My Record of Installing IDL, SSW and SSWDB on My New Mac OS X

I got a new laptop Mac OS X from Dave and needed to install IDL, SSW and SSWDB on it. The following are the main steps how I installed it successfully.


Basic Steps of installation of IDL 8.3 on my Mac OS X

1. Download the installation package from the EXELIS.

2. Click on the icon and follow the instructions of the installation wizard.

3. Put the license into the following directory: Applications/exelis/license.

4. The license wizard pops out automatically after the installation completes. Now select the license file in the panel.

5. Now IDL should be successfully launched by double clicking on the workbench icon, however, if you type idl in the terminal, you will be informed that idl: Command not found. Environment has to be set.

6. Type the following commands in the terminal:

vi .tcshrc

7. See if there is the following lines within the file, insert them otherwise.

setenv IDL_DIR /Applications/exelis/idl83
setenv OS darwin.

In Tshell command line, typing idl will now successfully run IDL.


Steps of installation of SSW

1. Fill out and submit the form at

2. Follow the instructions in that website and the links therein.

3. Type sswidl in the terminal, but fails, so insert the following lines into the .tcshrc file:

set path=(/usr/local/bin /sw/bin /sw/sbin /usr/local /usr/local/ssw/gen/mirror /usr/X11R6/bin /Applications/exelis/idl83/bin $path .)
setenv SSW_INSTR "lasco secchi"
setenv SSW ssw
setenv SSWDB sswdb
setenv ssw_quiet 1
source $SSW/gen/setup/setup.ssw
source $SSW/soho/lasco/setup/setup.lasco_envsetenv SSWDB /usr/local/ssw/sswdb

Installation of SSWDB

1. Anyway I am not able to generate a configuration file from, but there is a file called setup.sswdb_upgrade_template in directory of ssw/site/setup. Add lines indicating the packages in need, or, if there are packages already listed in the template, remove the corresponding “#” at the beginning. Root is required:

sudo vi setup.sswdb_upgrade

2. Follow the steps listed at

3. If Perl is installed in a non-default directory, type
ln -s /usr/bin/perl /usr/local/bin/perl
in the terminal.

4.IDL> sswdb_upgrade, /spawn, /passive_ftp

5. Be patient about Step 4, and it took me rather long.

6. Done!

My Record of Installing IDL, SSW and SSWDB on My New Mac OS X