Difference between revisions of "Supplemental Libraries (Supplibs)"

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For developer access, consult the [http://sourceforge.net/cvs/?group_id=161773 OpenGRADS CVS page at sf.net.]
For developer access, consult the [http://sourceforge.net/cvs/?group_id=161773 OpenGRADS CVS page at sf.net.]
=== Determining the correct version for building GrADS ===
=== Which Version do I Need? ===

Revision as of 17:43, 15 July 2010

Quick Instructions

Basically, you check out the sources and build with it a single command:

 % cd workspace
 % cvs ... co -P supplibs  (see below for check out instructions)
 % cd supplibs/src
 % gmake install

If you are very lucky everything will build out of the box (if often does.) After the install completes, enter

 % make verify

for a summary of how things went,

Config | Install |   Package
  ok   |   ok    | pkg-config
  ok   |   ok    | udunits
  ok   |   ok    | libsx
  ok   |   --    | freetype
  ok   |   --    | fontconfig
  ok   |   --    | pixman
  ok   |   --    | cairo
  ok   |   ok    | shp
  ok   |   ok    | gd

In this particular example, everything appears to have configured ok (no -- in the Config column.) However, freetype, fontconfig, pixman, and (not surprisingly) cairo did not build.

VERY IMPORTANT: Use supplibs-2.0.0 for building GrADS v1.9-rc1; use supplibs-2.1.0 and newer for building GrADS v1.10.r2 and GrADS v2.0.a5 and newer.

Read on if you need more information.


As features continue to be added to GrADS with each new release, the number of external packages needed for preparing binary distributions has been steadly increasing. Recent efforts to package GrADS within the major Linux distributions have benefited from the package management inherent in these projects; see for example the GrADS packaged in the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) maintained by Patrice Dumas. However, GrADS is still primarily released in the form of binary distrbutions. Creating these distributions require careful maintenance of the external packages, usually as a collection of static libraries, the so-called supplibs'.

Up to GrADS v1.9beta4, developers have maintained pre-compiled tarballs of the supplibs for the supported platforms, along with sources for those libraries which needed customization. This software is still available at COLA's anonymous ftp site. Preparing supplibs for a new platform was an ad-hoc time consuming task, and different platforms had different versions of these external packages, potentially leading to non-uniform behavior among these builds.

Starting with GrADS v1.9 an effort was made to collect the source code for the supplibs in a central repository, including a mechanism for building all the external packages with a single command: gmake install . Having all the packages on a single repository allows for a more rigorous configuration management of the supplibs, leading to a uniform set of libraries across the different platforms.

As pre-compiled version of the supplibs become available it is our intention to make them available on the web to facilitate the task of building GrADS from sources by developers and end users alike. This document, however, focus on building the supplibs from sources.

Contents of the Supplibs

Currently the following packages are maintained in the supplibs:

  • Package management:
    • Pkg-config
  • Data format related packages:
    • NetCDF
    • Udunits Version 1
    • HDF Version 4
    • HDF Version 5
    • Grib2c: Grib 2 client library
    • shapelib: shapefile I/O
  • OPeNDAP suite:
    • libdap: core client/server libraries, in C++
    • gadap: GrADS specific library for accessing station data
  • Basic graphics/images:
    • jpeg
    • jasper
    • libpng
    • gd
    • tiff
    • geotiff
    • cairo
  • Graphical User Interface
    • libsx: Simple X widgets, based on the Athena Widgets
  • Compression:
    • zlib
    • szlib: for reading HDF files only (not used for output)
  • Miscellaneous:
    • curl (needed by libdap, usually built without openssl)
    • xml2 (needed by libdap)
    • sunrpc (only needed for building libdap on cygwin)
  • Packages that have been dropped:
    • NetCDF Version 4 as a separate package. Earlier on the NetCDF package had Version 3 of the software and an experimental package was created for NetCDF-4. Once NetCDF-4 became stable, the main NetCDF was upgraded to Version 4, and the old netcdf4 package was abandoned.
    • neXtaw (a replacement for the ""Athena Widgets" ); this package did not work well on some Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and was dropped. The stock Athena widgets is more robust and is available on all supported platforms.
    • nc-dap: this functionality is now included in NetCDF-4.

