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This chapter provides hints on Icinga 2 debugging, development, package builds and tests.

Debug Icinga 2

This chapter targets all users who have been asked by developers to provide a stack trace or coredump if the application crashed. It is also useful for developers working with different debuggers.


This is intentionally mentioned before any development insights as debugging is a more frequent and commonly asked question.

Debug Requirements

Make sure that the debug symbols are available for Icinga 2. The Icinga 2 packages provide a debug package which must be installed separately for all involved binaries, like icinga2-bin or icinga2-ido-mysql.

Distribution Command
Debian/Ubuntu apt-get install icinga2-dbg
RHEL/CentOS yum install icinga2-debuginfo
Fedora dnf install icinga2-debuginfo icinga2-bin-debuginfo icinga2-ido-mysql-debuginfo
SLES/openSUSE zypper install icinga2-bin-debuginfo icinga2-ido-mysql-debuginfo

Furthermore, you may also have to install debug symbols for Boost and your C++ library.

If you’re building your own binaries, you should use the -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug cmake build flag for debug builds.

GDB as Debugger

Install GDB in your development environment.

Distribution Command
Debian/Ubuntu apt-get install gdb
RHEL/CentOS yum install gdb
Fedora dnf install gdb
SLES/openSUSE zypper install gdb


Call GDB with the binary (/usr/sbin/icinga2 is a wrapper script calling /usr/lib64/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 since 2.4) and all arguments and run it in foreground.

gdb --args /usr/lib64/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 daemon -x debug

The exact path to the Icinga 2 binary differs on each distribution. On Ubuntu it is installed into /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 on 64-bit systems for example.


If gdb tells you it’s missing debug symbols, quit gdb and install them: Missing separate debuginfos, use: debuginfo-install ...

Run/restart the application.

(gdb) r

Kill the running application.

(gdb) k

Continue after breakpoint.

(gdb) c

GDB Core Dump

Either attach to the running process using gdb -p PID or start a new gdb run.

(gdb) r
(gdb) generate-core-file

GDB Backtrace

If Icinga 2 aborted its operation abnormally, generate a backtrace.


Please install the required debug symbols prior to generating a backtrace.

thread apply all is important here since this includes all running threads. We need this information when e.g. debugging dead locks and hanging features.

(gdb) bt
(gdb) thread apply all bt full

If gdb stops at a SIGPIPE signal please disable the signal before running Icinga 2. This isn’t an error, but we need to workaround it.

(gdb) handle SIGPIPE nostop noprint pass
(gdb) r

If you create a new issue, make sure to attach as much detail as possible.

GDB Backtrace from Running Process

If Icinga 2 is still running, generate a full backtrace from the running process and store it into a new file (e.g. for debugging dead locks).


Please install the required debug symbols prior to generating a backtrace.

Icinga 2 runs with 2 processes: main and command executor, therefore generate two backtrace logs and add them to the GitHub issue.

for pid in $(pidof icinga2); do gdb -p $pid -batch -ex "thread apply all bt full" -ex "detach" -ex "q" > gdb_bt_${pid}_`date +%s`.log; done

GDB Thread List from Running Process

Instead of a full backtrace, you sometimes just need a list of running threads.

for pid in $(pidof icinga2); do gdb -p $pid -batch -ex "info threads" -ex "detach" -ex "q" > gdb_threads_${pid}_`date +%s`.log; done

GDB Backtrace Stepping

Identifying the problem may require stepping into the backtrace, analysing the current scope, attributes, and possible unmet requirements. p prints the value of the selected variable or function call result.

(gdb) up
(gdb) down
(gdb) p checkable
(gdb) p checkable.px->m_Name

GDB Breakpoints

To set a breakpoint to a specific function call, or file specific line.

(gdb) b checkable.cpp:125
(gdb) b icinga::Checkable::SetEnablePerfdata

GDB will ask about loading the required symbols later, select yes instead of no.

Then run Icinga 2 until it reaches the first breakpoint. Continue with c afterwards.

(gdb) run
(gdb) c

In case you want to step into the next line of code, use n. If there is a function call where you want to step into, use s.

(gdb) n

(gdb) s

If you want to delete all breakpoints, use d and select yes.

(gdb) d


When debugging exceptions, set your breakpoint like this: b __cxa_throw.

Breakpoint Example:

(gdb) b __cxa_throw
(gdb) r
(gdb) up
(gdb) up
#11 0x00007ffff7cbf9ff in icinga::Utility::GlobRecursive(icinga::String const&, icinga::String const&, boost::function<void (icinga::String const&)> const&, int) (path=..., pattern=..., callback=..., type=1)
    at /home/michi/coding/icinga/icinga2/lib/base/utility.cpp:609
609         callback(cpath);
(gdb) l
605 #endif /* _WIN32 */
607     std::sort(files.begin(), files.end());
608     BOOST_FOREACH(const String& cpath, files) {
609         callback(cpath);
610     }
612     std::sort(dirs.begin(), dirs.end());
613     BOOST_FOREACH(const String& cpath, dirs) {
(gdb) p files
$3 = std::vector of length 11, capacity 16 = {{static NPos = 18446744073709551615, m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/agent.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615,
    m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/commands.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615, m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/downtimes.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615,
    m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/groups.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615, m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/notifications.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615,
    m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/satellite.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615, m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/services.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615,
    m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/templates.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615, m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/test.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615,
    m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/timeperiods.conf"}, {static NPos = 18446744073709551615, m_Data = "/etc/icinga2/conf.d/users.conf"}}

Core Dump

When the Icinga 2 daemon crashes with a SIGSEGV signal a core dump file should be written. This will help developers to analyze and fix the problem.

