Compile and Install

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Disclaimer: This page explains how to turn the GRASS GIS source code into an installable binary package ("compilation") for different operating systems. If you just want to get ready-to-use binaries, go here, otherwise read on...

How to do compilation and installation of GRASS GIS?

Here we explain the procedure to compile GRASS from SVN, but it also applies to official GRASS 6 releases.

For installation of precompiled binary packages, see the main Installation Guide.

For detailed information on compilation, please see the INSTALL file in the source code.


Extra libraries

GRASS needs at least two extra libraries: PROJ and GDAL/OGR

Note: if you want to have DBMS support in GDAL (subsequently in GRASS) you have to perform the "Optional" steps below as well.

You have to install these two libraries first (see below how to get them precompiled for your system).

It is easiest to obtain a prepackaged version of these libraries (e.g., .rpm; .deb) for your particular operating system and run the corresponding package installation (e.g., rpm -Uhv packagename.rpm; apt-get) in a terminal window. Take care to also install the development packages of these libraries (...-devel packages). If there is no prepackage version, then you will have to download the source code (see links above, source code packages usually ends in .tar.gz or .zip) and compile it (you must have a C compiler installed as part of your operating system). The Web sites show the steps to compile the libraries.

Other libraries needed to run GRASS are listed on the requirements page.

To compile, you will also need the respective "-devel" packages.

Download GRASS GIS source code

Then download the GRASS GIS source code of course.

Generic Compilation and installation procedure

  • It is wise that compilation processes are carried out as a normal user: If you want to get the source code in a place where you do not have write permissions (e.g. in /usr/local/src/) just follow this:
     cd /usr/local/src/ 
     su -c 'mkdir grass6'
     su -c 'chown yourlogin:yourgroup grass6'

Otherwise if you have permissions just continue as a normal user:

     cd /usr/local/src/
     svn checkout ...
  • do a code checkout from the SVN source code repository
checkout the latest GRASS 6.x from SVN (see: [1])
  • in the grass6 directory, you will find the precious INSTALL file, open it with your favourite pager/editor and read it carefully!
  • run configure with parameters to adapt the compile process to your own system. To see what options can be passed to it, run:
./configure --help | less 

It may (!) look like this:

     ./configure \
         --with-cxx \
         --with-sqlite \
         --with-postgres-libs=/usr/include/pgsql/libpq \
         --with-postgres-includes=/usr/include/pgsql \
         --with-freetype \
         --with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2 \
         --with-motif \

You may have to explicitly state the path for certain packages (i.e., gdal). The Unix 'locate' command will come in handy for finding the path of the package you need (you may have to run locate as root ex: sudo locate gdal-config).

Please note that the paths mentioned may widely vary due to the distribution used. See Platform Specific Notes below.

Depending on your needs it may be a good idea to include debugging hooks.

See GRASS_Debugging#Compile_Time_Setup.
CFLAGS="-ggdb -Wall -Werror-implicit-function-declaration" ./configure ...

At the end of configuration process you should get report not much different from this:

GRASS is now configured for: i686-pc-linux-gnu

Source directory:            /usr/src/grass6
Build directory:             /usr/src/grass6
Installation directory:      /usr/local/grass-6.3.svn
Startup script in directory: ${exec_prefix}/bin
C compiler:                  gcc -g -O2 
C++ compiler:                c++ -g -O2
FORTRAN compiler:            
Building shared libraries:   yes
64bit support:               no

 NVIZ:                       yes

 BLAS support:               no
 C++ support:                yes
 DWG support:                no
 FFMPEG support:             no
 FFTW support:               yes
 FreeType support:           yes
 GDAL support:               yes
 GLw support:                no
 LAPACK support:             no
 Large File Support (LFS):   no
 Motif support:              no
 MySQL support:              no
 NLS support:                no
 ODBC support:               no
 OGR support:                yes
 OpenGL(R) support:          yes
 PNG support:                yes
 PostgreSQL support:         yes
 Readline support:           no
 SQLite support:             no
 Tcl/Tk support:             yes
 TIFF support:               yes
 X11 support:                yes
  • Let's compile it (takes a little while...)!
  • At the end, you should get report not much different from this:
Following modules are missing the 'description.html' file in src code:
GRASS GIS compilation log
Started compilation: Ne kvě 28 13:18:43 CEST 2006
Errors in:
Finished compilation: Ne kvě 28 13:43:40 CEST 2006
(In case of errors please change into the directory with error and run 'make')
  • If there is any error, change directory to directory with error and run "make" again. Report occuring bug to grass mailing list
  • Once the installation process is finished, you're ready to install GRASS system wide.
     su -c 'make install'
  • enjoy GRASS:

What else?

