Error: gdal-config not found while installing R dependent packages whereas gdal is installed

Please point out the point that I am missing:

openSUSE 11.3

xx@linux-y3pi:~/Desktop/R> sudo R CMD INSTALL rgdal_0.7-12.tar.gz 
root's password:
* installing to library ‘/usr/lib64/R/library’
* installing *source* package ‘rgdal’ ...
** package ‘rgdal’ successfully unpacked and MD5 sums checked
configure: gdal-config: gdal-config
checking gdal-config usability... ./configure: line 1353: gdal-config: command not found
Error: gdal-config not found
The gdal-config script distributed with GDAL could not be found.
If you have not installed the GDAL libraries, you can
download the source from
If you have installed the GDAL libraries, then make sure that
gdal-config is in your path. Try typing gdal-config at a
shell prompt and see if it runs. If not, use:
with appropriate values for your installation.

ERROR: configuration failed for package ‘rgdal’
* removing ‘/usr/lib64/R/library/rgdal’

xx@linux-y3pi:~/Desktop/R> whereis gdal-config
gdal-config: /usr/local/bin/gdal-config

xx@linux-y3pi:~/Desktop/R> gdal-config 
Usage: gdal-config [OPTIONS]

> sessionInfo()
R version 2.15.1 (2012-06-22)
Platform: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu (64-bit)

 [1] LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8       LC_NUMERIC=C              
 [3] LC_TIME=en_US.UTF-8        LC_COLLATE=en_US.UTF-8    
 [7] LC_PAPER=C                 LC_NAME=C                 
 [9] LC_ADDRESS=C               LC_TELEPHONE=C            

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

xx@linux-y3pi:~/Desktop/R> gdal-config --version

xx@linux-y3pi:~/Desktop/R> proj
Rel. 4.8.0, 6 March 2012
usage: proj [ -beEfiIlormsStTvVwW [args] ] [ +opts[=arg] ] [ files ]

linux-y3pi:~ # $PATH
bash: /home/xx/qtsdk-2010.05/qt/bin/:/home/xx/qtsdk-2010.05/bin:/home/xx/qtsdk-2010.05/qt/bin:/home/xx/qtsdk-2010.05/qt/bin/:/home/xx/qtsdk-2010.05/bin:/usr/lib64/mpi/gcc/openmpi/bin:/home/xx/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/usr/bin/X11:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/games: No such file or directory


  • You need the -dev package with headers and shared library links for development besides the normal package for deployment. Two different use cases as far as the distro is concerned.

    On my distribution:

    edd@max:/tmp$ dpkg -l | grep gdal | cut -c-72
    ii  libgdal1-1.7.0                                1.7.3-6ubuntu3        
    ii  libgdal1-dev                                  1.7.3-6ubuntu3        

    and R CMD INSTALL rgdal_0.7-8.tar.gz works just fine as you would expect from a CRAN package given all the build-time checks at CRAN.

    Update late 2016: As @JoshO'Brien points out in the comment

    Minor update: Here in 2016, running Ubuntu 14.04.2, libgdal1h seems to have replaced libgdal1(though libgdal1-dev is still needed). At least I get an error to that effect when I attempted to apt-get install libgdal1

    For Ubuntu 16.04 the corresponding line would be
    sudo apt-get install libgdal1i

    Such renaming of upstream libraries is common; something such as apt-cache search libgdal can help locate the current package names. The important key though is that the "abstract" development package libgdal-dev is all that is needed to build as it pulls the "concrete" current run-time package (here: libgdal1i) in via a dependency.