Core Dump File Size Limit

This requires setting the core dump file size to unlimited.

systemctl edit icinga2.service


systemctl daemon-reload

systemctl restart icinga2
Init Script
vim /etc/init.d/icinga2
ulimit -c unlimited

service icinga2 restart

Verify that the Icinga 2 process core file size limit is set to unlimited.

for pid in $(pidof icinga2); do cat /proc/$pid/limits; done

Max core file size        unlimited            unlimited            bytes

Core Dump Kernel Format

The Icinga 2 daemon runs with the SUID bit set. Therefore you need to explicitly enable core dumps for SUID on Linux.

sysctl -w fs.suid_dumpable=2

Adjust the coredump kernel format and file location on Linux:

sysctl -w kernel.core_pattern=/var/lib/cores/core.%e.%p

install -m 1777 -d /var/lib/cores


sysctl -w kern.corefile=/cores/core.%P

chmod 777 /cores

Core Dump Analysis

Once Icinga 2 crashes again a new coredump file will be written. Please attach this file to your bug report in addition to the general details.

Simple test case for a SIGSEGV simulation with sleep:

ulimit -c unlimited
sleep 1800&
[1] <PID>
kill -SEGV <PID>
gdb `which sleep` /var/lib/cores/core.sleep.<PID>
(gdb) bt
rm /var/lib/cores/core.sleep.*

Analyzing Icinga 2:

gdb /usr/lib64/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 core.icinga2.<PID>
(gdb) bt

LLDB as Debugger

LLDB is available on macOS with the Xcode command line tools.

$ xcode-select --install

In order to run Icinga 2 with LLDB you need to pass the binary as argument.

lldb -- /usr/local/icinga2/lib/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 daemon


> b checkable.cpp:57
> b icinga::Checkable::ProcessCheckResult

Full backtrace:

> bt all

Select thread:

> thr sel 5

Step into:

> s

Next step:

> n


> c

Up/down in stacktrace:

> up
> down

Develop Icinga 2

Icinga 2 can be built on many platforms such as Linux, Unix and Windows. There are limitations in terms of support, e.g. Windows is only supported for agents, not a full-featured master or satellite.

Before you start with actual development, there is a couple of pre-requisites.

Choose your Editor

Icinga 2 can be developed with your favorite editor. Icinga developers prefer these tools:

  • vim
  • CLion (macOS, Linux)
  • MS Visual Studio (Windows)
  • Atom

Editors differ on the functionality. The more helpers you get for C++ development, the faster your development workflow will be.

Whitespace Cleanup

Patches must be cleaned up and follow the indent style (tabs instead of spaces). You should also remove any training whitespaces.

git diff allows to highlight such.

vim $HOME/.gitconfig

[color "diff"]
        whitespace = red reverse

vim also can match these and visually alert you to remove them.

vim $HOME/.vimrc

highlight ExtraWhitespace ctermbg=red guibg=red
match ExtraWhitespace /\s\+$/
autocmd BufWinEnter * match ExtraWhitespace /\s\+$/
autocmd InsertEnter * match ExtraWhitespace /\s\+\%#\@<!$/
autocmd InsertLeave * match ExtraWhitespace /\s\+$/
autocmd BufWinLeave * call clearmatches()

Get to know the architecture

Icinga 2 can run standalone or in distributed environments. It contains a whole lot more than a simple check execution engine.

Read more about it in the Technical Concepts chapter.

Get to know the code

First off, you really need to know C++ and portions of C++11 and the boost libraries. Best is to start with a book or online tutorial to get into the basics. Icinga developers gained their knowledge through studies, training and self-teaching code by trying it out and asking senior developers for guidance.

Here’s a few books we can recommend:

In addition, it is a good bet to also know SQL when diving into backend development.

Last but not least, if you are developing on Windows, get to know the internals about services and the Win32 API.

Design Patterns

Icinga 2 heavily relies on object-oriented programming and encapsulates common functionality into classes and objects. It also uses modern programming techniques to e.g. work with shared pointer memory management.

Icinga 2 consists of libraries bundled into the main binary. Therefore you’ll find many code parts in the lib/ directory wheras the actual application is built from icinga-app/. Accompanied with Icinga 2, there’s the Windows plugins which are standalone and compiled from plugins/.

Library Description
base Objects, values, types, streams, tockets, TLS, utilities, etc.
config Configuration compiler, expressions, etc.
cli CLI (sub) commands and helpers.
icinga Icinga specific objects and event handling.
remote Cluster and HTTP client/server and REST API related code.
checker Checker feature, check scheduler.
notification Notification feature, notification scheduler.
methods Command execution methods, plugins and built-in checks.
perfdata Performance data related, including Graphite, Elastic, etc.
db_ido IDO database abstraction layer.
db_ido_mysql IDO database driver for MySQL.
db_ido_pgsql IDO database driver for PgSQL.
mysql_shin Library stub for linking against the MySQL client libraries.
pgsql_shim Library stub for linking against the PgSQL client libraries.