If you want to use QGIS, then also compile the GRASS-GDAL/OGR plugin. This is also useful to access your GRASS-data from other application using GDAL/OGR like thuban.

Compile and install GDAL-GRASS plugin

Platform Specific Notes



Read the instructions here:
  # first install PROJ, GDAL, etc.
  cd grass64/
  # follow instructions in debian/README.debian
  fakeroot buildpackage
 svn co svn://


 svn co svn://<GRASS Version>
GRASS 6.1 on Debian Sarge
GRASS 6.4 on Debian Lenny

Install needed packages:

 apt-get install flex bison libreadline-dev libncurses5-dev lesstif2-dev debhelper dpatch libtiff4-dev \
         tcl-dev tk-dev libfftw3-dev libxmu-dev libfreetype6-dev autoconf2.13 autotools-dev doxygen \
         libmysqlclient15-dev graphviz libsqlite3-dev python-wxgtk2.8 libcairo2-dev libwxgtk2.8-dev \
         python-dev libgdal1-dev  libgdal1-1.5.0 libproj-dev libproj0 proj-data mysql


 ./configure \
 --with-cxx \
 --with-sqlite \
 --with-postgres --with-postgres-includes=/usr/include/postgresql \
 --with-mysql --with-mysql-includes=/usr/include/mysql --with-mysql-libs=/usr/lib/mysql \
 --with-odbc \
 --with-cairo \
 --with-proj-share=/usr/share/proj \
 --with-tcltk-includes=/usr/include/tcl8.4/ \
 --with-freetype --with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2 \
 --with-motif --with-fftw --with-nls --with-python




 sudo make install
GRASS 7 on Debian Squeeze

Install needed packages:

apt-get install flex bison debhelper dpatch autoconf2.13 autotools-dev python-dev \
    g++ gcc gettext graphviz libcairo2-dev libfftw3-dev libfreetype6-dev \
    libgdal1 libgdal1-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libglw1-mesa-dev \
    libncurses5-dev libproj-dev libreadline-dev libsqlite3-dev libtiff4-dev \
    libwxgtk2.8-dev libxmu-dev libxmu-headers libxt-dev mesa-common-dev \
    proj-bin python-numpy python-wxgtk2.8 subversion wx-common zlib1g-dev

Download source code:

svn checkout grass_trunk


cd grass_trunk
CFLAGS="-g -Wall -Werror-implicit-function-declaration -fno-common -Wextra -Wunused" \
CXXFLAGS="-g -Wall"  \
 ./configure --prefix=/usr/local \
 --with-gdal --with-proj --with-proj-share=/usr/share \
 --with-glw --with-nls --with-readline \
 --without-tcltk \
 --with-cxx \
 --enable-largefile \
 --with-freetype --with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2 \
 --with-sqlite \
 --with-cairo --with-python=/usr/bin/python2.6-config --with-wxwidgets \
 --with-geos --with-pthread




 sudo make install  # installs as /usr/local/bin/grass70

In general, the compilation instructions for Debian (see above), apply to the Ubuntu-Linux operating system as well. However, there is a dedicated page on how to Compile the GRASS GIS source code & install it in Ubuntu.

Linux Mint

Install packages needed for compilation:

sudo apt-get install build-essential flex make bison gcc libgcc1 g++ \
 cmake ccache python python-dev python-qt4 python-qt4-dev python-opengl \
 python-wxversion python-wxtools python-wxgtk2.8 python-dateutil \
 libgsl0-dev python-numpy wx2.8-headers wx-common libwxgtk2.8-dev \
 libwxgtk2.8-dbg libwxbase2.8-dev  libwxbase2.8-dbg libncurses5-dev \
 zlib1g-dev gettext libtiff-dev libpnglite-dev tcl8.5-dev tk8.5-dev \
 libcairo2 libcairo2-dev sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev libpq-dev libreadline6 \
 libreadline6-dev libfreetype6-dev txt2tags libfftw3-3 libfftw3-dev \
 libqt4-core libqt4-dbg libqt4-dev libqt4-gui libqt4-sql \
 libqt4-qt3support lsb-qt4 qt4-designer qt4-dev-tools qt4-doc \
 qt4-qtconfig libapt-pkg-perl resolvconf libjasper-dev ruby subversion \
 ffmpeg ffmpeg2theora libffmpegthumbnailer-dev libavcodec-dev libxmu-dev \
 libavformat-dev libswscale-dev checkinstall libglu1-mesa-dev libxmu-dev \
 libproj-dev  proj-bin

