tracker  3.1.1
About: Tracker is a desktop search engine, search tool and metadata storage system (GNOME).
  Fossies Dox: tracker-3.1.1.tar.bz2  ("unofficial" and yet experimental doxygen-generated source code documentation)  

tracker Documentation

Some Fossies usage hints in advance:

  1. To see the Doxygen generated documentation please click on one of the items in the steelblue colored "quick index" bar above or use the side panel at the left which displays a hierarchical tree-like index structure and is adjustable in width.
  2. If you want to search for something by keyword rather than browse for it you can use the client side search facility (using Javascript and DHTML) that provides live searching, i.e. the search results are presented and adapted as you type in the Search input field at the top right.
  3. Doxygen doesn't incorporate all member files but just a definable subset (basically the main project source code files that are written in a supported language). So to search and browse all member files you may visit the Fossies tracker-3.1.1.tar.bz2 contents page and use the Fossies standard member browsing features (also with source code highlighting and additionally with optional code folding).


Tracker is an efficient search engine and triplestore for desktop, embedded and mobile.

The Tracker project is divided into two main repositories:

  • Tracker SPARQL contains the triplestore database, provided as the libtracker-sparql library and implemented using SQLite. This repo also contains the database ontologies and the commandline user interface (tracker3).

  • Tracker Miners contains the indexer daemon (tracker-miner-fs-3) and tools to extract metadata from many different filetypes.

More information on Tracker can be found at:

Source code and issue tracking:

All discussion related to Tracker happens on:

IRC channel #tracker on:

Related projects:

  • GNOME Online Miners extends Tracker to allow searching and indexing some kinds of online content.

Goals and Non-goals

Here's a summary of the goals and non-goals of the Tracker project.

  1. Provide real-time searching and browsing of desktop content.
  2. Provide searchable data storage for desktop apps.
  3. Allow full-text search within common document types.
  4. Allow advanced queries using a standard query language.
  5. Be secure and private by default.
  6. Be efficient enough for desktop and mobile use.
  7. Be maintainable by a small team.

These are some things we currently don't want to do in Tracker itself.

  • Depend on features of a specific filesystem. Tracker should work on all commonly used filesystems.
  • Index source code. There are plenty of IDEs and source-code indexing tools already.
  • Index user data in network / cloud services. This is out of scope for the core of Tracker but can be done by third party projects -- see Gnome Online Miners.
  • Index data on the Web.
  • Provide our own GUI components. Tracker is a middleware component, not an end user application.

Developing Tracker

If you want to help develop and improve Tracker, great! Remember that Tracker is a middleware component, designed to be integrated into larger codebases. To fully test a change you may need to build and test Tracker as part of another project.

For the GNOME desktop, consider using the documented Building a System Component workflow.

It's also possible to build Tracker on its own and install it inside your home directory for testing purposes. Read on for instructions on how to do this.


Tracker uses the Meson build system, which you must have installed in order to build Tracker.

We recommend that you build tracker core as a subproject of tracker-miners. You can do this by cloning both repos, then creating a symlink in the subprojects/ directory of tracker-miners.git to the tracker.git checkout.

git clone
git clone

mkdir tracker-miners/subprojects
ln -s ../../tracker tracker-miners/subprojects/

Now you can run the commands below to build Tracker and install it in a new, isolated prefix named opt/tracker inside your home folder.

NOTE: If you see 'dependency not found' errors from Meson, that means there is a package missing on your computer that you need to install so you can compile Tracker. On Ubuntu/Debian, you can run apt build-dep tracker-miners and on Fedora dnf build-dep tracker-miners to install all the necessary packages.

cd tracker-miners
meson ./build --prefix=$HOME/opt/tracker -Dtracker_core=subproject
cd build
ninja install

Running the testsuite

At this point you can run the Tracker test suite from the build directory:

meson test --print-errorlogs

Using the run-uninstalled script

Tracker normally runs automatically, indexing content in the background so that search results are available quickly when needed.

When developing and testing Tracker you will normally want it to run in the foreground instead. You also probably want to run it from a build tree, rather than installing it somewhere everytime you make a change, and you certainly should isolates your development version from the real Tracker database in your home directory.

There is a tool to help with this, which is part of the 'trackertestutils' Python module. You can run the tool using a helper script generated in the tracker-miners.git build process named 'run-uninstalled'.

Check the helper script is set up correctly by running this from your tracker-miners.git build tree:

./run-uninstalled --help

If run with no arguments, the script will start an interactive shell. Any arguments after a -- sentinel are treated as a command to run in a non-interactive shell.

Now check that it runs the correct version of the Tracker CLI:

./run-uninstalled -- tracker3 --version

Let's try and index some content. (Subtitute ~/Music for any other location where you have interesting data). We need to explicitly tell the script to wait for the miners to finish, or it will exit too soon. (This is a workaround for issue #122.)

./run-uninstalled --wait-for-miner=Files --wait-for-miner=Extract -- tracker3 index --add ~/Music

Let's see what files were found!

./run-uninstalled  -- tracker3 sparql --dbus-service=org.freedesktop.Tracker3.Miner.Files -q 'SELECT ?url { ?u nie:url ?url }'

Or, you can try a full-text search ...

./run-uninstalled -- tracker3 search "bananas"

There are many more things you can do with the script.

For more information about developing Tracker, look at and