Class Compiler

Another thing you will recognize are the .ti files which are compiled by our own class compiler into actual source code. The meta language allows developers to easily add object attributes and specify their behaviour.

Some object attributes need to be stored over restarts in the state file and therefore have the state attribute set. Others are treated as config attribute and automatically get configuration validation functions created. Hidden or read-only REST API attributes are marked with no_user_view and no_user_modify.

The most beneficial thing are getters and setters being generated. The actual object inherits from ObjectImpl<TYPE> and therefore gets them “for free”.


vim lib/perfdata/gelfwriter.ti

  [config] enable_tls;

vim lib/perfdata/gelfwriter.cpp

    if (GetEnableTls()) {

The logic is hidden in tools/mkclass/ in case you want to learn more about it. The first steps during CMake & make also tell you about code generation.

Builds: CMake

In its early development stages in 2012, Icinga 2 was built with autoconf/automake and separate Windows project files. We’ve found this very fragile, and have changed this into CMake as our build tool.

The most common benefits:

  • Everything is described in CMakeLists.txt in each directory
  • CMake only needs to know that a sub directory needs to be included.
  • The global CMakeLists.txt acts as main entry point for requirement checks and library/header includes.
  • Separate binary build directories, the actual source tree stays clean.
  • CMake automatically generates a Visual Studio project file icinga2.sln on Windows.

Builds: Unity Builds

Another thing you should be aware of: Unity builds on and off.

Typically, we already use caching mechanisms to reduce recompile time with ccache. For release builds, there’s always a new build needed as the difference is huge compared to a previous (major) release.

Therefore we’ve invented the Unity builds, which basically concatenates all source files into one big library source code file. The compiler then doesn’t need to load the many small files but compiles and links this huge one.

Unity builds require more memory which is why you should disable them for development builds in small sized VMs (Linux, Windows) and also Docker containers.

There’s a couple of header files which are included everywhere. If you touch/edit them, the cache is invalidated and you need to recompile a lot more files then. base/utility.hpp and remote/zone.hpp are good candidates for this.

Linux Dev Environment

Based on CentOS 7, we have an early draft available inside the Icinga Vagrant boxes: centos7-dev.

If you’re compiling Icinga 2 natively without any virtualization layer in between, this usually is faster. This is also the reason why developers on macOS prefer native builds over Linux or Windows VMs. Don’t forget to test the actual code on Linux later! Socket specific stuff like epoll is not available on Unix kernels.

Depending on your workstation and environment, you may either develop and run locally, use a container deployment pipeline or put everything in a high end resource remote VM.

Fork into your own repository, e.g.

Create two build directories for different binary builds.

  • debug contains the debug build binaries. They contain more debug information and run tremendously slower than release builds from packages. Don’t use them for benchmarks.
  • release contains the release build binaries, as you would install them on a live system. This helps comparing specific scenarios for race conditions and more.
mkdir -p release debug

Proceed with the specific distribution examples below.

CentOS 7

yum -y install gdb git bash-completion htop rpmdevtools \
 ccache cmake make gcc-c++ flex bison \
 openssl-devel boost-devel systemd-devel mysql-devel \
 postgresql-devel libedit-devel libstdc++-devel

groupadd icinga
groupadd icingacmd
useradd -c "icinga" -s /sbin/nologin -G icingacmd -g icinga icinga

ln -s /bin/ccache /usr/local/bin/gcc
ln -s /bin/ccache /usr/local/bin/g++

git clone && cd icinga2

mkdir debug release
cd debug
cd ..
make -j2 install -C debug
chown -R icinga:icinga /usr/local/icinga2/var/

/usr/local/icinga2/lib/icinga2/prepare-dirs /usr/local/icinga2/etc/sysconfig/icinga2
/usr/local/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 api setup
vim /usr/local/icinga2/etc/icinga2/conf.d/api-users.conf

gdb --args /usr/local/icinga2/lib/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 daemon

Debian 9

apt-get -y install gdb vim git cmake make ccache build-essential libssl-dev libboost-all-dev bison flex default-libmysqlclient-dev libpq-dev libyajl-dev libedit-dev monitoring-plugins

ln -s /usr/bin/ccache /usr/local/bin/gcc
ln -s /usr/bin/ccache /usr/local/bin/g++

groupadd icinga
groupadd icingacmd
useradd -c "icinga" -s /sbin/nologin -G icingacmd -g icinga icinga

git clone && cd icinga2

mkdir debug release
cd debug
cd ..
make -j2 install -C debug
chown -R icinga:icinga /usr/local/icinga2/var/

/usr/local/icinga2/lib/icinga2/prepare-dirs /usr/local/icinga2/etc/sysconfig/icinga2
/usr/local/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 api setup
vim /usr/local/icinga2/etc/icinga2/conf.d/api-users.conf

gdb --args /usr/local/icinga2/lib/icinga2/sbin/icinga2 daemon

macOS Dev Environment

It is advised to use Homebrew to install required build dependencies. Macports have been reported to work as well, typically you’ll get more help with Homebrew from Icinga developers.