CFLAGS="-Wall" ./configure  --with-cxx  --with-gdal \
 --with-proj --with-proj-share=/usr/share/proj/ \
 --with-geos  --without-postgres \
 --with-nls  --with-opengl-includes=/usr/include/GL/ \
 --with-x --with-fftw  --with-freetype \
 --with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2  --with-sqlite \
 --with-python=/usr/bin/python2.7-config  --with-wx=/usr/bin/wx-config \
 --with-wxwidgets  --with-cairo  --enable-largefile


sudo make install

Installation of dependencies (urpmi will ask you a few more):

Mandriva 2009: (take out the '64' everywhere if you are on 32bit)

 # as root
   urpmi flex bison zlib-devel tiff-devel png-devel tcl-devel tk-devel sqlite3-devel \
         mesagl1-devel mesaglu1-devel lib64xmu6-devel gcc-c++ gettext \
         lib64wxgtk2.8 lib64wxgtk2.8-devel lib64wxgtkgl2.8 wxgtk2.8 \
         lib64wxPythonGTK2.8 lib64wxPythonGTK2.8-devel wxPythonGTK wxPythonGTK-wxversion

Mandriva 2010: (take out the '64' everywhere if you are on 32bit) - see also SPEC file

 # as root
   # installation of PROJ and GDAL
   urpmi proj proj-devel gdal gdal-devel gcc-gfortran lib64openssl1.0.0 \
         lib64openssl1.0.0-devel postgresql8.4-devel lib64pq8.4

   # installation of compilation environment
   urpmi flex bison zlib-devel tiff-devel png-devel tcl-devel tk-devel sqlite3-devel \
         lib64mesagl1-devel lib64mesaglu1-devel lib64xmu6-devel gcc-c++ gettext \
         lib64wxgtk2.8 lib64wxgtk2.8-devel lib64wxgtkgl2.8 wxgtk2.8 \
         lib64wxPythonGTK2.8 lib64wxPythonGTK2.8-devel wxPythonGTK wxPythonGTK-wxversion

Then, to configure GRASS, run (64 bit stuff optional of course):

 #  as user
 ./configure \
   --enable-64bit --with-libs=/usr/lib64 \
   --with-cxx \
   --with-gdal=/usr/local/bin/gdal-config \
   --with-sqlite \
   --with-nls \
   --with-python \
   --with-wxwidgets=/usr/lib/wxPython/bin/wx-config \
   --with-fftw \
   --with-ffmpeg --with-ffmpeg-includes="/usr/include/libav* /usr/include/libpostproc /usr/include/libswscale" \
   --with-motif \
   --with-mysql --with-mysql-includes=/usr/include/mysql --with-mysql-libs=/usr/lib64 \
   --with-freetype --with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2 \
  # compilation (use -j2 ior -j4 parameter on multi-core CPUs to accelerate):   


   # this will install into /usr/local/
   make install
Enterprise Linux

Enterprise Linux (EL) and derivatives (that is, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS and Scientific Linux) is a popular and robust platform for servers and computing-heavy workstations, and is therefore a good fit for GIS specific requirements.



Preparation Centos 5 (old):

 # Note: CentOS 5 comes with Python 2.4 which lacks python-config, hence two extra tweaks are needed.
 yum install flex bison zlib-devel tcl-devel tk-devel gcc-c++ gettext \
             libtiff-devel libpng-devel sqlite-devel \
             mesa-libGL-devel mesa-libGLU-devel mesa-libGLw-devel \
             mesa-libOSMesa-devel libXmu-devel python-devel gtk2-devel\
             ncurses-devel postgresql-devel make

Preparation Centos 6:

 yum install flex bison make zlib-devel gcc-c++ gettext \
             sqlite-devel mesa-libGL-devel mesa-libGLU-devel \
             libXmu-devel libX11-devel tcl-devel tk-devel fftw-devel libtiff-devel \
             lesstif-devel python-devel numpy wxPython wxGTK-devel \
             proj proj-devel proj-epsg proj-nad libxml2 gdal gdal-devel geos geos-devel \
             python-dateutil python-imaging python-matplotlib

GRASS GIS 7 compilation and installation

Download and configure GRASS 7 (suggestion: save this as script):

