9.3. Extracting flags from the wrapper compilers

If you cannot use the wrapper compilers for some reason, there are multiple supported ways to extract the compiler/linker flags that you will need.

9.3.1. Using the --showme option

The wrapper compilers all support a --showme command line option that will show what commands would have been invoked.

# Show the flags necessary to compile MPI C applications
shell$ mpicc --showme:compile

# Show the flags necessary to link MPI C applications
shell$ mpicc --showme:link

# Show all the flags necessary to build MPI C applications
shell$ mpicc --showme


If you pass --showme and additional command line parameters to the wrapper compiler, be sure to also pass in a filename. Otherwise, the --showme functionality will not display output as expected.


It is almost never a good idea to hard-code these results in a Makefile (or other build system). It is almost always best to run (for example) mpicc --showme:compile in a dynamic fashion to find out what you need. For example, GNU Make allows running commands and assigning their results to variables:

MPI_COMPILE_FLAGS = $(shell mpicc --showme:compile)
MPI_LINK_FLAGS = $(shell mpicc --showme:link)

my_app: my_app.c
        $(CC) $(MPI_COMPILE_FLAGS) my_app.c $(MPI_LINK_FLAGS) -o my_app

9.3.2. Using pkg-config

Alternatively, Open MPI also installs pkg-config(1) configuration files under $libdir/pkgconfig. If pkg-config is configured to find these files (e.g., if you add $libdir/pkgconfig — which is usually $prefix/lib/pkgconfig — to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable), then compiling / linking Open MPI programs can be performed like this:

shell$ export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/opt/openmpi/lib/pkgconfig
shell$ gcc hello_world_mpi.c -o hello_world_mpi -g \
            `pkg-config ompi-c --cflags --libs`

Open MPI supplies multiple pkg-config configuration files; one for each different wrapper compiler (language):

  • ompi: Synonym for ompi-c; Open MPI applications using the C MPI bindings

  • ompi-c: Open MPI applications using the C MPI bindings

  • ompi-cxx: Open MPI applications using the C MPI bindings

  • ompi-fort: Open MPI applications using the Fortran MPI bindings


Open MPI’s pkg-config files work properly, but they probably aren’t technically correct.

Specifically: Open MPI will list all of its dependent libraries that are necessary to link an MPI application, even if a given dependency has a .pc file and should therefore be listed as a Requires and/or Requires.private in Open MPI’s .pc files.

For example, Open MPI lists -lpmix in both Libs and Libs.private. But since PMIx provides its own pmix.pc file, it would be more correct for Open MPI to not list -lpmix in Libs / Libs.private, and instead include:

Requires: pmix
Requires.private: pmix

The end result is likely immaterial, but we document this just in case it ever becomes an issue someday.

9.3.3. Using ompi_info

This method is not directly suitable for getting all the compiler / linker flags needed to compile MPI applications because it does not include the relevant flags to find Open MPI’s headers and libraries. But it does show a breakdown of all other flags.

shell$ ompi_info --all | grep -i wrapper
   Wrapper extra CFLAGS:
 Wrapper extra CXXFLAGS:
   Wrapper extra FFLAGS:
  Wrapper extra FCFLAGS:
  Wrapper extra LDFLAGS:
     Wrapper extra LIBS: -lutil -lnsl -ldl -Wl,--export-dynamic -lm

This installation is only adding options in the xLIBS areas of the wrapper compilers; all other values are blank (remember: the -I’s and -L’s are implicit).

Note that the --parsable option can be used to obtain machine-parsable versions of this output. For example:

shell$ ompi_info --all --parsable | grep wrapper:extra
option:wrapper:extra_libs:-lutil -lnsl  -ldl  -Wl,--export-dynamic -lm