Tested Platforms

Although these are not necessarily supported platforms for GrADS, the supplibs are known to build in the following platforms:

  • Linux
    • i686
    • x86_64
    • ia64 (Altix)
  • Mac OS X (Darwin)
    • Intel
    • PowerPC
  • Windows (under cygwin)
  • SGI IRIX64
  • Solaris
  • FreeBSD 6.3 and 7
    • i386
    • amd64
  • NetBSD 3.1
    • i386
  • IBM
    • AIX 5.3

Getting the sources

Tarballs with stable releases of the supplibs sources will be posted on the OpenGrADS SourceForge download page. The latest and past releases can also be checked out from the OpenGRADS CVS repository; the module name is opengrads. For checking out the latest release using anonymous CVS access enter:

  cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@opengrads.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/opengrads login 
  cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@opengrads.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/opengrads co -P supplibs

For developer access, consult the OpenGRADS CVS page at sf.net.

Which Version do I Need?

You will need Supplibs version... For building GrADS version...
2.0.0 1.9-rc1
2.1.0 1.10.r2, v2.0.a5 thru v2.0.a7
2.2.0 2.0.a8 and newer
Table 1. Matching Supplibs and GrADS versions.

Building the Supplibs

What you need

  • C/C++ compilers; gcc v3 or later highly recommended; the C++ compiler is only needed if you want to build the OPeNDAP suite
  • Fortran 77 compiler; g77 highly recommend. While Fortran is not used in GrADS, and Fortran supported is disabled in the supplibs, the configure script of some of the packages still requires a Fortran compiler around. Since g77 is deprecated, gfortran may do the trick.
  • GNU make, not sure which version as all that I tried worked. A generic POSIX make will not work.
  • X11 libraries; these used to be built part of the supplibs and may be included again if portability becomes an issues
  • You will very likely need recent versions GNU bison, flex and GNU m4 (mostly for dap, netcdf and hdf-4)
  • It is not a bad idea to have the GNU autotools (autoconf, automake, libtool) installed. Sometimes doing a autoreconf for a given package is all you need for configure to work.,
  • If building on Windows, you will need the Unix emulation layer provided by cygwin. A native port is also being considered. Any volunteers?
  • A bit of luck :-)

Doing the build

It couldn't be simpler. Check out or untar the downloaded source tarball and enter

% cd supplibs/src
% gmake install 

and go make a cup of coffee, bake some muffins, and by the time you are back it should be built for you. Or not.

By default, the result of your build is installed in a subdirectory parallel to src/ using the canonical name for your system; this can be determined with the included GNU config.guess script

 % ./config.guess

If your canonical system name is i686-pc-linux-gnu, the result of your build will be installed under ../i686-pc-linux-gnu/. Look around.

To save time, the build does to do a make check, although this optional feature should be added at some point. The primary way for you to check if all has been built is to enter

% ls *.install 

and make sure you have a file for each of the packages in the subdirectories. If some of the packages are missing, you may ask yourself whether the absence of these packages will disable GrADS features that you care about. The simplest way to see the implication of what you are missing is by configuring the GrADS build and check what has been disabled; consult Building GrADS from Sources for more information.

If you decide that you need to fix what is broken, you may want to start by checking the Platform Specific Notes below for some ways of dealing with common problems. You may also want to customize the build to disable some particular feature in the individual packages; see next section. Ultimately, your best resource is to go through the package developers for support, if available.

