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spack ( is a tool to compile HPC software and its dependencies. The compiled software is available as environment modules, so that several versions an application can coexist. Most relevant CPU architectures are detected and the compiled software is automatically optimized to it.

For openSUSE Leap, Tumbelweed and SLES a system package is available which has the advantage that it installs all necessary dependencies and makes core tools available for spack. Other system packages which are also relevant for spack will also be added to the spack configuration after installation.

Additionally spack behaves differently when called as root as when its called as normal user. All the packages which are build as root user are available for all users of the system, whereas the packages build as normal user, are only available for this user.

Quick Start

spack can be installed with

 sudo zypper install spack

In order to load all relevant environment variables one should relogin and source the spack environment with

 source /usr/share/spack/

The installation can be checked with the command

 spack spec netcdf-c

which shows all the packages which will be installed in order to compile netccdf-c from its sources. The circumeflex '^' in the output indicates the dependency on a specific package and can be changed on the command line. For example

 spack spec netcdf-c^mpich

will display all the packages which are needed to build netcdf-c not with openmpi which is the default, but with mpich.

The installation of the package can now be done with

 spack install netcdf-c^mpich

which builds and installs the package with all its needed dependencies. The resulting package can be used/loaded with the command

 spack load netcdf-c@4.7.4

or by using environment modules with

 module load netcdf-c-4.7.4-gcc-11.1.1-tlfohef

where the exact name of the module can be displayed with

  module av

SUSE package

There are a few differences between the SUSE package and the standard installation.

  1. When a user can write to /usr/lib/spack, the packages and generated modules are stored under that location. This holds true if the user is root or in the spack group. The generated modules are installed under /usr/share/spack/modules/linux-<distribution>-<arch>
  2. external packages, like M4 or autoconf are detected at installtion time of spack, but also when a relevant package is installed, like a new gcc version

Package search and information

The installed packages installed with spack can be displayed with

 spack find

and all available packages with the command

 spack list [regexp]

Detailed information about a package can be obtained with the command

 spack info <packagename>

which will print all versions and options for building the package.

Package building

Package compilation and installation is done with the 'install' command. But its advisable to list all the dependency of package with command 'spec' beforehand. So the command

 spack install/spec <package-name>

will install/list all the packages needed for <package-name>. The package version can be set with '@'

 spack install/spec <package-name>@<version>

and the compile can be set with '%'

 spack install/spec <package-name>@<version>%gcc@7.5.0

will build the package with 'gcc7'. Binary build and install options for a package are enabled with '+' and disabled with '~'. The build dependencies are set with '^'.


     hdf5                          hdf5 configuration, when used as depdency
     hdf5 @1.10.1                  hdf5 version 1.10.1
     hdf5 @1.8:                    hdf5 1.8 or higher
     hdf5 @1.8: %gcc               hdf5 1.8 or higher built with gcc
     hdf5 +mpi                     hdf5 with mpi enabled
     hdf5 ~mpi                     hdf5 with mpi disabled
     hdf5 +mpi ^mpich              hdf5 with mpi, using mpich
     hdf5 +mpi ^openmpi@1.7        hdf5 with mpi, using openmpi 1.7
     boxlib dim=2                  boxlib built for 2 dimensions
     libdwarf %intel ^libelf%gcc
         libdwarf, built with intel compiler, linked to libelf built with gcc
     mvapich2 %gcc fabrics=psm,mrail,sock
         mvapich2, built with gcc compiler, with support for multiple fabrics, default version


Compilers are not treated as normal dependency, so that one must enforce the use a specific compiler with '%' and not with '^' like a normal dependency. The compilers which can be use by 'spack' can be listed with

 spack compiler list

When a new compiler is installed or compiled with spack it has to be made known to spack with the command

 spack compiler find

Please not that the compiler must be within $PATH, so when the compiler was build with spack, the module has to be loaded before the find command

External programms

External programs like autoconf, cmake can be found by spack with the command

 spack external find

The external find is executed by rpm when spack is installed or a new relevant package is installed.