Knowledge base

Particularities on Windows

This document presents conda-forge and conda-build information and examples when building on Windows.

Local testing

The first thing that you should know is that you can locally test Windows builds of your packages even if you don’t own a Windows machine. Microsoft makes available free, official Windows virtual machines (VMs) at this website. If you are unfamiliar with VM systems or have trouble installing Microsoft’s, please use a general web search to investigate — while these topics are beyond the scope of this documentation, there is ample discussion of them on the broader Internet.

In order to compile native code (C, C++, etc.) on Windows, you will need to install Microsoft’s Visual C++ build tools on your VM. You must install particular versions of these tools — this is to maintain compatibility between compiled libraries used in Python, as described on this Python wiki page. The current relevant versions are:

  • For Python 2.7: Visual C++ 9.0

  • For Python 3.5–3.7: Visual C++ 14.0

While you can obtain these tools by installing the right version of the full Visual Studio development environment, you can save a lot of time and bandwidth by installing standalone “build tools” packages. The links are:

Please see the Python wiki page on Windows compilers if you need more information.

Simple CMake-Based bld.bat

Some projects provide hooks for CMake to build the project. The following example bld.bat file demonstrates how to build a traditional, out-of-core build for such projects.

CMake-based bld.bat:

setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion

:: Make a build folder and change to it.
mkdir build
cd build

:: Configure using the CMakeFiles
cmake -G "NMake Makefiles" ^
      -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="%LIBRARY_PREFIX%" ^
      -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH:PATH="%LIBRARY_PREFIX%" ^
      -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:STRING=Release ^
      ..
if errorlevel 1 exit 1

:: Build!
nmake
if errorlevel 1 exit 1

:: Install!
nmake install
if errorlevel 1 exit 1

The following feedstocks are examples of this build structure deployed:

Building for different VC versions

On Windows, different Visual C versions have different ABI and therefore a package needs to be built for different Visual C versions. Packages are tied to the VC version that they were built with and some packages have specific requirements of the VC version. For example, python 2.7 requires vc 9 and python 3.5 requires vc 14.

With conda-build 3.x, vc can be used as a selector when using the compiler jinja syntax.

requirements:
  build:
    - {{ compiler('cxx') }}

To skip building with a particular vc version, add a skip statement.

build:
    skip: true  # [win and vc<14]

requirements:
  build:
    - {{ compiler('cxx') }}

Special dependencies

Compilers

Compilers are dependencies with a special syntax and are always added to requirements/build.

There are currently three supported compilers:

  • c

  • cxx

  • fortran

A package that needs all three compilers would define

requirements:
  build:
    - {{ compiler('c') }}
    - {{ compiler('cxx') }}
    - {{ compiler('fortran') }}

Note

Appropriate compiler runtime packages will be automatically added to the package’s runtime requirements and therefore there’s no need to specify libgcc or libgfortran. There is additional information about how conda-build 3 treats compilers in the conda docs.

Core dependency tree packages (CDT)

Dependencies outside of the conda-forge channel should be avoided (see Avoid external dependencies). However, there are very few exceptions: some dependencies are so close to the system that they are not packaged with conda-forge. These dependencies have to be satisfied with Core Dependency Tree packages.

In conda-forge this currently affects only packages that link against libGL.

libGL

In addition to the required compilers {{ compiler('c') }} and/or {{ compiler('cxx') }}, following CDT packages are required for linking against libGL:

requirements:
  build:
    - {{ cdt('mesa-libgl-devel') }}  # [linux]
    - {{ cdt('mesa-dri-drivers') }}  # [linux]
    - {{ cdt('libselinux') }}  # [linux]
    - {{ cdt('libxdamage') }}  # [linux]
    - {{ cdt('libxxf86vm') }}  # [linux]
  host:
    - xorg-libxfixes  # [linux]

If you need a fully functional binary in the test phase, you have to also provide the shared libraries via yum_requirements.txt (see yum_requirements.txt). You will need to re-render the feedstock after making these changes.

mesa-libGL
mesa-dri-drivers
libselinux
libXdamage
libXxf86vm

Building Against NumPy

Packages that link against NumPy need special treatment in the dependency section. Finding numpy.get_include() in setup.py or cimport statements in .pyx or .pyd files are a telltale sign that the package links against NumPy.

In the case of linking, you need to use the pin_compatible function to ensure having a compatible numpy version at run time:

host:
  - numpy
run:
  - {{ pin_compatible('numpy') }}

At the time of writing, above is equivalent to the following,

host:
  - numpy 1.14.6
run:
  - numpy >=1.14.6,<2.0.a0

Notes

1. You still need to respect minimum supported version of numpy for the package! That means you cannot use numpy 1.9 if the project requires at least numpy 1.12, adjust the minimum version accordingly!

host:
  - numpy 1.12.*
run:
  - {{ pin_compatible('numpy') }}

2. if your package supports numpy 1.7, and you are brave enough :-), there are numpy packages for 1.7 available for Python 2.7 in the channel.