Customizing the build

If your build does not work you will probably need to recode some of the video drivers in assembly language and rebuild the kernel. Just kidding. The top GNUmakefile controlling the build of all packages is relatively simple, there are just a few macros that you can modify from the command line. For example,

  % make install ALLDIRS=netcdf

Here are your options:

  • ALLDIRS. Use this to restrict which packages get built. If you only want NetCDF and udunits just enter
  % make install ALLDIRS='readline netcdf undunits'
  • ROOTDIR is the root directory for installing the binaries; the installation directory will in the directory $(ROOTDIR)/$(SYSNAME)

where $(SYSNAME) is the canonical system name. Example:

  % make install ROOTDIR=/path/to/some/dir
  • prefix. Use this to bypass the definition above and install the supplibs in this directory. It is recommended that you

specify ROOTDIR instead.

  % make install prefix=/path/to/some/dir
  • INC_EXTRA is an additional directory where packages can find header files, primarily used for X11 header. For example, if your X11/Xpm.h is in a non standard place, enter
   % make install INC_EXTRA=/ford1/local/include

Partially Building the Supplibs

Sometimes your OS has most of the packages you need and you would like to use the supplibs for small subset of packages. For such cases there is a special module in our CVS repository called supplibs_fixture,

 % gacvs co -P supplibs_fixture
which allows you to checkout only a "shell" of the supplibs, with the top GNUmakefile, but with sources only for pkg-config (which is a must have for ensuring the self-consistency of the build.) Now, say, you want to build jasper, then you enter:
 % make co_jasper
 % make install

This will bring the jasper sources and build it. I wrote in some dependency tracking, so co_hdf4 would also check out zlib, szlib, etc, although I have not tested this dependency feature fully.

Maintaining the Supplibs: Some Guidelines for Developers

If you woud like to do make changes to the supplibs build you will need to understand how makefiles work, in particular GNU make, and have some familiarity with configure scripts generated by the GNU autotools (autoconf, automake, etc). The overall philosophy of the supplibs is to avoid patching the source code of the individual packages, this way making it easier to import new versions as is. If all possible, customizations are to be implemented in the top GNUmakefile, although sometimes this may not be possible. One example is the 'units package which has been modified do search for the file udunits/dat in the GrADS data directory. If a bug fix or new functionality is added to one of the packages one should forward these to the maintainers of the package for inclusion in future releases. The best way to see which changes have been made is to use the cvs diff and compare the current release to one of the vendor branches.

The Top GNUmakefile

The top GNUmakefile simply drives the building mechanism of the the underlying packages, making sure it finds its dependencies in the supplibs (except for X11 and system libraries). After each package is configured an empty file named packagename.config is created to indicate that this step has already been done. Similarly, an empty file named packagename.install is created after a packaged is successfully built. You may want to delete these files to force rebuild of the package.

The top GNUmakefile defines generic %.config and %.install rules which are used to build many of the packages. When packages need some special configuration, a specific target is hand coded for that package, e.g., hdf4.config. This is particularly important to ensure that each package finds its dependences within the supplibs.

The following targets are most useful: install, clean, distclean. When debugging specific packages you may want to invoke the config/install steps by hand, for example,

 % rm netcdf.*
 % make netcdf.config
 % make netcdf.install

Notice that header files are all installed in a separate include directory for each package, e.g., $(prefix)/include/netcdf. This is essential to provide alternative implementation of the same functionality. For example, NetCDF-3, HDF-4 and NetCDF=4 all implement the NetCDF v2 API and install the netcdf.h header. This decision, however, lead to a non-standard layout of the installed packages, requiring custom version of the config targets to be introduced.

Adding New Packages

It is recommended that you download the original sources, preferably a stable version, and try to perform static builds on a number of platforms, and testing GrADS with this new library. Once you you determine that the library is portable, stable and works well with GrADS, go back to the original source and import them on a new vendor branch.

Example. Importing netcdf-3.6.2.tar.gz from ftp://ftp.unidata.ucar.edu/pub/netcdf/. Please do not repeat this as NetCDF is already in the repository. The purpose here is to show you how this should be done.

