GNU Astronomy Utilities

Next: , Previous: , Up: Configuring   [Contents][Index] Gnuastro configure options

Most of the options to configure (which are to do with building) are similar for every program which uses this script. Here the options that are particular to Gnuastro are discussed. The next topics explain the usage of other configure options which can be applied to any program using the GNU build system (through the configure script).


Only build and install progname along with any other program that is enabled in this fashion. progname is the name of the executable without the ast, for example crop for Crop (with the executable name of astcrop). If this option is called for any of the programs in Gnuastro, any program which is not explicitly enabled will not be built or installed.


Do not build or install the program named progname. This is very similar to the --enable-progname, but will build and install all the other programs except this one.


Enable the binary data-structure operators to work natively on the respective type of data (u stands for unsigned types, see Numeric data types). Some are compiled by default, to disable them (or disable any other type), either run enable-bin-op-TYPE=no, or run --disable-bin-op-TYPE. The final list of enabled/disabled types can be inspected in the outputs of ./configure (close to the end).

Binary operators, for example + or > (greater than), are some of the most common operators to the Arithmetic program or the data_arithmetic function in Gnuastro library. To operate most efficiently (as fast as possible without using extra memory or CPU resources), it is best to rely on the native types of the input data. For example, if you want to add an integer array with a floating point array, using the native types, means relying the system’s internal type conversion for each array element, see Invoking Arithmetic. If we don’t use the native conversion, then the integer array has to be converted to the same type as the floating point array to do the conversion. This will consume memory (to copy the integer array into a new float array) and CPU (integer types need much less processing) resources and ultimately slow down the running.

There are many binary operators and in order to have them operate natively on of each of the above types, the compiler has to prepare for all the different combinations of these types. This can greatly slow down the compilation35 (when you run make). For example, with only one type, make will finish in less than a minute, but if you enable all types, it can take roughly half an hour. However, the profits of this one-time investment at compilation time will be directly felt (more significantly on large images/datasets) each time you run Gnuastro programs or libraries, because no internal type conversion will be necessary.

If build time is important for you (mainly developers), disabling shared libraries and optimizations (as in Building and debugging) is the first step to take. If you commonly work with very specific data-types, you can enable them (and disable the default types that you don’t need) with these configuration options. Since the outputs of comparison operators are unsigned char (or uint8_t) type and most astronomical datasets are in single precision (32-bit) floating point (float), the recommended minimum enabled types are uint8 and float32.

GNU/Linux distribution package managers who compile once, for a large audience of users who just download the compiled programs and executables, are recommended to enable all types to help their users.


Enable native binary arithmetic operation on all types, see the description above for the various types for a full discussion. As discussed there, enabling all types can greatly speed up arithmetic operations on any arbitrary dataset, but will also slow down the building time of Gnuastro. Recall that in practice this only affects the Arithmetic program and the gal_arithmetic library binary operators, nothing else. This option is strongly recommended when you are building Gnuastro to be included in a package manager of a GNU/Linux distribution (or other operating systems).


Enable checks on the GNU Portability Library (Gnulib). Gnulib is used by Gnuastro to enable users of non-GNU based operating systems (that don’t use GNU C library or glibc) to compile and use the advanced features that this library provides. We make extensive use of such functions. If you give this option to $ ./configure, when you run $ make check, first the functions in Gnulib will be tested, then the Gnuastro executables. If your operating system does not support glibc or has an older version of it and you have problems in the build process ($ make), you can give this flag to configure to see if the problem is caused by Gnulib not supporting your operating system or Gnuastro, see Known issues.


Do not print a guiding message during the GNU Build process of Quick start. By default, after each step, a message is printed guiding the user what the next command should be. Therefore, after ./configure, it will suggest running make. After make, it will suggest running make check and so on. If Gnuastro is configured with this option, for example

$ ./configure --disable-guide-message

Then these messages will not be printed after any step (like most programs). For people who are not yet fully accustomed to this build system, these guidelines can be very useful and encouraging. However, if you find those messages annoying, use this option.

Note: If some programs are enabled and some are disabled, it is equivalent to simply enabling those that were enabled. Listing the disabled programs is redundant.

Note that the tests of some programs might require other programs to have been installed and tested. For example MakeProfiles is the first program to be tested when you run $ make check, it provides the inputs to all the other tests. So if you don’t install MakeProfiles, then the tests for all the other programs will be skipped or fail. To avoid this, in one run, you can install all the packages and run the tests but not install. If everything is working correctly, you can run configure again with only the packages you want but not run the tests and directly install after building.



It can also greatly increase the file size of the library, from a few hundred kilobytes to a few megabytes.

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