Difference between revisions of "Build from source"

From Octave
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Line 19: Line 19:
[http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/doc/interpreter/Installation.html#Installation More detailed instructions]
[http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/doc/interpreter/Installation.html#Installation More detailed instructions]
for building from source are included in the Octave manual.
for building from source are included in the Octave manual.
Released source tarballs are available at http://www.octave.org/download.html. You will normally want to use one of those.
The download page also contains instructions to download the development sources. If you are using the development sources, be sure to type the following command before configuring:
This builds the configure scripts that Octave uses. This requires a number of tools which are not needed if you download an octave release, such as recent versions of autoconf/automake, and tools such as bison, flex, gperf, perl, and maybe others.

Revision as of 15:01, 1 March 2012

Compiling from source is probably the most effective way of installing Octave on your system. To do this you will require compilers for the following languages:

  • C
  • C++ (ISO)
  • Fortran

The best supported compilers for the job are the GNU Compiler Collection. You will require at least GCC 4.3 or later, although GCC 4.4 or later is recommended.

To compile Octave, you will also need a recent version of GNU Make. You must have GNU Make to compile octave. Octave's Makefiles use features of GNU Make that are not present in other versions of make. GNU Make is very portable and easy to install.


Building Octave can be as simple as downloading the source and running the following three commands in your Linux shell:

make install

More detailed instructions for building from source are included in the Octave manual.


Before compiling you must first configure the build system by running the configure script.


The configure script will display information about missing packages or any other issues that arise during the configuration run.

Octave has many configure options. For a complete list, see

./configure --help

If you are building a personal version, you will want to install it into your home directory, or perhaps a subdirectory. Add the following to your configure line:


Be sure the $HOME/octave/bin is on your path, or symlink the binaries therein to $HOME/bin.


1. If you just type ./configure, you may get this error:

configure: WARNING: in order to build octave, you must have a compatible
configure: WARNING: Fortran compiler or f2c installed and in your path.
configure: error: See the file INSTALL for more information.

This means that you don't have a fortran compiler on your system. You can either install a fortran compiler or re-install gcc with its optional build-in fortran compiler g77. To do this you must download the g77 components of gcc before you build gcc. Alternatively there are various f2c programs you could install which convert fortran to C.

2. If you get this warning:

configure: WARNING: "FTGL headers not found. Native renderer will not have on-screen text"
configure: WARNING:
configure: WARNING: I didn't find the necessary libraries to compile native
configure: WARNING: graphics. It isn't necessary to have native graphics
configure: WARNING: but you will have to use gnuplot or you won't be able
configure: WARNING: to use any of Octave's plotting commands

It may help to call configure with CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/include/freetype2, please see Problems with FTGL building octave-3.1.51,Building ftgl backend with current tip. Note that from changeset 8269 onward, this workaround should no longer be needed, please see No FTGL, says configure script?


After running configure simply run


Note that the compilation of Octave can take some time.


Another possible error occurs at the 'make' stage:

/usr/include/c++/3.3.1/bits/basic_string.h:228: undefined reference to 
    `std::basic_string<char, std::char_traits<char>, std::allocator<char> >::_S_empty_rep_storage'
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
make[2]: *** [octave] Error 1

This has something to do with the gcc configuration. Try compiling the following program using g++:

#include <string>
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
int main (void)
  basic_string <char>a = "thing one";
  string b = "thing two";
  cout << a.c_str() << endl;
  return (a == b);

If it fails, then your compiler needs to be set-up differently (how?). On my machine I can compile that test program but still get the error making Octave -- how do we solve this? It has something to do with the shared C++ library versions, check for /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6 and make sure the right version of that library is being used by gcc -- especially if you had to reinstall gcc to build the fortran support. If it still doesn't work, consider installing from the RPMs instead of compiling from source.


To run all tests, change to the octave directory and type

make check

This requires dejagnu.

To run a specific set of tests, change to the directory test/octave.test/<part> and type

runtest <part>.exp

To run your own tests use the RunInPlace shell script.


Finally, to install Octave on your system run

make install

Alternatively, If you have checkinstall on your system issue

checkinstall -D

This will create a deb from the sources and register the installation with dpkg.

checkinstall -R

will create RPM package which you can install using your package manager in RPM based distributions.

System Specific Instructions

Distributed building


The following seems to be out of date for my Ubuntu setup. My suggestion would be to look at the latest info for distcc and follow the instructions from there. Make sure the different machines have the same software. DAS


Install distcc on all machines taking part in the compilation. List them in ~/.distcc/hosts:


The first machines listed are given higher priority -- place 'localhost' as you see fit.

Set the environment variables CCACHE_PREFIX, CXX and CC:

export CCACHE_PREFIX="distcc"
export CXX="ccache g++"
export CC="ccache gcc"
./configure <options>

Compile using the -j<simultaneous-jobs> flag, two jobs per CPU available, i.e. for 5 machines

make -j10