  % tar xvfz netcdf-3.6.2.tar.gz
  % cd netcdf-3.6.2

First issue a dry run CVS import to see if any conflicts are generated:

  % cvs -z3 -d:ext:dasilva@opengrads.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/opengrads \
        -n import -m 'xxx: importing NetCDF v3.6.2 from Unidata' supplibs/src UNIDATA rel-3_6_2

Please notice the vendor branch tag UNIDATA and the release tag rel-3_6_2. You should not have conflicts the first time around. If cvs reports no conflicts, then repeat the command above without the -n option.

  % cvs -z3 -d:ext:dasilva@opengrads.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/opengrads \
        import -m 'xxx: importing NetCDF v3.6.2 from Unidata' supplibs/src UNIDATA rel-3_6_2

Please consult the CVS manual or this freely available book for additional information on CVS

Updating Packages

Upgrading a package to a new version should be done with caution, and done only when there is a good reason for it, such as important bug fixes or support for new platforms are introduced. The procedure is very similar to the one above to add new packages:

  1. first do a dry run import and make sure you understand the conflicts, if any
  2. do the real import
  3. resolve the conflicts by merging the vendor branch into the trunk.

If you are not comfortable doing these CVS tasks please ask help from a developer with CVS experience.

A final note of caution

If you find something that looks kind of redundant, hold back your impulse to change it. Chances are this is needed on some crazy platform. You never know.

Platform Specific Notes

Here are some of the issues that we have experienced with individual platforms.


  • On OpenSUSE 10.3, some users reported problems with building the udunits library for both supplibs-2.0.0 and supplibs-2.0.1. A workaround is to make sure that calls to $(MAKE) in the top-level GNUmakefile do not contain a -e switch. That is, edit the GNUmakefile to only contain lines like
  $(MAKE) install     # OK!
instead of
  $(MAKE) -e install  # MIGHT NOT WORK!

Update: The -e has been removed at the CVS repository head and should appear on sf.net with versions newer than 2.0.1.

FreeBSD 6.3/DesktopBSD 1.6

  • Updated gcc to 4.2, including gfortran
  • Set the following environment variables:
export XAW7_CFLAGS=/usr/local/include
export XAW7_LIBS=/usr/local/lib/libXaw7.a
  • Command line is:
gmake install CC=gcc42 CXX=g++42 FC=gfortran42 F77=gfortran42

At first, the build will likely fail for szip, hdf4 and udunits. Here are simple work arounds: after the after configure step, manually modify the following

  • Edit szip/Makefile and modify this line:
SUBDIRS = src # test examples
  • Edit udunits/Makefile and modify this line:

Then finish the build:

gmake install CC=gcc42 CXX=g++42 ALLDIRS="szip hd4 udunits"

FreeBSD 8.0

Here are the customizations needed for building in FreeBSD 8.0:

  • Invoke make as
    gmake GNUMAKE=gmake install
  • After configure, in hdf5/src/Makefile add this to the CFLAGS:

or H5FDdirect.c does not compile because it does not know about O_DIRECT.

  • For ncurses to build you need to edit tinfo/lib_baudrate.c and delete the
 #if defined __FreeBSD__ 

clause that undefines all the BXX parameters.

  • In the top GNUmakefile, add this to the ncurses.config target:
      --disable-database --enable-termcap


I have built the supplibs on AIX 5.3, PPC/64; in principle these instructions should be generally valid on 32-bit AIX (replacing "64" with "32" below), but I have not tried it. Your mileage may vary.

Make sure that you have recent versions GNU bison, flex and GNU m4 (mostly for dap, netcdf and hdf-4); the versions shipped with AIX 5.3 will not cut it. Download the sources from ftp.gnu.org and build it on the side first, place these on your path.

