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Pouncing on Snow Leopard 108

Posted by admin,

I’d like to welcome guest blogger Ken Atwell from the MATLAB Technical Marketing team this week to talk about running MATLAB on the newly released Snow Leopard.

If you are a Mac user, you’re probably as excited about the recent release of OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) as we are. We’ve been testing MATLAB with developer seeds of Snow Leopard for some time and we’re happy that everyone will now get to use it. You can expect our formal system requirements to be updated in the next several days.

We’re especially happy that Snow Leopard is being introduced at (almost) the same time as our R2009b release, which includes a shiny new native 64-bit version of MATLAB on the Mac. This will be a boon to anyone working with large data sets in MATLAB. On the user interface side, you can expect to see new features that Mac users will find especially agreeable – stay tuned to this blog over the next several weeks as we talk about the new UI features in R2009b. We also busily continue to remove the last vestiges of X11 from MATLAB. While it will take a couple more releases to completely expunge it, MATLAB is, for the most part, now free of its X11 heritage.

For those migrating to Snow Leopard, you can expect to see the resolution of a couple of irritating UI quirks:

  1. MATLAB correctly interacts with OS X’s Spaces feature (previously, application focus had never been set correctly).
  2. Application switching with the keyboard (Command-Tab and Shift-Command-Tab) also sets focus correctly.
  3. Figures have improved graphics performance.

Finally, we also have a few small things to look out for if you’re adopting Snow Leopard. We are working with Apple on all of these issues:

  1. There is a problem in R2007a and R2007b where the Command History window will not be displayed. While this may be addressed in a future OS X update, if you are still on these older MATLAB releases, we strongly encourage you to upgrade… MATLAB has come a long way on the Mac in the last two years.
  2. Data tips (the yellow pop-ups you see when you hover the mouse over a variable in the Editor) may show stale values.
  3. We have noticed that buttons at the bottom of some dialog boxes are clipped by a few pixels (see screenshot below). This is a cosmetic defect only.

  4. We expect these issues to be resolved very soon in an Apple software update.

    We look forward to hearing about your MATLAB experiences on Snow Leopard. Will you be upgrading to Snow Leopard in the near future? Do you plan on adopting 64-bit MATLAB?


Comments are closed.

108 CommentsOldest to Newest

yonatron replied on : 1 of 108

The news that you have mentioned is great. But I notice you omitted any mention of the menu bar. Are MATLAB menus still attached to their windows in R2009b? Or does “free from its X11 heritage” mean that you’ve finally got a standard Mac menu bar in there?

kena replied on : 2 of 108

Yonatron —

The menu is still attached to the window and not the top of the screen. We’ve been peeling back layers of this onion for several releases but some technical roadblocks (not related to X11, by the way) still stand in our way.

If any reader has particularly strong feelings about Mac usability concerns like this and is open to a telephone conversation/interview with me, drop me a line at


Joseph Slater replied on : 3 of 108

I plan on updating when 2009b comes out, but for now, will 2009a work on snow leopard? All I need is basic functionality, not full validation of every feature.

kena replied on : 4 of 108

Joe —

With the exception of the few glitches described above, 9a works well under Snow Leopard.


Jveer replied on : 5 of 108

this all sounds very promising! finally 64 bit! and what a relief to see x11 go!

however i’m very curious to know what the benchmarks are like on snow leopard.

r2009a turned out to be so disappointing on leopard that i had to run my simulations on vista 64 via boot camp on my macbook pro. results from bench on same machine:

– leopard: 0.0847 0.2355 0.1930 0.3340 0.6943 1.4934 i.e. second from bottom!!!!!!!!

– vista 64 via bootcamp with no drivers installed – (1) [0.0648 0.1604 0.2453 0.2550 0.5065 0.3547] (2) [0.1291 0.1239 0.1969 0.2954 0.4225 0.3515] i.e. 2nd from top!

also note that somehow the LU value seems to vary quite a lot on vista 64 bit!!

how do the benchmarks for r2009b on snow leopard compare to the ones vista 64 and linux 64?

and how abt opencl? are they any plans whatsoever to tap into into the gpu?

yonatron replied on : 6 of 108

Thanks for the quick response, Ken. I think it’s fantastic that The MathWorks has so many people blogging, and especially that you’re willing to have a phone conversation to address people’s concerns. The menu bar thing is more of a minor annoyance for me than anything that interferes with my workflow. I usually learn keyboard shortcuts for any commands I use more than a few times. Still, it’s nice for programs to look consistent.

