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Last modified: 1 April 2024


Bugs: Installation & Smoke Tests

The following is a list of known issues that may be seen when installing CIAO. If you encounter a problem that is not listed here, contact CXC Helpdesk for assistance.

Table of Contents








    The smoke tests require a recent version of Xcode

    The smoke tests use commands from the Apple Xcode package. If you see warnings like

    xcrun: error: invalid active developer path (/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools), missing xcrun at: /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/usr/bin/xcrun

    then you need to update your version of Xcode.

    dyld[4909]: Symbol not found: _iconv

    [New] (12 12 2023) Some users have reported seeing this error occur when trying to run the smoke tests, followed by

      Referenced from: {some hex code} /usr/local/bin/bash
      Expected in:     {some other hex code} /System/Volumes/Data/soft/CIAO/ciao4.16/ciao-4.16/lib/libiconv.2.dylib

    (The exact paths may be different.) The issues appears to be due to an incompatibility with the version of that particular library, libiconv and the version of bash that is located first in the users PATH. bash. This may be the result of installing additional packages such as Homebrew.

    Users can run the smoke tests using the system version of bash to avoid this incompatibility

    $ /bin/bash test/smoke/bin/


    Fontconfig error: Cannot load default config file

    This message may appear during the obsvis smoke test. It is benign.

    OBSVIS Error: Retrieving calibration updates from server produced the following error: 'Network timeout'

    Occasionally the connection to the server times out during the smoke test before ObsVis can get the data it needs. Try running the GUI from the command line:

    unix% obsvis

    If your institutions uses a proxy server to connect to the internet, then you will need to setup the proxy settings in ds9. In a terminal window with CIAO setup, start ds9 from the command line

    unix% ds9

    (obsvis is a ds9 application and uses it's networking interfaces). Then go to Edit -> Preferences. From the left-hand menu select HTTP, and then fill in the proxy settings for your institute. Save the preferences and exit ds9. Then re-open obsvis.

    If the problem persists, contact CXC Helpdesk.

    Error in startup script: bad pad value "4m": must be positive screen distance
             while executing
        "pack $fovAcisLeftFrame -side left -fill none -padx 4m"
             (procedure "OBSVISAcisChipsFrame::New" line 39)
             invoked from within
        "OBSVISAcisChipsFrame::New $local(frameWidget) top "ACIS Chips"

    This error message can occur on some Linux distributions which use Wayland in X11 compatibility mode. Specifically, this can occur if the display is resized (such as when connecting to different monitors or projectors). Users needing obsvis must log out and back in using X11, such as "GNOME on Xorg" option on the login screen.


    Customized resource, $HOME/.*.rc, may cause conflicts

    Several CIAO applications make use of resource files in the users home directory. These typically contain global application preferences. The list of resource files, or .rc files, is shown below.

    • .ciaoinstall.rc
    • .ciaorc
    • .obsvisrc
    • .sherpa.rc

    If users have made customizations to these file it may cause the CIAO smoke tests to fail. This has been seen several times with sherpa users who have setup to use pyfits (rather than crates) and are upgrading to the lastest version of CIAO.

    Users should move their customized version of these files to another directory and re-try the smoke tests. The files will get re-created and the customizations can be re-introduced in the new version of these files.

    Customized $HOME/.ipython-ciao settings

    Users who have made customizations to their $HOME/.ipython-ciao setup files will need to check their customizations after CIAO is installed.


    Sherpa: "ERROR: test_image (sherpa.image.tests.test_image.test_image)"

    The Sherpa smoke test fails and the log contains these errors:

    ERROR: test_image (sherpa.image.tests.test_image.test_image)
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    ValueError: total size of new array must be unchanged

    This is an intermittent error in the code that Sherpa uses to talk with DS9 via XPA. Run the smoke tests a second time and the errors should go away. If they do not, contact CXC Helpdesk for further assistance.


    The ds9 smoke test results may differ in the least significant figure.

    A sample diff log from test ds9-smoke001:

    <  1.73363528e+02 2.58432381e+01 
    >  1.73363528e+02 2.58432382e+01 
    <  1.73357457e+02 2.58464050e+01 
    >  1.73357457e+02 2.58464051e+01 
    <  1.73322543e+02 2.58736917e+01 
    >  1.73322543e+02 2.58736916e+01 
    <  1.73310395e+02 2.58821467e+01 
    >  1.73310395e+02 2.58821466e+01 

    Often rerunning the test will resolve the difference. (Frequently it is due to a timing issue between certain XPA commands.)