[Trilinos-Announce] Trilinos 10 build tools preview

Heroux, Michael A maherou at sandia.gov
Fri Jul 24 09:32:01 MDT 2009

The Trilinos project team is preparing for the release of Trilinos 10, coming in a few months.  The purpose of this message is to inform you of a significant change in the build tools we are using.

We are switching from Autotools (Autoconf and Automake) to CMake.  The basic process of configuring and making is part of the CMake approach, so it is not completely unlike the previous build system.  Also, we will have a large collection of sample scripts that demonstrate usage on a variety of platform.  But there are many differences between Autotools and Cmake that will require some attention from users making the transition from Trilinos 9 to Trilinos 10.

The reasons for switching to CMake are many.  Autotools is becoming fragile under the growing scope of Trilinos development and CMake is growing in capability and popularity.  Furthermore, we want to move Trilinos to the desktop and CMake provides a lot of very nice capabilities to help.

Some specific points worth noting are:

 *   We will continue supporting Trilinos 9 concurrently with Trilinos 10 for users who want to retain the Autotools build capabilities.  Typically when we release a new version of Trilinos, our default response to a user who has a problem with an older version is to ask them to upgrade to the latest version and we will resolve the problem using the new version.  We will not use this approach for users of Trilinos 9.
 *   Trilinos has pushed CMake capabilities in a few directions.  As a result, Trilinos will require the latest stable CMake release, which is scheduled to be released shortly before Trilinos 10.
 *   Do not be afraid to try Trilinos 10 and Cmake!  In general we have been delighted with the new build system.  It is fast, portable and very easy to use after the initial learning curve.
 *   In addition to a Unix command line interface CMake provides very nice GUIs that display all tuning parameters.  Windows and Mac OS support are very solid.
 *   CMake provides a very rich set of targets, which is one of the key strategic reasons for switching.  CMake can build standard makefiles, but in addition it can generate Microsoft Visual Studio project files, Xcode project files (for the Mac) and Eclipse project files.  If you are using one of these IDEs, you will be delighted with CMake.
 *   CMake can generate binary distribution files.  With these capabilities we intend to produce fully-built binaries for important desktops environments like MS Windows and Mac OS.
 *   CMake has full support for shared libraries that is very robust.

Overall, we are very excited with the move to CMake.  However, we want you to be aware of the coming transition so you can plan appropriately.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me directly or send a note to trilinos-help at software.sandia.gov.

On behalf of the Trilinos project team,

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