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Use of Modules for Accessing Multiple Versions of Software

All participating centers are required to install and use the MODULES package to support multiple versions of compilers, associated libraries, and heavily used application software (netcdf, openmpi, wrf, wien2k et al) on the available resources of HPC sites. Compliance is determined by centers ensuring that the modules command is in the user's path and that system modulefiles are in place for the software packages mentioned above that are supported by the center.

BC Policy: LS2_06–17
Date of Policy: 1st November 2011
First Update: 15th July 2011
Second Update: 23rd September 2011
Third Update: 7th October 2011

The MODULES package provides for the dynamic modification of a user's environment via modulefiles. Each modulefile contains the information needed to configure the shell environment for an application. Once the Modules package is initialized, the environment can be modified on a per-module basis using the module command which interprets modulefiles. Typically, modulefiles instruct the module command to alter or set shell environment variables such as PATH, MANPATH, etc. Modulefiles may be shared by many users on a system and users may have their own collection to supplement or replace the shared modulefiles.

MODULES can be loaded and unloaded dynamically and atomically in a clean fashion. Popular shells like bash, sh, tcsh, csh are supported - while ksh, zsh (Ref: LS2_05-06) as well as some scripting languages such as Perl (Ref: LS2_06-04) MAY be supported.

The function of the modulefiles is to modify a user's environment such that the user references the selected version of an application using the default commands for that application without adding additional path or version information. The individual center may combine these compliant modulefiles with existing methods (e.g. additional modulefiles, wrapper scripts) to select versions of applications and modify the user's environment.

In the cases where the modulefiles for applications depend on other modulefiles (an application may require compiler and library modulefiles to be loaded), these dependencies should be checked. A reasonable default modulefile shall be loaded if the dependency is not met.

An additional modulefile, OPT-OUT, will remove the common-link directories from the associated *PATH environment variables. Users will then need to load individual modulefiles to add the application specific directories to the *PATH environment variables.

The currently agreed namespace format is the one defined via UNITE.
UNITE suite provides definitions under section 1.2 of its documentation
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