Comment 47 for bug 375323

Assuming you are on Linux the following steps will build cairo from git and make inkscape use it:

mkdir ~/cairo-git
cd ~/cairo-git

git clone git://anongit.freedesktop.org/git/pixman
cd pixman
./autogen.sh --prefix=$HOME/cairo-git
make install

cd ~/cairo-git
git clone git://anongit.freedesktop.org/git/cairo
cd cairo
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$HOME/cairo-git/lib/pkgconfig ./autogen.sh --prefix=$HOME/cairo-git
make install

and then start inkscape with

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$HOME/cairo-git/lib inkscape