Users and Groups

First off, create the following from Settings - Users & Groups:

  • Users: icinga
  • Groups: icinga with icinga as member
  • Groups: icingaweb2

Then disallow login for these users.

list Local/Default/Users
read Local/Default/Users/icinga
change Local/Default/Users/icinga UserShell /bin/bash /usr/bin/false
sudo dscl . create /Users/icinga IsHidden 1
sudo dseditgroup -o edit -a _www -t user icingaweb2


OpenSSL 1.0.x doesn’t build anymore, so we’re explicitly using 1.1.x here.

brew install ccache boost cmake bison flex yajl openssl@1.1 mysql-connector-c++ postgresql libpq
sudo mkdir /opt/ccache

sudo ln -s `which ccache` /opt/ccache/clang
sudo ln -s `which ccache` /opt/ccache/clang++

vim $HOME/.bashrc

# ccache is managed with symlinks to avoid collision with cgo
export PATH="/opt/ccache:$PATH"

source $HOME/.bashrc


We will build two different flavors on macOS.

mkdir -p release debug

cd debug
cmake -DICINGA2_UNITY_BUILD=OFF -DICINGA2_WITH_STUDIO=ON -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local/icinga2 -DOPENSSL_INCLUDE_DIR=/usr/local/opt/openssl@1.1/include -DOPENSSL_SSL_LIBRARY=/usr/local/opt/openssl@1.1/lib/libssl.dylib -DOPENSSL_CRYPTO_LIBRARY=/usr/local/opt/openssl@1.1/lib/libcrypto.dylib ..
cd ..

make -j4 -C debug
sudo make -j4 install -C debug
Build Aliases

This is derived from dnsmichi’s flavour and not generally best practice.

vim $HOME/.bashrc

export PATH=/usr/local/icinga2/sbin/:$PATH
source /usr/local/icinga2/etc/bash_completion.d/icinga2

export I2_GENERIC="-DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local/icinga2 -DOPENSSL_INCLUDE_DIR=/usr/local/opt/openssl@1.1/include -DOPENSSL_SSL_LIBRARY=/usr/local/opt/openssl@1.1/lib/libssl.dylib -DOPENSSL_CRYPTO_LIBRARY=/usr/local/opt/openssl@1.1/lib/libcrypto.dylib -DICINGA2_PLUGINDIR=/usr/local/sbin"


alias i2_debug="mkdir -p debug; cd debug; cmake $I2_DEBUG ..; make -j4; sudo make -j4 install; cd .."
alias i2_release="mkdir -p release; cd release; cmake $I2_RELEASE ..; make -j4; sudo make -j4 install; cd .."

source $HOME/.bashrc


chown -R icinga:icinga /usr/local/icinga2
chown -R icinga:_www /usr/local/icinga2/var/run/icinga2/cmd

icinga2 daemon


brew install nagios-plugins

sudo vim /usr/local/icinga2/etc/icinga2/constants.conf
const PluginDir = "/usr/local/sbin"

Databases: MariaDB

brew install mariadb
ln -sfv /usr/local/opt/mariadb/*.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents
launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.mariadb.plist
vim $HOME/.my.cnf

user = root
password = supersecurerootpassword

sudo -i
ln -s /Users/michi/.my.cnf $HOME/.my.cnf
cd $HOME/coding/icinga/icinga2

sudo mysql

sudo mysql icinga < lib/db_ido_mysql/schema/mysql.sql

Windows Dev Environment

The following sections explain how to setup the required build tools and how to run and debug the code.


Open an administrative command prompt (Win key, type “cmd”, right-click and “run as administrator”) and paste the following instructions:

@powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command "iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString(''))" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin

Visual Studio

Thanks to Microsoft they’ll now provide their Professional Edition of Visual Studio 2017 as community version, free for use for open source projects such as Icinga. The installation requires ~9GB disk space. Download the web installer and start the installation.

You need a free Microsoft account to download and also store your preferences.

Choose the following minimal set:

  • .NET Framework 4.x SDK
  • C# Compiler
  • Visual Studio C++ core features
  • VC++ toolset
  • Windows 10 SDK (10.0.10240.0 - required)
  • Just-in-time debugger
  • Windows 8 SDK (includes mscoree.lib required by clrchecktask)
  • C++/CLI support
  • Windows Universal C Runtime
  • Git for Windows
  • .NET Framework 3.5 development tools
  • Github extension for Visual Studio

After a while, Visual Studio will be ready.

.NET Framework 3.5

Windows 10 only have .NET Framework >= 4.6 installed by default, the Icinga Agent Wizard is built on .NET Framework 2.0 which is not included in .NET Framework 4.6. Thankfully Windows 10 have .NET Framework 3.5 (which includes .NET Framework 2.0) as a component on board, you just need to activate it.

Go to Control Panel -> Programs -> Turn Windows features on or off. Tick .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) and wait until the installation process succseded.

Flex and Bison

Install it using chocolatey:

choco install -y winflexbison

Chocolatey installs these tools into the hidden directory C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\winflexbison\tools.


Icinga 2 requires the OpenSSL library. Download and install it into the default path.

Once asked for Copy OpenSSLs DLLs to select The Windows system directory. That way CMake/Visual Studio will automatically detect them for builds and packaging.


We cannot use the chocolatey package as this one does not provide any development headers.

Choose 1.0.2 LTS from manual downloads for best compatibility if unsure.


In order to use the boost development header and library files you need to download Boost and then extract it to e.g. C:\boost_1_65_1.


Just use C:, the zip file already contains the sub folder. Extraction takes a while, the archive contains more than 10k files.

For integrating Boost into Visual Studio 2017, open the Developer Command Prompt from the start menu, and navigate to C:\boost_1_65_1.

