Skip to the navigation links
Last modified: 12 December 2018


Custom Installation: CIAO 4.11 & CALDB 4.8.2

This page allows users to create a customized version of the ciao-install installation script: that is, select exactly which packages are installed and whether the source code is also downloaded. The inital options are those used by the Standard Install with the base CALDB version. If the following does not work then try the Manually Installing CIAO 4.11 thread.

  1. Please be aware of the following issues before installing CIAO 4.11 (see the watchout page for more information):

    • The default setting - "Autodetect Platform" - allows ciao-install to determine what platform you are using and to select the appropriate build of CIAO. The Platform Support page has more information on the officially supported CIAO platforms.
    • Sherpa is also available directly from GitHub, if you wish to install it outside of CIAO or help its development, by adding new features, reporting or fixing bugs, or adding documentation.
    • The CALDB contains all the calibration files required for Chandra data analysis. The ciao-install script will determine whether a patch file can be installed, or if a full download is required.
    • The ACIS background files - derived from observations - are large, and so not included in the base CALDB.
    • The HRC background files - derived from observations - are large, and so not included in the base CALDB.
    • The source build option is for users who wish to compile CIAO themselves. There are platform specific build instructions for Linux and OSX when starting with the CIAO precompilied OTS packages. Some common build problems are discussed on the bug page for known source build issues. Users must either also select the appropriate binary packages or must rebuild all the Off The Shelf (OTS) packages as outlined in the instructions.

    What is the download called?

    The following document assumes that the script has been downloaded with the name ciao-install. This is the default name, but the web browser may well add on a suffix (such as "(1)") to avoid overwriting an existing file. Please rename the downloaded file - or use the new name - in the following steps!

  2. [WARNING]
    Do Not Install as Root or Super User

    It is strongly suggested that CIAO be installed as a non-privileged, regular user and not as the root or a super user.

    Install CIAO in new terminal window

    Users should install CIAO in a new terminal window which is not already configured for CIAO-4.11 or earlier, nor setup for any other common analysis packages such as FTOOLS/HEASOFT/XSPEC, SAS, or others.

    Run the script that has been downloaded; this will download the requested parts of CIAO and install them on your system, and is described in more detail in the Installing CIAO 4.11 using the ciao-install script thread:

    unix% bash /<path>/ciao-install

    We strongly suggest that the smoke tests are run, the results reviewed, and that the bug page for CIAO installation is reviewed before contacting the CXC Helpdesk if there are any problems.

  3. Set up an alias to start CIAO: for example, if CIAO has been installed into the directory /soft/ciao-4.11/, then

    alias ciao "source /soft/ciao-4.11/bin/ciao.csh"

    for csh and tcsh users and

    alias ciao="source /soft/ciao-4.11/bin/ciao.bash"

    for bash users.

  4. This alias should then be called in the terminal in which you plan to use CIAO (multiple terminals can be set up to use CIAO at the same time). When called, a version message will be displayed and then the parts of CIAO that were downloaded - such as tools or Sherpa - will be available:

    unix% ciao
    CIAO configuration is complete... 
    CIAO 4.11 Wednesday, December  5, 2018
      bindir      : /soft/ciao-4.11/bin
      CALDB       : 4.8.2

    Please review the notes on starting and installing CIAO for potential conflicts between CIAO and other systems, such as XMM SAS and HEASoft.

    The ciaover script can be used to display the CIAO and CALDB versions (it reports the same information that the ciao alias above does). The --version flag to python can be used to display the Python version in use:

    unix% python --version
    Python 3.5.4
  5. Once CIAO has been started, the MARX suite of tools for simulating the on-orbit performance of Chandra can be downloaded and installed with the install_marx script (it can be installed at any time). The script takes a single argument, the location to install MARX. Change /soft/marx to a suitable location:

    unix% install_marx /soft/marx

    An alias can be created to set the MARX environment. For instance

    alias setup_marx "source /soft/marx/setup_marx.csh"

    for csh and tcsh users and

    alias setup_marx="source /soft/marx/"

    for bash users.

Would you like to receive Chandra and CIAO announcements?

Send an email message to: