Installation for Developers

Setting up a Development Environment on Linux or Mac

Prerequisites: make and change to a working directory to contain the new source code and build. Then download the bootstrap script:


or if wget is not available:

curl >



Explanation: Several steps are performed: update, base, build. If desired, they can be run individually at the command line:

python update
python base
python build
  • “update” checks out or updates source code to the ‘modules’ directory

  • “base” downloads and installs python and third party python packages to the ‘conda_base’ directory

  • “build” configures and compiles dials and cctbx

For subsequent login sessions, be sure to set the environment in order to use the command-line dispatchers:

source dials

ModuleNotFoundError: No module named ‘gltbx_gl_ext’

If you are seeing this error then you need to add libgl/glu/khr headers to your installation. Please follow these instructions.

Downloading the DIALS regression test data

The DIALS regression test data, needed for some of the DIALS tests, will be downloaded automatically when needed via the dials-data package. See the dials-data instructions for more information.

There is also a private dials_regression repository that is still used for some historic tests. For those with svn access to the CCI server, this can be obtained as follows, replacing “USERNAME” for your username:

cd modules
svn checkout svn+ssh:// dials_regression

You do not need to configure the dials_regression module to run dials or dxtbx tests.

Keeping a Development Environment current

While you can always create a new development environment from scratch using the instructions above, it may be much preferable to update an existing environment. For that you may find the guide for updating a development environment in the DIALS Github repository wiki handy.