cannot install ActiveTCL on Linux Ubuntu

Posted by rv55 on 2011-11-19 18:51

I downloaded ActiveTcl 8.5.11 for Linux and tried to install it on Ubuntu. No other tcl program is installed. I run as indicated and nothing happens.

ActiveState Staff
Tue, 2011-11-22 09:25

What version of Ubuntu are you using ?

When starts you should see a small GUI which guides you through the installation.
This GUI is not appearing ?

Are you installing from a text based console, or from a terminal window under X11 ?

scooby-2 | Wed, 2011-12-14 08:44

My problem is similar - the install went OK, however I cannot find how to start it.

I am running Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS and I have installed ActiveTcl 8.4.

I followed the instructions to amend the PATH & MANPATH variables which were displayed at the end of the installation. I have tried running most of the scripts/executables in /opt/ActiveTcl-8.4/bin/ directory but these either:
1. Print a "%" symbol on the terminal screen and do nothing else
2. Lock up the machine requiring a kill from root to stop
3. Do nothing

I tried the "Asteroids" demo - it ran fine (good consolation).

There is no new menu entry anywhere (after rebooting also).

Sorry, but I am a newbie to Tcl and realise I'm probably missing something really obvious - I just need pointing in the right direction.


andrea.tosoni | Sun, 2012-01-08 13:31


I installed the ActiveTcl under Ubuntu some minutes ago. When start the installation script it select how path /opt/ActiveTcl-...

But this path normally isn't in the path where Ubuntu try to find the executable programs. To solve this problem, you have two possibilities:
1. Add /opt/ActiveTcl-.../bin directory to your search path
2. Create as administrator (sudo) one link in /usr/bin to the command that you'd like to call (for example with8.5 and tclsh8.5). One time that you had create the links you can run directly tclsh8.5 or wish8.5 in one terminal.

Best regards,


ye0213 | Sat, 2013-12-28 11:43

Hi, I have this same problem and I use linux 12.04 and the GUI didn't appear.I try to run it on terminal,type sudo and drag it in.A new terminal shows up a sec,and quick close.

I'm new to linux.please help.

ActiveState Staff
Fri, 2014-01-10 14:41

There are a number of ways you can mis-install ActiveTcl if you are working from the Ubuntu Desktop GUI.

Use the Terminal app to get a command line, and follow the process described in the Installation Guide. Try not to drag and drop anything. If you install to your home directory, you will not need to sudo and you will be able to add Tcl modules later without needing sudo.

*Important* Do not use the Ubuntu Archive Manager to extract the tar file.

ActiveState Staff
Wed, 2011-12-14 10:24

Regarding (1) I guess that the executable is 'tclsh', right ?
If so the behaviour is correct. "tclsh" is a shell, like the "bash" driving the terminal window. The '%' is the prompt, equivalent to the '>' shown by bash in the terminal. In this mode you can type Tcl commands interactively.

Regarding (2), what executable is that ? I have never seen something like that.
Regarding (3), again, which executable ?

The asteroids demo running is good, it means that Tcl is actually working.

given that you are a newbie I would recommend that you look at tutorials and introduction for Tcl, like


The next to last url is a search in the Tcler's Wiki, a large collection of tips, tricks, advice, code snippets, and the like, maintained by whoever wants.

scooby-2 | Wed, 2011-12-14 11:57

Hi Andreas

Thanks for the lightning quick response.

Regarding item 2 - it's tkcon that ties up the console.
Regarding item 3 - I don't remember which one it was now - none do it now but I have rebooted since.

Thank you for explaining the tclsh command and the comment regarding the asteroids
demo - I figured tcl is working but I wrongly thought tcl had a GUI front end. After a quick look at the links you posted - they seem excellent! I tried Googling for tcl help but got nothing as good as these. I really need the absolute beginner stuff right now!

I found a post on a Ubuntu forum, where someone thought they had the exact same problem as me. I'll update it with a link to this thread.

Thanks again.


ActiveState Staff
Wed, 2011-12-14 12:35

tkcon is a Tcl script using the Tk GUI package. It opens an X11 window which is an interactive console similar to what tclsh does, except it is in its own window, has menus, and such. That might be the GUI frontend you thought of.

If you are running your terminal under X11 you should see it come up.

If you are running from a non-graphical console (i.e. not a terminal window, but a true console) then it will try to talk to whatever X server is noted in the DISPLAY environment variable. If no such is set it should exit with a failure, like so:
Application initialization failed: no display name and no $DISPLAY environment variable

If it managed to talk to an X server however then it will simply run, pop the window up there, you will not see that window because of you sitting at the true non-graphical console.

It should still react to ^C for killing from that console. Or ^Z to put it in the background, and then you can 'kill' it via that command.