./configure \
 --with-cxx \
 --without-ffmpeg \
 --with-gdal=/usr/bin/gdal-config \
 --with-sqlite \
 --with-postgres \
 --with-nls \
 --with-python \
 --with-cairo \
 --with-freetype --with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2 \
 --with-wxwidgets=/usr/bin/wx-config \
 --without-mysql \
 --without-odbc \
 --without-fftw \



or on a multicore system (number depends of available cores):

   make -j4

Either install with

   make install # as root user

or simply run directly from compile directory (substitute ARCH with i586 or x86_64):

   bin.$ARCH/grass70 -gui
 ./configure \
   --with-freetype=yes --with-freetype-includes="/usr/include/freetype2/"

See also


The Generic Compilation & installation procedure applies also for the Funtoo Linux meta-distribution. The following example scripts are provided as a mean to get started.

Installing dependencies


Example Scripts

A simple configuration and compilation

    # clean previous configuration
    make distclean
    # update source code
    svn up
    # renice! source: <>
    renice +17 -p $$
    # configure
    ./configure \
    --with-freetype=yes --with-freetype-includes="/usr/include/freetype2/" \
    2>&1 | tee config_log.txt
    # compile
    time make -j13

An attempt for a complete configuration and compilation checking. In addition, this script times each of the executed commands (need for scrolling back!).

    # clean previous configuration
    time make distclean
    # update
    time svn up
    # renice! source: <>
    renice +17 -p $$
    # configure
    CFLAGS="-ggdb -march=native -Wall -Werror-implicit-function-declaration" \
    ./configure \
    --with-cxx \
    --with-includes=/usr/include/ --with-libs=/usr/lib64/ \
    --with-proj \
    --with-proj-includes=/usr/include/ \
    --with-proj-libs=/usr/lib64/ \
    --with-proj-share=/usr/share/proj/ \
    --with-geos \
    --with-geos=/usr/bin/geos-config \
    --with-gdal=/usr/bin/gdal-config \
    --with-x \
    --with-motif \
    --with-cairo \
    --with-opengl-libs=/usr/include/GL \
    --without-ffmpeg \
    --with-python=yes --with-python=/usr/bin/python2.7-config \
    --with-wxwidgets \
    --with-freetype=yes --with-freetype-includes="/usr/include/freetype2/" \
    --with-odbc=yes \
    --with-sqlite=yes \
    --with-mysql=yes --with-mysql-includes="/usr/include/mysql" --with-mysql-libs=/usr/lib/mysql \
    --with-postgres=yes --with-postgresql=yes --with-postgres-includes="/usr/include/postgresql" \
    --with-opencl --with-openmp --with-pthread \
    --with-lapack \
    --with-fftw \
    --with-readline \
    --with-regex \
    --with-nls \
    --with-jpeg \
    --with-tiff \
    --with-png \
    --with-netcdf \
    --without-opendwg \
    --enable-largefile=yes \
    2>&1 | tee config_log.txt
    # check "make"
    time make check

Preparation for the compilation of GRASS GIS source code (F16-F19):

 yum install proj-devel gdal-devel sqlite-devel ffmpeg-devel mesa-libGL-devel \
             mesa-libGLU-devel libXmu-devel libX11-devel tcl-devel tk-devel geos \
             fftw-devel libtiff-devel lesstif-devel python-devel numpy wxPython wxGTK-devel \
             gcc gcc-c++ bison flex ncurses-devel proj-epsg proj-nad xml2 \
             python-dateutil python-imaging python-matplotlib-wx

Note 1: that currently gdal-devel has (too) many dependencies and will lead to a massive download of extra packages (200 on a fresh Fedora 16 install).

Note 2: the optional ffmpeg-devel comes from the rpmfusion-free repository (configuration).

Note 3: GRASS GIS 7 does no longer use tcl/tk, so tcl-devel and tk-devel may be omitted.

Download the source code:

Configure: This is an example how to configure the source code on a Fedora system:

 ./configure \
  --with-cxx \
  --with-gdal=/usr/bin/gdal-config \
  --with-proj --with-proj-share=/usr/share/proj \
  --with-sqlite \
  --with-nls \
  --with-wxwidgets=/usr/bin/wx-config \
  --with-fftw \
  --with-python=/usr/bin/python-config \
  --with-freetype --with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2 \
  --enable-largefile \

Note: An effective (but not fast) way of getting dependencies is to decide what to enable in the configuration, and then run ./config and see which files are missing. The package providing it can be found via:

yum provides */<name of the file>

and then install them with your favourite package manager frontend or yum itself.

