What to do if ENVI/IDL are crashing Linux with this message: Bus error (core dumped)

NOTE: This issue could affect any version of ENVI/IDL on any flavor of Linux, but is most commonly reported so far on Ubuntu and Fedora systems. 



When launching ENVI, or attempting to load any graphics window or widget in IDL, you may experience a crash with the following error message displayed in the terminal: 

Bus error (core dumped)


This crash will also occur when attempting to complete license activation through the ENVI-IDL License Administrator GUI since that tool is an IDL-based widget. 



This problem was first detected in late 2023 and has been tied to a recent Linux library update (likely libgl) which has broken ENVI/IDL's ability to use its default hardware (GPU) rendering. 

A temporary work-around is to rename the "gl_driver.so" file inside the IDL distribution by following these instructions:

  1. Move to this directory:

        For ENVI: <install_dir>/envixx/idlxx/bin/bin.linux.x86_64
        For IDL: <install_dir>/idlxx/bin/bin.linux.x86_64
  2. Rename the file "gl_driver.so"    to    "gl_driver.bak"
  3. Confirm the change is in effect by launching ENVI or making a simple graphics call in IDL, such as "p = plot(/test)". Neither of those should crash now. 


NOTE: This work-around completely disables hardware rendering in ENVI and IDL with a fallback to software (CPU) rendering. This may have a slight performance hit for intensive graphics in IDL, but for the most part any decrease should be small. Impacts on ENVI performance could be more significant, dependent on what you are doing. 




 3/20/2024 Created by BC on 03/20/2024 | Reviewed by TS on