6. Installation

This file is a very short overview of building and installing the PMIx library. Much more information is available in the How-To section on the PMIx web site.

6.1. Developer Builds

If you have checked out a DEVELOPER’S COPY of PMIx (i.e., you checked out from Git), you should read the Developer’s Guide section before attempting to build PMIx. You must then run:

shell$ ./autogen.pl

You will need very recent versions of GNU Autoconf, Automake, and Libtool. If autogen.pl fails, read the Developer’s Guide. If anything else fails, read the Developer’s Guide. Finally, we suggest reading the Developer’s Guide.


Developer’s copies of OpenPMIx typically include a large performance penalty at run-time because of extra debugging overhead.

6.2. User Builds

Building PMIx is typically a combination of running configure and make. Execute the following commands to install the PMIx system from within the directory at the top of the tree:

shell$ ./configure --prefix=/where/to/install
[...lots of output...]
shell$ make all install


This version of PMIx requires the Libevent package to build and operate. Any version of Libevent greater than or equal to 2.0.21 is acceptable.


This version of PMIx optionally supports the HWLOC package for providing topology information to both the host environment (by collecting local inventory for rollup) and local client processes. Any version of HWLOC greater than 1.10 is supported, although versions in the 2.x series are recommended.

Note that you must point configure at the libevent installation using the --with-libevent=<dir> option if it is in a non-standard location. Similarly, non-standard locations for the HWLOC package must be specified using the --with-hwloc=<dir> option. In both cases, PMIx will automatically detect these packages in standard locations and built-in support for them unless otherwise specified using the respective configure option.

If you need special access to install, then you can execute make all as a user with write permissions in the build tree, and a separate make install as a user with write permissions to the install tree.

Compiling support for specific compilers and environments may require additional command line flags when running configure. See the README file for more details. Note that VPATH builds are fully supported. For example:

shell$ tar xf pmix-X.Y.Z.tar.gz
shell$ cd pmix-X.Y.Z
shell$ mkdir build
shell$ cd build
shell$ ../configure ...your options...
[...lots of output...]
shell$ make all install

Parallel builds are also supported (although some versions of make, such as GNU make, will only use the first target listed on the command line when executable parallel builds). For example (assume GNU make):

shell$ make -j 4 all
[...lots of output...]
shell$ make install

Parallel make is generally only helpful in the build phase; the installation process is mostly serial and does not benefit much from parallel make.

6.3. configure options

There are many available options to configure (see ./configure --help for a full list); a summary of the more commonly used ones follows:

  • --prefix=<directory>: Install PMIx into the base directory named <directory>. Hence, OpenPMIx will place its executables in <directory>/bin, its header files in <directory>/include, its libraries in <directory>/lib, etc.

  • --disable-shared: By default, libpmix is built as a shared library. This switch disables this default; it is really only useful when used with --enable-static. Specifically, this option does not imply --enable-static; enabling static libraries and disabling shared libraries are two independent options.

  • --enable-static: Build libpmix as a static library. Note that this option does not imply --disable-shared; enabling static libraries and disabling shared libraries are two independent options. Please see the Building Static Libraries section below for important details on building PMIx as a static library.

  • --disable-show-load-errors-by-default: Set the default value of the mca_base_component_show_load_errors MCA variable: the --enable form of this option sets the MCA variable to true, the --disable form sets the MCA variable to false. The MCA mca_base_component_show_load_errors variable can still be overridden at run time via the usual MCA-variable-setting mechanisms; this configure option simply sets the default value.

    The --disable form of this option is intended for OpenPMIx packagers who tend to enable support for many different types of networks and systems in their packages. For example, consider a packager who includes support for both the FOO and BAR networks in their PMIx package, both of which require support libraries (libFOO.so and libBAR.so). If an end user only has BAR hardware, they likely only have libBAR.so available on their systems – not libFOO.so. Disabling load errors by default will prevent the user from seeing potentially confusing warnings about the FOO components failing to load because libFOO.so is not available on their systems.

    Conversely, system administrators tend to build an OpenPMIx that is targeted at their specific environment, and contains few (if any) components that are not needed. In such cases, they might want their users to be warned that the FOO network components failed to load (e.g., if libFOO.so was mistakenly unavailable), and thus some PMIx calls might unexpectedly return “not supported”.

  • --with-platform=FILE: Load configure options for the build from FILE. Options on the command line that are not in FILE are also used. Options on the command line and in FILE are replaced by what is in FILE.

  • --enable-python-bindings: Build the Python bindings for PMIx. Note the following packages are required to be installed:

    shell$ yum install Cython python3 python3-devel
    shell$ pip3 install Cython

Once OpenPMIx has been built and installed, it is safe to run make clean and/or remove the entire build tree.

VPATH and parallel builds are fully supported.

Generally speaking, the only thing that users need to do to use OpenPMIx is ensure that <prefix>/lib is in their LD_LIBRARY_PATH. Users may need to ensure to set LD_LIBRARY_PATH in their shell setup files (e.g., .bashrc, .cshrc) so that non-interactive SSH-based logins will be able to find the OpenPMIx library.

6.4. Building Static Libraries

PMIx depends on a number of external libraries for critical functionality. Some of these libraries, such as HWLOC, can have dependencies on a varying number of additional libraries (such as libpci or libudev). While PMIx’s wrapper compiler will add the correct direct dependencies for third party packages, it will frequently not pull in the right sub-libraries. When linking against dyanamic library versions of these dependencies, this is not a problem (and is preferred behavior to avoid adding unnecessary indirect linking dependencies). However, this does cause problems for building entirely static versions of PMIx. It may be necessary in some circumstances to add these dependencies via the LIBS environment variable (for building PMIx binaries) or --with-wrapper-libs=LIBS for the wrapper compiler.