/v6/.tmp/6b9ea74d442c0d03a1b4c2a1b8696978

Can also be Exit code: 1, just purge the cache and run rpmbuild again: rm -rf ~/.cache/yarn/v6/.tmp

Signal does not start from the Gnome applications menu

The default Signal-Desktop.desktop file included has not been working for me, it was pointing at an empty file for some reason. Here is one that works for me.

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Signal Private Messenger
Exec=/usr/lib64/Signal-Desktop/signal-desktop --use-tray-icon --no-sandbox

Last update: May 27, 2022