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Chimera on i386 Linux Platforms

The Chimera release for Linux was compiled on a Red Hat 7.1 system. It has been tested on the Red Hat 7.1, 7.2, and 8.0 distributions, as well as Mandrake 9.0 and SuSE 8.1. It should also work on any other reasonably modern Linux distribution such as Debian, etc., although we have not tested this. We had reports that the earlier 1.1516 release crashed on the Mandrake 8.2 distribution -- the solution was to upgrade to Mandrake 9.0.

Python installation

It is strongly suggested that you install the Python provided with the Chimera distribution, even if the installer reports that Chimera can use the Python already installed on your system. It has been our experience that the installer tests used in the release aren't stringent enough to correctly determine if the system Python is usable by Chimera, particularly when the system Python was compiled with a different version of gcc than the Chimera libraries were compiled with. Installing the Python provided with Chimera will not affect your system Python installation in any way, but will use up more disk space.


The default Mandrake installation provides Konqueror as the only web browser, and Chimera will not be able to display help pages because it does not know about Konqueror. To get help to work, set your BROWSER environment variable to "konqueror" before running Chimera (i.e. type export BROWSER=konqueror at the unix command line). Konqueror has a problem in that it will freeze Chimera while displaying the help pages; quit Konqueror when you want to continue working in Chimera.

Unexpected premature termination

It is challenging to produce applications which run on a wide range of Linux distributions. A frequent cause of premature termination when chimera is started is incompatible or missing shared libraries. This problem is compounded by the fact that chimera "hides" messages when it is starting up by default. To instruct chimera to print out errors when it starts up use "chimera --debug". If the message ends with a line about a missing shared library, then you must resolve this by installing the library. All of the libraries required by chimera are supplied by Red Hat 7.1 although the libraries may not be installed on your machine. You must find out what RPM file provides the package and install it.

If Chimera terminates with an error that ends in TclError: Togl: couldn't get visual, this typically means that your graphics card isn't configured to support any TrueColor visuals with stencil buffer support. If you run glxinfo -t at the command line, the tail end of the output lists the currently available visuals. If none of the visuals listed have a "Visual Type" of TrueColor, or if all of the TrueColor visuals have zero in their "stencil" field, then you need to reconfigure your graphics card. Usually that reconfiguration involves increasing the number of colors displayed by the graphics card to 24 or 32 bits. In particular, NVidia cards typically start offering stencil buffer support at visual depths of 24 bits and higher.

Mesa/OpenGL issues

As of October 2002, most versions of Mesa (software OpenGL) have problems. Therefore, in addition to speed advantages, we strongly recommend using hardware graphics acceleration. The NVIDIA GeForce and Quadro Linux drivers, and the ATI Workstation FireGL OpenGL drivers for Linux are known to work. We also expect that the Xi Graphics drivers would work well. For additional information on options for Linux, including support for stereo viewing, see the description of our desktop computing environment.

If you are going to use Mesa, please update to the last stable release, at the time of this writing, version 4.0.4. The development release, 4.1.0, doesn't work. If you rebuild from source and install in /usr/local/lib, then remember to set the environment variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH to include the directory /usr/local/lib before running Chimera.


Here's what you need to do to get chimera working on your Linux system:
(1) Download Chimera 1.1700 release.

Some browsers may download the file as If yours does, rename the file to chimera1.exe.

If, in response to clicking the download link, your browser returns an error saying that access is denied then you may be behind a firewall that disallows outgoing http connections to ports other than port 80 (the download link goes to port 8000). You need to either access the download link from a machine that is outside your firewall, or have your firewall administrator temporarily allows connections to port 8000. As a last resort, you can send mail to us identifying yourself, saying you agree to the license terms, and specifying what platform you need Chimera for, and we will send you the installer for that platform in a few days. It will be sent as a mail attachment, so your mailer will need to be able to accept large attachments.

(2) Run chimera1.exe.

This will install Chimera. Some browsers do not make the file chimera1.exe executable. If necessary, use the Linux command chmod +x chimera1.exe to make it executable. As noted above, it is strongly recommended that you install the version of Python provided with Chimera even if the installer reports that your system Python is usable by Chimera. You might want to read the release notes.

(3) Update your runtime environment.

If CHIMERA is the top-level directory of the chimera installation, then you should add CHIMERA/bin to your command path. See your shell's documentation to figure out set the path or ask your system administrator.

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