HEAsoft v6.17 - Known Issues

If you are using HEASOFT v6.15 and don't want to upgrade to v6.17 just yet, see the HEASOFT 6.16 Issues List.

Several packages track issues separately from this page:

The following is a list of known issues in v6.17 of HEAsoft not covered by the above pages.

Last modified Tuesday, 24-Nov-2015 11:58:19 EST
  • flx2xsp / libheasp:

    When using a flux unit yunit='ergs/cm^2/s', the result is erroneously lower than expected. The source code downloads have been patched to fix this error (as of 2015 November 09, 15:30 EST), but to patch your existing source code distribution, please try the following:

      1) Initialize your environment to use HEASoft.
      2) Download the patched code: SPutils.cxx
         and copy it into your heasoft-6.17 source code tree in the
         following location:
      3) Rebuild the heasp library:
         $ cd heasoft-6.17/heacore/heasp/
         $ hmake all install
  • XSTAR:

    An error has recently been found in the Compton heating rates. This affects models with incident spectra which have significant flux about 100 keV, and for high ionization parameters (log(xi)>4), i.e. in the Compton regime of ionization parameter. It results in equilibrium gas temperatures which are too high by approximately 30% for a gamma=2 power law extending to 511 keV. For spectra which cut off at 100 keV the error is 8%. We thank Ildar Khabibulin and Jelle Kaastra for pointing this out. A patch file for the HEASoft source code distribution is available, and may be applied in the following way:

      1) Initialize your environment to use HEASoft.
      2) Download the patch file: heasoft-6.17src-xstar_221bn26.tar.gz
         and unpack it on top of your heasoft-6.17 source code tree,
         for example, if you have the 6.17 source code sitting in
         /usr/local/heasoft-6.17, you would
         $ cd /usr/local
         $ tar zxf heasoft-6.17src-xstar_221bn26.tar.gz
      3) Clean out the previous xstar build and rebuild:
         $ cd heasoft-6.17/ftools/xstar
         $ hmake clean
         $ hmake all install
      If the patch was successful, xstar should report the new version
      "xstar version 2.2.1bn26".
    (Patch file updated November 10)

  • Mac OS X 10.11 ("El Capitan"):

    As you may be aware, Apple has just released a new OS (10.11, "El Capitan") in which the default behavior of some environment variables has changed. In the past, HEASoft has relied upon one of these (DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH) to tell dynamically-linked executables where to look for runtime libraries. This method should still work for compiled executables run from the command line (e.g. xspec, ftcopy, etc.), but executables which spawn a new shell, i.e. tasks written in Perl, csh, or sh, or other scripts of your own which call HEASoft tasks are likely to fail with a "Library not loaded" message (unless the script explicitly exports the correct DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH setting internally). Examples of affected scripts in HEASoft include many of the Swift and NuSTAR tasks.

    For users of the HEASoft source code distribution:

    To address this issue in our source code downloads, we have patched them (as of 2015 09/30) with configuration updates which utilize the Darwin 'rpath' linker mechanism and remove reliance on DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH. Since this issue can only be addressed by a complete rebuild of the software, we recommend that anyone who upgrades to OS X 10.11 remove their existing HEASoft 6.17 installation (and source code) and download a new copy of the source code to build a working installation.

    For users of the HEASoft pre-compiled binary distributions:

    We now provide pre-compiled binaries for Mac OS X 10.11 which were built with the Darwin 'rpath' linker mechanism and should work without any reliance upon DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH.

  • ftconvert:

    For input files with more than 1000 rows, the task ftconvert (heatools) mistakenly repeats only the first 1000 rows in the output file. To fix your installation:
      1) Initialize your environment to use HEASoft.
      2) Download the update to ftconvert: ftconvert
      3) Copy the new ftconvert into your $HEADAS/bin directory, overwriting
         the previous version ($HEADAS/bin/ftconvert).
      4) Run the lhea-fixperl utility (included in $HEADAS/bin, so it
         should be in your path already after step 1) on the new ftconvert:
         % lhea-fixperl $HEADAS/bin/ftconvert
  • "relocation R_X86_64_32 against `.rodata' can not be used when making a shared object":

    Users building HEASoft from the source code distribution may run into this error which refers to a "Bad value" in the file heacore/wcslib/C/cel.o, from which the linker "could not read symbols". It also suggests that you "recompile with -fPIC". This situation most likely occurrs when users perform a re-build after a previously unsuccessful build attempt. To get past this issue, try the following:
       $ cd heasoft-6.17/BUILD_DIR
       $ make distclean
    When that finishes, restart the build procedure beginning with "./configure", then "make", and let us know if this does not resolve the problem.

