Unused Cycles

June 14, 2008

Mathematica 6 and Compiz on Kubuntu Hardy

Filed under: GNU/Linux, Mathematics — Tags: , , , , , — Kevin @ 10:13 am

My school offers the software for “anybody who is on the payroll,” and we’re taught to use it pretty heavily in some of our classes (there is even a 1-credit course on Mathematica) so I went ahead and downloaded it from the department. However, even from the start I’d had some troubles. Now I’ll tell you how to fix those.

When I was running Mathematica 5, I had a nasty issue where running Beryl with XGL (on a nasty ATI card, before AIGLX was supported in the fglrx driver) in the background would make my text and most of the graphics transparent. My method of fixing this was to just put a blank terminal in the background. After the new ATI driver with AIGLX support, the problem was fixed, but now it opened three windows at startup, two of which were blank and I couldn’t close. Upgrading to Mathematica 6 brought no relief, and upgrading to Kubuntu 8.04 brought along another problem with fonts – now everything was white, and changing the color would fix it.

So, here’s the fix.

  1. Fixing fonts: Instead of typing “mathematica” into a terminal to start Mathematica 6, try using “mathematica -defaultvisual” which fixed the fonts for me.
  2. Fixing the three popup windows: The bug was reported here, but I’ll go ahead and summarize it to save you the trouble of searching through other people’s comments. First, go to “Edit->Preferences…”, which should pop up the preferences dialog. Click the “Advanced” tab on the top right and right next to “For all other option settings:” click “Open Option Inspector.” Now on the left bar, go to “Notebook Options->Window Properties” and change “Window Frame” to “Generic.” Below is a screenshot of my preferences (click to blow it up).

Click to see larger image

That’s it! Now close Mathematica and restart it to get only one window and visible fonts!



  1. Thank you!
    I have been having both problems and your fixes worked great.

    Comment by Peter Lofgren — July 2, 2008 @ 12:32 am

  2. Thanks, I had the same problem with the fonts but with kubuntu 8.10. The fix worked great

    Comment by Nicolás Quesada — November 1, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  3. I had the same problem on ubuntu and this fixed it! there are a number of forums on this problem that lead to dead ends. thanks.

    Comment by Duncan w — March 22, 2009 @ 9:07 am

  4. The “generic frames” are new to me and it works! Thank you!
    On another site (don’t know any more where…) I found and modified the following script named run-math, which solved the font-problem for me and made the mouse-wheel useful:

    petsie@leierkasten:~$ cat run-math

    # run-math.sh version 4
    # `-r’ flag means don’t use the “Configurator”
    # and pass wheel events to the root window
    # Ensure a single instance of Mathematica with
    # the option `-singleLaunch’.
    # Allow the use of the NumLock key with the
    # ‘-primaryModifierMask’ and ‘-secondaryModifierMask’
    # switches.

    MARGS=”-singleLaunch -primaryModifierMask Mod1Mask -secondaryModifierMask Mod3Mask”

    if `ps -C imwheel > /dev/null`; then
    XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1 Mathematica $1 $MARGS
    imwheel -r
    XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1 Mathematica $1 $MARGS
    imwheel -kq

    Comment by Peter P — April 18, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  5. Thank you very much
    I modified to generic, but when I open mathematica (or Mathematica 6) I have the same problem.

    BUT when I put

    $ mathematica -defaultvisual

    I see correct colors!!

    I suposse that I can use it.


    Comment by AC — September 8, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

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