HEAsoft v6.22 - Known Issues

If you are using HEASOFT v6.21 and don't want to upgrade to v6.22 just yet, see the HEASOFT 6.21 Issues List.

Several packages track issues separately from this page:

The following is a list of known issues in v6.22 of HEAsoft not covered by the above pages.

Last modified Wednesday, 27-Sep-2017 13:36:58 EDT
  • FV:

    With the update to Tcl/Tk 8.6 in HEASoft 6.22, the FITSViewer utility (FV) fails to expand vector table columns (Modify -> Expand) and generates an error (invalid command name "FitsExtension::..."). We are investigating and hope to be able to provide a patch fix for this issue soon. In the meantime, users who need this functionality are encouraged to install the stand-alone fv available here: fv stand-alone downloads

  • Mac "configure failed..." Fortran compiler issue:

    We're starting to see a number of reports of configure failures that result from a MacPorts assembler (as) under /opt/local/bin being ahead of the default Apple /usr/bin/as in a user's PATH (which may result from an automated change made to .profile during a MacPorts installation). To get past this issue, try putting /usr/bin at the front of your PATH:

       export PATH="/usr/bin:$PATH"
  • Ubuntu 16.10 & 17.04, Debian 9:

    Several HEASoft tasks (including extractor, ximage, et al.) suffer memory faults under newer Debian-based operating systems (including Ubuntu 16.10 and 17.04, and Debian 9), so until further notice, please avoid updating beyond Ubuntu 16.04 (LTS) or Debian 8 if possible.

  • Apple XCode vs. MacPorts gcc/g++:

    Some HEASoft tasks may fail with memory errors on Mac OS X when compiled with the MacPorts gcc/g++, so we continue to recommend that users build HEASoft only with the Apple XCode (Clang/LLVM) gcc/g++ compilers (and the XCode perl and python interpreters as well). This may be ensured by setting the relevant environment variables prior to running the configure script:
     In C-shell variants (tcsh/csh):       In Bourne shell variants (bash/sh):
        % setenv CC /usr/bin/gcc              % export CC=/usr/bin/gcc
        % setenv CXX /usr/bin/g++             % export CXX=/usr/bin/g++
        % setenv PERL /usr/bin/perl           % export PERL=/usr/bin/perl
        % setenv PYTHON /usr/bin/python       % export PYTHON=/usr/bin/python
    As Apple does not provide a Fortran compiler, you will need to use one installed from MacPorts (or elsewhere), so for example:
        % setenv FC /opt/local/bin/g95            % export FC=/opt/local/bin/g95
        % setenv FC /opt/local/bin/gfortran-mp-5  % export % FC=/opt/local/bin/gfortran-mp-5
        % setenv FC /usr/local/bin/gfortran       % export FC=/usr/local/bin/gfortran
    We stress that you avoid using /opt/local/bin/gcc-* and /opt/local/bin/g++-* when building HEASoft from the source code distribution.

  • "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-6.22/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$WARNING: xpans needs to be running on this machine", or "XPA$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)
  • 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.

If FTOOLS has been useful in your research, please reference this website (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/ftools/) and the following:

Blackburn, J. K. 1995, in ASP Conf. Ser., Vol. 77, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems IV, ed. R. A. Shaw, H. E. Payne, and J. J. E. Hayes (San Francisco: ASP), 367.

Web page maintained by: Bryan K. Irby