Something with far bigger impact is the way text fields look in MATLAB-created GUI controls. A lot of the time the text is cropped at the top and bottom, rendered almost unreadable. (I’m at work on a Windows box right now, so I can’t whip up a screenshot, but I imagine you’ve heard these complaints before.) Do text boxes look any better in R2009b?

Tobias Siegfried replied on : 8 of 108

ok guys,
here are a couple of observations from my side. I run Matlab 2009a on Snow Leopard on both, a MacBook Pro (2007 version) and a Mac Pro (2008) version. All clean new installs from scratch. Both machines run 32bit Kernels at this time.

Apart from the above descirbed UI quirks no obvious problems.

However, there are issues two issues I envcounter. If I start Matlab from the terminal with

> matlab -nodesktop

I get the following the following warning messages

2009-09-01 08:11:10.060 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x3687900 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.062 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d4f900 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.063 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d637c0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.067 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d68ca0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.067 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d3bc60 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.067 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d3bc80 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.067 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d3bca0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.068 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d386a0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.068 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d386c0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.068 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d5a3d0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.069 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d386e0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-01 08:11:10.069 MATLAB[40393:3503] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x4d683c0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking

The second issue is speed. Whereas 2009a was performing somewhat reasonably on Leopard (all through 1.5.8), Matlab now crawls on Snow Leopard. Esp. if I use the parfor – parallel loop option, I get zero speed gains. since I do no longer have a Leopard / Matlab 2009a combination to do benchmarking available, I can only guess that things now run 2 x – 5 x times slower than before? and this really kills usability of Matlab – big time!

does anybody have an idea of what is going on here? is this related to OpenCL? or some 32bit / 62 bit issues?
any help would be appreciated.

greetings, tobias.

ps: I also posted this observations on

Bill replied on : 9 of 108

I find it interesting that ‘performance’ issues, that is, the abysmal performance of Matlab on any Mac OS version get no response from the Mathworks folks.

Ken replied on : 10 of 108


I’m not sure what you mean by “‘performance’ issues […] get no response from the MathWorks folks”. We’ve commented multiple times about how we’re working to improve performance on the Mac, specifically the rendering pipeline.


kena replied on : 12 of 108

To touch on the performance questions above…

I didn’t talk about performance in the original post because this blog is ostensibly about the desktop UI, but performance is naturally an important topic. One would expect that, all else being equal, OS X would perform roughly the same as others platforms in long-running and compute-intensive situations. However, this is complicated in practice because we build MATLAB with different compilers on different platforms and we use libraries that sometimes do not perform consistently across all OS/CPU/threading permutations. In the case of I/O-intensive or graphics-intensive MATLAB applications, we would expect even more variation between platforms because these applications are more “exposed” to variations in the operating systems’ implementation of these services and other external factors (disk and network latency, for example).

This is born out in the BENCH results for R2009b (64-bit) on my Mac (Intel Core i7 running BootCamp with Snow Leopard and Windows 7 (RTM)). I used the following script:

bench; a = bench(16);

Best times:

Win7       0.0389    0.0936    0.1879    0.2130    0.5026    0.4422
10.6       0.0468    0.0835    0.1827    0.4425    0.4225    0.5211

We can see that Snow Leopard was faster in columns 2,3,5 (FFT, ODE, 2D graphics), but slower in columns in columns 1,6 (LU, 3-D graphics), and very much slower in column 4 (sparse). So, how the Mac will perform relative to other platforms is hard to predict and really depends on the individual application. In the blogosphere I do hear reports of applications in BootCamp/Parallels environments that perform very much worse on OS X than Windows. If your application is among those and you’re in a position where you can share source code with me, please feel free to contact me at

There was a question about OpenCL: It is something we’re aware of and looking at with interest, but I cannot make any specific comment or commitment.

Finally, Tobias, I’m willing to dig into the parfor problem you are seeing in Snow Leopard, please contact me. I will also research the NSAutoreleaseNoPool message.

Bill replied on : 13 of 108

Thanks Kena, I stand corrected… I think. Your discussion about compilers and libraries is helpful.

