Biowulf High Performance Computing at the NIH

Development Tools: Autotools

Autotools is a part of the GNU build system and is a set of tools, including automake, autoconf and libtool, that are used to build packages. These tools are involved in the typical configure; make; make install sequence when building applications from source.

Autoconf, for example, mostly focuses on producing configure scripts. Automake is used for generating files and along with the configure script are used to produce Makefiles. Other tools include aclocal, autoheader, and autoscan. Some related tools that are frequently used alongside the Autotools utilities are make, gettext, pkg-config and GCC, which together comprise the GNU toolchain.

You may need to use Autotools for either generating your own configure script and Makefiles. Additionally, you may need to use Autotools when building other applications.

The system defaults of these various tools are installed on the login and compute nodes. These versions are packaged by the vendor (Red Hat/CentOS) and tend to be out of date. If your program requires newer versions of these tools, load the automake module:

module load automake

Loading the automake module will also load newer versions of autoconf, m4 and libtool since these tools are often used together. Optionally, you may load these tools individually, for example:

module load autoconf/2.69
module load m4/1.4.17
module load libtool/2.4.6