A blog named for the muse of Astronomy containing musings by an astronomer

PGPLOT on Mountain Lion

Posted on October 20, 2012 by Juan

One of the most popular posts I made on this site was back in 2009 when I wrote about how I got  the increasingly dated PGPLOT package put together by Tim Pearson running under Snow Leopard.  I decided to update that entry to how I approach things today, using homebrew as a package manager under Mountain Lion.  Honestly, these days I do most of my programming and plotting with Python and matplotlib, but I still have old code that needs to be run sometimes, so getting PGPLOT running under Mountain Lion allows me to keep that old software running.

  1. Install X11: You will need to install XQuartz in order to have XWindows support for PGPLOT.  Grab the package installer and install it.
  2. Install Homebrew:   Intall the homebrew package manager.
  3. Install GFORTRAN: The first thing you need to do after installing homebrew isinstall Gnu Fortran (aka gfortran).  This is fairly simple.  All you need to do is say:
    brew install gfortran
    There is a glitch here.  For some reason, the home-brew version of gfortran doesn’t bother to link the gfortran libraries from /usr/local/lib.  To workaround this,  symbolically linked them using:

    ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/gfortran/4.2.4-5666.3/lib/gcc/i686-apple-darwin11/4.2.1/x86_64/libgfortran.a /usr/local/lib/libgfortran.a
    ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/gfortran/4.2.4-5666.3/lib/gcc/i686-apple-darwin11/4.2.1/x86_64/libgfortranbegin.a /usr/local/lib//libgfortranbegin.a
    ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/gfortran/4.2.4-5666.3/lib/gcc/i686-apple-darwin11/4.2.1/x86_64/libgfortranbegin.la /usr/local/lib//libgfortranbegin.la

    The exact path to the original gfortran libraries may change if you install a newer version of gfortran! 
  4. Once they are installed, you simply have to make sure /usr/local/bin is in your $PATH.
  5. Install PGPLOT: I grabbed the PGPLOT source code from Tim Pearson’s website (here) and untarred the tarball into /usr/local/src/pgplot, the default location the code expects to be in (based on the instructions in the install-unix.txtfile included in the source code tarball).
    sudo tar -C /usr/local/src/ -xzvf pgplot pgplot5.2.tar.gz
  6. Install sys_macosx configuration: The PGPLOT source code has various compiler configurations stored in “configuration directories” but it doesn’t come with one for Mac OS X.  I ended up hacking the sys_macosx/ configuration directory to include a gfortran configuration. I have made a tarball of that configuration directory available in the pgplot5.2_macosx_addition.tgz that you can download and unpack into the PGPLOT source directory using:
    sudo tar -C -xzvf /usr/local/src/pgplot5.2_macosx_addition.tgz
  7. Compile the PGPLOT binaries: At this point, if you follow the instructions in the install-unix.txtfile in the PGPLOT directory you will be fine, baring in mind the configuration you want to use is the “maxosx gfortran_gcc” configuration. However, I will outline the steps I used below.
  8. Create a PGPLOT library/binary directory:Create a directory to contain the PGPLOT libraries. I created /usr/local/pgplot using the command:
    sudo mkdir /usr/local/pgplot
  9. Choose the graphics drivers you want:Copy the drivers.list file from the source directory to this new pgplot directory and edit it to match your needs:
    cd /usr/local/pgplot
    sudo cp /usr/local/src/pgplot/drivers.list .
    sudo vi drivers.list

    (You can replace this last step with emacs or whatever text editor you prefer). You make a graphics driver part of the compilation by removing the leading exclamation point from the line. I choose to activate the X-Window drivers, the GIF drivers (to create GIF images), and the PostScript printer drivers (which you can use to create PostScript versions of plots for publication). Be aware PNG support requires libpng be installed.
  10. Create the makefile: We now need to create the makefile using PGPLOT’s makemake script. Within the /usr/local/pgplotdirectory execute:
    sudo /usr/local/src/pgplot/makemake /usr/local/src/pgplot  macosx gfortran_gcc

    which should result in the following output
    Reading configuration file: /usr/local/src/pgplot/sys_macosx/gfortran_gcc.conf
    Selecting uncommented drivers from ./drivers.list
    Creating make file: makefile
    Determining object file dependencies.
  11. Create all the binaries: Now you just have to create all the binaries, which is a simple makecommand:
    sudo make