Execute bootstrap.bat first.

cd C:\boost_1_65_1

Once finished, specify the required toolset to compile boost against Visual Studio. This takes quite some time in a Windows VM.

Visual Studio 2015:

b2 --toolset=msvc-14.0

Visual Studio 2017:

b2 --toolset=msvc-14.1


TortoiseGit provides a graphical integration into the Windows explorer. This makes it easier to checkout, commit and whatnot.

Download TortoiseGit on your system.

In order to clone via Git SSH you also need to create a new directory called .ssh inside your user’s home directory. Therefore open a command prompt (win key, type cmd, enter) and run mkdir .ssh. Add your id_rsa private key and public key files into that directory.

Start the setup routine and choose OpenSSH as default secure transport when asked.

Open a Windows Explorer window and navigate into

Version Project Location
Visual Studio 2015 C:\Users\michi\Documents\Visual Studio 2015\Projects
Visual Studio 2017+ C:\Users\michi\source\repos

Right click and select Git Clone from the context menu.

Use ssh:// for SSH clones, otherwise.


Icinga 2 uses CMake to manage the build environment. You can generate the Visual Studio project files using CMake. Download and install CMake. Select to add it to PATH for all users when asked.

Once setup is completed, open a command prompt and navigate to

Visual Studio 2015

cd C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Visual Studio 2015\Projects\icinga2

Visual Studio 2017

cd C:\Users\michi\source\repos

Run CMake with the following command. This generates a new Visual Studio project file called icinga2.sln.

You need to specify the previously installed component paths:

Variable Value Description
BOOST_ROOT C:\boost_1_65_1 Root path where you’ve extracted and compiled Boost.
BISON_EXECUTABLE C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\winflexbison\tools\win_bison.exe Path to the Bison executable.
FLEX_EXECUTABLE C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\winflexbison\tools\win_flex.exe Path to the Flex executable.
ICINGA2_WITH_MYSQL OFF Requires extra setup for MySQL if set to ON. Not supported for client setups.
ICINGA2_WITH_PGSQL OFF Requires extra setup for PgSQL if set to ON. Not supported for client setups.
ICINGA2_UNITY_BUILD OFF Disable unity builds for development environments.

Tip: If you have previously opened a terminal, run refreshenv to re-read updated PATH variables.

cmake . -DBOOST_ROOT=C:\boost_1_65_1 -DBISON_EXECUTABLE=C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\winflexbison\tools\win_bison.exe -DFLEX_EXECUTABLE=C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\winflexbison\tools\win_flex.exe -DICINGA2_WITH_MYSQL=OFF -DICINGA2_WITH_PGSQL=OFF -DICINGA2_UNITY_BUILD=OFF

Best is write a small batch/Powershell script which just executes these lines.

Icinga 2 in Visual Studio

Navigate to

Version Project location
Visual Studio 2015 C:\Users\michi\Documents\Visual Studio 2015\Projects\icinga2
Visual Studio 2017+ C:\Users\michi\source\repos\icinga2

Open icinga2.sln. Log into Visual Studio when asked.

On the right panel, select to build the Bin/icinga-app solution.

The executable binaries are located in Bin\Release\Debug in your icinga2 project directory.

Navigate there and run icinga2.exe --version.

Example for Visual Studio 2017:

cd C:\Users\michi\source\repos\icinga2\Bin\Release\Debug
icinga2.exe --version

Release Package

CMake uses CPack and NSIS to create the setup executable including all binaries and libraries in addition to setup dialogues and configuration. Therefore we’ll need to install NSIS first.

We also need to install the Windows Installer XML (WIX) toolset.

choco install -y wixtoolset

Once completed open an administrative shell and navigate to your Visual Studio project. Let CMake to build a release package.

cd "c:\Users\michi\Documents\Visual Studio 2015\Projects\icinga2"
cmake --build . --target PACKAGE --config Release

Note: This will still use the debug builds. A yet more clean approach is to run CMake with changed release parameters beforehand and then re-run the release package builder.

C:\Users\michi\Documents\Visual Studio 2015\Projects\icinga2>
cmake . -DCPACK_GENERATOR=WIX -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DBOOST_ROOT=C:\boost_1_65_1 -DBISON_EXECUTABLE=C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\winflexbison\tools\win_bison.exe -DFLEX_EXECUTABLE=C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\winflexbison\tools\win_flex.exe -DICINGA2_WITH_MYSQL=OFF -DICINGA2_WITH_PGSQL=OFF -DICINGA2_UNITY_BUILD=OFF

cmake --build . --target PACKAGE --config Release

Again, put these lines into a batch/Powershell script and execute that.

Embedded Dev Env: Pi


This isn’t officially supported yet, just a few hints how you can do it yourself.

The following examples source from armhf on Raspberry Pi.


apt install -y ccache


echo 'export PATH="/usr/lib/ccache:$PATH"' | tee -a ~/.bashrc

source ~/.bashrc && echo $PATH


Copy the icinga2 source code into $HOME/icinga2. Clone the deb-icinga2 repository into debian/.

git clone $HOME/icinga2
git clone $HOME/icinga2/debian

Then build a Debian package and install it like normal.

dpkg-buildpackage -uc -us

Package Builds

This documentation is explicitly meant for packagers and the Icinga build infrastructure.