Message passing interface (MPI)

Note

This section originates from Min’s notes: https://hackmd.io/ry4uI0thTs2q_b4mAQd_qg

MPI Variants in conda-forge

How are MPI variants best handled in conda-forge?

There are a few broad cases:

  • package requires a specific MPI provider (easy!)

  • the package works with any MPI provider (e.g. mpich, openmpi)

  • the package works with/without MPI

Building MPI variants

In conda_build_config.yaml:

mpi:
  - mpich
  - openmpi

In meta.yaml:

requirements:
  host:
    - {{ mpi }}

And rerender with:

conda-smithy rerender -c auto

to produce the build matrices.

Current builds of both mpi providers have run_exports which is equivalent to adding:

requirements:
  run:
    - {{ pin_run_as_build(mpi, min_pin='x.x', max_pin='x.x') }}

If you want to do the pinning yourself (i.e. not trust the mpi providers, or pin differently, add):

# conda_build_config.yaml
pin_run_as_build:
  mpich: x.x
  openmpi: x.x
# meta.yaml
requirements:
  host:
    - {{ mpi }}
  run:
    - {{ mpi }}
Including a no-mpi build

Some packages (e.g. hdf5) may want a no-mpi build, in addition to the mpi builds. To do this, add nompi to the mpi matrix:

mpi:
  - nompi
  - mpich
  - openmpi

and apply the appropriate conditionals in your build:

requirements:
  host:
    - {{ mpi }}  # [mpi != 'nompi']
  run:
    - {{ mpi }}  # [mpi != 'nompi']
Preferring a provider (usually nompi)

Up to here, mpi providers have no explicit preference. When choosing an MPI provider, the mutual-exclusivity of the mpi metapackage allows picking between mpi providers by installing an mpi provider, e.g.

conda install mpich ptscotch

or

conda install openmpi ptscotch

This doesn’t extend to nompi, because there is no nompi variant of the mpi metapackage. And there probably shouldn’t be, because some packages built with mpi doesn’t preclude other packages in the env that may have an mpi variant from using the no-mpi variant of the library (e.g. for a long time, fenics used mpi with no-mpi hdf5 since there was no parallel hdf5 yet. This works fine, though some features may not be available).

Typically, if there is a preference it will be packaged with a nompi variant, where the serial build is preferred, such that installers/requirers of the package only get the mpi build if explicitly requested.

Outdated

To de-prioritize a build in the solver, it can be given a special track_features field:

  • All builds other than the priority build should have a track_features field

  • Build strings can be used to allow downstream packages to make explicit dependencies.

  • No package should actually have the tracked feature.

Note

update: track_features deprioritization has too high priority in the solver, preventing a package from adopting a variant of a dependency after some builds have already been made. Instead, use a build number offset to apply the preference at a more appropriate level.

Here is an example build section:

{% if mpi == 'nompi' %}
# prioritize nompi variant via build number
{% set build = build + 100 %}
{% endif %}
build:
  number: {{ build }}

  # add build string so packages can depend on
  # mpi or nompi variants explicitly:
  # `pkg * mpi_mpich_*` for mpich
  # `pkg * mpi_*` for any mpi
  # `pkg * nompi_*` for no mpi

  {% set mpi_prefix = "mpi_" + mpi %}
  {% else %}
  {% set mpi_prefix = "nompi" %}
  {% endif %}
  string: "{{ mpi_prefix }}_h{{ PKG_HASH }}_{{ build }}"

Note

{{ PKG_HASH }} avoids build string collisions on most variants, but not on packages that are excluded from the default build string, e.g. Python itself. If the package is built for multiple Python versions, use:

string: "{{ mpi_prefix }}_py{{ py }}h{{ PKG_HASH }}_{{ build }}"

as seen in mpi4py

This build section creates the following packages:

  • pkg-x.y.z-mpi_mpich_h12345_0

  • pkg-x.y.z-mpi_openmpi_h23456_0

  • pkg-x.y.z-nompi_h34567_100

Which has the following consequences:

  • The nompi variant is preferred, and will be installed by default unless an mpi variant is explicitly requested.

  • mpi variants can be explicitly requested with pkg=*=mpi_{{ mpi }}_*

  • any mpi variant, ignoring provider, can be requested with pkg=*=mpi_*

  • nompi variant can be explicitly requested with pkg=*=nompi_*

If building with this library creates a runtime dependency on the variant, the build string pinning can be added to run_exports.

