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Metview uses the GNU autotools for its installation. These are the standard installation tools for most free and commercial software packages to date on Unix.

Autotools’ main task is to generate Makefiles for the desired platform on which Metview will be used. This is necessary, because the various platforms differ from each other in various ways, such as compiler options and library/include paths.

Autotools themselves do not need to be installed on the system of the customer. Supplied is a Unix shell script called configure which is executed by the person installing Metview. The script will run some tests on the customer's system to find out if required third-party software libraries are available and notes their locations (paths). Based on this information the script produces the Makefiles needed to compile and install Metview.

Metview can be built in either 32- or 64-bit mode. This is handled by either leaving it to your system defaults, or by passing the appropriate compilation flags to the configure script (see Compilation and installation).



At ECMWF, openSUSE 11.3 and SLES 11 Linux systems (64bit) were used for testing Metview. A 64-bit version was also built for AIX. Ubuntu 10.4 was found to have a defective OpenMotif library, which made Metview's user interface inoperable, but one user reported that installing an update fixed this problem.

ECMWF support libraries

All required support libraries from ECMWF are available without charge from the Software Support web page.

To produce plots, Magics must be installed:

  • Magics++ (2.18.1 or higher is required)

    • should be configured with the –-enable-metview option

    • for a 'pure batch' installation of Metview with no user interface, it is possible to supply Magics with the options –-enable-metview --disable-qt

The following two libraries need to be installed (both are required, even if you will not handle GRIB or BUFR data):

  • GRIB_API (1.9.9 or higher)

    • see the Installation FAQ for details of building GRIB_API for Metview, as this contains some important information

  • EmosLib

    • version 381 or higher

    • compiled with double floating point precision (answer “y” to “Do you want 64-bit reals? [y,n]”)

    • must be built with GRIB_API support

    • 64-bit versions should be built with -fPIC compilation flag

    • Remember to set the ARCH environment variable before building Emoslib, e.g. export ARCH=linux.



The latest versions of EmosLib depend on GRIB_API, therefore GRIB_API must be installed before EmosLib.


Required third-party software

First, ensure that all third-party libraries required by Magics and GRIB_API are installed (this is likely to have been fulfilled already unless Magics was built on another system and copied across).

Additionally, the following list of software should be installed on your system before you try to install Metview. If you use a package manager, such as RPM, to install software make sure to include the corresponding development packages with the header files. The configure script will test for these libraries and give error messages if one of them is missing.

  • Qt (4.6.2 or later) if building the user interface (default=yes)
    note that on some systems it is also necessary to install the libQtWebKit-devel development package (it may have different names on different systems)

  • NetCDF library with C++ interface

  • OpenMotif

  • gdbm

  • ImageMagick (Metview uses the convert command during the build process)
  • ksh - the Korn Shell is used by Metview's startup script and some other internal scripts

If you wish to access OPERA radar BUFR data, then you will need to also install the proj4 development libraries.

Compilation environment

Any C++ Compiler which supports features required for the ANSI C++ standard from 1998 (STL, namespaces, templates) should work with Metview. At ECMWF we tested GCC’s g++ 4.1, 4.3 and 4.5 successfully. A Fortran compiler is required to build some of Metview's modules. It will also be required to build EmosLib, for which Cray pointer support is required. At ECMWF the Portland Pgf90 compiler 7.2 and GFortran 4.1 and newer were tested successfully on Linux platforms, and Xlf was used on AIX.

Notes for installers of Metview 3

If you have installed Metview 3 before, then here are some things to note. Metview 4 does not use directly OpenGL for its on-screen graphics; therefore, it is not necessary to build your own Mesa library anymore. However, Metview 4 does not come with its own Emoslib; therefore, it will be necessary to install your own.

Metview 4 can be installed side-by-side with an existing Metview 3 installation. However, note that the default startup script will be


so make sure this will not clash with an existing installation. See Compilation and installation on page 6 for details of flags which will allow you to change this.

Compilation and installation

To compile and install Metview, the installer must first unpack the *.tar.gz file, provided by ECMWF, to a temporary location:

tar -xzvf Metview-4.3.4.tar.gz

Generating the Makefiles with configure

After changing into the unpacked Metview directory, the user should run the configure script. The script gives feedback on what requirements are fulfilled and what software is still required. Table 1 gives an overview of some of the different options of configure. More options of the script can be listed by typing configure --help in the console. The default (without any options) will prepare Metview to be built and then installed into /usr/local/. The startup script will then, by default, be /usr/local/bin/metview. In case of clashes with another Metview installation, the name of this script can be changed.





Outputs all options of configure



Directory into which Metview will be installed



Add debug information to assist debuggers



Provide the location where Emoslib is installed



Provide the name of the Emoslib library



Provide the location where GribAPI is installed



Provide the location where NetCDF is installed

from system


Disable this and no user interface will be built; only macros can be run from the command line



Enables the generation of plots



Enables access to the MARS archive



Enables processing of OPERA radar data – requires proj4 to be installed



Name of the generated Metview startup script


Table 1: Options of the configure scripts. Typing configure -h gives a complete listing.


The C, C++ and Fortran compilers are chosen by configure. This can be overwritten by setting the variables CC, CXX and F77 on the configure command line to the preferred compiler.

The most important option is --prefix. Setting the prefix defines where your Metview files will be installed.

Compilation flags (e.g. to determine optimisation levels or 32-bit or 64-bit compilation or options for debugging) can be specified either through environment variables or passed as options to configure. For instance, depending on your compiler, you could force 32-bit compilation with the CXXFLAGS variable, either through the environment:

export CXXFLAGS=-m32


or else passed to configure directly:

./configure CXXFLAGS=-m32

(In practice, you would also need to set CFLAGS and FCFLAGS).

Compiling the code

After the configure script has run successfully, the user can compile the library by typing make in the same directory.

Testing your build

The Metview distribution contains a directory called test in which some Metview macros are run when make check is invoked. This will give you a first indication of whether your build was successful.

The build process will have created a start-up script (default name metview) in your root build directory. If you have built the UI (default=yes), then running this script will create a menu bar from which you should click the MetviewUI button to launch Metview. This will use your locally-built files. You should see a folder called 'Getting Started' which contains some example icons and data files.

Installing Metview

Once the build and tests have been successfully completed, the command make install copies Metview with all its associated files into the correct location on the system. Administrator permission might be required, depending on the installation directory. You might want to run make -n install first, which will show you what will be installed where, without performing any changes to your system.

To free space, the temporary unpacked source directory can be cleaned of the object files with make clean after a successful installation.


Please see the Installation FAQ for frequently asked questions about installing and testing Metview.


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