1.1.4. Fedora and Red Hat Linux: The essential system setup

What to do?

Here we describe installation and system setup for reasonably modern Linux versions of Fedora (21+) and Red Hat (RHEL) 7, along with the corresponding CentOS 7.

Each step involves either:
  1. copying+pasting commands (from the green fields) into the terminal, or
  2. clicking on a link to download+install a package.

We assume the user has admin privileges (can run sudo ...), and some steps require an internet connection. Some steps depend on the OS version.

To find out what shell you are using (e.g., bash or tcsh), type:

echo $0
  1. Do all steps.
  2. Run afni_system_check.py -check_all in the “Evaluate” stage.
  3. And follow the system check recommendations in the output “Please Fix” section.

Install prerequisite packages

  • For Fedora 21 (and higher), copy+paste:

    sudo yum install -y tcsh libXp openmotif gsl xorg-x11-fonts-misc       \
                        PyQt4 R-devel netpbm-progs gnome-tweak-tool ed     \
    sudo yum update -y
  • For CentOS/RHEL 7, copy+paste:

    sudo yum install -y epel-release
    sudo yum install -y tcsh libXp openmotif gsl xorg-x11-fonts-misc       \
                        PyQt4 R-devel netpbm-progs gnome-tweak-tool ed     \
                        libpng12 xorg-x11-server-Xvfb
    sudo yum update -y

Purpose: Installs a lot of packages that AFNI depends on (so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel!).

Install AFNI binaries


curl -O https://afni.nimh.nih.gov/pub/dist/bin/linux_ubuntu_16_64/@update.afni.binaries
tcsh @update.afni.binaries -package linux_openmp_64 -do_extras

Purpose: These commands: download and unpack the current binaries into your $HOME directory (and yes, that @update* file works even, even though it is in the “ubuntu” directory); set the AFNI binary directory name to $HOME/abin/; and add that location to the $PATH in both ~/.cshrc and ~/.bashrc.


if the binary package has already been downloaded, one can use -local_package, followed by the location+name of the binary file, e.g.:

tcsh @update.afni.binaries -local_package linux_openmp_64.tgz -do_extras


Copy+paste (to reboot):


Purpose: This deals with system updates, any change in login shell, and path updates.

Install R

  1. Copy+paste the following:

    • for tcsh:

      setenv R_LIBS $HOME/R
      mkdir $R_LIBS
      echo 'setenv R_LIBS ~/R' >> ~/.cshrc
      curl -O https://afni.nimh.nih.gov/pub/dist/src/scripts_src/@add_rcran_ubuntu.tcsh
      sudo tcsh @add_rcran_ubuntu.tcsh
    • for bash:

      export R_LIBS=$HOME/R
      mkdir $R_LIBS
      echo 'export R_LIBS=$HOME/R' >> ~/.bashrc
      curl -O https://afni.nimh.nih.gov/pub/dist/src/scripts_src/@add_rcran_ubuntu.tcsh
      sudo tcsh @add_rcran_ubuntu.tcsh

    Purpose: Setup modern R from scratch. This relies on the environment variable $R_LIBS, which specifies where to install the packages and where to read them from later (when R programs run). The file obtained using curl contains instructions to add a more uptodate set of R libraries to the source list.

  2. Copy+paste the following:

    rPkgsInstall -pkgs ALL

    Purpose: Get specific R packages needed for AFNI programs.

Make AFNI/SUMA profiles

Copy+paste the following:

cp $HOME/abin/AFNI.afnirc $HOME/.afnirc
suma -update_env

Purpose: As noted in the Technical notes, AFNI and SUMA have a lot of default settings, controlled using environment variables. The above initializes vanilla-mode profiles with default values for both AFNI and SUMA.

These files ($HOME/.afnirc and $HOME/.sumarc) can be edited to the user’s heart’s content, setting up specific profile features you want when using AFNI and SUMA (e.g., having left=left when viewing axial slices, making default colorbars, etc.).

Prepare for Bootcamp

Copy+paste the following:

curl -O https://afni.nimh.nih.gov/pub/dist/edu/data/CD.tgz
tar xvzf CD.tgz
cd CD
tcsh s2.cp.files . ~
cd ..

Purpose: In order, these commands: get the tarred+zipped directory that contains the class data (and is hence named “CD”), downloading it to the current location in the terminal; untar/unzip it (=opens it up); go into the newly opened directory; execute a script to copy the files to $HOME/CD/; and finally exit the directory.

At this point, if there have been no errors, you can delete/remove the tarred/zipped package, using “rm CD.tgz”. If you are really confident, you can also deleted the CD tree in the present location (but leaving it in $HOME/CD/).


If using Linux terminal commands is new to you, then do look over the handy Unix documentation/tutorial and practice a few of the basic commands on your own system (e.g., ls, cd, less, etc.). It will greatly enhance your bootcamp experience– we promise!

Evaluate setup/system (important!)

  1. Copy+paste the following, and read the displayed “Please Fix” section at the end of the output (try the suggestions there!):

    afni_system_check.py -check_all

    ... and, for extra help, copy+paste this:

    afni_system_check.py -check_all > out.afni_system_check.txt

    and email the file “out.afni_system_check.txt” to your local AFNI Guru for advice.

  2. Open up the AFNI and SUMA GUIs, juuuust to make sure all is well:


    Report any crashes!

  3. If the “system check” gives any errors, please:

Niceify terminal (optional, but goood)

To improve your life when using the terminal, copy+paste these:

echo 'set filec'    >> ~/.cshrc
echo 'set autolist' >> ~/.cshrc
echo 'set nobeep'   >> ~/.cshrc

echo 'alias ls ls --color=auto' >> ~/.cshrc
echo 'alias ll ls --color -l'   >> ~/.cshrc
echo 'alias ls="ls --color"'    >> ~/.bashrc
echo 'alias ll="ls --color -l"' >> ~/.bashrc

Purpose: The first commands set up tab autocompletion for tcsh (which should already be enabled for bash users by default). The second set of commands make aliases so that different types of files (“normal” files, zipped files, executables, et al.) and directories are shown using different colors and boldness. It makes it much easier to navigate on a terminal, IMHO.

Keep up-to-date (remember!)

  1. To update your AFNI any time in the future, just run:

    @update.afni.binaries -d

    That’s it!!

    Purpose: This will automatically download the correct, latest AFNI version to your computer, replacing your old binaries. It will also update the apearch help information. Update often!

  2. Check your AFNI version by typing:

    afni -ver

    Purpose: Report this useful info, whenever asking a question on the Message Board!


The record of all changes (new options, new programs, bug fixes, et al.) in AFNI programs is maintained for all to see in the online AFNI History.