I just got OS 10.6. So when 2009b comes out I’ll do some benching, but it’ll be with XP, not Win7. I promise to look past the bar chart and into the numbers in the columns. It’s the simple bar chart that makes me go… huh?

Michael Joseph Antaran replied on : 14 of 108

I am using the education version of 2009a and so far so good. Not doing much of simulation. But fundamental Matlab components are working as expected.

Olive replied on : 16 of 108

This is persnickity, but I have Matlab 2007a and y axis labels in plots are basically being printed in reverse, so they’re unreadable. I should have switched to 2009 a while ago anyhow.

Michael replied on : 17 of 108

Yes…I’m having the same issue as Olive, i.e. I’m running Matlab 2007A (haven’t had the budget to upgrade yet) and recently installed Snow Leopard on my macbook pro. Y-axis labels on plots are completely messed up…is there a way to fix this (w/o upgrading, I mean)?

Thank you.

j replied on : 18 of 108

It’s nice to know that matlab is getting better and better on the mac.

On the issue of performance, however, I still find that running Matlab 2009a on a Windows VM via Parallels is much faster (i mean 8x) than the same code running “natively”.

BTW the code is NOT graphically oriented but basic DSP filtering routines.

Still a long way to go. Matlab and Onenote are THE only reason i keep Windows on mac, i look forward to the day when it won’t be necessary.

honeysyd replied on : 19 of 108

I am a mac user and interested in buying 2009b as my current version of matlab (R2007a) causes a lot of problem in my intel macbook pro after installing the snow leopard. However I am not able to purchase from the mathwork website.

Please instruct me where I can purchase 2009b. I have two questions as below.

Does the 2009b version support the 64bit snow leopard?
Should I purchase 2009a first and then upgrade it to 2009b?

I wonder if 2009b has been released. If not, when is the expected releasing date?

kena replied on : 21 of 108

j (#18), please contact me if you can share your source code.

Honeysyd (#19/20), I believe you can *not* buy the R2009a student version (the latest, which has a 32-bit Mac build) and then upgrade to 9b.

Ken replied on : 22 of 108

@Olive and Michael,

Thanks for reporting this issue. I’ve reproduced it on a Snow Leopard machine here and submitted a bug.


honeysyd replied on : 23 of 108

Hello, Kena. Thank you for your prompt reply. According to the mathwork website, Matlab 2009a student version is now available.

I wonder if I purchase this product, then it is possible to upgrade it to the 2009b version.

It might be stupid to ask again. Does the 2009b upgraded from the 2009a student version support 64 bit?

Ken replied on : 24 of 108

Hi honeysyd,

R2009b will be available very, very soon, so I’d recommend waiting for it to be released. As for the pricing of MATLAB, that’s tied closely to your user profile, so make sure you’ve indicated that your usage of MATLAB will be as a student. If you go back to the purchasing page you should see an accurate price.


Matt replied on : 25 of 108

Is there a work around for R2007a to get MATLAB to appear?

If I really do have to upgrade it will be the 3rd time I’ve bought MATLAB in 3 years and I’m absolutely furious about it.

Ken replied on : 26 of 108


We’ve run MATLAB R2007a on Snow Leopard, so you’ll have to elaborate on exactly what’s not working. What are the three versions of MATLAB you’ve had to purchase and what were the reasons you had to upgrade? Was R2007a the most recent version you bought?


Olive replied on : 27 of 108

Okay, now I’ve switched to 2009a. Matlab 2009a and Spaces are not playing well together (previously I was using VirtueDesktops and Tiger with 2007a, which worked fine), and I’m having a host of window management problems. Sometimes the main window will stay on top when I change focus to the editor, Expose only sees some of my Matlab windows, and Dashboard will appear behind Matlab. Basically, all the special window management features are choking, like the Matlab windows are an entirely different species of window from all the other windows. Maybe this needs a reboot more than a software fix, but it hasn’t resolved itself yet and I feel like I wrestling with the computer to reach the editor window.

It’s hard to explain exactly reproduce the problem, because it’s sort of a general squirreliness.

adamp replied on : 28 of 108

I have matlab 2008a on a macbook on which I recently upgraded to snow leopard. it works ok, but I’m having problems with mmreader. All videos are garbled noise.

