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(Mostly) Working version for MacOS and Ubuntu

I was able to get the Alice Desktop and DC Meter/source apps working on MacOS and Ubuntu, with a few remaining - but manageable - quirks, and pack things up as a self-contained archive.

It's fully documented here:
including a "technical details" section, with the details of how it was built.

Hopefully some people will find this useful.


  • Eric:

    Thanks for putting this out where others can see it and benefit.

    The Python sources for the DC stand alone tools on GitHub, Voltmeter, Ohmmeter and Meter / Source (SMU) where compatible with just Python 2.7. I've over the last couple of days added code to import the correct external support package versions (mainly tKinter) for Python 3.7 and 2.7. I will probably commit the new source code versions to the repository over the weekend. There are still some unresolved issues getting the data logger and strip chart tools to run in Python 3.7 so those versions may not be posted.

    Anyway Thanks Again for sharing what you have done with the wider community.


  • A couple of quick observations on you excellent How-to write up:

    On this:

    "VERY IMPORTANT: the first time you open the program, immediately click "Exit" (not "X"!).  This will create the initial configuration file.  For reasons not fully understood, failure to do this could leave the system in a bad state."

    Not sure why (might be the way Mac OSX main menus work vs other OS) this would be different. I've been doing some research on the quirks of OSX and it seems it is the responsibility of the application developer to write their own replacement main main menus. While this could be added to the code it will take some time and effort to get up that learning curve.

    "When starting the program, don't assume the check marks in the pull down menus on the AWG window reflect the current selections.  Always re-select your choices!"

    I've added a line to the AWG controls that shows the current waveform shape as an aid to reminding the user which waveform is being produced. This was something low down on the to-do list that got bumped up based on feedback. This change will appear in the next official release.

  • Hi:

    While this Hack on a non-ADI controlled web site is certainly a workaround while we at Analog get things better sorted out...

    This is dangerous and we don't recommend going down that path because it will freeze users out of any future changes / bug fixes that ADI might implement in the future. As a matter of fact I just posted a new release of ALICE with extensive and specific changes for Linux (that might also cross over to OSX) this morning see ALICE 1.3.8.


  • Hi Doug,

    I have a student who is trying to install it on a MAC (high sierra) to test for the upcoming semester.  Here you talk about changes for Linus.  Is a version that works easily on MAC high Sierra now available?  If so, can you point me to the instructions?

  • ALICE is written in Python and has been tested to run without serious problems on 2.7, 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8 (3.8 has the most "issues") and is OS independent to the extent Python (with tkinter and numpy packages installed) is OS independent.

    The problems arise when installing the underlying libsmu library and it's Python bindings. I'm only a user of libsmu and do not have direct experience supporting libsmu.

    I personally have only tested the Linux install process as I only have access to Linux through VM.

    In theory libsmu can be compiled from source as long as all it's build dependencies as also installed ( I have no direct experience doing this other than on a Raspberry Pi in the past). Steps are outlined in the readme file on GitHub. These I understand have become somewhat outdated. The libsmu developers have provided two mac os installer packages for libsmu:



    But only libsmu as I understand it so the Python bindings still need to be built / installed manually. I have heard of someone (outside ADI) being able to install these packages (not sure what flavor of mac os) but was unable to build the Python bindings last I heard.

    That is the extent of any help I can provide at this time.

  • Dear Eric and Doug,

    I am reaching out for your help on using ALICE with MAC OS High Sierra.  I am working with a student who has a MAC in preparation for the start of classes.  I unfortunately only have windows10 machines.

    We tried using the instructions at: and the instructions at but both are giving different problems.


    When using the instructions at ucdavis, unfortunately, it is not finding the pysmu libraries.  Looking at in the alice-1.3.7-U directory, since his $OSTYPE is a “darwin”, the commands that should locate the libraries are:

    export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=$PWD/pysmu-lib-MacOS

    export PYTHONPATH=$PWD/pysmu-lib-MacOS/pythong3.7/site-packages/

    From these names, I would guess that the pysmu library should be in $PYTHONPATH.  I do not see an “.so” with pysmu in its name (screenshot below) but maybe it is in one of the other so’s?  If it is in one of the other ones, is $PYTHONPATH not the right logical name?

    When using the instructions at wiki.analog, Since these instructions use ALICE 1.3.7, and there is a new 1.3.8 version, we then decided to try the instructions at:

    However, these are challenging to follow. First note that “libsmu” is not defined anywhere on this page.  I assume these are the ALICE codes/libraries? 

     First, note that just after the green box in this area, it says “To manually install on Windows download” which is confusing to begin with, since this section is on linux and osx.  Then it says “for OS X and Linux” and then gives some libsmu versions for Darwin, which are 10.13.6 and 10.14.4.  However, his version of Darwin is darwin17.   Are any of these apprrpriate?  Also, when I go to the link I see “assets” for windows (the *-setup.exes) and I see the code.  I do not see any precompiled libraries for OSX


    In conclusion:  right now we cannot get ALICE to work following either set of instructions.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.



    Sarah Eno

  • my apologies: it will not allow me to upload the screenshot showing the student's work.

  • screenshot of student environment

    Hopefully this will give you access to the screenshot

  • Unfortunately this is not the best forum to get the attention of the libsmu developers as they don't generally reply to software issues here. This needs to be moved to GitHub:

    Please post your questions and requests for help installing / using libsmu / pysmu there where they can be logged and tracked.


  • I've repacked the software with the 1.3.8 version of Alice.  I haven't touched any of the code, but just added the precompiled libraries and shell scripts.  Alice-desktop works OK, but still has the same problem I posted with the pull-down checks not updating.

    The DC meter source program just hangs with spinning blue circle of death when I hit Run.  I've tried this on several systems with the same result.   My earlier hacked version of 1.3.7 doesn't hang, so there must be some difference.

    The Linux version just broke completely with a new (ostensibly minor) update to 20.04.  I'm gathering all the details to post at the libsmu issues board.  I'll probably just give up on it and loan the one student with a Linux box a Windows laptop for the quarter.

    Believe me, I have zero desire to spend my time hacking or repackaging your code, but like a lot of people out there, I bought a whole bunch of these modules because I took the "supports MacOS and Linux" at face value, and now I'm struggling to make it work for my students.