IDL

What is IDL?

IDL, the Interactive Data Language, is software for data analysis, visualization, and cross-platform application development. IDL combines tools for projects ranging from “quick-look,” interactive analysis and display to large-scale commercial programming projects in an easy-to-use, fully extensible environment.

The IDL software may be used by faculty, staff and/or students on UVa-owned hardware connected to the UVa network (on-Grounds or through an ISP using the VPN client) for the purpose of teaching, research and administration. It may not be installed on personally-owned computers, i.e., student laptops or home computers. However, it may be used on the UVa Hive when accessed from a personally-owned computer.

IDL Availability

The University has 40 floating network licenses for IDL (version 8.4) on the following platforms: UNIX/Linux, Mac and Windows. In addition to the standard IDL environment functionality, the University has 10 floating network licenses for the IDL Wavelet Toolkit on the same platforms.

Users off-Grounds must be connected to the Internet and authenticated to the UVa network the UVa Anywhere VPN client (Windows or Mac OS X) so that a continual connection is maintained with the license server/manager on ITS’s UNIX Server.

Windows Installation

Users who wish to install IDL on their PC running Windows can download IDL and the license file from the UVa Software Gateway.

Note that to use one of the floating network licenses, the PC must be connected to the University network either on Grounds or through an ISP. Off-Grounds use must take place via the UVa Anywhere VPN client.

For installation instructions, please refer to the appropriate section of the Installation Guide. Refer to the section entitled “Configure Clients to Access the License Server” for instructions on licensing IDL. You must download the license.dat file from the UVa Software Gateway.

You should have the full license file downloaded to your computer before you begin the installation. We recommend that when you complete the installation, you should copy the license.dat file to some name such as license.full, then edit the license.dat file. Find the lines beginning with SERVER, and delete everything below the last such line (leaving the SERVER lines exactly as they are). Then replace everything you just deleted with the single line:

USE_SERVER

Make sure that the lines are all distinct, i.e. each SERVER line is on a separate line and the USE_SERVER line is also a separate line, and there are no extra characters at the end. This may require some editing depending upon your operating system. (Windows, Mac, and UNIX have different conventions for marking the end of a line, but only one version of the license file is provided, usually for Windows.)

This should preclude the need to update the license file on your local installation every time ITS changes the master file due to a new version or to the yearly renewal. You will need the full license file again if you upgrade the software, however.

Mac OS Installation

Users who wish to install IDL on their PC running Windows can download IDL and the license file from the UVa Software Gateway.

Note that to use one of the floating network licenses, the Mac must be connected to the University network either on grounds or through an ISP. Off-Grounds use must take place via the UVa Anywhere VPN client.

For more detailed installation instructions, please refer to the appropriate section of the Installation Guide. Refer to the section on licensing IDL for UNIX and Macintosh” for instructions on how to license IDL. The required license.dat file can be downloaded from the UVa Software Gateway.

You should have the full license file downloaded to your computer before you begin the installation. We recommend that when you complete the installation, you copy the license.dat file to some name such as license.full, then edit the license.dat file. Find the lines beginning SERVER, and delete everything below the last such line (leaving the SERVER lines exactly as they are). Then replace everything you just deleted with the single line:

USE_SERVER

Make sure that the lines are all distinct, i.e. each SERVER line is on a separate line and the USE_SERVER line is also a separate line, and there are no extra characters at the end. This may require some editing depending upon your operating system. (Windows, Mac, and UNIX have different conventions for marking the end of a line, but only one version of the license file is provided, usually for Windows.)

This should preclude the need to update the license file on your local installation every time ITS changes the master file due to a new version or to the yearly renewal. You will need the full license file again if you upgrade the software, however.

Please contact Research Software Support if you have an issues or questions regarding IDL.