The following requirements need to be fulfilled in order to build the Icinga application using a dist tarball (including notes for distributions):

  • cmake >= 2.6
  • GNU make (make) or ninja-build
  • C++ compiler which supports C++11
  • RHEL/Fedora/SUSE: gcc-c++ >= 4.7 (extra Developer Tools on RHEL5/6 see below)
  • Debian/Ubuntu: build-essential
  • Alpine: build-base
  • you can also use clang++
  • pkg-config
  • OpenSSL library and header files >= 1.0.1
  • RHEL/Fedora: openssl-devel
  • SUSE: libopenssl-devel (for SLES 11: libopenssl1-devel)
  • Debian/Ubuntu: libssl-dev
  • Alpine: libressl-dev
  • Boost library and header files >= 1.48.0
  • RHEL/Fedora: boost148-devel
  • Debian/Ubuntu: libboost-all-dev
  • Alpine: boost-dev
  • GNU bison (bison)
  • GNU flex (flex) >= 2.5.35
  • systemd headers
  • Only required when using systemd
  • Debian/Ubuntu: libsystemd-dev
  • RHEL/Fedora: systemd-devel

Optional features

  • MySQL (disable with CMake variable ICINGA2_WITH_MYSQL to OFF)
  • RHEL/Fedora: mysql-devel
  • SUSE: libmysqlclient-devel
  • Debian/Ubuntu: default-libmysqlclient-dev | libmysqlclient-dev
  • Alpine: mariadb-dev
  • PostgreSQL (disable with CMake variable ICINGA2_WITH_PGSQL to OFF)
  • RHEL/Fedora: postgresql-devel
  • Debian/Ubuntu: libpq-dev
  • postgresql-dev on Alpine
  • YAJL (Faster JSON library)
  • RHEL/Fedora: yajl-devel
  • Debian: libyajl-dev
  • Alpine: yajl-dev
  • libedit (CLI console)
  • RHEL/Fedora: libedit-devel on CentOS (RHEL requires rhel-7-server-optional-rpms)
  • Debian/Ubuntu/Alpine: libedit-dev
  • Termcap (only required if libedit doesn’t already link against termcap/ncurses)
  • RHEL/Fedora: libtermcap-devel
  • Debian/Ubuntu: (not necessary)

Special requirements

FreeBSD: libexecinfo (automatically used when Icinga 2 is installed via port or package)

RHEL6: Requires a newer boost version which is available on with a version suffixed name.

Runtime user environment

By default Icinga will run as user icinga and group icinga. Additionally the external command pipe and livestatus features require a dedicated command group icingacmd. You can choose your own user/group names and pass them to CMake using the ICINGA2_USER, ICINGA2_GROUP and ICINGA2_COMMAND_GROUP variables.

# groupadd icinga
# groupadd icingacmd
# useradd -c "icinga" -s /sbin/nologin -G icingacmd -g icinga icinga

On Alpine (which uses ash busybox) you can run:

# addgroup -S icinga
# addgroup -S icingacmd
# adduser -S -D -H -h /var/spool/icinga2 -s /sbin/nologin -G icinga -g icinga icinga
# adduser icinga icingacmd

Add the web server user to the icingacmd group in order to grant it write permissions to the external command pipe and livestatus socket:

# usermod -a -G icingacmd www-data

Make sure to replace “www-data” with the name of the user your web server is running as.

Building Icinga 2: Example

Once you have installed all the necessary build requirements you can build Icinga 2 using the following commands:

$ mkdir release && cd release
$ cmake ..
$ cd ..
$ make -C release
$ make install -C release

You can specify an alternative installation prefix using -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:

$ cmake .. -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/tmp/icinga2

CMake Variables

In addition to CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX here are most of the supported Icinga-specific cmake variables.

For all variables regarding defaults paths on in CMake, see GNUInstallDirs.

Also see CMakeLists.txt for details.

System Environment - CMAKE_INSTALL_SYSCONFDIR: The configuration directory; defaults to CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX/etc - CMAKE_INSTALL_LOCALSTATEDIR: The state directory; defaults to CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX/var - ICINGA2_CONFIGDIR: Main config directory; defaults to CMAKE_INSTALL_SYSCONFDIR/icinga2 usually /etc/icinga2 - ICINGA2_CACHEDIR: Directory for cache files; defaults to CMAKE_INSTALL_LOCALSTATEDIR/cache/icinga2 usually /var/cache/icinga2 - ICINGA2_DATADIR: Data directory for the daemon; defaults to CMAKE_INSTALL_LOCALSTATEDIR/lib/icinga2 usually /var/lib/icinga2 - ICINGA2_LOGDIR: Logfiles of the daemon; defaults to CMAKE_INSTALL_LOCALSTATEDIR/log/icinga2 usually/var/log/icinga2-ICINGA2_SPOOLDIR: Spooling directory ; defaults toCMAKE_INSTALL_LOCALSTATEDIR/spool/icinga2usually/var/spool/icinga2-ICINGA2_INITRUNDIR: Runtime data for the init system; defaults toCMAKE_INSTALL_LOCALSTATEDIR/run/icinga2usually/run/icinga2-ICINGA2_GIT_VERSION_INFO: Whether to use Git to determine the version number; defaults toON-ICINGA2_USER: The user Icinga 2 should run as; defaults toicinga-ICINGA2_GROUP: The group Icinga 2 should run as; defaults toicinga-ICINGA2_COMMAND_GROUP: The command group Icinga 2 should use; defaults toicingacmd-ICINGA2_SYSCONFIGFILE: Where to put the config file the initscript/systemd pulls it's dirs from; defaults toCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX/etc/sysconfig/icinga2-ICINGA2_PLUGINDIR: The path for the Monitoring Plugins project binaries; defaults to/usr/lib/nagios/plugins`

