[Chimera-users] chimera for linux ppc

Thomas Goddard goddard at cgl.ucsf.edu
Wed Dec 7 15:50:51 PST 2005

Here's an an overview of possible new platforms for Chimera distributions.

Currently we distribute Chimera binaries for:

	Windows (x86, 32-bit app)
        Mac OS X (PPC, requires X windows)
	Linux (x86, 32-bit)
	SGI Irix
	Alpha Tru64

Additional platforms that we do not currently distribute for are:

	Mac OS X Aqua (PPC, no X windows)
	Mac OS X, Intel
	Linux 64-bit kernel
	Windows 64-bit
	Linux, PPC

There are two obstacles to supporting a new platform.  We want to
have the target system in our lab for building and testing.  This is the
case for all our current distributions.  And we have to put in work to
build the following 28 third-party packages that Chimera uses:

	TclTk Togl Tix Pmw PyOpenGL zlib Python Numeric jpeg tiff freetype
	Imaging netcdf Scientific MMTK HappyDoc tr openssl ftgl omni
	msms otf autostereo swish-e FFmpeg al2co expat qhull

And we will update versions of these third party packages and will have to
get them to work on all distributed platforms in the future.

Currently it is not possible for outsiders to compile Chimera.  One reason
is that one package, msms molecular surface calculation, cannot be distributed.
But the real practical obstacle is that it would take some debugging
to successfully compile all the third-party packages on a new platform.
Chimera has makefiles to build all the third-party packages but a few of
them are likely to fail to build on any new platform and some building
expertise will be needed to resolve the problems.

Here are a few comments on the possible new platforms.

We have built Mac OS X Aqua versions of Chimera.  Because of many
problems with the Tk window toolkit we did not distribute it.  That
was 2 years ago and many of the problems may be fixed.

We have built 64-bit Linux versions of Chimera.  The 32-bit linux Chimera
will run on those machines.  The reason for building a 64-bit version is
to handle very large data sets (> 4 Gbytes).  The 64-bit pointers are needed
to have an address space bigger than 4 Gbytes.  The large data sets are
primarily density maps.

The Mac OS X Intel platform will become important in under a year and
we will have to support it.

The Linux PPC platform seems likely to become less common with Apple
no longer producing PPC machines in the near future.  I'm not sure there
are enough potential Linux PPC Chimera users to make supporting this
platform worthwhile.

In summary, I think Mac Aqua and Mac Intel are the next 2 platforms we
are likely to support.


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