New features

Meson 1.3.0 was released on 19 November 2023

Clarify of implicitly-included headers in C-like compiler checks

Compiler check methods compiler.compute_int(), compiler.alignment() and compiler.sizeof() now have their implicitly-included headers corrected and documented.

<stdio.h> was included unintentionally when cross-compiling, which is less than ideal because there is no guarantee that a standard library is available for the target platform. Only <stddef.h> is included instead.

For projects that depend on the old behavior, the compiler check methods have an optional argument prefix, which can be used to specify additional #include directives.

Treat warnings as error in compiler checks

Compiler check methods compiler.compiles(), compiler.links() and now have a new werror: true keyword argument to treat compiler warnings as error. This can be used to check if code compiles without warnings.

Compilers now have a has_define method

This method returns true if the given preprocessor symbol is defined, else false is returned. This is useful is cases where an empty define has to be distinguished from a non-set one, which is not possible using get_define.

Additionally it makes intent clearer for code that only needs to check if a specific define is set at all and does not care about its value.

configure_file() now has a macro_name parameter.

This new paramater, macro_name allows C macro-style include guards to be added to configure_file()'s output when a template file is not given. This change simplifies the creation of configure files that define macros with dynamic names and want the C-style include guards.

c_std and cpp_std options now accepts a list of values

Projects that prefer GNU C, but can fallback to ISO C, can now set, for example, default_options: 'c_std=gnu11,c11', and it will use gnu11 when available, but fallback to c11 otherwise. It is an error only if none of the values are supported by the current compiler.

Likewise, a project that can take benefit of c++17 but can still build with c++11 can set default_options: 'cpp_std=c++17,c++11'.

This allows us to deprecate gnuXX values from the MSVC compiler. That means that default_options: 'c_std=gnu11' will now print a warning with MSVC but fallback to c11. No warning is printed if at least one of the values is valid, i.e. default_options: 'c_std=gnu11,c11'.

In the future that deprecation warning will become an hard error because c_std=gnu11 should mean GNU is required, for projects that cannot be built with MSVC for example.

More meaningful description of many generative tasks

When a module uses a CustomTarget to process files, it now has the possibility to customize the message displayed by ninja.

Many modules were updated to take advantage of this new feature.

Deprecate 'jar' as a build_target type

The point of build_target() is that what is produced can be conditionally changed. However, jar() has a significant number of non-overlapping arguments from other build_targets, including the kinds of sources it can include. Because of this crafting a build_target that can be used as a Jar and as something else is incredibly hard to do. As such, it has been deprecated, and using jar() directly is recommended.

generator.process() gains 'env' keyword argument

Like the kwarg of the same name in custom_target(), env allows you to set the environment in which the generator will process inputs.

Target names for executables now take into account suffixes.

In previous versions of meson, a file like this:

exectuable('foo', 'main.c')
exectuable('foo', 'main.c', name_suffix: 'bar')

would result in a configure error because meson internally used the same id for both executables. This build file is now allowed since meson takes into account the bar suffix when generating the second executable. This allows for executables with the same basename but different suffixes to be built in the same subdirectory.

Executable gains vs_module_defs keyword

This allows using a .def file to control which functions an executable() will expose to a shared_module().

find_program() now supports the 'default_options' argument

In a similar fashion as dependency(), find_program() now also allows you to set default options for the subproject that gets built in case of a fallback.


The fs module now has a relative_to method. The method will return the relative path from argument one to argument two, if one exists. Otherwise, the absolute path to argument one is returned.

assert(fs.relative_to('c:\\prefix\\lib', 'c:\\prefix\\bin') == '..\\lib')
assert(fs.relative_to('c:\\proj1\\foo', 'd:\\proj1\\bar') == 'c:\\proj1\\foo')
assert(fs.relative_to('prefix\\lib\\foo', 'prefix') == 'lib\\foo')

assert(fs.relative_to('/prefix/lib', '/prefix/bin') == '../lib')
assert(fs.relative_to('prefix/lib/foo', 'prefix') == 'lib/foo')

In addition to strings, it can handle files, custom targets, custom target indices, and build targets.

The install_data(), install_headers(), install_subdir() functions now have an optional argument follow_symlinks that, if set to true, makes it so symbolic links in the source are followed, rather than copied into the destination tree, to match the old behavior. The default, which is currently to follow links, is subject to change in the future.

Added 'fill' kwarg to int.to_string()

int.to_string() now accepts a fill argument. This allows you to pad the string representation of the integer with leading zeroes:

n = 4
message(n.to_string(fill: 3))

n = -4
message(n.to_string(fill: 3))



Added 'json' output_format to configure_file()

When no input file is specified, configure_file() can now generate a json file from given cfg_data. Field descriptions are not preserved in the json file.

@GLOBAL_SOURCE_ROOT@ and @DIRNAME@ in machine files

Some tokens are now replaced in the machine file before parsing it:

  • @GLOBAL_SOURCE_ROOT@: the absolute path to the project's source tree
  • @DIRNAME@: the absolute path to the machine file's parent directory.