Extra: If you also want FFMPEG support:

It requires 'yum install fftw-devel'. Then add to the configuration lines above:

    --with-ffmpeg --with-ffmpeg-includes="/usr/include/ffmpeg /usr/include/ffmpeg/libav* /usr/include/ffmpeg/libpostproc /usr/include/ffmpeg/libswscale" \

Finally compile the configured source code:

  or on multicore (number depends of available cores):
   make -j4
   make install # requires root permissions unless you become owner of /usr/local/

Then use GRASS GIS and enjoy!


To build GRASS on openSUSE:

RPM packages to be installed:

 sudo zypper install bison flex freetype2-devel fftw3-devel gcc-c++ \
   libgdal-devel libgeos-devel libjpeg-devel libpng-devel libtiff-devel \
   man proj libproj-devel readline-devel netcdf-devel ncurses-devel \
   mysql-devel postgresql-devel sqlite-devel unixODBC-devel \
   tcl-devel tk-devel xorg-x11-Mesa-devel libXmu-devel \
   python-numpy python-dateutil python-devel python-opengl \
   python-wxWidgets python-xml python-dateutil wxWidgets-devel \

Source code configuration:

 ./configure \
 	--enable-largefile \
	--with-proj-share=/usr/share/proj \
	--with-cxx \
	--with-lapack=yes \
	--with-x \
	--with-motif \
	--with-gdal=/usr/bin/gdal-config \
	--with-postgres --with-postgres-includes=/usr/include/pgsql \
	--with-mysql --with-mysql-includes=/usr/include/mysql \
	--with-fftw \
	--with-readline \
	--with-netcdf \
	--with-curses \
	--with-geos \
	--with-nls \
	--with-sqlite \
	--with-freetype \
	--with-freetype-includes=/usr/include/freetype2 \
	--with-wxwidgets \
	--with-odbc \

Then compile with "make [-j2]".

Arch Linux

The easiest/fastest way is to build GRASS GIS using AUR: (msieczka: I would recommend my set of PKBUILDs - They are most feature-rich, up-to-date and allow to have various versions installed alongside each other without conflicts.)

But if you want to compile it yourself you have to keep in mind that in Arch Linux the default Python version 3.

python --version
Python 3.3.1

Therefore, to build GRASS GIS (version 7 in this example), we can use either use virtualenv or symlink python2 and python2-config in a given directory. Let's use the latter approach

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/python2 $HOME/usr/bin/python
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/python2-config $HOME/usr/bin/python-config

We can now start building GRASS 7

export PATH=~/usr/bin:$PATH && \
./configure \
--enable-debug \
--enable-64bit \
--with-libs=/usr/lib64  \
--with-cxx \
--with-readline \
--with-zlib-includes="/usr/include/" \
--with-freetype=yes \
--with-freetype-includes="/usr/include/freetype2/" \
--enable-largefile=yes \
--with-gdal=/usr/bin/gdal-config \
--with-proj-share=/usr/share/proj/ \
--with-geos=/usr/bin/geos-config \
--with-cairo \
--with-odbc \
--with-pthread \
--with-liblas=/usr/local/bin/liblas-config  \
--with-fftw-includes="/usr/include/" \
--with-fftw-libs=/usr/lib/ \
--with-tcltk-includes="/usr/include/" \
--with-wxwidgets \
--with-postgres=yes \
--with-postgres-includes="/usr/include/postgresql/internal" \
--with-postgres-libs="/usr/include/postgresql/internal/libpq" \
--with-sqlite=yes \
--with-python=yes \
--with-liblas \

Now let's compile and install it

sudo make install

Now the final step required to use GRASS with python2 is to create a bash script "grass" (or the name you want)

export PATH=~/usr/bin:$PATH
python2 /usr/local/bin/grass70

And make it executable and copy it somewhere in the PATH

chmod+x grass
sudo cp grass /usr/local/bin

It's done, you can enjoy GRASS 7 in Arch, just type "grass" (or the name you gave to the script) in the terminal to launch it.

RPM SPEC files

... see here for instructions


FreeBSD / NetBSD

The recommended compiler tools are GCC, GNU make, GNU coreutils (for install), and flex. All are available through the respective package managing tools (pkg_add for FreeBSD and pkgin install for NetBSD) and for recent *BSD versions most likely installed by default.

