From: John Stone (
Date: Thu May 24 2012 - 10:45:46 CDT

  Which exact version of Tcl/Tk are you trying to compile with?
Where are the Tcl/Tk init scripts located on your host machine?
(they must match the Tcl/Tk you tried to compile against)

In a typical VMD build, compiled against a locally built Tcl/Tk,
you would find the Tcl/Tk startup scripts in the VMD source tree here:

Under a normal VMD compilation, these scripts get copied into the
VMD installation directory, and all is well. You can have problems
if you're using a different major version of Tcl/Tk than the VMD
source tree is setup for (e.g. 8.6.x instead of 8.5.x for example)
or if you haven't got the Tcl/Tk startup scripts installed where
Tcl/Tk (or VMD) can find them.

If you look into your install VMD binaries directory, you should
expect to find a copy of the Tcl/Tk startup scripts here:

If those scripts exist, but they do not match the version of Tcl/Tk
you're using you could have version compatibility errors that yield
startup problems like the one you posted. You can check this by
hand-editing the installed init.tcl and tk.tcl to replace these lines:
  package require -exact Tcl 8.5.6
  package require -exact Tk 8.5.6

with these instead:
  package require Tcl 8.5
  package require Tk 8.5

If that cures your problem, then you need to update the versions of
the Tcl/Tk startup scripts you're using to match the Tcl/Tk versions
that you're compiling against.

  John Stone

On Wed, May 23, 2012 at 12:37:57PM +0200, Eros Albertazzi wrote:
> I'd like to use vmd (binary downloaded) on my Ubuntu 12.04 box.
> I have tcl installed and I am aware of the "non-standard" setting of
> that system.
> Env variable TCLLIBPATH seems of no use. I launch, and I have not
> seen anything there about system tcl
> Any clue or ubuntu-faq?
> Would be better to use vmd on a different Linux distribution? Any
> reference to a supported system list?
> Regards.
> Info) VMD for LINUXAMD64, version 1.9.1 (February 1, 2012)
> Info)
> Info) Email questions and bug reports to
> Info) Please include this reference in published work using VMD:
> Info) Humphrey, W., Dalke, A. and Schulten, K., `VMD - Visual
> Info) Molecular Dynamics', J. Molec. Graphics 1996, 14.1, 33-38.
> Info) -------------------------------------------------------------
> Info) Multithreading available, 2 CPUs detected.
> Info) Free system memory: 3284MB (83%)
> Info) VMDNOCUDA environment variable is set, CUDA support disabled.
> Info) Ignoring CUDA-capable GPUs used for display
> Info) No CUDA accelerator devices available.
> Warning) Detected X11 'Composite' extension: if incorrect display occurs
> Warning) try disabling this optional X server feature.
> Info) OpenGL renderer: Mesa DRI Intel(R) G41
> Info) Full GLSL rendering mode is available.
> Info) Textures: 2-D (8192x8192), 3-D (256x256x256), Multitexture (8)
> ERROR) Tcl startup error: Can't find a usable init.tcl in the following
> directories:
> ERROR) /home/alb/vmd-1.9.1/scripts/tcl
> /home/alb/vmd-1.9.1/scripts/tcl8.5
> /Projects/johns/tcl/8.5.6/lib_LINUXAMD64/lib/tcl8.5 /home/alb/lib/tcl8.5
> /home/lib/tcl8.5 /home/alb/library /home/library /home/tcl8.5.6/library
> /tcl8.5.6/library
> ERROR) This probably means that Tcl wasn't installed properly.
> ERROR) Tk startup error: invalid command name "tcl_findLibrary"

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