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How does a package like ATLAS know which compilers I have installed on my system?

For example, say that I install a local version of gfortran, how do I "register it" in the system so that a package like ATLAS knows that I have it?

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To "register" it, make sure that it is the first FORTRAN compiler found in the PATH. –  BenjiWiebe Jan 28 '13 at 21:58

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Like many unix applications, atlas has a configure script that you run as first part of the build process. Atlas' configure script will try to find a fortran compiler by trying known variants. You can also give it a specific path (-Ss f77lib /path/goes/here) or disable the use of fortran altogether (--nof77)

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Can't say about ATLAS specifically, but FORTRAN compilers have a few possible names, and it can just cycle through the possibilities. Taken to the limit, this is what the GNU autotools do.

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