On the platform I build this I did not have a fully functional g++ v4.1.1. However, from previous experience, one usually has a better chance of having the packages compiling with gcc rather than xlc. For this reason, I have customized the GNUmakefile to select the following compilers on AIX:

  • CC = gcc -maix64
  • CXX = xlc++ -q64

I have added "#include <algorithm>" to dap/GeoConstraint.cc for it to compile with xlc++; this has been committed to the repository (current supplibs-2.1.0 sources on sf.net should have this). However, the following hacks were necessary for dap to build:

  • Commented out "#define malloc rpl_malloc" in config.h
  • Edited Makefile and removed "-Wall -W ..." from CXX flags
  • Edited das.y, adding a ";" at the end of line 396:
                    add_alias(DAS_OBJ(arg), TOP_OF_STACK, *name, string($4));


  • Make sure you use GNU make (gmake) as the standard make will not cut it.
  • The platform that I tried this on did not have Xpm instead along with the X libraries. I used the INC_EXTRA to specify this:
 % gmake install INC_EXTRA=/ford1/local

Windows (under cygwin)

  • By default cygwin does not come with the rpc/xdr.h headers needed by OPeNDAP. Since the OPeNDAP configure script does not flag this, one end up with an error during the compilation. The cygwin package sunrpc version 4.0.3 does provide the necessary functionality, but its headers are K&R style and do not compile with the current gcc 3.x, much less with g++. I have updated the sunrpc headers and added the whole package to the supplibs. These patches will forwarded to the maintainers. Since sunrpc installs to /usr I felt it was prudent not to install it by default on cygwin. Instead, you need to
% cd sunrpc
% make
% make install
  • Another annoyance of this platform is that by default file names are not entirely case sensitive. The package libdap installs a header called GetOpt.h which cygwin confuses with its own /usr/include/getopt.h and nc-dap dies with a compilation error. The work around is to edit your cygwin.bat file that starts your bash shell and define the environment variable CYGWIN which tells CYGWIN to treat file names as case sensitive:
set CYGWIN=check_case:strict

After you are done compiling these modules comment out this option as it is error prone.

  • For some reason nc-dap fails when linking ncdump; manually link it with g++ instatead of gcc
% cd nc-dap/ncdump
% make ncdump.exe CC=g++

This will be reported to the OPeNDAP developers.

Solaris 8 (and up, probably)

The support libs build fine if one uses the GNU version of make and the bash shell. One also has to tell GNU make to use bash as the shell, e.g.:

% gmake SHELL=/bin/bash install


Why is the top makefile called GNUmakefile and not simply Makefile?

GNUmakefile is the first file GNU make uses for a default makefile. Any POSIX makefile would not know what to do with this file. Therefore, if mistakenly you enter make install where make is not GNU make it would report back that there is nothing to build here --- a clue that you need to get a hold of GNU make.

Why is Makefile.in, configure checked in with the packages sources?

It is common practice not to check these files in the repository, and use autoreconf to regenerate them after each check out. However, this requires that a compatible version of the GNU autotools is installed on the build machine. This is not always the case when getting a guest account on some platform for the sole purpose of building GrADS. There is already enough to build, and having to build the autotools is yet another time consuming task that one would like to avoid. For this reason, it is convenient to have a turn key build system ready to go, with all the files one would find in a distribution tarball. If adjustments to the configure script is necessary, you can perform this on a remote machine, check in the new configure, Makefile.in, etc files, and do a cvs update on the remote build machine. So, there is no deep reason, just convenience.

Do I need the bin/ directory in the supplibs for building GrADS?

The supplibs comes with its own copy of pkg-config which resides in the bin/ directory. If you have pkg-config already installed, you should be able to use it, but make sure you set the environment variable PKG_CONFIG_LIBDIR to find the supplibs version of the *.pc files. However, if you do not have pkg-config installed, you must at least keep bin/pkg-config.

Why is gradsdap (formerly gradsdods) built without SSL support?

For portability and export control issues. The OPeNDAP core library libdap depends on the cURL package which in turn depends on OpenSSL. Building OpenSSL is technically a possibility, but we can easily get into all sorts of export control issues; read this and that. Linking with a shared OpenSSL library could get around the legal issues, but it did not prove portable. It is not clear how many OPeNDAP sites are using the https:// protocol; probably not too many. Therefore, SSL support is not included for the moment. For enabling it, build the supplibs from sources and comment out the --without-ssl in the curl.config target of the top GNUmakefile.