Build Optimization - ICINGA2_UNITY_BUILD: Whether to perform a unity build; defaults to ON. Note: This requires additional memory and is not advised for building VMs, Docker for Mac and embedded hardware. - ICINGA2_LTO_BUILD: Whether to use link time optimization (LTO); defaults to OFF

Init System - USE_SYSTEMD=ON|OFF: Use systemd or a classic SysV initscript; defaults to OFF - INSTALL_SYSTEMD_SERVICE_AND_INITSCRIPT=ON|OFF Force install both the systemd service definition file and the SysV initscript in parallel, regardless of how USE_SYSTEMD is set. Only use this for special packaging purposes and if you know what you are doing. Defaults to OFF.

Features: - ICINGA2_WITH_CHECKER: Determines whether the checker module is built; defaults to ON - ICINGA2_WITH_COMPAT: Determines whether the compat module is built; defaults to ON - ICINGA2_WITH_DEMO: Determines whether the demo module is built; defaults to OFF - ICINGA2_WITH_HELLO: Determines whether the hello module is built; defaults to OFF - ICINGA2_WITH_LIVESTATUS: Determines whether the Livestatus module is built; defaults to ON - ICINGA2_WITH_NOTIFICATION: Determines whether the notification module is built; defaults to ON - ICINGA2_WITH_PERFDATA: Determines whether the perfdata module is built; defaults to ON - ICINGA2_WITH_TESTS: Determines whether the unit tests are built; defaults to ON

MySQL or MariaDB:

The following settings can be tuned for the MySQL / MariaDB IDO feature.

  • ICINGA2_WITH_MYSQL: Determines whether the MySQL IDO module is built; defaults to ON
  • MYSQL_CLIENT_LIBS: Client implementation used (mysqlclient / mariadbclient); defaults searches for mysqlclient and mariadbclient
  • MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIR: Directory containing include files for the mysqlclient; default empty - checking multiple paths like /usr/include/mysql

See FindMySQL.cmake for the implementation.


The following settings can be tuned for the PostgreSQL IDO feature.

  • ICINGA2_WITH_PGSQL: Determines whether the PostgreSQL IDO module is built; defaults to ON
  • PostgreSQL_INCLUDE_DIR: Top-level directory containing the PostgreSQL include directories
  • PostgreSQL_LIBRARY: File path to PostgreSQL library : (or[ver] file)

See FindMySQL.cmake for the implementation.

Version detection:

CMake determines the Icinga 2 version number using git describe if the source directory is contained in a Git repository. Otherwise the version number is extracted from the VERSION file. This behavior can be overridden by creating a file called icinga-version.h.force in the source directory. Alternatively the -DICINGA2_GIT_VERSION_INFO=OFF option for CMake can be used to disable the usage of git describe.

Building RPMs

Build Environment on RHEL, CentOS, Fedora, Amazon Linux

Setup your build environment:

yum -y install rpmdevtools

Build Environment on SuSE/SLES


zypper addrepo
zypper refresh
zypper install rpmdevtools spectool


zypper addrepo
zypper refresh
zypper install rpmdevtools spectool

Package Builds

Prepare the rpmbuild directory tree:

cd $HOME

Snapshot builds:

curl -o $HOME/rpmbuild/SPECS/icinga2.spec


The above command builds snapshot packages. Change to the release branch for release package builds.

Copy the tarball to rpmbuild/SOURCES e.g. by using the spectool binary provided with rpmdevtools:

cd $HOME/rpmbuild/SOURCES
spectool -g ../SPECS/icinga2.spec

cd $HOME/rpmbuild

Install the build dependencies. Example for CentOS 7:

yum -y install libedit-devel ncurses-devel gcc-c++ libstdc++-devel openssl-devel \
cmake flex bison boost-devel systemd mysql-devel postgresql-devel httpd \
selinux-policy-devel checkpolicy selinux-policy selinux-policy-doc

Note: If you are using Amazon Linux, systemd is not required.

A shorter way is available using the yum-builddep command on RHEL based systems:

yum-builddep SPECS/icinga2.spec

Build the RPM:

rpmbuild -ba SPECS/icinga2.spec

Additional Hints

SELinux policy module

The following packages are required to build the SELinux policy module:

  • checkpolicy
  • selinux-policy (selinux-policy on CentOS 6, selinux-policy-devel on CentOS 7)
  • selinux-policy-doc

The RedHat Developer Toolset is required for building Icinga 2 beforehand. This contains a modern version of flex and a C++ compiler which supports C++11 features.

cat >/etc/yum.repos.d/devtools-2.repo <<REPO
name=testing 2 devtools for CentOS $releasever

Dependencies to devtools-2 are used in the RPM SPEC, so the correct tools should be used for building.

As an alternative, you can use newer Boost packages provided on

cat >$HOME/.rpmmacros <<MACROS
%build_icinga_org 1
Amazon Linux

If you prefer to build packages offline, a suitable Vagrant box is located here.


The Icinga repository provides the required boost package version and must be added before building.

