I am trying to install the R-pbh-5 package for R, which requires h5r. When I try to install h5r with install_version("h5r", "1.4.7"), I receive the following error:

checking for library containing inflate... -lz
checking for library containing H5open... no
configure: error: Can't find HDF5
ERROR: configuration failed for package ‘h5r’

I searched the Ubuntu package index for HDF5 and installed the libraries libhdf5-10, libhdf5-dev, hdf5-tools, and pbh5tools. It seems to be correctly installed as well:

$ whereis hdf5
hdf5: /usr/include/hdf5

I just spent the last hours googling, but I can't figure out what I'm missing here. Any advice?

> sessionInfo()
R Under development (unstable) (2018-02-12 r74246)
Platform: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu (64-bit)
Running under: Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS

Matrix products: default
BLAS: /opt/R/3.5.0/lib/R/lib/libRblas.so
LAPACK: /opt/R/3.5.0/lib/R/lib/libRlapack.so

 [1] LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8       LC_NUMERIC=C               LC_TIME=de_DE.UTF-8        LC_COLLATE=en_US.UTF-8     LC_MONETARY=de_DE.UTF-8    LC_MESSAGES=en_US.UTF-8   
 [7] LC_PAPER=de_DE.UTF-8       LC_NAME=C                  LC_ADDRESS=C               LC_TELEPHONE=C             LC_MEASUREMENT=de_DE.UTF-8 LC_IDENTIFICATION=C       

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base     

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
[1] compiler_3.5.0 tools_3.5.0    yaml_2.1.17    Rhdf5lib_1.1.5

Update 1:

Following the suggestions in the comments, I managed to get one step further. When I run:

R CMD INSTALL h5r_1.4.7.tar.gz --configure-vars="LDFLAGS='-L/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/hdf5/serial/' CPPFLAGS='-I/usr/include/hdf5/serial'"

I now receive the following error:

checking for library containing inflate... -lz
checking for library containing H5open... -lhdf5
checking for sufficiently new HDF5... yes
configure: creating ./config.status
config.status: creating src/Makevars
** libs
gcc -std=gnu99 -I/usr/share/R/include -DNDEBUG      -fpic  -g -O2 -fstack-protector-strong -Wformat -Werror=format-security -Wdate-time -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -g  -c h5_debug.c -o h5_debug.o
h5_debug.c:4:18: fatal error: hdf5.h: No such file or directory
compilation terminated.
/usr/lib/R/etc/Makeconf:159: recipe for target 'h5_debug.o' failed
make: *** [h5_debug.o] Error 1
ERROR: compilation failed for package ‘h5r’
  • There are some historic issues with Debian (and derivatives) packaging the HDF5 headers / libraries in a serial subdirectory - I wonder if that's the issue here? Perhaps there's a way around it by passing appropriate --configure-vars to the build process? – steeldriver Feb 28 '18 at 15:03
  • I am not so familiar with custom build commands. Could you help me out and formulate the appropriate option which would point to the hdf libs? – bgbrink Feb 28 '18 at 15:08
  • 1
    Unfortunately I'm not either - there's some information here based on which I'd try something like R CMD INSTALL <whatever> --configure-vars='LDFLAGS=-L/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/hdf5/serial/' – steeldriver Feb 28 '18 at 15:18
  • Did you try sudo apt-get install hdf5-helpers? – N0rbert Feb 28 '18 at 19:25
  • Thank you for your suggestions. Installing hdf5-helpers did not change anything, but @steeldriver was pointing me in the right direction. I updated the question. – bgbrink Mar 1 '18 at 11:31

I managed to do it, although in slightly messy way. I used sudo cp -rs /usr/include/hdf5/serial/* /usr/share/R/include to create links to all the hdf5 files within the R/include folder, which is included in the build by default.

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