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New procedure for updating SolarSoft

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Updating SolarSoft with WGET

As of 7 August 2019, NASA has started blocking outside access to all ftp servers Because of this, we have changed the way that users will install and keep their SolarSoft distribution up-to-date, using a combination of the command line programs curl and wget. This page will explain how to convert to this new system. The conversion is a three-step process, consisting of:

  1. Installing wget
  2. Preparing SolarSoft for wget
  3. Updating SolarSoft

(We've received some reports that users who have already followed this procedure, but haven't updated SolarSoft in a long while, are having problems updating again. The problem can be resolved by replacing the file $SSW/gen/idl/ssw_system/ssw_upgrade_mirror2wget.pro with this version.)

1. Installing wget

The procedure for installing wget will depend on the operating system:


Microsoft Windows users will not have to install wget. Instead, a wget executable will be distributed with SolarSoft in step 2.

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We anticipate that most Linux installations will already have wget installed. You can check if this is the case by entering the command "which wget" at the command line. If it is not installed on your system, you can install it from source using the following procedure:

  1. Download the file wget-latest.tar.gz.
  2. In the directory containing the downloaded file, enter the command
    tar -xvf wget-latest.tar.gz
  3. cd to the directory created by the above command, and enter the commands:
    sudo make install
    We've heard reports that some Linux systems require the configure command to read
    ./configure --with-ssl=openssl
    It may also be necessary to first set the environment PKG_CONFIG_PATH to the location of the file openssl.pc, e.g.
    setenv PKG_CONFIG_PATH /opt/puppetlabs/puppet/lib/pkgconfig
Although we have not tried it ourselves, the Homebrew method described for MacOS below may also work in Linux.

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You can check to see if you already have wget installed by typing the command "which wget" at the command line. The simplest way to install wget in MacOS is to use Homebrew:

  1. If not already installed, in the bash shell, install Homebrew with the command
    /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
  2. Install wget with the command
    brew install wget

An alternative way to install wget is with MacPorts, via the command
sudo port install wget
after MacPorts has been installed.

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2. Preparing SolarSoft for wget

Since ftp is no longer available, SolarSoft has to be updated to use wget. The procedure to do this is as follows:

  1. Windows users should first make a note of what SSW_INSTR is set to in $SSW\site\setup\sswidl.bat.
  2. Go to http://www.lmsal.com/solarsoft/
  3. For "Installation Type", select "Upgrade Existing".
  4. For "Transfer Protocol", select "curl".
  5. Specify the existing path to SSW on your computer.
  6. Windows users should make sure that the "BINARIES" package is selected. Otherwise, no additional instruments or packages need be selected.
  7. Click on "Generate Installation Script"
  8. Download the installation script or Windows ZIP file
  9. Follow the directions under "What do I do next?"
  10. In Windows, edit the file $SSW\site\setup\sswidl.bat to reinstate your list of instruments, e.g.
    set SSW_INSTR=chianti ontology sunspice

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3. Updating SolarSoft

The following command will automatically update the SSW and SSWDB trees:

IDL> .run go_update_ssw
Be aware that the first time you do an update with the new system, it may take longer than normal. On Linux and MacOS, you can create an executable script file with the following lines:
#!/bin/csh $SSW/gen/bin/ssw_batch go_update_ssw $SSW/site/setup/update_ssw.log
Many users already have such a script set up, and can continue to use it with the new system.

The following steps can be used to set up a script to update SolarSoft in Windows:

  1. In the directory $SSW\site\setup, copy the file sswidl.bat to a new file, e.g. update_ssw.bat.
  2. In the newly created file, replace the last line, which should currently read "start idlde", to the following two lines:
    cd C:\Program Files\Exelis\IDL85\bin\bin.x86_64
    idl C:\ssw\site\setup\start_update_ssw > C:\ssw\site\setup\update_ssw.log
    Note that the "cd" command must point to the current location of IDL on your system, and may differ from what is shown above. Newer versions of IDL may be in a "Harris" subdirectory instead of "Exelis".
  3. In the same directory, create the file start_update_ssw, containing the following two lines.
    .run go_update_ssw
The resulting file update_ssw.bat can be used to update your local copy of the SSW tree. If you already have Daily.bat set up to run automatically on a daily schedule, you can replace Daily.bat with the above created batch file.

In all systems (Windows/MacOS/Linux), the SolarSoft tree will be updated by default based on the SSW_INSTR environment variable. This can be overridden by creating the file $SSW/site/setup/setup.ssw_upgrade with an alternative SSW_INSTR definition. For example, you could have a setup.ssw_upgrade file with the line

SSW_INSTR chianti, sunspice, cds, eit, lasco, mdi, aia, psp
If you have such a file, it should at least contain all the packages that you have in your reqular definition of SSW_INSTR.

The file $SSW/site/setup/setup.sswdb_upgrade describes which SSWDB packages should be updated. Each package is listed on a separate line, e.g.


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Last Revised: Thursday, 29-Sep-2022 20:03:31 UTC
Responsible NASA Official: [email address: Therese.A.Kucera<at>nasa<dot>gov]
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