tachyon: A ray tracing system


Tachyon is a raytracer developed by John E. Stone. Tachyon supports the typical ray tracer features, most of the common geometric primitives, shading and texturing modes, etc. It also supports less common features such as HDR image output, ambient occlusion lighting, and support for various triangle mesh and volumetric texture formats beneficial for molecular visualization (e.g. rendering VMD scenes).

Currently not all of Tachyon’s functionality is exported by the Sage interface.


Copyright (c) 1994-2010 John E. Stone All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

  2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

  3. The name of the author may not be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.


This spkg depends on:

  • libpng

Special Update/Build Instructions

  • Delete the scenes directory, which has lots of cool examples.

  • Delete the msvc directory, which is also large and not used within Sage.

  • The CVS subdirectories are currently (almost) empty, but should otherwise be deleted.

  • The upstream files had strange permissions, i.e. some source files were executable, while almost all files weren’t world-readable.

  • There’s seems to be some crap like tachyon.html.tar.gz and a few .#* files I haven’t [yet] deleted, since they’re not that large.

  • TODO: Check whether building multi-threaded versions on MacOS X meanwhile works. (This was said to fail with an old beta.)

  • TODO: Use patch instead of copying over pre-patched files.

  • TODO: [Optionally] also install some of the documentation.

  • TODO: I doubt the CFLAGS set for AIX and HP-UX won’t get overridden by the created Makefile, but that’s a minor issue. -leif



Version Information



Equivalent System Packages


$ sudo pacman -S  tachyon tachyon-opengl


$ conda install tachyon tachyon-opengl


$ sudo apt-get install  tachyon tachyon-opengl


$ sudo yum install  tachyon tachyon-opengl


$ sudo pkg install tachyon tachyon-opengl


$ sudo emerge tachyon tachyon-opengl


$ nix-env --install tachyon tachyon-opengl


$ sudo zypper install tachyon tachyon-opengl

See https://repology.org/project/tachyon/versions, https://repology.org/project/tachyon-opengl/versions

If the system package is installed, ./configure will check whether it can be used.