Including additional Python modules (--include-*)

EasyBuild’s capabilities can be extended easily, by including additional Python modules that implement support for building and installing software that is not supported (yet), define additional module naming schemes, or introduce additional toolchains, (optionally) with support for additional compilers, MPI libraries, linear algebra libraries, etc.

Since EasyBuild v2.2.0, dedicated configuration options are available that make it straightforward to get EasyBuild to pick up additional Python modules, and get them registered in the appropriate easybuild subnamespace.

General aspects of --include-* options

Configuration types

The --include-* options can be specified via the eb command line, using an environment variable ($EASYBUILD_INCLUDE_*) or by defining the corresponding include-* parameters in an EasyBuild configuration file, just like all other configuration options (see also Consistentency across supported configuration types).


The --include-* options accept a comma-separated list of paths to Python modules.

These paths can be absolute or relative paths, or so-called glob patterns, i.e., paths containing wildcard characters like * or ?. The latter can be used to include several Python modules at once.

For example, to include all Python modules located in the directory $HOME/myeb, a path pattern like $HOME/myeb/*.py can be specified to the appropriate --include-* option.


Shell expansion can get in the way of specifying paths to eb that contains wildcards. To avoid problems simply wrap the path in single quotes, or escape the wildcard characters using a backslash. Keep in mind that using single quotes also prevents environment variables (e.g., $HOME) from being expanded.

Examples of correct path specifications containing wildcards:

  • in a configuration file (no escaping of wildcards required): include-easyblocks = /home/example/myeb/*.py
  • using an environment variable: export EASYBUILD_INCLUDE_EASYBLOCKS="$HOME/myeb\*.py"
  • on the command line: eb --include-easyblocks='/home/example/myeb/*.py' ....

How it works

For each of the --include-* options, EasyBuild will set up a temporary directory providing the corresponding Python package. In this directory, symlinks will be put in place to each of the included Python modules. The parent path is then injected in the Python search path to make the included Python modules available as required.

Order of preference

Python modules that are included via --include-* get preference over other Python modules available in the Python search path (e.g., the one that are part of the EasyBuild installation you are using). This may be useful when testing modifications to particular components of EasyBuild, for example easyblocks.


It is recommended to only override existing components during testing. Future EasyBuild versions may include important updates like bug fixes, which may be missed if customised implementations of components were put in place.

Including additional easyblocks (--include-easyblocks)

Adding support for building and installing additional software packages can be done by specifying the location of Python modules that implement easyblocks via --include-easyblocks.

Generic easyblocks are expected to be located in a directory named generic.

To verify that the easyblocks you included are indeed being picked up, --list-easyblocks=detailed can be used (see also List of available easyblocks, –list-easyblocks).


The example below shows how all self-implemented easyblocks (both software-specific and generic) located in the $HOME/myeasyblocks directory can be included:

$ export EASYBUILD_INCLUDE_EASYBLOCKS=$HOME/myeasyblocks/\*.py,$HOME/myeasyblocks/generic/\*.py
$ eb --list-easyblocks=detailed
|-- EB_mytest (easybuild.easyblocks.mytest @ /tmp/example/eb-Bk3zxb/included-easyblocks/easybuild/easyblocks/
|-- foo ( @ /tmp/example/eb-Bk3zxb/included-easyblocks/easybuild/easyblocks/generic/

Including additional module naming schemes (--include-module-naming-schemes)

To make EasyBuild aware of one or more custom module naming schemes, the path to the corresponding Python modules can be specified via --include-module-naming-schemes.

To verify that EasyBuild is aware of the additional module naming schemes, the --avail-module-naming-schemes option can be used.


The example below shows how all custom module naming schemes located in the $HOME/myebmns can be included:

$ eb --include-module-naming-schemes=$HOME/myebmns/\*.py --avail-module-naming-schemes
List of supported module naming schemes:

Including additional toolchains (--include-toolchains)

Plugging in Python modules that add support for additional toolchains, optionally including additional toolchain components (compilers, MPI libraries, BLAS/LAPACK/FFT libraries, ...) can be done via --include-toolchains.

EasyBuild will determine whether the Python module is a toolchain definition or implements support for an additional toolchain component based on the name of the directory in which it is located. Implementations of toolchain components are expeced to be located in a directory named according to the type of component (compiler, mpi, linalg or fft).

To verify that EasyBuild is aware of the included toolchains, --list-toolchains can be used.


The example below shows how the support for additional toolchains and the required additional compiler/MPI toolchain components implemented by the Python modules located in the directory $HOME/myebtcs can be included:

$ export EASYBUILD_INCLUDE_TOOLCHAINS=$HOME/myebtcs/\*.py,$HOME/myebtcs/compiler/\*.py,$HOME/myebtcs/mpi/\*.py
$ eb --list-toolchains
List of known toolchains (toolchainname: module[,module...]):
    mytoolchain: MyCompiler, MyMPI