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This page gives step-by-step instructions on how to setup Arachne. Setup occurs in three steps: download, installation, and compilation.



To compile and run Arachne, you will need an x86_64 Linux system, and, depending on the size of your genome, considerable amounts of RAM. You will also need the following software:

  • The LaTeX suite of text-processing software, including executables for latex and dvips. These items may already be on your system. Otherwise, install the LateX suite, for example by downloading one of the free implementations from We use the web2c implementation.
  • The compression utility gzip and the traceback utility addr2line (from the binutils package), provided by the Free Software Foundation (
  • An installed version of the Xerces-C++ XML Parser.


You can get Arachne from the Broad FTP site (

Xerces-C++ is available here: (


Download and unpack the above tarball, using tar xvzf tarball.tgz. We'll refer to the directory into which it is expanded as your ARACHNE_DIR directory.

Download and install Xerces-C++, following the directions from the Apache folks.

Copy the installed Xerces-C++ files to your Arachne source directory, i.e., ARACHNE_DIR/src.


To compile Arachne, cd to your ARACHNE_DIR. Execute ./configure, and then type make. Compilation has been tested on CentOS Linux x86_64 with gcc version 4.7.2; other versions of gcc may or may not compile.

Compilation options

  • FORCE_DEBUG=yes: Turns on all asserts
  • OPTIM=none: Turns off all optimization (-O1, -O2 will turn on that level)
  • PROFILE=yes: Turns on profiling

Here is a trick to pass other options to make: paste them after OPTIM, e.g. OPTIM="-O3 -Dmyflag" If you want to use gdb, you want FORCE_DEBUG=yes OPTIM=none.


A common problem when compiling Arachne from source is getting the Xerces XML parsing library to link correctly.

You will need to compile the Xerces library using the same compiler that you will use for Arachne, and copy the installed files, including the include and lib subdirectories to your Arachne source directory, i.e., ARACHNE_DIR/src.


The following two limits MUST be set in order to run Arachne:

limit stacksize 100000
limit datasize unlimited

The easiest way to set these limits is to add the above two lines to your rc file (.bashrc, .cshrc, etc.) In addition, you may find it convenient to include some of the following environment variables in your rc file. If these variables are in your environment, you do not need to specify them as command-line arguments.

Lastly, it is a good idea to include ARACHNE_BIN_DIR (the full form, prefixed with ARACHNE_DIR) in your PATH after compiling Arachne. The PATH environment variable is defined in your rc file. Remember to source your rc file after making any changes.

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