FFTW FAQ - Section 2
Installing FFTW

Question 2.1. Which systems does FFTW run on?

FFTW is written in ANSI C, and should work on any system with a decent C compiler. (See also Q2.2 `Does FFTW run on Windows?', Q2.3 `My compiler has trouble with FFTW.'.) FFTW can also take advantage of certain hardware-specific features, such as cycle counters and SIMD instructions, but this is optional.

Question 2.2. Does FFTW run on Windows?

Yes, many people have reported successfully using FFTW on Windows with various compilers. FFTW was not developed on Windows, but the source code is essentially straight ANSI C. See also the FFTW Windows installation notes, Q2.3 `My compiler has trouble with FFTW.', and Q3.18 `How do I call FFTW from the Microsoft language du jour?'.

Question 2.3. My compiler has trouble with FFTW.

Complain fiercely to the vendor of the compiler.

We have successfully used gcc 3.2.x on x86 and PPC, a recent Compaq C compiler for Alpha, version 6 of IBM's xlc compiler for AIX, Intel's icc versions 5-7, and Sun WorkShop cc version 6.

FFTW is likely to push compilers to their limits, however, and several compiler bugs have been exposed by FFTW. A partial list follows.

gcc 2.95.x for Solaris/SPARC produces incorrect code for the test program (workaround: recompile the libbench2 directory with -O2).

NetBSD/macppc 1.6 comes with a gcc version that also miscompiles the test program. (Please report a workaround if you know one.)

gcc 3.2.3 for ARM reportedly crashes during compilation. This bug is reportedly fixed in later versions of gcc.

Versions 8.0 and 8.1 of Intel's icc falsely claim to be gcc, so you should specify CC="icc -no-gcc"; this is automatic in FFTW 3.1. icc-8.0.066 reportely produces incorrect code for FFTW 2.1.5, but is fixed in version 8.1. icc-7.1 compiler build 20030402Z appears to produce incorrect dependencies, causing the compilation to fail. icc-7.1 build 20030307Z appears to work fine. (Use icc -V to check which build you have.) As of 2003/04/18, build 20030402Z appears not to be available any longer on Intel's website, whereas the older build 20030307Z is available.

ranlib of GNU binutils 2.9.1 on Irix has been observed to corrupt the FFTW libraries, causing a link failure when FFTW is compiled. Since ranlib is completely superfluous on Irix, we suggest deleting it from your system and replacing it with a symbolic link to /bin/echo.

If support for SIMD instructions is enabled in FFTW, further compiler problems may appear:

gcc 3.4.[0123] for x86 produces incorrect SSE2 code for FFTW when -O2 (the best choice for FFTW) is used, causing FFTW to crash (make check crashes). This bug is fixed in gcc 3.4.4. On x86_64 (amd64/em64t), gcc 3.4.4 reportedly still has a similar problem, but this is fixed as of gcc 3.4.6.

gcc-3.2 for x86 produces incorrect SIMD code if -O3 is used. The same compiler produces incorrect SIMD code if no optimization is used, too. When using gcc-3.2, it is a good idea not to change the default CFLAGS selected by the configure script.

Some 3.0.x and 3.1.x versions of gcc on x86 may crash. gcc so-called 2.96 shipping with RedHat 7.3 crashes when compiling SIMD code. In both cases, please upgrade to gcc-3.2 or later.

Intel's icc 6.0 misaligns SSE constants, but FFTW has a workaround. icc 8.x fails to compile FFTW 3.0.x because it falsely claims to be gcc; we believe this to be a bug in icc, but FFTW 3.1 has a workaround.

Visual C++ 2003 reportedly produces incorrect code for SSE/SSE2 when compiling FFTW. This bug was reportedly fixed in VC++ 2005; alternatively, you could switch to the Intel compiler. VC++ 6.0 also reportedly produces incorrect code for the file reodft11e-r2hc-odd.c unless optimizations are disabled for that file.

gcc 2.95 on MacOS X miscompiles AltiVec code (fixed in later versions). gcc 3.2.x miscompiles AltiVec permutations, but FFTW has a workaround. gcc 4.0.1 on MacOS for Intel crashes when compiling FFTW; a workaround is to compile one file without optimization: cd kernel; make CFLAGS=" " trig.lo.

gcc 4.1.1 reportedly crashes when compiling FFTW for MIPS; the workaround is to compile the file it crashes on (t2_64.c) with a lower optimization level.

gcc versions 4.1.2 to 4.2.0 for x86 reportedly miscompile FFTW 3.1's test program, causing make check to crash (gcc bug #26528). The bug was reportedly fixed in gcc version 4.2.1 and later. A workaround is to compile libbench2/verify-lib.c without optimization.

Question 2.4. FFTW does not compile on Solaris, complaining about const.