I have access to matlab 2009b at work. Does the mmreader/snow leopard bug exist in 2009b? if so, for how long. I’d like to upgrade to snow leopard soon and take advantage of the 64 bit speed, but i’m doing video analysis, so it’s crucial I can access the videos! thanks


Ken replied on : 29 of 108

Hi adamp,

We’re currently working on a patch for the bug you mention. You can follow the bug here. Upgrading to R2009b won’t fix this issue.


lowly phd student replied on : 30 of 108

I just traded in my powermac g5 for a Xenon mac pro, and put 16gb of RAM in it. I can’t wait to get the 64bit version of MATLAB!

Once it comes out I’ll be able to do all my work that uses large files on my desktop instead of on a server.

Michael Balderson replied on : 31 of 108

I have R2008b but after upgrading to snow leopard the font is all weird and my code does not make any sense at all. Does anyone have any idea how to fix this?


Alex replied on : 32 of 108

Finally!!! I can’t wait for MATLAB runing the power of 64 bits. I’m working with a big amount of data using sparse matices I’ve niticed that 2008b is 2 times slower than 2007s, are this issue fixed in 2009b version?

Dan replied on : 33 of 108

It does not find the compiler! As I try to mex a file, I get:

/Applications/ line 1102: gcc-4.0: command not found
-> g++-4.0 -c -I/Applications/ -I/Applications/ -DMATLAB_MEX_FILE -fno-common -no-cpp-precomp -fexceptions -arch x86_64 -isysroot /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk -mmacosx-version-min=10.5 -DMX_COMPAT_32 -O2 -DNDEBUG “GetDim.cpp”

/Applications/ line 992: g++-4.0: command not found

From the Terminal, I can run g++ no problem…
This is as disappointing as usual.

Jonas replied on : 34 of 108

I am using the 2009a 64-bit beta. Upgrading to Snow Leopard has been not much of a problem (and I love that I can order my many figure windows in expose with cmd+2!).

I also observe the ‘leaking’ warning, and I get a java error at random intervals when I’m typing/selecting/drag-dropping text in the command window, such as
Exception in thread “AWT-EventQueue-0” java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: 53
at sun.font.FontDesignMetrics.charsWidth( [etc]

Steve replied on : 35 of 108

I found a fix for the history window problem with 2007a.

In Snow leopard, Java 1.5 isn’t installed and everything is just linked to 1.6. You can download or find the JAVA VM version used in leopard and then chose to use that instead using the java preferences in the utilities folder.

Directions (and a link to Java 1.5.0) are here:

Life is good again.

Ken replied on : 37 of 108

Hi Ross,

Student versions are currently only planned for “a” releases (those come out at the beginning of the year), so there won’t be a student version of R2009b.


yonatron replied on : 38 of 108

Weird, I could’ve sworn there was a student version of R2008b. Though I wasn’t expecting it because I’d heard what you just said about the “a” releases. Was there an exception for that one release, or am I just imagining its existence?

xrhstos replied on : 40 of 108

question 2. how in the fuzzy toolbox (fuzzy c-mean clustering), after calculate the fcm, can i see the results? meaning the grade for each data point in order to write down the general U matrix. thank you much

Marcelo replied on : 42 of 108

Hi. I’m having problems trying to install 2009b on a macbook pro running snow leopard. I start the installer, it asks for my admin password and then quits. In the console the following messages appear:

9/15/09 9:47:34 AM [0x0-0x3d03d0].InstallForMacOSX 2009-09-15 09:47:34.190 MathWorksInstallerBE[10251:e07] *** -[NSKeyedUnarchiver initForReadingWithData:]: data is empty; did you forget to send -finishEncoding to the NSKeyedArchiver?
9/15/09 9:47:34 AM [0x0-0x3d03d0].InstallForMacOSX 2009-09-15 09:47:34.192 MathWorksInstallerBE[10251:e07] Unable to load nib file: MainMenu, exiting

Any idea?

Ken replied on : 43 of 108


The “a”-only policy for the student version has been like this for a while. R2008b was an exception.


Tobias replied on : 44 of 108

ok, update from my side. it turns out that the parallelization has not suffered from the update to Snow Leopard in 2009a – at least not in my example. most probably, it was the programmer, i.e. myself, who was to excited about updating while not making sure that his code was still running bug free (so much for parallelization).

also, thanks to Ken for insights and discussion, tobias.

