STAR   Computing Tutorials main page
Setting Up a Mac OS X Machine for STAR Work
Offline computing tutorial Maintained by G. Van Buren

Here is a list of some items which one should/could install to integrate the STAR environment into OS X. However, it is recommended that the user run OS X version 10.1 or later to have full support of the required packages. Not all of the STAR environment is available, as the root4star software libraries are not presently compiled for OS X. While this may change in the future, for now the code may at least be accessed via AFS, and ROOT by itself is supported for OS X. Of course, these things change faster than I update this page...

Network settings for working at BNL
One should configure a location in the Network preferences pane for working at BNL (if one is planning to do so). If one has a permanent BNL IP address, this should be entered under the TCP/IP tab using the "Manually" configuration setting. Here are some examples of other entries to use as parameters under the TCP/IP tab:
Subnet Mask:
Domain Name Servers:
Search Domains:
If one does not have a BNL IP address, then select the "Using DHCP" configuration setting (one can still optionally include the search domains listed above, but everything else is automatic with DHCP).

Under the Proxies tab, activate all proxy selections and enter, port 3128 for the proxy. Future versions of OS X may allow the use of the automated proxy script (, but this is not yet implemented and one must enter the actual proxy IP address. In the "bypass proxy settings" area, enter *,, 192,168.*, 130.199.*. Shown below is the Proxies panel for the system network settings. Look here for proxy settings for some individual applications.

We have wireless networking in some STAR work areas if you have an AirPort card. For more information, see STAR Wireless Networking at BNL. The WEP key is what should be entered for the password (with a "$" in front).

There are two choices for AFS: Arla, and OpenAFS. I recommend the latter as the open source community of which OpenAFS is a part has shown more adoption of OS X. One should download the most recent package from This comes in a package which one can easily install.

After installing the package, there are a few things that must be done to work with RCF:

It should be noted that AFS does not start if one is not connected to a network at bootup. In the case of OpenAFS, it can be started at a later time by executing sudo /Library/StartupItems/OpenAFS/OpenAFS. It can also be shutdown at any time via sudo afsd -shutdown.

Here, there are three options. The first is the X11 software that comes with MacOSX 10.3 and above. Probably the best bet as it is simple to install and works well. I believe the installer package is on disk 3 of the install disks. Tenon software provides a commercial XWindows package. Also, the open source community has provided Xfree86/XDarwin. Keisuke Fujii has simple instructions for both of these at:

There are also several choices of window managers with Xfree86/XDarwin. The twm manager comes included. Motif (mwm) is available as a free, and easily installed package called Lesstif (, as openMotif ( does not currently support OS X. But I recommend OroborOSX (if you are not already using Apple's X11 Aqua interface) (, which imitates OS X (Aqua) style windows and provides window themes and some menu services. But if you decide to use Fink ( to install packages (and they have a LOT of packages for OS X!), there are over a dozen other window managers.

ROOT and other HEP software
Keisuke Fujii has developed a wonderful web page for installing a variety of HEP software, as well as other packages like RPM (useful for installing other packages), a g77 compiler, and XWindows and various X programs:

I opted to create a directory /opt/root as superuser for my ROOT installation. I had to do two things different than was stated in the instructions for ROOT: I use tcsh instead of bash, so I had to use setenv instead of export in my environment.mine file, and $DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH was not defined anyhwere else first, so I changed the redefinition of this variable. If I were using a .tcshrc file, it would look something like:

setenv ROOTSYS /opt/root/pro
setenv PATH $PATH\:$ROOTSYS/bin
Using the environment plist file, I cannot use environment variables in the definition of an environment variable, so I have (replace the ellipses below with your own paths):
ROOTSYS /opt/root/dev
DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH ...:/opt/root/dev/lib
PATH ...:/opt/root/dev/bin

If anyone wants to try to compile root4star on their machine, they are welcome to. I have not tried this myself, so I'm not aware of what pieces of code specifically are required. Please let me know if you do and I can post the instructions here.

I recommend installing the latest and greatest SSH clients. Again, the open source community has a great solution, and OpenSSH comes with OS X. When new versions of OpenSSH come out, Stepwise usually has good instructions for installation (if Apple has not yet provided an update).

I also recommend aliasing ssh to 'ssh -X -A' to automate authentication and XWindow forwarding.

The best package I've found so far (which also happens to be free) is TeXShop ( At their website, you can download an installer for teTex which also installs ghostscript 6.01. (Note: ghostscript now has versions past 7.0, but their exists some conflict between Apple's display PDF and these versions of ghostscript; I have tried installing these later versions, and their postscript viewing in XWindows works fine, as does viewing PDF output in Acrobat - it is simply that their PDF output does not work correctly with Apple's PDF viewer (such as using Apple's TeXShop itself is then a GUI editor and TeX compiler which is well-integrated.

I've found tools like OpenService, which opens a URL simply by highlighting it and performing a keystroke combination, or selecting an option from the Services menu, very useful for looking up information quickly. As the code was open source, I decided to enhance it with some additional recognition. The version I have here also automatically recognizes arXiv papers (like nucl-ex/0005001), ROOT class names, and even STAR class names.

Here are some other tips/tricks for OSX I've found worthwhile: