omniORB 3 for Unix platforms

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This file contains information on installing, building and using omniORB on Unix platforms.

If you are upgrading from 2.7.1 or earlier, please read CHANGES_280.txt for a description of the incompatibility change in the semantics of Any since 2.8.0.

Unless specified otherwise, the information applies to all Unix platforms. Platform specific information is also available in separate files, for example linux users should also consult the file README.linux. Users intending to use egcs or gcc should also read README_egcs.

omniORB has been tested on the following Unix platforms:

  • Solaris 2.{5,6}/ Sun SparcCompiler C++ version 4.2
  • Windows NT / Windows 95 / Visual C++ version 5.0 (and also version 6.0)
  • Linux 2.0 (x86)/ GNU C++ compiler version 2.7.2 /libc-5/Linuxthreads 0.5
  • Linux 2.0 (x86)/gcc-2.95/binutils- Libc version 2
  • HPUX 11.00/ aC++
  • SGI Irix 6.x/SGI C++ compiler 7.2

It has also been tested by external contributors on the following platforms:

  • IBM AIX 4.2/ IBM C Set++ 3.1.4
  • HPUX 10.20/ aC++ (B3910 A.01.04)
  • NextStep 3.3/ gcc-2.7.2
  • Reliant Unix 5.43/CDS++
  • SCO OpenServer 5/g++
  • SCO Unixware 7
  • Linux 2.x powerpc/Debian
  • Digital Unix 3.2/ DEC C++ compiler version 5.5
  • Digital Unix 4.0D/ DEC C++ compiler version 6.0


The directory structure of this distribution looks as follows:

  • <Top-Level Directory>\ : Directory where distribution was unpacked
  • <Top-Level Directory>\doc\ : omniORB Documentation
  • <Top-Level Directory>\man\ : omniORB manual pages
  • <Top-Level Directory>\mk\ : make configuration files
  • <Top-Level Directory>\config\ :configuration files for target platform
  • <Top-Level Directory>\include\ : Include files
  • <Top-Level Directory>\src\ : Source files
  • <Top-Level Directory>\src\lib\omnithread\ : Source files for thread library
  • <Top-Level Directory>\src\lib\omniORB2\ : Source files for ORB run-time libraries
  • <Top-Level Directory>\src\tool\omniidl2\ : Source files for IDL Compiler
  • <Top-Level Directory>\src\appl\omniNames\ : Source files for COS Naming Service
  • <Top-Level Directory>\src\appl\utils\ : Source files for utilities
  • <Top-Level Directory>\src\examples\ : Source for example programs

If this is a pre-compiled binary distribution, the binaries are located in the following directories:

  • <Top-Level Directory>\lib\ : static and shared libraries
  • <Top-Level Directory>\bin\ : executables


  1. Select the appropriate platform configuration file

    Edit ./config/ to select the appropriate platform file.

    e.g. For Solaris 2.5 onwards and with Sunspro C++

    platform = sun4_sosV_5.5

    All the platform files are in ./mk/platforms.

    If you are using gcc or the default compiler for your platform is gcc, it is most likely that you have to edit the CXX and CC make variables in the platform file. Moreover, only the most recent versions of gcc, i.e. egcs-1.1.2 and gcc-2.95 has proper support for multithreaded exception handling. Moreover, the gcc compiler has to be configured with the --enable-threads option or else the code generated would not work reliably. The default version of gcc compiler that comes with your platform may not be the right version.

  2. Set the location of a Python 1.5.2 interpreter

    Edit ./mk/platforms/<platform>.mk, where <platform> is the platform name you set in

    Uncomment the 'PYTHON =' line, and set it to the path of your Python interpreter.

    If you do not have Python 1.5.2, you can download the full source distribution from


    Alternatively, on Solaris, Linux, IRIX and HPUX (and Windows, but this is README.unix!) you can download a minimal version of Python which contains just the functionality required by omniidl. Download it from

    Unpack the archive at the top of the omniORB tree. It places files in the bin, lib and include directories.
  3. Building and installing

    The makefiles in this distribution only works with GNUmake. Make sure that you have the program installed and invokes it directly.

    You can skip this step if this is a pre-compiled binary distribution. To build and install everything,

    • go into the directory ./src and type 'make export'.
    • If all goes well, the libraries and executables will be installed into ./lib/<platform>/ and ./bin/<platform>/.
  4. Add omniORB libraries to search path

    Since the shared libraries and are not in the directories searched by the dynamic loader by default, you must add the library directory to the search path. For example on Solaris 2.5:

    $ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=<absolute pathname of ./lib/sun4_sosV_5.5>

    $ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH

  5. Configure the naming service

    If you are upgrading from 2.2.0, please read the important information about omniNames at the end of this note.

    You also have to configure the omniORB3 runtime and the naming service, consult the user guides in ./doc for details. For a quick start, follow these steps:

    1. Set the environment variable OMNINAMES_LOGDIR to a directory where the naming service omniNames can store its data.

      For example:


    2. Start omniNames. The binary is in ./bin/<platform>/.

      For example:

      $ ./bin/sun4_sosV_5.5/omniNames -start 12345 &

      Notice that you have to give as a parameter to the option -start the TCP/IP port number omniNames will use to receive IIOP requests.