  • fv - XPA_METHOD:

    Some users of the fv GUI may experience long delays at startup, or error messages of the type "XPA$ERROR: invalid host name specified: $host:$port" when using the ds9 display device. These issues tend to occur on Macs with customized firewall settings, or on machines without valid IP addresses. This can be resolved by setting the XPA_METHOD environment variable to the value "local" (to use local/UNIX sockets instead of inet sockets):
            export XPA_METHOD=local          # Bourne shell (bash/sh)
            setenv XPA_METHOD local          # C-shell (csh/tcsh)
  • nuexpomap (PC Cygwin):

    The NuSTAR task "nuexpomap" may fail with a segmentation fault in the Cygwin environment for Windows. To get past the error, users may increase the stack size for that task in the following way:
       Edit the file
       to add "-Wl,--stack,10000000" to the CFLAGS and LDFLAGS_C
       variables (on lines 81 and 107, respectively), then:
       % cd heasoft-6.17/nustar/tasks/nuexpomap
       % hmake clean
       % hmake all install
  • ximage:

    HEASoft includes Tcl/Tk version 8.5.15, which may result in a known but apparently harmless issue on some platforms. After using the /XTK plot device, the following message may be displayed upon exit:
        [XIMAGE> quit
        X Error of failed request:  RenderBadPicture (invalid Picture parameter)
          Major opcode of failed request:  ### (RENDER)
          Minor opcode of failed request:  # (RenderFreePicture)
          Picture id in failed request: #########
          Serial number of failed request:  ####
          Current serial number in output stream:  ####
  • Perl version mismatch::

    Pre-compiled Perl libraries used extensively by mission software (Swift, Suzaku, NuSTAR) and other packages are not especially portable, so we generally recommend building HEASoft from the source code distribution.

  • uvotgrplot:

    This Swift/UVOT task may fail with a Fortran runtime error while generating a postscript plot when compiled using certain versions of gfortran (e.g. v4.6.2 installed via fink) on Mac OS X. At present we suspect a compiler bug and recommend using an alternate compiler from the options on our support page.

  • xspec / PLT - wenv, whead, wdata:

    Some GNU Fortran compilers (gfortran 4.4.x, 4.0.x, 4.1.x) appear to have internal issues which prevent the PLT commands wenv, whead and wdata from working unless an output file is specified; i.e. attempts at producing terminal output may fail with "Fortran runtime error: Invalid argument". To get around this, provide an output file name when using these commands, for example:
         wenv myFile1.qdp
         whead myFile2.qdp
         wdata myFile3.qdp

  • HEASoft and other software packages (CIAO, XMM-SAS):

    Please note:

    Users may wish to download and run our hwrap script to create an alternate runtime environment for HEASOFT to help avoid conflicts with other software packages, but if not, please take note of the potential pitfalls below:

    • CIAO:

      Please see the following notes at the CXC website regarding the potential dangers of using CIAO and HEASOFT together in the same session:

    • XMM:

      When the XMM-SAS is initialized after HEASoft (when both are used in the same session), the SAS setup changes the value of the environment variable PGPLOT_FONT with the result that plots in e.g. Xspec may (or may not, depending on the software distributions in use) have no axis labels or values. Users can fix this by resetting PGPLOT_FONT to point to the HEASoft location:
               setenv PGPLOT_FONT $HEADAS/lib/grfont.dat
           Bourne shell:
               export PGPLOT_FONT=$HEADAS/lib/grfont.dat
      or by simply re-initializing HEASoft:
               source $HEADAS/headas-init.csh
           Bourne shell:
               . $HEADAS/headas-init.sh
      This may in turn have consequences for plotting in XMM-SAS, in which case users may need to return PGPLOT_FONT to the SAS setting when using it for data analysis.

If you have any questions about the information above, please write to us at the FTOOLS help desk.
Help lines: FTOOLS or xanprob@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov

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Last modified: Tuesday, 24-Nov-2015 11:58:19 EST