Friday 21 October 2016

Installing IDL v7.1 on Kubuntu 16.04 (on MacBook pro)

The IDL installation went smooth as usual, but when I tried to run IDL, there was an error:

error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory 

In the IDL help pages ( IDL fails to install on Linux: What to do, scroll down to the Ubuntu section) there is a comment on that that turned only half useful. Two libraries I got installed with no problem:

sudo apt-get install libxmu-dev
sudo apt-get install libxmu6

but the other three were not found in repositories. Instead of manual installation (two of them are available from, but the last one is a bit mysterious. Google finds it only in three pages related to IDL, one of them being the previously mentioned page from the IDL docs). Instead, I got if from Git. As I have just installed Kubuntu there was still some important packages missing, so some of the following steps may be redundant for you.

sudo apt-get install autoconf autogen intltool
sudo apt-get install git
sudo apt-get install xutils-dev libtool libx11-dev 
                          x11proto-xext-dev x11proto-print-dev
git clone

Then cd to libXp directory and execute

sudo ./

In my case if was complaining about the line 18214 related to XPRINT. I commented out that line from the script and executed it again. After that everything is straight forward:

sudo ./configure
sudo make install

And finally I add the path to the library to .bashrc (all in one line):

echo 'export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="/usr/local/lib/:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc

After that IDL worked normally.