    3. omniNames writes the stringified object reference for its root context on standard error. You should copy this string into a file omniORB.cfg. The format of the entry is the word NAMESERVICE followed by space and the stringified IOR all on one line. For example:
      NAMESERVICE IOR:00fff71c0000002849444c3a6f6d672e6f726\
  6. Since 2.6.0, an alternative way set up omniORB.cfg is as follows:

    If omniNames has been started on host wobble and port 1234, add to omniORB.cfg the following lines:

        ORBInitialHost wobble
        ORBInitialPort 1234

    Any omniORB clients of release 2.6.0 or later are able to use this information to locate the root context of the Naming Service.

  7. Set the environment variable OMNIORB_CONFIG to contain the full path name of the file omniORB.cfg. For example,

    OMNIORB_CONFIG=/wib/wob/omniORB.cfg; export OMNIORB_CONFIG

Building the examples

You are strongly encouraged to try out the examples provided in ./examples.

  • Go into ./examples and type 'make all'.
  • Make sure that 'make' is GNUmake because the makefiles are all GNUmake specific.
  • Study the documentations in ./doc before you run any of the example programs.

Writing your own Makefile

The distribution makefiles may be a bit much to digest. Here is a few tips of what to put into your makefiles to compile omniORB programs:

  1. Compiler flags:

    To compile omniORB programs correctly, several C++ preprocessor defines must be specified to identify the target platform.

    Sun Solaris 2.5 __sparc__ __sunos__ __OSVERSION__=5
    Digital Unix 3.2 __alpha__ __osf1__ __OSVERSION__=3
    HPUX 10.x __hppa__ __hpux__ __OSVERSION__=10
    HPUX 11.x __hppa__ __hpux__ __OSVERSION__=11
    IBM AIX 4.x & __aix__ __powerpc__ __OSVERSION__=4
    Linux 2.0 (x86) __x86__ __linux__ __OSVERSION__=2
    Linux 2.0 (alpha) __alpha__ __linux__ __OSVERSION__=2
    Windows/NT 3.5 __x86__ __NT__ __OSVERSION__=3 __WIN32__
    Windows/NT 4.0 __x86__ __NT__ __OSVERSION__=4 __WIN32__
    Windows/NT 4.0 __x86__ __NT__ __OSVERSION__=5 __WIN32__
    Windows/95 __x86__ __WIN32__
    OpenVMS 6.x (alpha) __alpha__ __vms __OSVERSION__=6
    OpenVMS 6.x (vax) __vax__ __vms __OSVERSION__=6
    ATMos 4.0 __arm__ __atmos__ __OSVERSION__=4
    NextStep 3.x __m68k__ __nextstep__ __OSVERSION__=3
    Unixware 7 __x86__ __uw7__ __OSVERSION__=5

    You should also specify the preprocessor defines (e.g. -D\_REENTRANT) for compiling multithreaded programs.

    Have a look at the .mk file in /mk/platforms. And see what OMNITHREAD_LIB and OMNIORB2_LIB is set to.

  2. Libraries:

    The runtime libraries that you have to link to your executables are:  

    • - omnithread share library
    • - omniORB3 runtime shared library
    • - omniORB3 runtime shared library for dynamic features
    • - lifecycle service runtime shared library
    • One of the following gatekeeper libraries:
      • - implemented using tcpwrapper
      • libomniGK_stub.a - dummy stub.

    Either link with -ltcpwrapGK or -lomniGK_stub but not both. (At the moment, only linux, solaris and digital unix have tcpwrapGK enabled.)

    The name of the libraries may be have different suffixes on different platforms, you can figure it out.

  3. IDL compiler:

    IDL stubs can be compiled like this:

    omniidl -bcxx echo.idl

    The product is the files: echo.hh and


You must read the omniORB and the OMNI naming service user guides. Follow the instructions in the guides to complete the configuration process.

Important Change to omniNames for users upgrading from version 2.2.0

Since release 2.4.0, the naming service has used the prefix pragma "" in its IDL.

Unfortunately, this is not compatible on-the-wire with clients that are linked with the old library, i.e. any programs linked before version 2.4.0 was released.

The implications of this change are as follows:

  • omniNames built in this release *CANNOT* read the data file of the version 2.2.0 omniNames. A new instance must be started from scratch. If you start omniNames and tell it to use the old data file, it will certainly crash.
  • Possible migration path: At AT&T Laboratories Cambridge, we are running the old and the new omniNames in parallel. The new instance is setup to run on a different port. Also the new tree is built to read by default a different configuration file: (/project/omni/var/omniORB_NEW.cfg instead of /project/omni/var/omniORB.cfg) so that a client will pick up the IOR of the old or the new omniNames depending on whether it is compiled with the old or the new library. When all our services have been recompiled, the old omniNames will be withdrawn.
  • If you want to continue to use the old omniNames, you can undo this change with the following steps:
  1. Edit <Top directory>\src\lib\omniORB2\Naming.idl and remove the #pragma prefix "" line..
  2. Do the same to <Top directory>\idl\Naming.idl.
  3. Remove <Top directory>\include\omniORB3\Naming.hh.
  4. Rebuild everything. You should do a gnumake/make veryclean at the top of <Top directory>\src to make sure that the naming service stubs are regenerated.

Last minute news

- For the moment, connection screening using tcpwrapper is only available on linux, solaris and digital unix. The build process on other platforms still have to be sorted.


For comments, feedback, etc, please see the 'Keeping in touch' page.
Copyright 2000 - AT&T Laboratories Cambridge