Using the module spider command

The module spider command is reports all the modules that can be loaded on a system. In a flat module layout system, the module avail and module spider return similar information. In a hierarchical system, module spider returns all the modules that are possible where as module avail only reports modules that can be loaded directly.

There are three modes to module spider

  1. module spider: Report all modules, known as level 0.
  2. module spider <name> : report all the versions for the modules that match <name>. This is known as level 1
  3. module spider <name/version>: Report detailed information on a particular module version. This is known as level 2

Level 0: module spider

The module spider command by itself lists all the modules that can be found. If your site is running a flat layout, then the information displayed will be similar to what module avail reports. A typical output looks like:

$ module spider
--------------------------------------------------------------
The following is a list of the modules currently available:
--------------------------------------------------------------
  autotools: autotools/1.2
    Autoconf, automake, libtool

  boost: boost/1.54.0, boost/1.55.0, boost/1.56.0, boost/1.61.0, boost/1.62.0
    Boost provides free peer-reviewed portable C++ source libraries.

  fftw2: fftw2/2.1.5
    Numerical library, contains discrete Fourier transformation

  gcc: gcc/4.7.3, gcc/4.8.1, gcc/5.3.1, gcc/6.2.0
    The Gnu Compiler Collection

  hdf5: hdf5/1.8.12, hdf5/1.8.13, hdf5/1.8.14
    General purpose library and file format for storing scientific data (Serial Version)

  lmod: lmod/7.5.9
    Lmod: An Environment Module System

  mpich: mpich/3.0.4-dbg, mpich/3.0.4, mpich/3.1.1-dbg, mpich/3.1.1, mpich/3.1.2-dbg, ...
    High-Performance Portable MPI

  openmpi: openmpi/1.8.2, openmpi/1.10.3, openmpi/2.0.1
    Openmpi Version of the Message Passing Interface Library

  phdf5: phdf5/1.8.12, phdf5/1.8.13, phdf5/1.8.14
    General purpose library and file format for storing scientific data (parallel I/O version)

This output shows the name of the module followed by a list of the fullnames of the modules. If there are more modules then can fit on one line, the the list is truncated. Below is the description. Lmod looks for a particular whatis command in the modulefile. For example, the autotools module has a whatis function call that looks like the followin in a lua modulefile.:

whatis("Description: Autoconf, automake, libtool")

In a TCL modulefile it would look like:

module-whatis "Description: Autoconf, automake, libtool"

If your output of module spider doesn’t have a description, please ask your site to consider adding the an appropriate whatis line in your modulefiles.

Level 1: module spider name1 name2 ...

You can get more detail about particular modules by adding one or more names to the command to get a level 1 command. For example:

$ module spider hdf5

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  hdf5:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Description:
      General purpose library and file format for storing scientific data
      (Serial Version)

     Versions:
        hdf5/1.8.12
        hdf5/1.8.13
        hdf5/1.8.14
     Other possible modules matches:
        phdf5

Since the name “hdf5” matches a module name, Lmod only report on the hdf5 module and not the phdf5 module. It does report that other matches are possible (such as phdf5). The reason for this is some sites name the R stat package as R. This rule is to prevent getting every module that has an ‘r’ in it. Note that the searching for modules is case insensitve. So module spider openmpi would match a module named OpenMPI.

If you search a name that only partially matches a module name then Lmod reports all matches:

$ module spider df5

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  hdf5:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Description:
      General purpose library and file format for storing scientific data
      (Serial Version)

     Versions:
        hdf5/1.8.12
        hdf5/1.8.13
        hdf5/1.8.14

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  phdf5:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Description:
      General purpose library and file format for storing scientific data
      (parallel I/O version)

     Versions:
        phdf5/1.8.12
        phdf5/1.8.13
        phdf5/1.8.14

Finally, you can perform regular expression matches with:

$ module -r spider '.*hdf5.*'

Level 2: module spider name/version

The level 2 output provides a detailed report on a module:

$ module  spider phdf5/1.8.14

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  phdf5: phdf5/1.8.14
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Description:
      General purpose library and file format for storing scientific
      data (parallel I/O version)

    You will need to load all module(s) on any one of the lines below
    before the "phdf5/1.8.14" module is available to load.

      gcc/4.8.1  mpich/3.1.1
      gcc/4.8.1  mpich/3.1.2
      gcc/4.8.1  openmpi/1.8.2


    Help:
       The HDF5 module defines the following environment variables:
       ...