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Downloading DATAPLOT for MacOS

Contact Information February 2024

Alan Heckert
Statistical Engineering Division
National Institute Of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-8980
(301) 975-2899 or FTS 879-2899
Jim Filliben (deceased)

Introduction Dataplot is a command driven program. You can optionally run Dataplot using a graphical user interface (GUI) that is implemented using the Tcl/Tk scripting language. Reference will be made below to the "command line" version and the "GUI" version.
Linux Port/Source Build Dataplot for MacOS is a port of the Linux version and can optionally utilize several open source libraries for Linux.

Dataplot is currently built from source using the gfortran/gcc compilers. In order to use these compilers, you need to do the following

  • Install a current version of Xcode Tools. If Xcode is not already installed, it is freely available from the Mac App Store.

  • Once Xcode is installed, the command line tools need to be installed with the following command

      xcode-select --install

Intel or M1 Chipset MacOS is currently supported for machines built with Intel chips or with Apple Silicon chips (these will be referred to as M1 below). Macs using the M1 chip require an additional compilation flag which will be discussed in the installation section.

It is assumed that you are running a relatively current version of MacOS (Monterey, Ventura or Sonoma). If you are running an older version of MacOS, you may need to make some tweaks to the Makefile to specify correct paths for include files and libraries.

Linux Package Managers for MacOS Dataplot requires that the gfortran/gcc compilers be installed. In addition, it can optionally make use of the following libraries that are commonly used on Linux platforms.

  • The X11 library is used to generate screen graphics from an xterm terminal window.

  • The Aquaterm library is used to generate screen graphics from a standard MacOS terminal window.

  • The readline library is used for command history and command line editing.

  • The GD library is used to generate JPEG, PNG, GIF and TIFF format graphics output.

  • The Cairo library can be used to generate graphs in X11, Postscript, SVG, PDF or JPEG/PNG/GIF format.

  • The Tcl/Tk software is required if you want to run the GUI.

  • The libplot library can be used to generate graphs in a a number of different formats.

Note that none of these libraries is essential to running Dataplot (although you need to install either X11 or Aquaterm if you want screen graphics). Either GD or Cairo is needed if you want bitmap graphics (say for importing into Word). The libplot library is probably not needed by most users as most of the devices it supports are already available in Dataplot (it does support Adobe Illustrator and binary CGM which are not otherwise supported). The readline library is convenient, particularly if you are used to using this capability in other programs, but not required.

Linux Package Managers for MacOS Although you can install the above libraries and software directly, it is easier and recommended to use one of the package managers for installing common Linux software on MacOS.

There are a number of package managers available. Specifically, Homebrew and MacPorts, and to a lesser extent, Fink, are commonly used. Many MacOS users are likely to have one of these package managers already installed. We do not recommend or require any specific package manager. We provide instructions for the following cases

If you use Fink or another of the package managers not given here, you can try modifying the Makefile for either MacPorts or Homebrew.

We do not provide instructions for installing MacPorts or Homebrew as this is provided on the web pages for these programs. Also, we do not currently provide a Dataplot package for MacPorts or Homebrew.

Date created: 06/05/2001
Last updated: 02/01/2024

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