ROSE Compiler Framework/Installation

ROSE is released as an open source software package. Users are expected to compile and install the software.

Don't like installing ROSE? edit

There are quite some steps for users to install ROSE from scratch. We provide a virtual machine image which contains an installed copy of ROSE. You can download and try it out before making serious investment of your time.

More information about this is at ROSE_Compiler_Framework/Virtual_Machine_Image.

Platform Requirement edit

ROSE is portable to Linux and Mac OS X on IA-32 and x86-64 platforms. In particular, ROSE developers often use the following development environments:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 or its open source equivalent Centos 7
  • Ubuntu 18.04

Minimum disk space

  • 30 GB

Software Requirement edit

Here is a list for prerequisite software packages for installing ROSE

  • GCC: the range of supported GCC versions is checked by support-rose.m4 during configuration.
    • gcc
    • g++
  • boost library: Again the range of supported Boost versions is checked by support-rose.m4 during configuration
  • GNU autoconf and automake
  • libtool:
  • bison (byacc),
  • flex
  • glibc-devel
  • git
  • ZGRViewer, a GraphViz/DOT Viewer: essential to view dot graphs of ROSE AST
    • install Graphviz first - Graph Visualization Software

Optional packages for additional features or advanced users

  • gfortran (optional for Fortran support)
  • Sun Java JDK or OpenJDK: needed only if you are interested in Fortran and Java support in ROSE.
  • libxml2-devel
  • sqlite
  • texlive-full, need for building LaTeX docs

Instructions for Ubuntu 18.04 edit

Full process from the beginning to the end. It takes about 1 hour to finish if using an Amazon t2.2xlarge (AWS 8 vCPUs+32 GB Mem.) instance with -j8.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install git wget build-essential libtool flex bison python3-dev unzip perl-doc doxygen texlive libboost-all-dev gdb gcc-7 g++-7 gfortran-7 autoconf automake libxml2-dev libdwarf-dev graphviz openjdk-8-jdk lsb-core ghostscript perl-doc

git clone
cd rose/

cd ..
mkdir build-rose
cd build-rose/

../rose/configure --prefix=/home/demo/opt/rose-inst --enable-edg_version=5.0 --with-boost-libdir=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu --with-boost=/usr

make core -j4
make install-core -j4

./build edit

In general, it is better to rebuild the configure file in the top level source directory of ROSE. Just type:


configure edit

The next step is to run configure in a separated build tree. ROSE will complain if you try to build it within its source directory.

There are many configuration options. You can see the full list of options by typing ../sourcetree/configure --help . But only --prefix and --with-boost are required as the minimum options.

 mkdir buildrose
 cd buildrose
 /home/liao6/rose/freshmaster/sourcetree/configure --prefix=/home/liao6/rose/freshmaster/install --with-boost=/nfs/casc/overture/ROSE/opt/rhel6/x86_64/boost/1_45_0/gcc/4.4.5 --with-C_OPTIMIZE=-O0 --with-CXX_OPTIMIZE=-O0 

By default, all supported languages are enabled as much as possible, this may slow down your compilation process. You can specify the desired language sets by using:

 --enable-languages=LIST Build specific languages:

For example, you can use "--enable-languages=c++,fortran" if you are only interested in C++ and fortran languages support

Additional useful configure options

  • Specify where a gcc's OpenMP runtime library libgomp.a is located. Only GCC 4.4 (and after)'s gomp lib should be used to have OpenMP 3.0 support
    • --with-gomp_omp_runtime_library=/usr/apps/gcc/4.4.1/lib/

By default, ROSE is configured with GCC's -O2 and -g options by default so the translators shipped with ROSE should already have some debugging information available. But some variables may be optimized away. To preserve the max debugging information, you may have to reconfigure/recompile rose to turn off GCC optimizations.

  • --with-C_OPTIMIZE=-O0 --with-CXX_OPTIMIZE=-O0 // in the configuration option list
  • --without-CXX_OPTIMIZE --without-C_OPTIMIZE // alternative method
  • --with-C_OPTIMIZE=no --with-CXX_OPTIMIZE=no // third way

To enable more comprehensive testing when typing make check


If you are interested in the OpenMP lowering translation in ROSE and let it automatically link with GCC's libgomp.a, you should add one more option

  • --with-gomp_omp_runtime_library=/usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-redhat-linux/4.4.5/

Other useful options

  • --enable-boost-version-check=false // disable boost version check

EDG version edit

Note: C++11 input files to ROSE are NOT supported using EDG 4.9 configuration with GNU compilers 4.9 and greater (configure ROSE using EDG 4.12)

 ../sourcetree/configure --enable-edg_version=4.12

cmake edit

see more at ROSE Compiler Framework/cmake

EDG 4.x-based ROSE also supports cmake build system.

