From: John Stone (
Date: Thu Aug 29 2019 - 22:10:32 CDT

  Yeah, the bad news about OpenGL and OpenCL support being killed
off on MacOS X came last summer. We will be keeping our eyes open,
but you can read Apple's announcement text quoted in this article:

Right now whatever OpenGL support Apple has is essentially frozen so
to speak, they apparently aren't investing any further efforts.
Even if Apple don't outright "kill" OpenGL by removing it from an upcoming
OS release, the eventual accumulation of unfixed bugs will make it
unusable over an extended period of time. I had someone show me a
serious MacOS X OpenGL lighting driver bug just a couple of weeks
ago that has no business existing in 2019. It's clear that things
are already headed down that path.

Anyway, we'll see what happens as we continue the journey here.
Apple has created a lot of work for me...


On Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 10:03:28PM +0000, Gumbart, JC wrote:
> Wow, I knew it was going to be bad, but not this bad. Thanks for your efforts. I may need to look into installing Linux as well on my laptop.
> Thanks!
> JC
> > On Aug 29, 2019, at 4:24 PM, John Stone <> wrote:
> >
> > Hi,
> > This is on my TODO list. I have to build a new FLTK, new Tcl/Tk
> > and various other libraries, and in particular FLTK and Tcl/Tk
> > have to be custom-patched to make them work. Since that work is
> > not really VMD-specific, I'm leaving to the end since VMD itself
> > has compiled in 64-bit mode on MacOS X for many years, but always
> > with issues from FLTK and Tcl/Tk GUI code (not ours). This is really
> > going to hinge entirely on the stability of the GUI toolkits.
> >
> > A much more serious question about the long-term viability
> > of MacOS X now rests on Apple's announced deprecation of OpenGL
> > in favor of their proprietary (read non-portable) Metal graphics API.
> >
> > There are some open source efforts underway to try and make OpenGL
> > code run on MacOS X through an emulation layer on top of the
> > proprietary Metal APIs, but so far ther're in their infancy.
> > Another option would be to run a Vulkan renderer on top of MetalVK,
> > a similar emulation layer that sits on top of Metal. That is more
> > apt to be a successful route, but requires VMD to have a completed
> > reimplementation of the entire interactive rasterization pipeline
> > in pure Vulkan, and I'm still only in the early stages of writing
> > that code since Vulkan itself has been coming along a bit slower than
> > I had originally anticipated.
> >
> > You may have also noticed that Apple is also dropping support for OpenCL,
> > and they haven't had CUDA-capable GPUs in their machines for years.
> >
> > To be honest, the future direction of the MacOS X OS platform is
> > starting to look like a poor match for scientific visualization
> > codes going forward. It may be that booting Windows or Linux on a
> > Mac ends up being a better way of utilizing the hardware to its
> > potential given what's been happening with Apple deprecating
> > the major cross-platform rasterization and computing APIs.
> >
> > Anyway, one issue at a time. We've only recently gotten a Catalina
> > test box setup to work on ourselves, and we also discovered that
> > basic things like NIS/NFS etc don't work like they used to either,
> > so even our usual in-house development approach for MacOS X, with
> > use of network-based filesystems is problematic going forward.
> >
> > Best,
> > John
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 07:53:05PM +0000, Gumbart, JC wrote:
> >> Hi John et al.,
> >>
> >> The next MacOS is going to eliminate all support for 32-bit applications. Will there be a 64-bit VMD compilation made available for download in the near future, or should we compile it ourselves? (I have no idea how difficult it is to compile VMD on Macs!)
> >>
> >> I???ve already run into one person running a beta of Catalina who can???t install VMD. They were thinking of putting Windows on their Mac as a work-around???horrifying...
> >>
> >> Thanks!
> >> JC
> >
> > --
> > NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics
> > Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
> > University of Illinois, 405 N. Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL 61801
> > Phone: 217-244-3349
> >

NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
University of Illinois, 405 N. Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL 61801           Phone: 217-244-3349