External Software Requirements

Tools required to work with SAS

To following Table lists the tools that you need to install to work with SAS.

Name Version (tested) Download web page Comments
Python 3.6.2 This version of Python and all the modules required to work with SAS are handled trhough Miniconda 4.3.31 The installation of SAS takes care of installing all these components
Perl 5.24.1 This version can be downloaded and installed from perlbrew

We recommend you install Perl 5.24.1 and then install SAS 17.0.0 with SAS_PERL pointing to the Perl 5.24.1 binary provided by such installation.

NOTE: Perl 5.24.1 is missing module Switch.pm which is required by some SAS Perl tasks like, for example, xmmextractor. To install this module and any other missing perl module please see below the "Note on installing missing Perl modules".

ds9 7.5 or later Binaries available from ds9 web site. xpa 2.1.14 or later is not included with ds9. Please download and install it independently.
Grace 5.1.25 Only source code is available from Grace web site. Mac OS X and most Linux distributions provide a binary package ready to be installed.
Given the difficulty to find a proper Grace binary on Mac OS X, you may give a try to Qtgrace which provides a ready-to-use Grace binary based on modern Qt. See below the “Note on installing Qtgrace on Mac OS X”.
Heasoft 6.21 or later Binaries and source code available from Heasoft web site. A binary installation is sufficient to work with SAS. However, if you decide to build it from source code, please do not forget to define the PERL environment variable to point to the Perl binary used to install SAS (SAS_PERL) and the PYTHON environment variable to point to the Python 3.6.2 binary installed by SAS.
WCSTools 3.9.5 Only source code is available from WCSTools web site. Very easy to build from source code.

Perl configuration

Some SAS tasks are Perl scripts, e.g emchain, epchain, omichain, etc. In order to work, they require that Perl is installed in your system. All SAS Perl scripts include the location of a Perl binary in the first line of the script (she-bang). The SAS installation script configure_install looks in specific system directories for valid Perl binaries to replace the perl specified in the first line of all SAS perl scripts.

As described in the installation procedure, the configure_install script can set the Perl to be used by defining the SAS_PERL environment variable to point to the absolute path of a specific Perl binary. Alternatively, the configure_install will look for a valid Perl binary in /usr/local/bin,/usr/bin/perl, /opt/local/bin and /sw/bin. If none is found, the script warns the user and aborts the installation. Once Perl has been installed, the user must run again the configure_install script, to complete the installation.

As indicated in the above Table, please make sure that you install on your system Perl 5.24.1, the same that was used to build the SAS 17.0.0. A very easy way to do it is by means of the perbrew software. Once this is done and before SAS 17.0.0 is installed, define SAS_PERL to point to the Perl 5.2.1 binary.

Given that Heasoft includes also Perl tasks, please make sure the installation of this software, either binary or source code, is done with Perl 5.24.1, by defining the PERL environment variable to point to such binary.

Python configuration

Python installation and configuration is done through the SAS installation process.

X11 on Mac OS X

To work with SAS on Mac OS X you need to have installed the X Windows or X11 software. The latest X11 software can be downloaded from the XQuartz project web site. We have tested XQuartz 2.7.11 to work successfully with SAS.

Note on installing Qtgrace on Mac OS X

Download the Qtgrace dmg image file from the Qtgrace project web site and install the application in your /Applications directory. Then change directory to


and then execute the following command

    ln -s ./qtgrace ./xmgrace

To make xmgrace available as a command, modify your PATH environment variable as follows

    export PATH=/Applications/qtgrace.app/Contents/MacOS/:$PATH

Note on installing missing Perl modules

Perl 5.24.1 does not include the Switch.pm module anymore, which is required to run some SAS 17 Perl tasks, like for example xmmextractor.

To solve this issue, please run the Perl CPAN installation procedure as follows. First invoke perl with the following command:

    perl -MCPAN -eshell

Ensure the perl invoked above is the same you have used to install the SAS (the perl you defined by means of the $SAS_PERL environment variable).

The first time you run the previous command, you will be queried to answer "yes" or "no" to a question on performing an automatic configuration. Please answer "yes" to this question. Then the following prompt will be shown


At the prompt, please enter the command

    install Switch.pm

You can invoke the same procedure any time to install whatever perl modules you might find missing in your SAS installation.