GRASS 6.x and GRASS 7 should compile on FreeBSD 8.0 or later and NetBSD 5.0 or later (maybe also on updated NetBSD 4.x).

It is highly recommended to install GDAL/OGR and PROJ4 first. These libraries and tools are available as ports for FreeBSD and packages for NetBSD.

Optional functionality is listed with ./configure --help, and related libraries and tools might need to be installed first.


11 SPARC/i86pc

The recommended compiler tools are GCC, GNU make, GNU coreutils (for install), and flex. All are available through the Solaris package manager.

Most dependencies are available through the Solaris package manager. GDAL and proj4 can either be compiled from source or installed e.g. from OpenCSW. If packages are installed from OpenCSW, the linker flags need to be set with

     LDFLAGS="-Wl,-R/opt/csw/lib -L/opt/csw/lib -Wl,-R/opt/csw/gxx/lib -L/opt/csw/gxx/lib"

See also the OpenCSW documentation.

10 SPARC/i86pc
  • get gcc compiler and tools. There are several sources: Solaris Companion CD (SFW pkg, installs in /opt/sfw/), Blastwave ([2], CSW pkg, installs in /opt/csw/) or Sunfreeware ([3], SMC pkg, installs in /usr/local/).

Needed Packages from Sunfreeware: SMCbinut, SMCbison, SMCcoreu, SMCfindu, SMCflex, SMCgawk, SMCgcc, SMCgrep, SMCgzip, SMCless, SMClibt, SMClicon, SMCmake, SMCncurs, SMCproj, SMCsed, SMCtar, SMCtcl, SMCtiff, SMCtk, SMCunzip, SMCzlib.

  • compile and install fftw-library ([4]). You need to re-compile the library with:
     ./configure --with-pic --enable-shared; make ; make install. 

The pre-built packages don't work.

  • compile and install gdal library (see documentation of gdal, [5]).
  • compile and install any additional libraries (e. g. GEOS, [6]).
  • set compiler flags and path. e. g.:
     # on ultra-sparc machine:
     CFLAGS="-O3 -mcpu=v9"
     CXXFLAGS="-O3 -mcpu=v9"

Path has to be changed for the packages (Sunfreeware: /usr/local/bin, Solaris Companion: /opt/sfw/bin, Blastwave: /opt/csw/bin).

  • Next configure, e. g.:
     ./configure --with-postgres-includes=/usr/include/pgsql/ \
     --with-postgres-libs=/usr/lib --with-postgres=yes \

If you use n(ew)curses, you have to include the path /usr/local/include/ncurses.


     make install

If the shared libraries are not found at runtime of the modules, use 'crle' to add the paths of the libraries for the dynamic linker, e. g. as root:

     crle -l /lib:/usr/lib:/usr/local/lib:/opt/sfw/lib:/usr/X11/lib

Be careful not to omit a library path, the system may be unusable if you forget the /lib path.


A recent GNU make (>= 3.81) and GNU coreutils are required. These are available with the IBM AIX toolbox or through third-party AIX software repositories, e.g. bullfreeware and Note that 'make' does not work, only 'gmake' works.

General instructions to compile on AIX are e.g. here

On AIX, compilation results by default in 32 bit applications and static libraries. The IBM documentation explains how to build 64 bit applications and shared libraries with GCC.

GRASS 6: Using the IBM xlc compiler:

Mike wrote in 2009:

After attempting all the suggestions, I finally used --disable-shared on the configure command, and all but a handful of modules successfully compiled. I was able to individually address the ones that failed through Makefile edits and several small source code/header file edits.

The environment variables and configure command that worked were:

# xlc compiler:
export PATH=/usr/local/bin:/opt/freeware/bin:$PATH
export OBJECT_MODE=64
export LIBICONV=/opt/freeware
export CC="xlc_r -q64"
export CFLAGS="-O -qstrict"
export CXX="xlC_r -q64"
export CXXFLAGS="-O -qstrict"
export AR="ar -X64"
export F77="xlf_r -q64"
export CPPFLAGS="-I/afs/isis/pkg/libpng/include -I/usr/local/include -I$LIBICONV/include -I/usr/lpp/X11/include/X11"
export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/lib -L$LIBICONV/lib -L/usr/lib -L/usr/X11R6/lib -lc"

