This directory contains the following directories:

libraries Starlink Fortran/C libraries

applications Starlink Fortran/C applications

etc Starlink initialisation scripts

buildsupport Starlink support applications required to build configure-based Starlink applications.

thirdparty Third party applications and libraries required to build Starlink classic applications

pubs Starlink publications

docs General documentation not associated with a particular application or library.

Building the Starlink source set from scratch

To build the COMPLETE set of Starlink classic applications the following steps are required. If you wish to do more elaborate things, then you should refer to Starlink document SSN/78, which also contains some FAQs. Details of this document are at the end of this README.

This procedure will not build the Starlink Java applications. They are built separately, using the procedure described in Java README (currently these are available from the git repository at git:// You do not need to build any of the Starlink classic applications to build the Java ones, unless you need to rebuild the native parts of JNIAST, JNIHDS or SPLAT. To build the documents for the Starjava applications FROG and SPLAT you will need the Starlink applications star2html and the latex classes provided in latexsupport.


  • Ensure the required software development tools and headers are installed on your system (see the “Prerequisites” section below)

  • Specify where you want the installed files to end up (_PREFIX) and where you want the build to find any previously installed Starlink tree (_STARLINK). If there is no previously existing tree, then set the two variables to the same value. Both variables default to /star. You must have write access to the directory you name here.

    Here and below we use /local-star as an example; in the examples below substitute your own choice for this directory.

    % setenv STARCONF_DEFAULT_STARLINK /local-star # csh % setenv STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX /local-star


    % export STARCONF_DEFAULT_STARLINK=/local-star # sh % export STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX=/local-star

  • Delete any previous Starlink environment variables.

    % unsetenv INSTALL # csh % unsetenv STARLINK


    % unset INSTALL # sh % unset STARLINK

    and also make sure that an old-style Starlink system is not in your PATH (since tools like messgen will get very confused).

    You may also run into difficulties if you have previously sourced the ${STARLINK}/etc/login and ${STARLINK}/etc/cshrc scripts that existed from a previous classic mk-build Starlink install, as even with $STARLINK removed from your PATH some applications may still get confused at build time. If the login script in question is a `new’ one, from a previous autoconf install, you will probably be fine (although you may need to remove installed manifest files).

  • Review any other environment variables that might affect the build. For example, the variables F77, FC and CC will force the build system to use the specified compilers. In particular, the default IRAF installation sets the F77 variable to be a script which works happily in most cases, but which will not work with libtool, and will cause the build to fail with opaque error messages about being unable to infer tagged configuration’. Unless you do wish to force certain compilers to be used, it is probably better to unset these variables before building the software. See ‘./configure –help’ for a list ofsome influential environment variables’.

    This is good time to get the compilers that you’re going to use resolved, especially if you’re not working on a GNU/Linux platform. See the platform specific instructions later in this file.

    At the time of writing (February 2009) it is known that the gfortran compiler will work, but only from GCC4.3 onwards. If this is picked up by default on your system you need to re-define FC and F77 to select another compiler. For other versions of GCC4 you will need to use g95 (thanks to Andy Vaught for his help with this), which is available from the g95 web site: For GCC3 based systems g77 should be used.

  • Ensure that /tmp has sufficient free space and is writable.

  • An example “sourceme” file for csh/tcsh is included in the repository. You can customize it for your system and then use it to set up your environment as described above.

The build sequence

To build the complete source distribution, you go through the steps:

% ./bootstrap % make configure-deps % ./configure -C % make world

% cd thirdparty/perlsys/perlmods % setenv STARLINK_DIR $STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX # For csh-like shells. % ./

Each of these steps is described in detail below.

  • First bootstrap the system.

    This downloads third-party software, builds and installs the buildsupport system (the tools in the buildsupport directory, plus third-party applications autoconf, automake and libtool), and then goes on to generate the configure scripts which will be used in the next step. The autoconf, automake and libtool applications have been patched specifically for building this tree so any versions shipped with the OS, or installed by you, will not work. These applications will be installed into $STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX/buildsupport, so you should add $STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX/buildsupport/bin to the front of your PATH at this point, BEFORE you run the ./bootstrap script. In order for the `make’ below to work, you also need to add the default bin directory to your PATH, so you should do that now.

    % setenv PATH $STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX/bin:$STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX/buildsupport/bin:$PATH % ./bootstrap


    % PATH=$STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX/bin:$STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX/buildsupport/bin:$PATH % ./bootstrap

    This step takes a long while. Note that, although an important part of the ./bootstrap script is running autoreconf in the top-level directory, you should not run autoreconf yourself in this directory.

  • Build the configure dependencies.

    There are a few components which have to be built and installed before the main tree is configured. You will have been advised of this at the end of the bootstrap process above, but in case you missed that, the command is

    % make configure-deps

  • Configure and build everything.

