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Installing McIDAS-X on Unix or Mac OS X Workstations

The system administrator or person who installs McIDAS-X will use these installation instructions.

Unidata McIDAS-X and -XCD have been successfully built at the UPC and/or SSEC on platforms listed in the following table.

VendorOperating System(s)CompilersX Server/X Window System
Apple MacOS-X 11.6 Intel(1) gcc 11.2, gfortran 11.2 XQuartz 2.8.1
RedHat/CentOS/Rocky Enterprise 7.x, 8.x gcc 8.5, gfortran 8.5 X11(2) and KDE Plasma(3) or Xfce(4)
Cononical Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04 LTS(6) gcc, gfortran X11, packaged with OS


  1. MacOS and OS X Notes:
  2. In order to build and install McIDAS-X on macOS, you must install the Xcode Developer Tools and Command Line Tools on your workstation. Xcode is available via the App Store and from Command Line Tools are available at (developer login required). XQuartz is available for free at

    SSEC recommends installing the latest available version.

    The gcc and gfortran compilers are available for free at These compilers must be reinstalled if Xcode is updated.

    On macOS 11.x systems, after installing the compilers, you must install the Command Line Tools again, and then install the SDK headers (/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/Packages/macOS_SDK_headers_for_macOS_11.6.pkg).

  3. Both SSEC and the UPC have found that the Tcl/Tk-based GUIs bundled with McIDAS-X do not work correctly (or at all) in the Wayland/GNOME3 environment that is available in RHEL/CentOS/Rocky 8.x. We have found, however, that the GUIs work correctly in X11/Xfce and X11/KDE Plasma environments.

    NB: At the time that this document was being prepared, it was necessary to add the EPEL repository to 'yum' searches so that the Xfce and/or KDE Plasma environments can be installed.

  4. SSEC recommends use of the KDE Plasma environment.
  5. UPC testing has found the lighter weight Xfce environment to be preferable to the KDE Plasma environment.
  6. McIDAS-XCD is tested at the UPC exclusively on one platform, Rocky 8.6 x86_64 Linux.
  7. User sites have reported successful building and running under Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04 LTS.

The McIDAS-X installation consists of seven tasks:

If you have questions about the installation, please send email to Unidata McIDAS Support <>.

Table of contents Previous: Installing and Configuring McIDAS-X Next: Preparing the Workstation