Here is the CMake command to configure ROSE:


  • boost
  • jdk: export JAVA_HOME=/home/demo/opt/jdk1.8.0_25/
  • libxml2

$ CC=gcc CXX=g++ cmake ../rose/ -DBOOST_ROOT="$BOOST_HOME" -Denable-cuda:BOOL=off -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:STRING=Debug -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="$(pwd)/../install"

Afterwards, simply run "make" and then "ctest".

make edit

In ROSE's build tree, type

 cd buildrose
 make core -j4  # This may take a long time depending on your machine configuration

will build the core ROSE, including, tutorials, projects, tests, and so on. -j4 means to use four processes to perform the build. You can have bigger numbers if your machine supports more concurrent processes. Still, the entire process will take hours to finish.

For most users, building should be enough for most of their work. In this case, just type

 make -C src/ -j4  # this is much faster. 

turn off silent build edit

By default, the Automake build system will use silent build to reduce screen output. Details about compilation/linking command lines and options are hidden. In case you want to see the full command lines, you can pass an option to make, like "make V=1".

More background information about this subject is available at

make check edit

Optionally, you can type make check to make sure the compiled rose pass all its shipped tests. This takes hours again to go through all make check rules within projects, tutorial, and tests directories.

To save time, you can just run partial tests under a selected directory, like the buildrose/tests

 make -C tests/ check -j4

make install edit

After "make", it is recommended to run "make install" so rose's library (, headers (rose.h) and some prebuilt rose-based tools can be installed under the specified installation path using --prefix.

To install everything, type the following command line under your ROSE build tree:

 make install -j8  

A simplified installation target is install-core, which only installs essential binaries and prebuilt tools

 make install-core -j8

set environment variables edit

After the installation, you should set up some standard environment variables so you can use rose. For bash, the following is an example:

# Don't forget to export variables !!!

try out a rose translator edit

There are quite some pre-built rose translators installed under $ROSE_INS/bin.

You can try identityTranslator, which just parses input code, generates AST, and unparses it back to original code:

  identityTranslator -c helloWorld.c

It should generate an output file named rose_helloWorld.c, which should just look like your input code.

some example options edit

identityTranslator --help

  -rose:skip_unparse      read and process input file but skip generation of
                             final C++ output file
                             read and process input file, 
                             but skip invoking the backend compiler

Trouble shooting edit

We list common issues associated with ROSE's installation.

EDG binary edit

If you do not have the EDG frontend source code, ROSE's build system will automatically attempt to download an appropriate EDG binary using wget during the build process (i.e. make -C src/frontend/CxxFrontend). This is an example download URL that is generated by ROSE's build system:


The generalized format for the tarball file is as follows:


The binary compatibility signature can be manually generated executing the ROSE/scripts/edg-generate-sig script. For example:

$ cd ROSE/
$ ./scripts/edg-generate-sig

The EDG binaries are platform-specific and have historically been a cause of issues, i.e. Autoconf detecting wrong host/build/platform types. One possible remedy to these problems is to use the Autoconf Build and Host Options:

1. Check what build system Autoconf thinks you have:

$ ./config/config.guess 

2. Use the appropriate Autoconf options during configuration of ROSE:

$ $ROSE/configure [--build|--host|--target|...]

See Using the Target Type.

A real user's solution:

Hi Justin,

Checking the config.guess file in source tree, I search the apple darwin for detail information in  --build option, 
then  I found that  UNAME-PROCESSOR and UNAME_RELEASE are needed in --build

First, I type uname  -m (for finding UNAME_PROCESSOR in config.guess)
 result :  x86_64 
Second, I type uname -r (for finding UNAME_RELEASE)
 result : 10.8.0 (darwin kernel version)

Third, I type command to configure again, but I added  --build option, then autoconf can directly find the detail platform type
/Users/ma23/ROSE/configure --with-CXX_DEBUG=-ggdb3 --with-CXX_WARNINGS=-Wall --with-boost=/Users/ma23/Desktop/ROSE/boost/BOOST_INSTALL 
--with-gfortran=/Users/ma23/Desktop/macports/bin/gfortran-mp-4.4 --with-alternate_backend_fortran_compiler=gfortran-mp-4.4 
GFORTRAN_PATH=/Users/ma23/Desktop/macports/bin/gfortran-mp-4.4 --build=x86_64-apple-darwin10 

At last, make :)