Running VisIt on OS X

Revision as of 16:00, 2 October 2009 by BradWhitlock (talk | contribs)

VisIt is used mostly in Unix environments. Starting VisIt with OS X is straightforward, but it works in a very different manner than a typical Mac user usually expects.

First download the Darwin binary. You will probably want to download the Darwin/i386 distribution to get the binaries for an Intel based Mac. Note that filename ends in .gz, that is, a compressed file using the gzip compression library. Some browsers on the Mac want to automatically decompress this file. Make sure that you save it intact to your desktop without decompressing it. Next, also download the visit-install installation script.


You will need to open the Mac Terminal application. This is located in Applications, Utilities, When run, this application is the text shell at the heart of most Unix applications. Assuming you saved the VisIt binaries and visit-install script to your desktop, you can install using these UNIX commands. Be sure to type them exactly:

mkdir visit
cd Desktop
chmod 700 visit-install
./visit-install 1.12.0 darwin-i386 ~/visit

When prompted for a host config file, you can choose to not have one. You can also skip adding a default bank.

Now, let's put VisIt in your path (assuming your default shell is csh/tcsh). This means that you will be able to simply type visit from the Terminal command line in order to launch it. Open the file called /Users/myname/.cshrc and add the following line to the end of the file (be sure to replace myname with your login name):

set path=($path /Users/myname/visit/bin)


We recommend running VisIt from the command line of the Terminal application. So open up Terminal.

First start the Next find the visit start script. If the uncompressed visit folder is in the download folder of your home directory you will need to change directories to enter this folder. From the terminal type the following:

 cd Downloads

(note that the terminal has auto file completion. you can type Dow and then press 'tab' and the file name will complete.) Once in the Downloads folder, change to the visit subdirectory. type:

cd visit

Next change to the bin subdirectory:

cd bin

now actually run the visit application from the terminal application. type


At this point you should be able to see a start up screen.