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Last modified: 14 December 2018


CIAO "Watch Out" Page

This page lists noteworthy items and issues about the CIAO release. For the full list of known issues please review the:

SAOImage DS9

Help, I am unable to create regions in ds9!

By default, ds9 will no longer create regions when it starts; that is, clicking in the ds9 window will not create a region. This is because the ds9 interface has changed in version 7.3.2, as noted above, so that it no longer starts in region editing mode.

To create or edit regions, users must now manually switch to Region mode by selecting

Edit → Region

from the menu bar or the button bar.

Users can make this the default by editing their preferences:

Edit → Preferences ...
Menus and Buttons                  (left panel)
Edit → Menu → Region               (right panel)
Preserve During Load preferences

CIAO users should not enable any of the following options

Menus and Buttons → File → Menu → Preserve During Load → Pan
Menus and Buttons → File → Menu → Preserve During Load → Region

preferences. Due to the way CIAO starts ds9, having these preferences enabled leads to a half-pixel shift in regions. This shift accumulates if the region file is saved and re-loaded.

Installing & Starting CIAO

chips issue on macOS High Sierra and Sierra

An update to the macos Sierra operating system has caused a problem with chips. The chips-smoke003 test now fails with messages that look like:

error: xp_import_surface returned: 2
xp_destroy_surface: assertion failed: s != NULL
xp_destroy_surface error: 3
xp_import_surface: assertion failed: s == NULL

The problem has been isolated to actions involving deleting a window: using the clear() command, delete_window() command, or clicking on the close button on the title bar. Those actions will succeed however, it will result in the background chips server crashing on any command which subsequently creates a new window.

As a work around, users can repeat the same command. Repeating the same command will recognize that the chips server is gone and will restart it automatically.

Python 3.5 support only

In CIAO 4.11 only Python 3.5 is provided. Support for Python 2.7 in the scientific software ecosystem is diminishing.

The Python 3 for Scientists website provides guidance on updating code written for Python 2, and the CXC Helpdesk can provide support.

CIAO on Mac needs recent XQuartz and XCode

OSX users, particularly those that have upgraded from an earlier OSX version, should ensure that compatible versions of XQuartz (at least version 2.7.11) and XCode (also comes as part of Apple Developer Tools) are installed on the system before proceeding with the CIAO installation.

No support for 32-bit Linux, nor OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) and earlier.

CIAO is no longer available for 32-bit Linux, nor is it available for OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) or earlier versions of OSX. CIAO 4.7 is still available for users who are unable to upgrade their system. The platform support page describes the operating systems that can be used with CIAO 4.11.

Fontconfig error: Cannot load default config file

During the smoke tests some users will see the following message during the obsvis test

Fontconfig error: Cannot load default config file

This error is not critical. As long as the test reports a PASS, then users can ignore that message.

Parameter file conflicts with HEAsoft

Both CIAO and FTOOLS use parameter files to store parameter values for tools, and provide tools for manipulating these files (e.g. plist, pset, punlearn; they have the same name in both systems). The location of the parameter files is taken from the $PFILES environment variables for CIAO and FTOOLS (or $UPARM if $PFILES does not exist).

Common errors are:

  • pget: could not get parameter "foo"
  • The following parameter:
    has the following error(s):
      o Mode field "l" is invalid.
  • The following parameter:
    has the following error(s):
    o Problem converting minimum field "INDEF" to parameter type "i".
    o Problem converting maximum field "INDEF" to parameter type "i".

We recommend that you start FTOOLS before CIAO to minimize conflicts; more information on this problem is available in the CIAO and FTOOLS section of the Starting CIAO thread. Also refer to the related FAQ "The tool is failing because ")sval" has somehow shown up in the parameter value.".

Conflicts with Other Software Packages

There are some known conflicts between CIAO and other software or system libraries and tools. Issues not covered in this "Watch Out" page are listed on the "Other Software Packages" bug page.


Incorrect GTIs when time-filtering grating data with dmcopy opt=all

When a time filter is applied to a level=1.5 (evt1a.fits) or level=2 (evt2.fits) grating file and the dmcopy opt=all option is used, the GTI block in the output file is not updated to reflect the correct time range. Time-related header keyword values - such as ontime, livetime, and exposure - will be incorrect because they are calculated from the time ranges in the GTI block.

This bug affects all ACIS and HRC grating data analysis. Read the bug report for details and a workaround.

Specifying Aspect Solution Files

The aspect solution files (pcad..._asol1.fits) are used as inputs to several of the CIAO tools - e.g. acis_process_events, asphist, and tg_resolve_events.

When there is a single aspect solution file, it can be provided directly to the tool:

unix% pset asphist infile=pcadf245733620N002_asol1.fits

In rare cases, there will be more than one aspect solution file for an observation. Then all the files must be provided in chronological order. (The time is in the filename, so "ls" lists them in chronological order.) This may be done as a comma-separated list:

unix% pset asphist infile="pcadf063874624N002_asol1.fits,pcadf063875522N002_asol1.fits,pcadf063902942N002_asol1.fits"

The list of aspect solution files may also be given as a stack. Any number of files, including just one, can be specified in the stack:

unix% cat pcad_asol1.lis

unix% pset asphist infile=@pcad_asol1.lis

or more than one:

unix% cat pcad_asol1.lis

unix% pset asphist infile=@pcad_asol1.lis

Note that an at symbol ("@") is used before the filename to indicate that it is a stack file.


Installing 3rd party modules with pip3

Users must be careful when using pip3 to install 3rd party modules such as Astropy and Scipy into CIAO. The latest version of these packages MAY require updated versions of packages that CIAO needs; numpy being the most likely conflict.

pip3 installing source code packages

Many of the python packages available via pip are either pure python or are precompiled binary distributions. However, some packages are provided as source code and will need to compile against the libraries on the users system. Users may experience problems building these packages due to some remaining hard-coded paths in some configuration files.