    Now configure and build the system. The dependencies within the Makefile ensure that everthing is built in the correct order.

    % ./configure -C # -C means caching results % make world

    If you need to give ./configure some help to find include files and libraries (for example, you are on a Mac and have installed Fink in /sw or OpenDarwin in /opt/local, or are on a Sun and have extra software in /opt), then do so by setting (for example) CFLAGS=-I/opt/local/include and LDFLAGS=-L/opt/local/lib either in the environment or, better, as arguments to the ./configure script. Don’t do this unless you discover you have to.

    Each of these steps can also take some non-trivial time.

  • Finally install the Perl modules.

    The Perl modules can be installed using the script in the perlmods directory. This script requires that the environment variable STARLINK_DIR be set to the Starlink installation into which you would like to install the Perl modules, i.e. $STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX.

    % cd thirdparty/perlsys/perlmods % ./

    This will install or update if needed the dependencies from CPAN and then install all the modules present in the perlmods directory itself.

Additional hints

  • Disabling shared libraries

    If you wish to disable the building of shared libraries you should use the –disable-shared configure option when you give the ./configure command above.

    % ./configure -C –disable-shared

  • Disabling the documentation

    By default, the system will be configured so that all documentation is built at the same time as the software. For this to work, you must have LaTeX installed on your machine. Building the documentation is rather slow, and you can speed up the build somewhat by omitting it. You do that as follows:

    % ./configure -C –without-stardocs

  • Building a single library or application

    If you wish to build only as far as a given component, then specify it by giving the name of the associated `manifest’ file.

    % make /local-star/manifests/ast

    This will build, and install under STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX, this component and everything it depends on to be built.

Using the Newly-built System

To activate the Starlink system which you have just built, set the STARLINK_DIR environment variable to the install location (as chosen with STARCONF_DEFAULT_PREFIX) and source the cshrc and login files (for csh/tcsh) or profile file (for bash).

% setenv STARLINK_DIR /local-star % source ${STARLINK_DIR}/etc/cshrc % source ${STARLINK_DIR}/etc/login

Developing individual components

Note that this sequence of

./bootstrap; make configure-deps; ./configure -C; make world

is indeed a `make world’ command — it builds everything in the repository that has been brought into the configure-based system, and will fail if some components have not been checked out. If you wish to build or develop a specific component, the instructions are slightly different.

  • Specify the _PREFIX and _STARLINK variables as before, though this time it might be appropriate to give them different values, if you want to build against one installation tree (_STARLINK), but install into another (_PREFIX). As above, unset the INSTALL and STARLINK variables, and make sure there is no old-style Starlink system in your PATH.

  • If you have already built the buildsupport tools (autoconf, automake, libtool and starconf), then make sure these are in your PATH. If they are not built, or if you are not sure they are up-to-date, you can build just these by going to the top-level of your checkout and giving the command

    % ./bootstrap –buildsupport

  • Now you can go into a specific directory and build the library or application as normal (a bootstrap is required in the directory if you are building from a subversion checkout)

    % ./bootstrap % ./configure -C % make % make install

  • After updating a component from the repository, it is possible that some generated files will be out of date (if or had been updated). Any required updating is generally handled automatically by makefile rules, but if you wish to guarantee that everything is up to date, then you can give the command `autoreconf’. This does no harm in any case, since it does nothing if it is not required. As noted above, the exception to this is that you should not run autoreconf in the top-level directory.

Updating the source set

The make world’ command will not _re_build the tree after you do an update from the source repository, possibly unexpectedly. For a detailed explanation of why this is so, see theGeneral FAQs’ in SSN/78, described below.

You should also run the ./update-modules script after performing an update of the source set from the main repository. This will make sure that any thirdparty code is also updated.

Platform specific build notes

Currently (February 2009) the source set is known to build on many different flavours of GNU/Linux and is actively developed using these. The only expected issue is that of Fortran compiler support (C, C++ and Fortran compilers are required to build the complete collection).

After the release of GCC 4 the Fortran compiler “g77” has been replaced with a completely new “gfortran” (that now implements Fortran 90, 95 and some 2003 features), which has not been compatible with Starlink Fortran until the release of version 4.3. Happily this turned out to be not a major problem (thanks to Andy Vaught) as the other free Fortran compiler “g95”, is compatible. So to build the collection with a GCC 4+ compiler you’ll either need a copy of “g95” which is available from “”, or more a very recent version of gfortran (this can be checked by running gfortran -v).

To make sure you use the “g95” or “gfortran” compilers as required it is best to define the environment variables “FC” and “F77”:

% setenv FC g95 # csh % setenv F77 g95

or % export FC=g95 # sh % export F77=g95


% setenv FC gfortran # csh % setenv F77 gfortran

or % export FC=gfortran # sh % export F77=gfortran

before running “configure”.

  • Ubuntu (>= 11.04 “Natty Narwhal) / Debian

As of version 11.04 of Ubuntu the default handling of shared library linking has changed. In the past indirect linking was enabled, such that a program could link library “A”, which in turn uses library “B”, and without explicitly linking the latter, routines from “B” would be available (a situation that occurs in Starlink). Now that this capability has been disabled, you will likely see strange linker errors if you follow verbatim the build instructions as described earlier in this document.

To remedy this situation you need to re-activate indirect linking with LDFLAGS when configuring the build:

% ./configure -C LDFLAGS=-Wl,–no-as-needed

Ubuntu explain the issue here:

According to the following web page, this problem will also occur with Debian (as of the Wheezy release), although it has not been tested:

The build situation under OS X follows much like that of GNU/Linux, but you’ll need to install your own Fortran compiler. In 10.3 the “g77” compiler from “Fink” or “MacPorts” has been used successfully, in 10.4 you’ll need a copy of “g95”. For 10.5 or later you can use g95, or gfortran. The latter is available from as well as MacPorts.

Note you’ll also need to install X11 (see, and a functioning TeX and Ghostscript if you want to build the documents. The build on Mac OSX is not relocatable.

The collection is known to build under Solaris 8 (sparc) and 10 (intel), using the SUN compilers (Workshop 6 and studio 11 respectively). To make sure the correct compilers are picked up, you should define:

% setenv FC f77 # csh % setenv F77 f77 % setenv CC cc % setenv CXX CC

or % export FC=f77 # sh % export F77=f77 % export CC=cc % export CXX=CC

Further information

You should consult the project web pages at, and consider subscribing to the Starlink development and user mailing lists: see and

Starlink document SSN/78 gives much more detailed information on the process of building Starlink classic applications, but this document is primarily concerned with documenting the build system itself, and describing how to add new components to the build-system repository. The source for this document is in the repository at docs/ssn/078, and a built version should be available on the Starlink web pages. A version is also currently (May 2006) available at

This document contains some FAQs: a few of these will likely be of interest to thise building the system from a checkout, though most address quite specific details of how to configure software to work within the Starlink source tree.

git repository

In February 2009 the Starlink source code was moved to a git repository on github. This is described by a wiki at:

The build procedures described above are still correct, but much of the associated documentation, SSN/78 etc. are becoming rapidly out-of-date. Consult the wiki for download instructions and how to access things like specific releases.


This section lists some of the software development tools and headers that are required to build Starlink. The list is not exhastive, but is just a suggestion of some packages to check that may not not be provided by default by your operating system. To build the documentation on any system will require a reasonably complete up-to-date TeX install that includes the TeX4HT system — for example, a recent TeXLive installation which includes a variety of standard packages.

Ubuntu: git build-essential (includes libc6-dev libc-dev gcc g++ make dpkg-dev) gfortran (or g95) libxext-dev libxau-dev libx11-dev libxt-dev xutils-dev libncurses5-dev flex bison byacc latex texlive-latex-base texlive-latex-extra texlive-science latex-color pgf tex4ht texlive-fonts-extra cm-super texinfo texi2html

Fedora: Mainly as for Ubuntu, but note that package names are usually changed from “libxyz-dev” to “libXyz-devel”.

libXt-devel ncurses-devel makedepend

For the new documentation build, it may be necessary to install the following (at least on Fedora 20 and 21): texlive-latex texlive-tex4ht.noarch texlive-siunitx.noarch texlive-titlesec.noarch texlive-abstract.noarch texlive-multirow.noarch texlive-mdframed.noarch texlive-titling.noarch texlive-tocloft.noarch texlive-eqparbox.noarch

Fedora 31: flex byacc bison libXt-devel libXau-devel libXext-devel imake libpng-devel openssl-devel expat-devel texi2html texinfo texlive-scheme-full (a subset may be sufficient)

To build perl-JCMT-Tau package in perlmods, the following packages may need to be added to the text file thirdparty/perlsys/perlmods/cpan_deps.

XML::Parser SOAP::Lite

Debian 10: This list (kindly provided by Paul Kerry), may not be complete and some packages may be superfluous..

bison byacc ed flex g++ gcc git gfortran libc6-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev libxext-dev libffi-dev libfreetype6-dev libgfortran5 libice-dev libjpeg62-turbo-dev libncurses-dev libpng-dev libsm-dev libssl-dev libx11-dev libxau-dev libxcb1-dev libxdmcp-dev libxt-dev make texinfo texlive-full uuid-dev xutils-dev zlib1g-dev

Arch Linux: base-devel ed gcc-fortran ghostscript git libx11 libxt netpbm tcsh texlive-most

CentOS 7: libXext-devel libXau-devel libX11-devel libXt-devel libxml2-devel ncurses-devel texlive-multirow

MacOSX: gfortran XCode xcode commandline tools