libMesh-specific configuration options

For generic installation instructions, refer also to the INSTALL file.

Build Process

  1. ./bootstrap (optional, needed only if you add/modify m4 files or

  2. ./configure --prefix=/path/to/libmesh/install

  3. make

  4. make check (optional, runs the example programs and unit tests when possible)

  5. make install


libMesh supports the notion of multiple methods - that is, compilation settings used to build the library. The major methods supported by the library are:

  • opt: Fully Optimized mode, with little to no error checking. No debugging symbols are included in the resulting library. Agressive optimization flags are used.

  • dbg: Full debugging mode - all useful compiler warnings are enabled, as well as robust internal state checking.

  • devel: Use high levels of compiler optimization, but also enable internal state checking. Debugging symbols are included, but the resulting code is not always easy to navigate in a debugger because of compiler optimizations.

  • pro: Optimized code path with compiler flags suitable for use with gprof.

  • oprof: Optimized code path with compiler flags suitable for use with oprofile.

To select a set of methods, you can pass them to configure in one of two ways:

$ ./configure --with-methods="opt dbg devel"


$ ./configure METHODS="devel oprof"

If unspecified, the three METHODS="opt dbg devel" are default.

Multiple Builds with Different Compilers

libMesh fully supports out-of-tree builds, and users are encouraged to use this feature when needed to support multiple compilers. For example, on a system where multiple compilers are availble and accessible via modules, you can share the same source tree by creating a subdirectory for each compiler build:

$ export LIBMESH_SRC=/local/libmesh
$ module load gcc/4.6
$ cd $LIBMESH_SRC && mkdir gcc-4.6 && cd gcc-4.6 && ../configure && make && make install
$ module swap gcc intel/12.1
$ cd $LIBMESH_SRC && mkdir intel-12.1 && cd intel-12.1 && ../configure && make && make install


libMesh has no required dependencies other than a reasonably modern C & C++ compiler. To run on distributed memory platforms in parallel you will also need MPI.

Optional Packages

We support a large number of optional packages, some of which are distributed inside the ./contrib directory and are compiler directly with libMesh, others can be used from third-party installation. For a list of supported packages and optional dependencies see here


LibMesh is open source software distributed under the LGPL license, version 2.1.