OpenGL / GLUT / FreeGlut and the mouse wheel in PyMol.

André Bleau
Wed Sep 22 15:36:00 GMT 2010

"Jan Gebauer" <mail at jan-gebauer dot de> wrote:
> Hi,
Hi Jan,
> I'm new to this mailing list and hope my question is not a total obvious
> one, but at the end of the day I'm more a scientist than a programmer. So
> I hope I got the facts right.
> I'm trying to build PyMol, an open-core molecular visualisation program
> with cygwin (
> This software uses OpenGL for displaying three-dimensional structures of
> proteins on the screen and allows manipulating these structure in various
> ways in 3D. It also allows true three-dimensional display with the
> (Nvidia) shutter glasses.
> It took my a while to get all the dependencies right, but I was finally
> able to build it successfully and it works in nearly all aspects.
> However, the program does not recognise any input in the "graphic/display
> window" from the mouse wheel, although the TKinter/Tcl based menu window
> does accept scroll events.
> Together with a colleague, we figured out that the win32 port of GLUT
> might be the problem, as it seems not to handle mouse wheel events
> (source:
The win32 port of GLUT predates the mouse wheel and has stalled. No hope of an update upstream.

> My colleague was able to build PyMol with the X11 headers and Libs and
> then the mouse wheel worked, but the speed was (as expected) not
> acceptable.
> What are you thinking, is the win32 version of GLUT really the problem?
> I did found FreeGlut and as it should be a "modern clone" of GLUTÂ, I
> tried to compile it for Cygwin. I got an cygglut-0.dll and some header
> files, but they never compiled well with PyMol (which uses a rather
> complicated python script).
> My colleague found this message from Andrà Bleau
>, where Mr. Bleau
> stated he hopes to publish GLUT32 replacement based on FreeGlut around
> 2010.
I tried porting the Win32 version of FreeGLUT to Cygwin, but ran into problems,
mainly with the menus. Replacing GLUT by FreeGlut in my package would not be a
wise thing to do at this point.
> I just wonder if this new package will be available any-time soon or if
> anyone else has a good idea how to proceed with this problem?
I am working, very slowly, on improving FreeGLUT. Don't expect anything from me before 2011.
The X11 version of FreeGlut might benefit from hardware accelerated OpenGL at some point,
but that is something that I will let the X11 maintainers talk about. You can find some 
previous discussion at .
For the immediate time, your only option seems to stick with Win32 GLUT and do without
mousewheel support.
> With kind regards,
> Jan Gebauer
> PS: Thanks to all the cygwin contributors, it's the first time I used it
> and it works rather great!
> --
> Dr. Jan Gebauer
> Phone: +44 20 7594 7915 | Fax: +44  20 7589 0191
> Research group: Dr. E. Hohenester
> Division of Cell & Molecular Biology
> Imperial College London
> Biophysics Section, Blackett Laboratory
> London SW7 2AZ
André Bleau, Cygwin's OpenGL package maintainer.
Please send any comment or question about the OpenGL package to cygwin at cygwin dot com, not to me.


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