./configure --prefix=/afs/isis/pkg/grass-6.4.0 \
  --enable-64bit \
  --disable-shared \
  --with-includes="/usr/include/fontconfig /usr/include/X11 /usr/include/X11/Xft /usr/include/X11/ext" \
  --x-includes=/usr/include/X11 \
  --x-libraries=/usr/X11R6/lib \
  --with-fftw-includes=/afs/isis/pkg/fftw-3.2.2/include \
  --with-fftw-libs=/afs/isis/pkg/fftw-3.2.2/lib \
  --with-gdal=/afs/isis/pkg/gdal/bin/gdal-config \
  --with-proj-includes=/afs/isis/pkg/proj/include \
  --with-proj-libs=/afs/isis/pkg/proj/lib \
  --with-proj-share=/afs/isis/pkg/proj/share/proj \
  --with-tcltk-includes=/usr/local/include \
  --with-tcltk-libs=/usr/local/lib \

GRASS 7: Using the IBM xlc compiler:

Get and install (in this order):

The environment variables and configure command that worked:

## AIX 5.x
./configure \
  --prefix=$PREFIX \
  --disable-shared \
  --enable-largefile \
  --with-cxx \
  --with-proj-includes=$PREFIX/include/ \
  --with-proj-libs=$PREFIX/lib/ \
  --with-proj-share=$PREFIX/share/proj/ \
  --with-sqlite \
  --with-sqlite-includes=$PREFIX/include/ \
  --with-sqlite-libs=$PREFIX/lib/ \
  --with-tiff=no \
  --with-png=no \
  --with-fftw=no \
  --with-cairo=no \

GRASS 7: Using the GNU gcc compiler:

Get and install (in this order):

The environment variables and configure command that worked for AIX 5.x:

## AIX 5.x
CFLAGS='-ansi -D_ALL_SOURCE=1 -D_POSIX_SOURCE=1 -D_POSIX_C_SOURCE=200809L -Dinline=' ./configure \
  --prefix=$PREFIX \
  --disable-shared \
  --enable-largefile \
  --with-cxx \
  --with-proj-includes=$PREFIX/include/ \
  --with-proj-libs=$PREFIX/lib/ \
  --with-proj-share=$PREFIX/share/proj/ \
  --with-sqlite \
  --with-sqlite-includes=$PREFIX/include/ \
  --with-sqlite-libs=$PREFIX/lib/ \
  --with-tiff=no \
  --with-png=no \
  --with-fftw=no \
  --with-cairo=no \

The environment variables and configure command that worked for AIX 7.x:

## AIX 7.x
export CC="gcc"
export CXX="g++"

LDFLAGS="-Wl,-bsvr4,-R,/opt/freeware/lib -L/opt/freeware/lib" CPPFLAGS="-I/opt/freeware/include" ./configure \
  --prefix=$PREFIX \
  --enable-largefile \
  --enable-shared \
  --with-includes=/opt/freeware/include --with-libs=/opt/freeware/lib \
  --with-cxx \
  --with-proj-includes=$PREFIX/include/ \
  --with-proj-libs=$PREFIX/lib/ \
  --with-proj-share=$PREFIX/share/proj/ \
  --with-gdal=$PREFIX/bin/gdal-config \
  --with-sqlite \
  --with-sqlite-libs=$PREFIX/lib --with-sqlite-includes=$PREFIX/include \
  --with-png=no \
  --with-tiff=no \
  --with-fftw=no \
  --with-cairo=no \
  --with-opengl=no \



See also WinGRASS Current Status for latest updates.

Common problems and solutions

During compilation, error can occur if certain packages are not installed. Here a list of problems with solution:

  • error: X11/Xlib.h: No such file or directory
    • this suggests that you don't have the X headers installed
    • Solution: Install the libx11-dev package
  • error: g.list: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
    • this error appears in the shell right after the user clicks GUI's "Start GRASS" button. The GUI shows an error about geographic extent and gets closed afterwards.
    • It happens when you launch bin.i686 executable on 64bit system. Be careful and choose the right architecture.

Static compilation

In order to get static rather than dynamically linked binaries, configure like this:

 ./configure --disable-shared --enable-static

This will however break the wxGUI and GRASS 7 completely because "ctypes" wants to link against shared libs, or there is something in the static libs that "ctypes" does not like.