It can be used, for example, to have paths relative to the source directory, or relative to toolchain's installation directory.

c = '@DIRNAME@/toolchain/gcc'
exe_wrapper = '@GLOBAL_SOURCE_ROOT@' / 'build-aux' / ''

clang-tidy-fix target

If clang-tidy is installed and the project's source root contains a .clang-tidy (or _clang-tidy) file, Meson will automatically define a clang-tidy-fix target that runs run-clang-tidy tool with -fix option to apply the changes found by clang-tidy to the source code.

If you have defined your own clang-tidy-fix target, Meson will not generate its own target.

Meson compile command now accepts suffixes for TARGET

The syntax for specifying a target for meson compile is now [PATH_TO_TARGET/]TARGET_NAME.TARGET_SUFFIX[:TARGET_TYPE] where TARGET_SUFFIX is the suffix argument given in the build target within It is optional and TARGET_NAME remains sufficient if it uniquely resolves to one single target.

New environment variable MESON_PACKAGE_CACHE_DIR

If the MESON_PACKAGE_CACHE_DIR environment variable is set, it is used instead of the project's subprojects/packagecache. This allows sharing the cache across multiple projects. In addition it can contain an already extracted source tree as long as it has the same directory name as the directory field in the wrap file. In that case, the directory will be copied into subprojects/ before applying patches.

Update options with meson setup <builddir> -Dopt=value

If the build directory already exists, options are updated with their new value given on the command line (-Dopt=value). Unless --reconfigure is also specified, this won't reconfigure immediately. This has the same behaviour as meson configure <builddir> -Dopt=value.

Previous Meson versions were simply a no-op.

Clear persistent cache with meson setup --clearcache

Just like meson configure --clearcache, it is now possible to clear the cache and reconfigure in a single command with meson setup --clearcache --reconfigure <builddir>.

pkg-config dependencies can now get a variable with multiple replacements

When using dep.get_variable() and defining a pkgconfig_define, it is sometimes useful to remap multiple dependency variables. For example, if the upstream project changed the variable name that is interpolated and it is desirable to support both versions.

It is now possible to pass multiple pairs of variable/value.

The same applies to the compatibility dep.get_pkgconfig_variable() method.

Machine files: pkgconfig field deprecated and replaced by pkg-config

Meson used to allow both pkgconfig and pkg-config entries in machine files, the former was used for dependency() lookup and the latter was used as return value for find_program('pkg-config').

This inconsistency is now fixed by deprecating pkgconfig in favor of pkg-config which matches the name of the binary. For backward compatibility it is still allowed to define both with the same value, in that case no deprecation warning is printed.

Support targeting Python's limited C API

The Python module's extension_module function has gained the ability to build extensions which target Python's limited C API via a new keyword argument: limited_api.

All compiler has_* methods support the required keyword

Now instead of

assert(cc.has_member('struct some_type', 'x'))
assert(cc.has_members('struct some_type', ['x', 'y']))

we can use

cc.has_function('some_function', required: true)
cc.has_type('some_type', required: true)
cc.has_member('struct some_type', 'x', required: true)
cc.has_members('struct some_type', ['x', 'y'], required: true)

Deprecated rust_crate_type and replaced by rust_abi

The new rust_abi keyword argument is accepted by shared_library(), static_library(), library() and shared_module() functions. It can be either 'rust' (the default) or 'c' strings.

rust_crate_type is now deprecated because Meson already knows if it's a shared or static library, user only need to specify the ABI (Rust or C).

proc_macro crates are now handled by the rust.proc_macro() method.

Tests now abort on errors by default under sanitizers

Sanitizers like AddressSanitizer and UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer do not abort by default on detected violations. Meson now exports ASAN_OPTIONS and UBSAN_OPTIONS when unset in the environment to provide sensible abort-by-default behavior.

<lang>_(shared|static)_args for both_library, library, and build_target

We now allow passing arguments like c_static_args and c_shared_args. This allows a both_libraries() to have arguments specific to either the shared or static library, as well as common arguments to both.

There is a drawback to this, since Meson now cannot re-use object files between the static and shared targets. This could lead to much higher compilation time when using a both_libraries() if there are many sources.

-j shorthand for --num-processes

-j now means the same thing as --num-processes. It was inconsistently supported only in some subcommands. Now you may use it everywhere

Unified message(), str.format() and f-string formatting

They now all support the same set of values: strings, integers, bools, options, dictionaries and lists thereof.

  • Feature options (i.e. enabled, disabled, auto) were not previously supported by any of those functions.
  • Lists and dictionaries were not previously supported by f-string.
  • str.format() allowed any type and often resulted in printing the internal representation which is now deprecated.

Subprojects excluded from scan-build reports

The scan-build target, created when using the ninja backend with scan-build present, now excludes bugs found in subprojects from its final report.

vs_module_defs keyword now supports indexes of custom_target

This means you can do something like:

defs = custom_target('generate_module_defs', ...)
shared_library('lib1', vs_module_defs : defs[0])
shared_library('lib2', vs_module_defs : defs[2])

Automatic fallback to cmake and cargo subproject

CMake subprojects have been supported for a while using the cmake.subproject() module method. However until now it was not possible to use a CMake subproject as fallback in a dependency() call.

A wrap file can now specify the method used to build it by setting the method key in the wrap file's first section. The method defaults to meson.

Supported methods:

  • meson requires file.
  • cmake requires CMakeLists.txt file. See details.
  • cargo requires Cargo.toml file. See details.

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