From: Josh Vermaas (
Date: Tue Oct 21 2014 - 15:10:10 CDT

Hi Mike,

Glad it worked! I'll be honest I rarely use python outside of scripting,
so a lack of autocomplete never bothered me as my text editor has it
implemented. I also hadn't realized that rlwrap wasn't always installed
by default. Just to reiterate for others that might pass by this later
via a google search: if you get weird behavior if you type arrows in a
terminal, check that you have rlwrap installed. If so, and the problems
persist, consider switching to the other launching script (on my Ubuntu
system, the /bin/sh version works, the /bin/csh version doesn't).


On 10/21/2014 02:07 PM, Woodson, Michael wrote:
> Hi Josh, thanks for your reply.
> Sorry about the lack of detail, but it looks like you've understood my
> problem - typing arrows was giving ^[[A, or ^[[D, etc. Python itself
> was running fine, as far as I could tell.
> I tried to change the makefile to use the bash shell instead of csh by
> searching for the "Info: /bin/csh shell not found" string you
> mentioned, and changing /bin/csh and vmd.csh to /bin/sh and,
> respectively (there doesn't seem to be a vmd.bash) but when I
> installed and ran vmd I got an error:
> /usr/local/bin/vmd: line 477: /_LINUX: No such file or directory
> Looking in the file, there's a comment:
> # detect if we have rlwrap available to have commandline editing
> so I installed the rlwrap rpm, cleared out everything and reinstalled,
> and that seems to have solved the line-editing problem, although it
> doesn't always autocomplete in cases where it would if I was just
> running python in a shell. I can live with that though.
> thanks!
> Mike W.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Josh Vermaas []
> *Sent:* Tuesday, October 21, 2014 11:53 AM
> *To:* Woodson, Michael;
> *Subject:* Re: vmd-l: Python text interpreter in VMD
> Hi Mike,
> Could you be more specific? I'm not sure what specific features you
> are missing or what the behavior is you are describing. For instance,
> I have encountered not being able to delete text from the terminal
> (backspace entering in the literal backspace character, and not
> deleting it like I wanted). The way I fixed it specifically for my
> case was to use the bash rather than the csh vmd startup script (the
> default almost always installs a csh script on a linux system to start
> vmd), as my install of Ubuntu uses bash as the default shell, and some
> csh environment variables being set/not being set/something else
> entirely unrelated got in the way of rlwrap passing along readline
> facilities properly. If this is the case, the terminal environment
> when not using python will also be messed up (ie, typing arrows or
> backspace into the terminal window will give you something like ^A or
> ^D instead of moving your cursor around). Is this the case? If so, you
> just need to change the Makefile or the configure script (which
> generates the makefile) so that it will use bash version rather than
> the csh one. Grep around for the statement: "Info: /bin/csh shell not
> found, installing Bourne shell startup script instead", and you
> shouldn't have a problem figuring out what to change.
> If that isn't it, a better description of the problem or what
> specifically is missing would be appreciated, because it works for me.
> Can you run a dumb script through vmd? Something like python's helloworld?
> print "Hello World"
> exit()
> If this works and prints things like you'd expect, your compilation is
> probably alright in how it interfaces with python, and that's 99% of
> the battle:
> vmd -dispdev text -python -e
> -Josh Vermaas
> On 10/21/2014 10:13 AM, Woodson, Michael wrote:
>> Hi, I am trying to compile VMD against my native version of Python,
>> 2.7. It seems to have mostly worked, it compiled and installed
>> without any errors. When I call vmd - python, though, the text editor
>> that starts up doesn't allow bash-style line editing. If I import the
>> readline module manually, I can repeat previous lines, but not edit them.
>> When using python in a shell, it uses $PYTHONSTARTUP to import
>> readline and other modules, but I don't know how to set this in VMD,
>> or if there even is an equivalent.
>> Is this just how the text interpreter works in vmd, or did I screw
>> something up during installation? And if the latter, what can I do to
>> get line editing?
>> thanks!
>> Mike W.