For example, if building against the nompi variant will work with any installed version, but building with a given mpi provider requires running with that mpi:

build:
  ...
  {% if mpi != 'nompi' %}
  run_exports:
    - {{ name }} * {{ mpi_prefix }}_*
  {% endif %}

Remove the if mpi... condition if all variants should create a strict runtime dependency based on the variant chosen at build time (i.e. if the nompi build cannot be run against the mpich build).

Complete example

Combining all of the above, here is a complete recipe, with:

  • nompi, mpich, openmpi variants

  • run-exports to apply mpi choice made at build time to runtime where nompi builds can be run with mpi, but not vice versa.

  • nompi variant is preferred by default

  • only build nompi on Windows

This matches what is done in hdf5.

# conda_build_config.yaml
mpi:
  - nompi
  - mpich  # [not win]
  - openmpi  # [not win]
# meta.yaml
{% set name = 'pkg' %}
{% set build = 1000 %}

# ensure mpi is defined (needed for conda-smithy recipe-lint)
{% set mpi = mpi or 'nompi' %}

{% if mpi == 'nompi' %}
# prioritize nompi variant via build number
{% set build = build + 100 %}
{% endif %}

build:
  number: {{ build }}

  # add build string so packages can depend on
  # mpi or nompi variants explicitly:
  # `pkg * mpi_mpich_*` for mpich
  # `pkg * mpi_*` for any mpi
  # `pkg * nompi_*` for no mpi

  {% if mpi != 'nompi' %}
  {% set mpi_prefix = "mpi_" + mpi %}
  {% else %}
  {% set mpi_prefix = "nompi" %}
  {% endif %}
  string: "{{ mpi_prefix }}_h{{ PKG_HASH }}_{{ build }}"

  {% if mpi != 'nompi' %}
  run_exports:
    - {{ name }} * {{ mpi_prefix }}_*
  {% endif %}

requirements:
  host:
    - {{ mpi }}  # [mpi != 'nompi']
  run:
    - {{ mpi }}  # [mpi != 'nompi']

And then a package that depends on this one can explicitly pick the appropriate mpi builds:

# meta.yaml

requirements:
  host:
    - {{ mpi }}  # [mpi != 'nompi']
    - pkg
    - pkg * mpi_{{ mpi }}_*  # [mpi != 'nompi']
  run:
    - {{ mpi }}  # [mpi != 'nompi']
    - pkg * mpi_{{ mpi }}_*  # [mpi != 'nompi']

mpi-metapackage exclusivity allows mpi_* to resolve the same as mpi_{{ mpi }}_* if {{ mpi }} is also a direct dependency, though it’s probably nicer to be explicit.

Just mpi example

Without a preferred nompi variant, recipes that require mpi are much simpler. This is all that is needed:

# conda_build_config.yaml
mpi:
  - mpich
  - openmpi
# meta.yaml
requirements:
  host:
    - {{ mpi }}
  run:
    - {{ mpi }}

OpenMP on macOS

You can enable OpenMP on macOS by adding the llvm-openmp package to the build, host, and run sections of the meta.yaml. You will also want to add a selector for macOS like this:

# meta.yaml
requirements:
  build:
    - llvm-openmp  # [osx]
  host:
    - llvm-openmp  # [osx]
  run:
    - llvm-openmp  # [osx]

yum_requirements.txt

Dependencies can be installed into the build container with yum, by listing package names line by line in a file named yum_requirements.txt in the recipe directory of a feedstock.

There are only very few situations where dependencies installed by yum are acceptable. These cases include

  • satisfying the requirements of CDT packages during test phase

  • installing packages that are only required for testing

After changing yum_requirements.txt, rerender to update the configuration.

Special packages

BLAS

If a package needs one of BLAS, CBLAS, LAPACK, LAPACKE, use the following in the host of the recipe,

requirements:
  host:
    - libblas
    - libcblas
    - liblapack
    - liblapacke

Note

You should specify only the libraries the package needs. (i.e. if the package doesn’t need LAPACK, remove liblapack and liblapacke)

At recipe build time, above requirements would download the NETLIB’s reference implementations and build your recipe against those. At runtime by default the following packages will be used.

- openblas   # [not win]
- mkl        # [win]

If a package needs a specific implementation’s internal API for more control you can have,

requirements:
  host:
    - {{ blas_impl }}
  run:
    - libblas * *{{ blas_impl }}
    - {{ blas_impl }}

This would give you a matrix builds for different blas implementations. If you only want to support a specific blas implementation,

requirements:
  host:
    - openblas
  run:
    - libblas * *openblas
    - openblas

Note

blas_* features should not be used anymore.