    Assuming everything proceeds without error, you should then see at the end of the output
    *** Finished compilation of PGPLOT ***
    Note that if you plan to install PGPLOT in a different
    directory than the current one, the following files will be
    Also note that subsequent usage of PGPLOT programs requires that
    the full path of the chosen installation directory be named in
    an environment variable named PGPLOT_DIR.

    At this point, you should (if you are going to use PGPLOT within perl or C compile the C library as well using
    sudo make cpg

    Finally, clean out all the temporary object files, you don’t need them. Do this using the makefile by typing
    sudo make clean

    If you want to test if things are working you can run one of the PGPLOT demo programs created in this directory. However, the pgdemo* executables seem hard coded to expect the pgplot libraries in the /usr/local/lib directory, to it might be a good idea to do the following step before trying the demos. 
  12. Link library and header files: This step is optional, but since most programs (including the pgdemo* executables) don’t look in /usr/local/pgplot for library and header files, I symbolically linked the versions in the /usr/local/pgplot directory to /usr/local/lib and /usr/local/include respectively using
    sudo ln -s /usr/local/pgplot/libcpgplot.a /usr/local/lib/libcpgplot.a
    sudo ln -s /usr/local/pgplot/libpgplot.a /usr/local/lib/libpgplot.a
    sudo ln -s /usr/local/pgplot/libpgplot.dylib /usr/local/lib/libpgplot.dylib
    sudo ln -s /usr/local/pgplot/cpgplot.h /usr/local/include/cpgplot.h
  13. Making sure I use these PGPLOT binaries: Since I am using SciSoft OSX, I modified my ~/.tcshrcfile to change the PGPLOT related environmental variables after loading SciSoft’s environment
    setenv PGPLOT_DIR /usr/local/pgplot/
    . If you are not using Scisoft, you can place these lines anywhere in your ~/.tcshrc file. If you stick to using bash, then the corresponding lines in the ~/.bashrcfile that you need to create (after setting up Scisoft, if you are using that) are:
    export PGPLOT_DIR=/usr/local/pgplot/
    At this point you have a working PGPLOT set of libraries installed. 
  14. Installing PGPLOT support in Perl: You can stop here if you just want to use PGPLOT from C or FORTRAN source code. If you want to use PGPLOT from within Perl, you need to go further.
    1. Install the ExtUtils:: F77 perl module: In order to install PGPLOT support, you need to install ExtUtils:F77 first. You can download ExtUtils::F77 here and once you untar the tarball,
      tar xzvf ExtUtils-F77-1.17.tar.gz

      It can be easily compiled using the following standard perl module compilation steps:
      cd ExtUtils-F77-1.17
      perl Makefile.PL
      sudo make install
    2. Install the PGPLOT perl module: You can download PGPLOT here. Untar the tarball.
      tar xzvf PGPLOT-2.21.tar.gz

      We start as we usually do for Perl modules, creating the makefile using the Makefile.PL script:
      cd PGPLOT-2.21

      Unfortunately, the Makefile.PL script will create a makefile this creates doesn’t work because it doesn’t call gfortran so we have to change the Makefile.PL script to know about gfortran. So load Makefile.PL and edit the line that reads
      use ExtUtils::F77;

      to read
      use ExtUtils::F77 qw{Darwin GFortran};

      Once you have done that, create the makefile using
      perl Makefile.PL

      Once you have done that, you can finish installing the perl module using:

      you will see some warnings related to missing type specifiers and non-void functions.  Ignore them and continue
      make test
      sudo make install

      I was able to get the make test to work once I had the proper environmental variable settings for PGPLOT_DIR (see step 13).

So that is it, I now have working PGPLOT installations with perl support on my Mountain Lion Macs.

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