Required Software:

The VMD distributions available from this site rely on a number of basic system services for installation and at runtime.
  • Perl 5 -- Required for installation or recompilation of VMD on Unix

VMD requires a functioning windowing system in order to run with graphics. VMD also requires that the vendor OpenGL libraries and related software be properly installed on your system. Below is a list of the vendor provided OpenGL runtimes that must be installed for the matching VMD binaries to run correctly:

  • Apple MacOS X ships with OpenGL, no additional software is required.
  • Microsoft Windows XP ships with OpenGL, but you may get better performance by checking for a vendor-provided OpenGL driver:
  • Linux requires an X server and DRI-based OpenGL driver be installed:
  • SGI visualization systems ship with OpenGL, no additional software is required.
  • Sun Solaris must have Sun's OpenGL implementation installed: Sun OpenGL
  • HP's HP-UX workstations require HP's OpenGL to be installed.
  • IBM AIX requires IBM's OpenGL implementation to be installed.
  • VMD with the Mesa 3-D library Mesa Web Site

Optional Features:

For some features, VMD relies on external programs which are not included in the VMD distribution, although instructions for obtaining them are. These libraries and external programs provide additional functionality when used with VMD. These libraries and programs are not required, however without them, the optional features they support will not be available.
  • Fink -- Unix environment for MacOS X, with xmgrace and many other useful programs usable by VMD
  • FLTK Library -- A fast, lightweight, Open Source GUI toolkit.
  • Stanford Chromium Project -- Cluster-based rendering and tiled display walls.
  • Tcl/Tk -- Provides the extensible scripting component of VMD.
  • Python -- An optional scripting language component of VMD.
  • CAVElib -- Fully Immersive Virtual Reality for VMD.
  • FreeVR -- Fully Immersive Virtual Reality for VMD.
  • VRPN -- Virtual Reality Peripheral Network, provides VMD's interface to VR controllers, trackers, haptic devices, etc.
  • NetCDF -- I/O library used by VMD to read MMTK and AMBER 9 trajectories
  • Babel -- Allows VMD to read a large number of additional molecular file formats.
  • MSMS -- A supported external molecular surface generation program
  • The ACTC Library -- Automatic triangle mesh stripification for much faster surface display in VMD.
  • Tachyon -- A supported internal and external ray tracing program.
  • Raster3D -- A supported external ray tracing program.
  • Rayshade -- A supported external ray tracing program.
  • Pixar's Renderman (PRMan etc) -- A supported external rendering system.
  • RenderDotC Renderman Compliant Renderer -- A supported external rendering system.
  • Gelato -- A supported external rendering program.
  • Persistence of Vision (POV-Ray) -- A supported external ray tracing program.
  • Radiance. -- A supported external ray tracing and radiosity renderer.
  • Grace. -- A supported external graphing/plotting package.

Popular Molecular Dynamics Programs that VMD works with:

Helpful utility programs for making animations on Windows/Unix