How to set PATH and Create Environment variable in OSX 6

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by luv2mr, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. luv2mr, Mar 24, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011

    luv2mr macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    I recently bought a mac and I want to install this program for my research but I can't figure out how to install the program according to the instruction. Could someone help me?

    The program is called Surface Evolver and it is used to compute minimal surface energy given an initial shape.

    The instruction for installing the program on Mac OSX is copied down here
    Detailed instructions:

    1. Download Evolver230-OSX.tar.gz.

    2. The download probably created a folder Evolver230-OSX on your desktop. This folder really has a unix path something like /Users/yourname/Evolver230-OSX. These notes will mostly refer to the terminal command line, so you should be able to open a terminal and use a command line prompt.

    3. The Evolver230-OSX folder has the executable file evolver, the samples folder fe, the documentation folder doc, a PDF version of the manual, and a man page evolver.1.

    4. Move the executable to some place on your PATH, e.g.

    cp evolver /Users/yourname/bin

    or add the Evolver folder to your PATH.
    Question: How to move the executable to my PATH? How to add the folder to PATH?

    5. You should also create an environment variable EVOLVERPATH containing paths to the fe and doc folders by placing the following line in your shell initialization file, with appropriate modifications. You can tell which shell you are running by running the ps command at the command prompt.

    C Shell (csh, tcsh): put the following in /Users/yourname/.cshrc or /Users/yourname/.tcshrc:

    setenv EVOLVERPATH /Users/yourname/Evolver230-OSX/fe:/Users/yourname/Evolver230-OSX/doc

    Bourne shell (sh,bash): put the following in /Users/yourname/.profile or /Users/yourname/.bashrc:

    export EVOLVERPATH

    Question: I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about here..

    6. Install the man page by copying evolver.1 to some place on your manpath, e.g.

    cp evolver.1 /usr/share/man/man1

    You may have to become root to have permission to do this.
    Question: What is a man page?

    7. Test by opening a new shell and running "evolver cube". Now you should be able to follow the tutorials in the HTML manual or printed manual.

    8. If you wish to compile your own version of the Evolver, and have a C compiler, then follow the unix instructions.

    Thank you very much for helping.
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    1) You don't move an executable into your PATH (normally), you add it's location to your PATH. The PATH environment variable is set the same way as the EVOLVERPATH variable in your examples.

    2) If you don't know what they are talking about then you might well be in trouble! This is fairly basic Unix stuff. When you start the Terminal you get a command line prompt. This is provided by the shell (not by Terminal). There are numerous shells all of which act slightly differently. You can see what shell you are currently using by typing
    echo $SHELL
    and hitting return in the Terminal. Once you know which shell you are using you can follow these instructions to edit the hidden file that the shell uses as startup to customise itself. You can add the PATH customisation here too. Note the file might not exist: in this case just create one.

    3) A man page is a manual page. In the terminal there is a utility called man that displays them. For example
    man ls
    (the return) will display the ls man page.
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
  4. gotzero macrumors 68040

    Jan 6, 2007
    Mid-Atlantic, US
  5. katbaloo macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2008
    Surface Evolver

    I have exactly the same problems, questions, etc. that you had. I know nothing of code-talk. I am an artist trying to develop some 3D models for printing.

    Did you ever find a way to download to a mac ?

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