GCC and other compilers support optimization

If you would like to set compiler optimisations, for a possibly faster binary, type (don't enter a ";" anywhere):

       CFLAGS=-O ./configure


       setenv CFLAGS -O

whichever works on your shell. Use -O2 instead of -O if your compiler supports this (note: O is the letter, not zero). Using the "gcc" compiler, you can also specify processor specific flags (examples, please suggest better settings to us):

 CFLAGS="-mcpu=athlon -O2" # AMD Athlon processor with code optimisations
 CFLAGS="-march=amdfam10"  # AMD Phenom II X4 64bit processor with gcc >=4.3
 CFLAGS="-mcpu=pentium"    # Intel Pentium processor
 CFLAGS="-mcpu=pentium4"   # Intel Pentium4 processor
 CFLAGS="-O2 -msse -msse2 -mfpmath=sse -minline-all-stringops" # Intel XEON 64bit processor
 CFLAGS="-mtune=nocona -m64 -minline-all-stringops"            # Intel Pentium 64bit processor

To find out optional CFLAGS for your platform, enter:

 gcc -dumpspecs

See also:

A real fast GRASS version (and small binaries) will be created with LDFLAGS set to "stripping" (but this disables debugging):

 CFLAGS="-O2 -mcpu=<cpu_see_above> -Wall" LDFLAGS="-s" ./configure

Configure options and their meanings

For configure there are many options and some GRASS modules are built only if some options are set. Here are listed common configuration options with short explanation.

  • --prefix=/path - Sets path where GRASS will be installed. GRASS will reside in /path/grass-version.
  • --enable-largefile - Enables large (>2Gb on 32bit systems) support. For current large file support status look at Large File Support page.
  • --with-cxx - Enables compilation of C++ code. Required for r.terraflow module.
  • --with-readline - Enables readline support. If readline is enabled, you can use its history/editing facilities when entering r.mapcalc expressions on stdin.
  • --with-glw - Enables GLw support. The GLw library provides OpenGL "canvas" widgets for Athena and Motif.
That switch is unnecessary for normal compilation. It's only
required for r3.showdspf, which isn't normally built; if you 
want it, you have build it manually 
(e.g. "make -C raster3d/r3.showdspf").
As similar functionality is now provided by NVIZ, r3.showdspf
is deprecated.
r3.showdspf uses the Motif widget (so you also need a 
Motif library, e.g. Lesstif or OpenMotif).
Glynn Clements at GRASS-user mailing list

Parallelized compilation on multi-core CPUs

You can dramatically accelerate the compilation of the GRASS code with the -j flag of "make" if you have a multi-core CPU system. This determines the maximum number of jobs to have running at once, so cores don't have to sit idle waiting for jobs on other cores to complete. A good rule of thumb for this value is number_of_cores * 1.5, but note that setting any higher than the actual number of cores will only affect the timing slightly. For example, on a dual-core processor:

 make -j 4



Please note that the installation of Addons can be easily done with the g.extension manager. The compile instructions below are aiming at own development.

Compiled modules

This is the general way which works for C modules as well as scripts (Python or Shell/Bash modules) which has HTML documentation.



  • a binary GRASS package, or
  • source code which has been prepared with:
   ./configure [opionally flags]
   make libs

Each of the addon modules should come with a Makefile. To compile it, just run:

   make MODULE_TOPDIR=/path/to/grass64/

Note that the /path/to/grass64 has to be absolute, not relative.

If using Bash it may be useful to set that up as an alias:

   alias gmake64='make MODULE_TOPDIR=/path/to/grass64/'

Installation (perhaps requires "sudo"):

   make MODULE_TOPDIR=/path/to/grass64/ install

Note: Compiled addons may require a re-compilation if you changed/updated your GRASS standard binaries.

If binary comes with a -dev package

(work in progress, this text states how it eventually will be :) Nowadays one does not need to the source code, nor compiling GRASS by oneself to be able to add add-ons. On Debian, you can just install the grass-dev package and then run:

make MODULE_TOPDIR=/usr/lib/grass64/ INST_DIR=/usr/lib/grass64/

The grass-dev package essentially provides GRASS's include header files and Make configuration files.


If the addon module is a script, it is sufficient to copy it into the (GRASS binaries) path somewhere. Alternatively, install addons into a separate GRASS addons binaries/scripts directory which is easier to maintain. It avoids getting clobbered every time you reinstall GRASS. To use these separately stored scripts, set and export the GRASS_ADDON_PATH environment variable before starting GRASS and it will automatically be added to the module search path (see the variables help page). To simplify this, do for example:

# add in $HOME/.bashrc:

Make sure that the script is executable, then just call it in GRASS typing the filename. Python scripts need to be called writing the extension as well, like:

GRASS 6.5.svn (spearfish60):~ >