Computers GEMPACK Runs On

Most GEMPACK modellers use some version of the Windows operating system (often a 64-bit version of Windows 7 or later).

In previous times, when Windows PCs were less powerful, some people ran large GEMPACK models on mainframe or mini-computers, while preparing input files and viewing results on a Windows PC. Disadvantages included: the need for users to master the OS (often UNIX) of the remote machine; and the inconvenience of constantly copying input and result files between the two systems (often requiring file format conversions).

Today's PCs are much more powerful, and with 64-bit Windows are able to solve very large models. Consequently, the number of non-Windows GEMPACK users has become small. We still offer, by special arrangement, a Linux/Unix edition of the Source-code Version of GEMPACK, but would urge users to consider the Windows alternatives.

Nevertheless GEMPACK can be used in a non-Windows environment, such as Linux or macOS. To understand the issues involved, we must distinguish between 3 main types of GEMPACK program:

Command-line, Fortran-based programs: Core command-line [non-GUI] programs, such as TABLO and GEMSIM, are written in Fortran, and could in principle be compiled and run natively on any computer with a standard Fortran compiler. Included in this group are the TABLO-generated model-specific EXE files created with Source-code GEMPACK.

Command-line, Pascal-based programs: Some command-line [non-GUI] programs, such as AggHAR, are written in Pascal, and supplied as pre-compiled executables, either for Windows or for Linux.

Visual [GUI] programs: Programs such as ViewHAR, TABmate, AnalyseGE are created as Windows programs using the Delphi compiler. So none of these very useful programs can run natively under a non-Windows OS such as Linux or macOS. The solutions to this problem are of three main types:

  1. Dual boot systems, such as BootCamp on the Mac, let you simply reboot the machine into Windows.
  2. Virtual machines, such as Parallels, VirtualBox or VMWare Fusion let you launch a Windows session from within your macOS or Linux session.
  3. WINE-based systems, like Crossover, provide software libraries that allow a Windows program to run within Linux/macOS.

Methods 1 and 2 (but not 3) require that you purchase your own copy of Windows. Methods 2 and 3 often require some tinkering to make particular Windows programs run smoothly. You can choose between paid and free versions of 2 or 3 -- you might need to tinker less if you pay. You need to research on-line before deciding.

GEMPACK on the Mac

Before 2020 Mac PCs used the same type of CPU (X86/X64) as Windows PCs. Starting with certain models introduced in late 2020, Apple began the transition from Intel processors to "Apple silicon" (M1, M2 CPUs) in Mac computers. Below we discuss the two CPU types separately.

Mac computers with X86/X64 CPUs

The Executable-image Version of GEMPACK, (which includes several Windows GUI programs) has been installed on Macs using all three of the methods listed above. In particular we have heard (but not seen) that GEMPACK runs well on the Windows virtual sessions provided via Parallels. WINE/Crossover has also been used. One person completed a GEMPACK training course using Bootcamp on a Mac with the Executable-Image Version of GEMPACK.

Mac computers with Apple silicon

The newer "Apple silicon" in Mac computers makes it harder to run Windows programs on a Mac. The BootCamp method mentioned above no longer works. Nevertheless, as of 2023, solutions have begun to appear.

In May 2023 GEMPACK staffer Dean Mustakinov successfully installed and ran 64-bit versions of both Executable-image Version of GEMPACK and RunDynam on a 2022 Apple MacBook Air with M2 chip and 8GB of RAM. He successfully used 2 quite different methods:

Both methods worked well. You can try each method for free during a short trial period -- after that you have to purchase either Crossover or Parallels. Crossover is the cheaper option.

GEMPACK on Linux

The tools mentioned above [Parallels, VirtualBox, VMWare Fusion, WINE, Crossover] could be used to run the Windows versions of GEMPACK on a Linux PC. The GUI programs should mostly work.

Alternatively you can buy a Linux/Unix edition of the Source-code Version of GEMPACK, which will run the GEMPACK command-line programs natively. However, this does not include native Linux versions of the GUI programs such as ViewHAR, Viewsol and RunDynam.

One scenario is to run GEMPACK command-line programs natively on a Linux server, while editing and viewing input and output files on a Windows PC. Even the Free Trial Version of GEMPACK might suffice for the editing/viewing tasks.

A bundle of command-line, Pascal-based programs (eg, AggHAR, CSV2HAR) is available on request. These are compiled for 64-bit x86 Linux.

Yet another possibility is to run Windows 11 which includes the 'Windows Subsystem for Linux'. This allows you to run native Linux programs on your Windows PC. Read more here.

Historical note: In 2002 a Linux version of GEMPACK Release 8 was prepared that included native GUI programs -- but it attracted little interest. Read more here.

Fortran file formats

Historically, each Fortran compiler used its own idiosyncratic format for binary files (such as HAR files). To share data with others, a special text interchange format was needed. GEMPACK still provides programs (RWHAR, MKHAR,RWSOL and MKSOL) to translate its binary files to and from text format.

Fortunately, it seems that most Fortran compilers for the x-86 CPUs (used by most Windows, Mac and Linux PCs) now have converged on the same format. This assists inter-operability.