From: Axel Kohlmeyer (
Date: Wed Oct 03 2007 - 12:42:25 CDT

On Wed, 3 Oct 2007, Lorenzo Isella wrote:

LI> Dear All,

dear lorenzo,

LI> I am struggling to get the VMD software installed on my laptop running
LI> Debian testing.

you are struggling because you did't pay attention to the instructions
on how to do things and the outcome of each of your steps. as with any
process that requires multiple steps, you get complete crap, if you mess
up one of the steps. so please go back and _first_ look at the
installation instructions of VMD and read them _carefully_.

LI> In the following I give a detailed account of what I did.
LI> I need VMD to get started with the molecular dynamics software
LI> Espresso (
LI> I downloaded and untarred VMD, moving the plugin directory into

so here already you not precise. which version did you download?
source code or binary? i'd recommend to start with the binary,
i.e. precompiled version. what hardware does your laptop have?
i guess 32-bit linux, so you could download the LINUXOPENGL version.

LI> the newly created vmd directory.
LI> Then here is what I did:
LI> iselllo_at_cappero:~/internet-download/vmd-1.8.6$ ./configure
LI> using configure.options: WIN32 TCL

WIN32?? so this is where it went really downhill. please note, that
when compiling VMD, the build system of VMD is different from the
autoconf/automake build system, that many GNU utilities use.
it is explained in detail in the on-line documentation. e.g. moving
the plugin sources is _wrong_. you have to compile the plugins
and then 'make install' them into the VMD build tree. RTFM.

no need to comment on the rest...


LI> Can anyone help me out? I am sure there must be other Debian/Ubuntu
LI> users or simply people building from source who went through

yes. i am building from source a lot.

LI> this...and I am also sure that if has to be rather trivial to sort
LI> this out, for someone knowledgeable.

it is not the knowledge that matters, it is to pay attention to
what you are doing and not making any assumptions of how things
have to work. the latter is indeed a very dangerous attitude in
our business of science and the reason for my comments being a
bit drastic.

LI> Many thanks


Axel Kohlmeyer
   Center for Molecular Modeling   --   University of Pennsylvania
Department of Chemistry, 231 S.34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6323
tel: 1-215-898-1582,  fax: 1-215-573-6233,  office-tel: 1-215-898-5425
If you make something idiot-proof, the universe creates a better idiot.