Switching BLAS implementation

You can switch your BLAS implementation by doing,

conda install "libblas=*=*mkl"
conda install "libblas=*=*openblas"
conda install "libblas=*=*blis"
conda install "libblas=*=*netlib"

This would change the BLAS implementation without changing the conda packages depending on BLAS.

The following legacy commands are also supported as well.

conda install "blas=*=mkl"
conda install "blas=*=openblas"
conda install "blas=*=blis"
conda install "blas=*=netlib"

Note

If you want to commit to a specific blas implementation you can prevent conda from switching back by pinning the blas implementation in your environment. To commit to mkl, add blas=*=mkl to <conda-root>/envs/<env-name>/conda-meta/pinned, as described in the conda-docs.

How it works

At recipe build time, the netlib packages are used. This means that the downstream package will link to libblas.so.3 in the libblas=*=*netlib and will use only the reference implementation’s symbols.

libblas and libcblas versioning is based on the Reference LAPACK versioning which at the time of writing is 3.8.0. Since the BLAS API is stable, a downstream package will only pin to 3.* of libblas and libcblas. On the other hand, liblapack and liblapacke pins to 3.8.*.

In addition to the above netlib package, there are other variants like libblas=*=*openblas, which has openblas as a dependency and has a symlink from libblas.so.3 to libopenblas.so. libblas=3.8.0=*openblas pins the openblas dependency to a version that is known to support the BLAS 3.8.0 API. This means that at install time, the user can select what BLAS implementation they like without any knowledge of the version of the BLAS implementation needed.

Noarch builds

Noarch packages are packages that are not architecture specific and therefore only have to be built once.

Declaring these packages as noarch in the build section of the meta.yaml, reduces shared CI resources. Therefore all packages that qualify to be noarch packages, should be declared as such.

Noarch python

The noarch: python directive, in the build section, makes pure-Python packages that only need to be built once.

In order to qualify as a noarch python package, all of the following criteria must be fulfilled:

  • No compiled extensions

  • No post-link or pre-link or pre-unlink scripts

  • No OS-specific build scripts

  • No python version specific requirements

  • No skips except for python version. If the recipe is py3 only, remove skip statement and add version constraint on python in host and run section.

  • 2to3 is not used

  • Scripts argument in setup.py is not used

  • If console_script entry_points are defined in setup.py or setup.cfg, they are also listed in the build section of meta.yaml

  • No activate scripts

  • Not a dependency of conda

Note

While noarch: python does not work with selectors, it does work with version constraints. skip: True  # [py2k] can sometimes be replaced with a constrained python version in the host and run subsections: say python >=3 instead of just python.

Note

Only console_script entry points have to be listed in meta.yaml. Other entry points do not conflict with noarch and therefore do not require extra treatment.

If an existing python package qualifies to be converted to a noarch package, you can request the required changes by opening a new issue and including @conda-forge-admin, please add noarch: python.

Noarch generic

Todo

add some information on r packages which make heavy use of noarch: generic

Build matrices

Currently, python, vc, r-base will create a matrix of jobs for each supported version. If python is only a build dependency and not a runtime dependency (eg: build script of the package is written in Python, but the package is not dependent on python), use build section

Following implies that python is only a build dependency and no Python matrix will be created.

build:
  - python
host:
  - some_other_package

Note that host should be non-empty or compiler jinja syntax used or build/merge_build_host set to True for the build section to be treated as different from host.

Following implies that python is a runtime dependency and a Python matrix for each supported python version will be created.

host:
  - python

conda-forge.yml’s build matrices is removed in conda-smithy=3. To get a build matrix, create a conda_build_config.yaml file inside the recipe folder. For example, the following will give you 2 builds and you can use the selector vtk_with_osmesa in the meta.yaml

vtk_with_osmesa:
  - False
  - True

You need to rerender the feedstock after this change.

Requiring newer macOS SDKs

conda-forge uses macOS SDK 10.9 to build software so that they can be deployed to all macOS versions newer than 10.9. Sometimes, some packages require a newer SDK to build with. While the default version 10.9 can be overridden using the following changes to the recipe, it should be done as a last resort. Please consult with core team if this is something you think you need.

To use a new SDK, add the following in recipe/conda_build_config.yaml

MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET:  # [osx]
  - 10.12                  # [osx]

In recipe/meta.yaml, add the following to ensure that the user’s system is compatible.

requirements:
  run_constrained:
    - __osx >={{ MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET|default("10.9") }}  # [osx]

Note that the requirement is a run_constrained, because the __osx virtual package is supported only by conda>=4.8. Once that conda version is used widely, the requirement will be changed from run_constrained to run.