Build Debian/Ubuntu packages

Setup your build environment on Debian/Ubuntu, copy the ‘debian’ directory from the Debian packaging Git repository ( into your source tree and run the following command:

dpkg-buildpackage -uc -us

Build Alpine Linux packages

A simple way to setup a build environment is installing Alpine in a chroot. In this way, you can set up an Alpine build environment in a chroot under a different Linux distro. There is a script that simplifies these steps with just two commands, and can be found here.

Once the build environment is installed, you can setup the system to build the packages by following this document.

Build Post Install Tasks

After building Icinga 2 yourself, your package build system should at least run the following post install requirements:

  • enable the checker, notification and mainlog feature by default
  • run ‘icinga2 api setup’ in order to enable the api feature and generate SSL certificates for the node

Run Icinga 2

Icinga 2 comes with a binary that takes care of loading all the relevant components (e.g. for check execution, notifications, etc.):

icinga2 daemon

[2016-12-08 16:44:24 +0100] information/cli: Icinga application loader (version: v2.5.4-231-gb10a6b7; debug)
[2016-12-08 16:44:24 +0100] information/cli: Loading configuration file(s).
[2016-12-08 16:44:25 +0100] information/ConfigItem: Committing config item(s).

Init Script

Icinga 2 can be started as a daemon using the provided init script:

Usage: /etc/init.d/icinga2 {start|stop|restart|reload|checkconfig|status}


If your distribution uses systemd:

systemctl {start|stop|reload|status|enable|disable} icinga2

In case the distribution is running systemd >227, you’ll also need to package and install the etc/initsystem/icinga2.service.limits.conf file into /etc/systemd/system/icinga2.service.d.


Or if your distribution uses openrc (like Alpine):

rc-service icinga2
Usage: /etc/init.d/icinga2 {start|stop|restart|reload|checkconfig|status}

Note: the openrc’s init.d is not shipped by default. A working init.d with openrc can be found here: ( If you have customized some path, edit the file and adjust it according with your setup. Those few steps can be followed:

mv icinga2.initd /etc/init.d/icinga2
chmod +x /etc/init.d/icinga2

Icinga 2 reads a single configuration file which is used to specify all configuration settings (global settings, hosts, services, etc.). The configuration format is explained in detail in the doc/ directory.

By default make install installs example configuration files in /usr/local/etc/icinga2 unless you have specified a different prefix or sysconfdir.

Windows Builds

The Windows MSI packages are located at


  • 32 or 64-bit system
  • Visual Studio >= 14 2015
  • CMake >= 2.6
  • OpenSSL >= 1.0.1
  • Flex and Bison
Visual Studio

Download the community edition from

Workloads to install: C++ Desktop .NET Desktop

OpenSSL for Icinga

Download custom OpenSSL builds from openssl-windows GitHub project.

You need to install a binary dist version to ‘C:\Program Files\OpenSSL’.

The Powershell script .\tools\win32\download-openssl.ps1 can be used for automated downloads.


A simple package manager for Windows, please see install instructions.


Use Chocolatey, see package details.

choco install git
Flex / Bison

Use Chocolatey, see package details.

choco install winflexbison3

Use Chocolatey, see package details or download from:

choco install cmake

Use Chocolatey, see package details.

choco install wixtoolset

Download third party Windows binaries from:

For example:

Warning: Must match your Visual Studio version! CMake might not support the latest Boost version (we used CMake 3.10 and Boost 1_65_1)

Run the installer exe.

Build Icinga 2

Run with VC Native x64 Command Prompt:

powershell .\tools\win32\configure.ps1
powershell .\tools\win32\build.ps1
powershell .\tools\win32\test.ps1

See these scripts for details.

CI: AppVeyor

We are building Icinga 2 with AppVeyor for testing and CI integration.

Please check appveyor.yml for instructions.

Advanced Development Tips

GDB Pretty Printers

Install the boost, python and icinga2 pretty printers. Absolute paths are required, so please make sure to update the installation paths accordingly (pwd).

$ mkdir -p ~/.gdb_printers && cd ~/.gdb_printers

Boost Pretty Printers compatible with Python 3:

$ git clone && cd Boost-Pretty-Printer
$ git checkout python-3
$ pwd

Python Pretty Printers:

$ cd ~/.gdb_printers
$ svn co svn://

Icinga 2 Pretty Printers:

$ mkdir -p ~/.gdb_printers/icinga2 && cd ~/.gdb_printers/icinga2
$ wget

Now you’ll need to modify/setup your ~/.gdbinit configuration file. You can download the one from Icinga 2 and modify all paths.

Example on Fedora 22:

$ wget -O ~/.gdbinit
$ vim ~/.gdbinit

set print pretty on

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, '/home/michi/.gdb_printers/icinga2')
from icingadbg import register_icinga_printers

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, '/home/michi/.gdb_printers/python')
from libstdcxx.v6.printers import register_libstdcxx_printers

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, '/home/michi/.gdb_printers/Boost-Pretty-Printer')
import boost_print

If you are getting the following error when running gdb, the libstdcxx printers are already preloaded in your environment and you can remove the duplicate import in your ~/.gdbinit file.

RuntimeError: pretty-printer already registered: libstdc++-v6

Development Tests

Build the binaries and run the tests.

make -j4 -C debug
make test -C debug

Run a specific boost test:

debug/Bin/Debug/boosttest-test-base --run_test=remote_url