Compiling ChimeraX

TODO: Fill out the details of requirements and procedures for building ChimeraX from scratch.

ChimeraX has been built on Windows 10, macOS 10.12 (Sierra), and Linux (version?). ChimeraX is coded in Python (currently version 3.6) and C++.

A build is done using make by running

make install

in the top-level directory of the ChimeraX source code. This compiles third party-prequesite packages such as Python 3, and installs many needed third party packages from PyPi using “pip install”. It also installs various non-Python third-party libraries such as Qt 5 and HDF5 and several others. It builds wheels for about 100 ChimeraX-specific bundles written in Python and C++. And it builds an application with an appropriate directory structure the operating system.

The ChimeraX build uses a commercial license version of PyQt and gets this from and requires a password or that the build machine can ssh to plato.

The prereqs subdirectory contains Makefiles to build the various third party packages. Most of the ChimeraX build time is making these prereq packages. To save time on subsequent builds the installed packages are archived in a file prereqs/prebuilt-<OS>.tar.bz2.

Nightly Builds

Nightly builds on Mac, Windows and Linux are build with scripts in the ChimeraX repository build_tools subdirectory.

Windows Build

Microsoft Visual Studio Community 2015 is used to compile C++ on Windows. This compiler was chosen to match the compiler used by the standard Python 3 distribution.

Cygwin is use to provide a unix-like environment (bash shell, make, …) to build ChimeraX on Windows. Several cygwin packages are needed beyond the standard cygwin install.

  • make
  • unzip
  • patch
  • rsync
  • ImageMagick

ChimeraX also uses the standard Python 3.6 distribution so that should be installed from Python on the build machine. It requires an exact version (currently Python 3.6.4) specified in chimerax/prereqs/Python/Makefile.

macOS Build

XCode 9 compilers are currently used.

Linux Build

A virtual machine with a long list of required packages are used to compile ChimeraX on Linux. A Debian package is created for distribution. We are working on building RPM packages.