ESO-MIDAS Hard- and Software Requirements

Hardware Requirements


ESO-MIDAS uses software standards provided by most computer manufactures, and runs on UNIX or Linux based platforms, as well as on Mac OSX systems.
Midas was successfully installed and tested on the following systems:

Linux systems (Intel and AMD, 32- and 64-bit)

  • RedHat based, e.g. Scientific Linux, CentOS
  • Suse, OpenSuse
  • Fedora
  • Ubuntu based, e.g. Kubuntu, Ultimate Edition, Linux Mint
  • Mandriva based
  • Debian based, e.g. aptosid
  • Arch based, e.g. Chakra, Archbang
  • Gentoo based, e.g. Sabayon

Windows XP (via Linux emulations or virtual machines)

  • based on Linux/X11 emulation software Cygwin_NT-5.1
  • any Linux executed inside a virtual machine (VMware, VirtualBox)

Systems built on Linux

  • Macintosh/Mac-OSX

Unix systems (outdated)

  • Alpha/OSF1
  • DEC/Ultrix
  • HP/HP-UX
  • IBM/AIX RS/6000 systems
  • SUN/Solaris

Other platforms

  • VAX/VMS, OpenVMS (?)

Disk space

The full MIDAS system requires of the order of 300 Mbyte of disk storage if shared libraries (e.g. SUN, PC/Linux) are available, otherwise up to 400 Mbyte may be needed. During installation an extra 80 Mbyte should be available for temporary files such as object code. The size of the system can be reduced in three ways:
a) source files can be deleted after implementation,
b) help files can be removed if on-line help is not required, and
c) parts of the system which are not used (e.g. crowded field photometry or echelle packages) need not be loaded.

Image Displays

MIDAS uses the Image Display Interfaces, a library which provides a general interface to image display devices. IDI-routines are available for DeAnza IP 8500 and X Windows. The X Window System, Version 11, is supported as the general interface to workstations. Other devices can be used if an appropriate set of IDI-routines are written. A list of currently available IDI-routines can be obtained from the ESO Software Development Division, SDD.


The graphics software of MIDAS uses the device independent plotting library AGL (Astronet Graphical Library) developed and maintained by the Italian ASTRONET group. Drivers for a significant number of different devices are available e.g. Tektronix 4010/4015, X Window System, Version 11 and PostScript (for a complete list see The MIDAS Users Guide, Volume 1, Chapter 6). It is possible to write drivers for devices currently not supported by AGL.

Software Requirements


UNIX/Linux and Mac OSX operating systems - or any system with Linux emulating software.

The X11 and Motif libraries and development code (headers and include files)


  • C- and FORTRAN compiler (e.g. gcc and gfortran on Linux)
  • make
  • the development libraries for Motif(*), X11, ncurses (*)
(*) not absolutely needed - without Motif one cannot use the Midas GUIs, without the ncurses development library no command line editing is possible in Midas.

By default most Linux distributions do not install all tools needed for a successful Midas installation.
Such modules/packages have to be manually installed after the given distro is in place.

1) for Ubuntu based distros you need to install, e.g. via synaptic, also
gfortran (search for fortran, installs also gcc)
ncurses development library (search for ncurse...-dev)
Motif development needed for the Midas GUIs
(search for lesstif and choose lesstif...-dev, installs also the x11-, xt-dev libraries, which are needed)

2) for Pardus
much more software is needed in addition to 1)
e.g. the kernel headers have to be installed, because Midas needs the error codes from the system

3) for Mac OSX
the big problem here, is to get a Fortran compiler,
possibilities are Fink, Mac-Ports or from the Mac developer community (you must register first)
e.g., install Fink ( and get gfortran from there, you can use the 32bit version on the 64bit Mac as well