Getting And Building MPICH

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Checking out the MPICH source

To checkout a new copy of the MPICH source, use

git clone git:// (for non-core developers without commit rights)
git clone (for core developers with commit rights)

See the Git page for more information about accessing the version control system.

Setting up the build environment

The git repository does not contain any of the "derived" files, including the configure scripts and the C++ and Fortran 77 language bindings.

To build these, run


Occasionally changes are made to the autoconf macros that are not detected by the dependency tests for the configure scripts. It is always correct to delete all of the configure scripts before running

find . -name configure -print | xargs rm

The autoconf macros and the scripts now require the following:

  • autoconf version 2.67 (or higher)
  • automake version 1.12.3 (or higher)
  • GNU libtool version 2.4 (or higher)

This was done because there are incompatible differences between each minor release of autoconf (e.g. the allowed command line arguments has changed between 2.50 and 2.58).

You can select a particular version of autoconf and autoheader by using the environment variables AUTOCONF and AUTOHEADER respectively. will use these if they are set. However, note that for these tools to work properly, both they and all of there data files must be installed in the same set of directories. The easiest way to ensure this is to use exactly the same configure arguments when you configure and install these tools. For example, if you set the prefix, set the prefix to exactly the same path for all three tools.

On the MCS workstations, one can find adequate version of autoconf, automake, and libtool at ~balaji/software/tools/install/x86_64/bin . Add that to your PATH.

Actually building the software

Once MPICH has been bootstrapped with, you can perform the usual three step process to build it like any other unix package:

% ./configure --prefix=INSTALLATION_PREFIX
% make -j8
% make -j8 install

Obviously, substitute INSTALLATION_PREFIX above with a proper directory. Otherwise /usr will be assumed as a default.

Updated derived files such as configure

Note: most of the time the automake rebuild rules will handle this correctly for you, but not always.

If you change one of the files that is the source for a derived file, such as a file, you will need to rebuild the derived file (e.g., the corresponding configure file). The safest way to do this is to rerun


(from the top-level MPICH directory). However, this can take a fair amount of time. You can direct to only update certain classes of files. For example, to update all configure files, use

./ -do=build_configure

You can use multiple -do arguments. For example, to rebuild the files and the configure files, use

./ -do=build_configure -do=makefiles

Check the source of to see what other options are available for -do.

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