[gembud] GEMPAK binary builds and revision control

Hi Daryl-

Thanks for your comments about binary builds. I'll try to clarify Unidata's position on this.

When Unidata released GEMPAK 5.11.1 in December 2007, we produced binary builds. The majority of the support questions after that release were related to incompatibilities of the binaries with the system libraries. Sometimes, tracking down these issues was very time consuming. In most cases, building GEMPAK from source solved the issues related to binary builds.

After discussions with the Unidata User's Committee and Policy Committees, the UPC decided that providing source only distributions in the future was warranted because:

- As operating systems move forward, the binary builds will likely become incompatible with newer libraries.

- The UPC does not have access to the wide range of systems that are currently being used in the GEMPAK community.

- The UPC does not have the resources to continually produce binary releases with each source change.

Both committees endorsed this action.

The source only distributions have been a (re)learning experience for the users and the UPC. While on the one hand, the scope of the support questions has changed, the problems are usually very similiar - incompatible or missing libraries. GEMPAK 5.11.4 was a major change in the structure of the GEMPAK source tree, and it has caused some build problems on our end. Fortunately, the gembud community has helped us address these. We appreciate those of you in the gembud community who are willing to provide help to the UPC and others.

As we move forward, the following actions are being taken:

- a discussion of GEMPAK support will be held during the upcoming User's Committee meeting (March 11-12, 2010).

- We will be beefing up the GEMPAK build documentation to include more information about frequently encountered problems as well as solutions and/or workarounds.

- We have contacted NCEP about providing access to the source code in a repository fashion. Currently, Unidata does not have the rights to distribute the software in this fashion. NCEP requires us to have users register to download the software. If we are able to set up a repository access, we will be looking for some experienced community members to vet any changes before they are committed to the repository.

- We could set up an area in our downloads section where site contributed binaries would be accessible. Several sites have provided precompiled binaries for compatible systems that we don't have access to. These would be provided on an "as is" basis.

As the migration to AWIPS II progresses, we expect the gembud community to take a more active role in support of the legacy GEMPAK code. Unidata plans to support the last version of the current GEMPAK/NAWIPS software for 18 months after the first official release of AWIPS II by NCEP to the National Centers and to the Unidata community. The GEMPAK source code will still be accessible in some form after the UPC ends official support. It will not stop working on any certain date. Furthermore, the existing support materials (tutorial, help manual and documentation) will still be available on line. The gembud mailing list will be kept active so GEMPAK users can provide community support to each other.

Please see the NAWIPS Migration Information at:


for additional information on GEMPAK and AWIPS II.

On 02/18/2010 08:33 AM, daryl herzmann wrote:
Hello Jason,

I wish Unidata would state a reason why they no longer produce GEMPAK binaries, but regardless, we are left with all this compiling fun. Looking at your Centos Errors, netcdf is not building for reasons I have yet to figure out (appears it requires a lot of tetex stuff to build docs). I ended up hacking in netcdf 4.1 to help it to build cleaner with gfortran.

<personal rant>
I sure wish Unidata would support public source code trees and revision systems of GEMPAK, so the community could actively help develop it. Unfortunately, Unidata doesn't develop code in an open manner. We have to wait for it to "come from on high", a.k.a the 13th floor of the Unidata tower, hehe!
</personal rant>

Anyway, I know others on this list are producing RPMs, so hopefully they'll have something to share with you. My RPM foo is not strong enough to provide binaries for RHEL and RHEL clones yet.

I ended up installing: tetex-dvips , openmotif-devel, texinfo, tetex and got it to work, I think.


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