We know that at least on Solaris 2.5.x with Sun's compilers 4.2 you might get error messages from make such as

"./fftw.h", line 88: warning: const is a keyword in ANSI C

This is the case when the configure script reports that const does not work:

checking for working const... (cached) no

You should be aware that Solaris comes with two compilers, namely, /opt/SUNWspro/SC4.2/bin/cc and /usr/ucb/cc. The latter compiler is non-ANSI. Indeed, it is a perverse shell script that calls the real compiler in non-ANSI mode. In order to compile FFTW, change your path so that the right cc is used.

To know whether your compiler is the right one, type cc -V. If the compiler prints ``ucbcc'', as in

ucbcc: WorkShop Compilers 4.2 30 Oct 1996 C 4.2

then the compiler is wrong. The right message is something like

cc: WorkShop Compilers 4.2 30 Oct 1996 C 4.2

Question 2.5. What's the difference between --enable-3dnow and --enable-k7?

--enable-k7 enables 3DNow! instructions on K7 processors (AMD Athlon and its variants). K7 support is provided by assembly routines generated by a special purpose compiler. As of fftw-3.2, --enable-k7 is no longer supported.

--enable-3dnow enables generic 3DNow! support using gcc builtin functions. This works on earlier AMD processors, but it is not as fast as our special assembly routines. As of fftw-3.1, --enable-3dnow is no longer supported.

Question 2.6. What's the difference between the fma and the non-fma versions?

The fma version tries to exploit the fused multiply-add instructions implemented in many processors such as PowerPC, ia-64, and MIPS. The two FFTW packages are otherwise identical. In FFTW 3.1, the fma and non-fma versions were merged together into a single package, and the configure script attempts to automatically guess which version to use.

The FFTW 3.1 configure script enables fma by default on PowerPC, Itanium, and PA-RISC, and disables it otherwise. You can force one or the other by using the --enable-fma or --disable-fma flag for configure.

Definitely use fma if you have a PowerPC-based system with gcc (or IBM xlc). This includes all GNU/Linux systems for PowerPC and the older PowerPC-based MacOS systems. Also use it on PA-RISC and Itanium with the HP/UX compiler.

Definitely do not use the fma version if you have an ia-32 processor (Intel, AMD, MacOS on Intel, etcetera).

For other architectures/compilers, the situation is not so clear. For example, ia-64 has the fma instruction, but gcc-3.2 appears not to exploit it correctly. Other compilers may do the right thing, but we have not tried them. Please send us your feedback so that we can update this FAQ entry.

Question 2.7. Which language is FFTW written in?

FFTW is written in ANSI C. Most of the code, however, was automatically generated by a program called genfft, written in the Objective Caml dialect of ML. You do not need to know ML or to have an Objective Caml compiler in order to use FFTW.

genfft is provided with the FFTW sources, which means that you can play with the code generator if you want. In this case, you need a working Objective Caml system. Objective Caml is available from the Caml web page.

Question 2.8. Can I call FFTW from Fortran?

Yes, FFTW (versions 1.3 and higher) contains a Fortran-callable interface, documented in the FFTW manual.

By default, FFTW configures its Fortran interface to work with the first compiler it finds, e.g. g77. To configure for a different, incompatible Fortran compiler foobar, use ./configure F77=foobar when installing FFTW. (In the case of g77, however, FFTW 3.x also includes an extra set of Fortran-callable routines with one less underscore at the end of identifiers, which should cover most other Fortran compilers on Linux at least.)

Question 2.9. Can I call FFTW from C++?

Most definitely. FFTW should compile and/or link under any C++ compiler. Moreover, it is likely that the C++ <complex> template class is bit-compatible with FFTW's complex-number format (see the FFTW manual for more details).

Question 2.10. Why isn't FFTW written in Fortran/C++?

Because we don't like those languages, and neither approaches the portability of C.

Question 2.11. How do I compile FFTW to run in single precision?

On a Unix system: configure --enable-float. On a non-Unix system: edit config.h to #define the symbol FFTW_SINGLE (for FFTW 3.x). In both cases, you must then recompile FFTW. In FFTW 3, all FFTW identifiers will then begin with fftwf_ instead of fftw_.

Question 2.12. --enable-k7 does not work on x86-64

Support for --enable-k7 was discontinued in fftw-3.2.

The fftw-3.1 release supports --enable-k7. This option only works on 32-bit x86 machines that implement 3DNow!, including the AMD Athlon and the AMD Opteron in 32-bit mode. --enable-k7 does not work on AMD Opteron in 64-bit mode. Use --enable-sse for x86-64 machines.

FFTW supports 3DNow! by means of assembly code generated by a special-purpose compiler. It is hard to produce assembly code that works in both 32-bit and 64-bit mode.

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Matteo Frigo and Steven G. Johnson / fftw@fftw.org - 04 March 2014

Extracted from FFTW Frequently Asked Questions with Answers, Copyright © 2014 Matteo Frigo and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.