NCSA Mosaic for the X Window System Version 2.6b3

Welcome to NCSA Mosaic for the X Window System 2.6b3!

This README details installation steps.

More complete information and documentation on NCSA Mosaic is available online, via NCSA Mosaic.


NCSA Mosaic is known to compile on the following platforms:

Binaries for these platforms (and possibly others) are available on in /Mosaic/Unix/binaries/

If you have to make nontrivial changes to NCSA Mosaic to get it to compile on a particular platform, please send a set of context diffs (e.g., 'diff -c oldfile newfile') to

Installation Instructions

Simply examine the toplevel Makefile, change the appropriate customizable options, and type 'make'.

The final result is a single independent executable, src/Mosaic.

(The Makefile.[sun,dec,ibm,alpha,etc.] files are the Makefiles we use locally for compilation on various platforms; they will almost certainly NOT WORK for you without modification. We recommend you start with the stock Makefile and make modifications as necessary to avoid confusion.)

There is one tricky thing:

   You have the option of compiling in support for NCSA HDF, a
   platform-independent hierarchical scientific data format, and NCSA
   DTM, a network-based message-passing protocol useful for exchanging
   scientific data between applications.  If you compile one of them
   in, you should compile both of them in.  

   If you don't already know what HDF and DTM are and want to compile
   Mosaic quickly, forget about them for the time being -- you can
   always recompile later.

   The DTM library is in subdirectory libdtm.  The HDF library must be
   obtained separately from in /HDF; get version
   3.3r1 or later.  Set the various options in the Makefile to point
   to all the right places, and you should be set.

After You Have Compiled

If you do not normally run Motif on your system (e.g., if you run Sun OpenWindows instead), then you may get a whole bunch of run-time errors about translations when you start Mosaic.

If this happens, copy the file XKeysymDB (included in this directory) to /usr/lib/X11. (If you compile Mosaic yourself, you may need to place this file elsewhere, depending on your X configuration.) See the FAQ list online for more information.

X Defaults

NCSA Mosaic includes sets of fallback X resources that provide reasonable screen display properties for three configurations: color, monochrome, and color SGI. (Color SGI has its own configuration since SGI systems commonly use a gamma correction factor of 1.7, which makes their screens brighter than usual.)

If you compile NCSA Mosaic out of the box, or if you download a binary from, the default resources will be for a color display (or, if you compile on an SGI, the default will be for color SGI). See the Makefile for information on how to have monochrome resources by default. On the command line, the flags '-mono' and '-color' allow you to switch resource configurations at runtime.

For your convenience, three corresponding X app-defaults files are included in this distribution: app-defaults.color, app-defaults.color-sgi, and app-defaults.mono.

Bug Reports and Comments

Bug reports and other comments can be sent to

If you find NCSA Mosaic useful or particularly interesting, please also send us a note -- continued development of this project partially depends on user feedback and support.

Dave Thompson   
Alan Braverman  
Scott Powers    

Software Development Group
National Center for Supercomputing Applications

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