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DX (OpenDX)


OpenDX is a programming environment for data visualization and analysis that employs a data-flow driven client-server execution model. It provides a graphical program editor that allows the user to create an interactive visualization using a point and click interface. It supports interactions in a number of ways, including via a graphical user interface with direct (i.e., in images) and indirect (i.e., via Motif widgets) interactors, visual programming, a high-level scripting language and a programming API. Furthermore, the indirect interactors are data-driven (i.e., self-configuring by data characteristics). Visual and scripting language programming support hierarchy (i.e., macros) and thus, can be used to build complete applications. The programming API provides data support, error handling, access to lower level tools, etc. for building modules and is associated with a Module Builder utility. A good first look at OpenDX is available at the wikipedia OpenDX entry.


Machines and Versions

See LC graphics software page.


/usr/local/tools/opendx, /usr/local/bin/dx


To run the latest version of OpenDX for your platform, no environment variables are needed. Simply type dx . To access the man pages for OpenDX, type use opendx , then man dx .

See the dx man page for a description of other, optional environment variables.


Just type dx to run the OpenDX GUI.

To get the DX visual program editor to start up directly, instead of the regular dx menu, you can either set DXARGS=-edit and type dx , or type dx -edit instead of dx .


HTML documentation for OpenDX is available on the clusters by typing firefox /usr/local/tools/opendx/html/index.htm

NOTE: As of December 2013, it appears that OpenDX might be going the way of the dodo bird. The and websites appear to be permanently down. No information about this appears to be available on the Web.

See the OpenDX support page. It includes a link to the IBM Data Explorer user's manual in PDF form, which is essentially correct for OpenDX 4.1.3. There is also a link to a QuickStart, a FAQ, and extensive online archives of e-mail and newsgroup postings. A book, "OpenDX Paths to Visualization," is available from

A dx tutorial and sample programs are available from the dx window. Man pages are available; see Environment above for how to access them.

Help is available from the, (925) 422-4531.


Since OpenDX is open source software, you can download and build OpenDX for your workstation without charge or restriction. Warning: it is not a trivial install and doesn't build on all platforms.