Antonio replied on : 45 of 108

I was able to solve my Matlab student version 2007a issues by installing java 1.5 on Snow Leopard. I following the direction at:

but used the latest update from apple instead of update 4 I used update 5 at:

I then selected java J2SE 5.0 32 bit, in Java Preferences (in utilities folder) as my default.

I hope this helps others.

Steve replied on : 46 of 108

I will be switching over my Macpro laptop over to Snow Leopard soon. But I am not sure about installing Matlab on it due to the notorious performance issues of Matlab on OSX. I have tried it and ditched it. I currently run Matlab on my Linux box at work. And when I am at home, I’d rather use VNC to connect to my Linux box at work than deal with Matlab on my Macpro laptop.

Please show the benchmark results of Matlab running on the same Mac quad-booting OSX, Linux, and Windows (Vista & 7). If they are comparable, I’ll definitely buy another license for my laptop.

kena replied on : 47 of 108

Steve (@47) —

Expanding on my earlier post (@12), here are Ubuntu 9.04 numbers too. Remember that lower-is-better:

            LU        FFT       ODE       Sparse    2-D       3-D
Window 7    0.0389    0.0936    0.1879    0.2130    0.5026    0.4422
10.6        0.0468    0.0835    0.1827    0.4425    0.4225    0.5211
Ubuntu 9.04 0.0527    0.0805    0.1711    0.2069    0.5754    0.7652

These numbers are for the 64-bit version of R2009b on the same physical machine (eight-core Xeon i7 with NVIDIA graphics). Sorry, I don’t have a Windows Vista partition on this box, but I would expect it to perform similarly to Windows 7.

Abhay replied on : 48 of 108

R2009b on 64-bit MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard.
$~> matlab -nodesktop -nosplash
gives following errors:
2009-09-30 01:21:25.806 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x106075ef0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.808 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x103eed280 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.809 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x1060757b0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.837 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x106000e00 of class NSCFNumber autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.838 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x103ef6900 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.838 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x103ef41a0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.839 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x103ef5790 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.840 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x103ef5020 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.840 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x103ef4760 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.841 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x103ef2840 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.869 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x1060767b0 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.869 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x10601ea50 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking
2009-09-30 01:21:25.870 MATLAB[3244:3803] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x106075f60 of class NSCalibratedRGBColor autoreleased with no pool in place – just leaking

FYI version -java gives
Java 1.6.0_15-b03-219 with Apple Inc. Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM mixed mode

It seems to be working without problem though.

Any clues?


matthew Lawrence replied on : 49 of 108

Just to chime in – I followed Antonio’s (#46) suggestions and it fixed my problem with funky text produced by the ylabel command on plots! Thanks!

James replied on : 50 of 108


This might be a simple question, but I just installed R2009b, and also just upgraded to Snow Leopard. Everything seems to be working fine, except that I notice in the Current Folder window, it does not display all my files in that window. I thought maybe it was an issue of not recognizing files made before a certain date, but even new files that I create inside matlab don’t get displayed. Is this a bug, or did I miss the checkbox to display all files somewhere?

Thanks for the help.

david replied on : 51 of 108

I’m having issues with Matlab on my MBP – using OS X 10.6.1 and MatLab 2009b. the editor won’t work. I get this error:

Exception in thread “AWT-EventQueue-0” java.lang.RuntimeException: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: org.osgi.framework.Bundle

Anything I can do to fix it?


Jared replied on : 52 of 108

Followup to #52: David and I resolved this issue. It turned out that he had another classpath.txt from 2008 that was confusing MATLAB. Moving this classpath.txt file out the way took care of things.

Phil replied on : 53 of 108

I may have a problem to do with this thread.

Had student version 2007a, xp sp2 which worked fine. I’ve just started a masters course so I made the leap to mac :) now have a macbook pro running snow leopard and was able to install ok, but not to activate.

Tried to activate through mathworks website but can’t find text file containing machine code.

Looks like I might find a whole other load of issues once I can activate matlab but I’ll start there. It doesn’t help that I’m a completely new mac user as well!

Sridhar Srinivasan replied on : 54 of 108

Phil, if you are looking for the machine ID it is the MAC address, that you can get from Terminal with this command.

netstat -I en0

Or you could go to the Network pane in System preferences and click on Airport or Ethernet connection, go to Advanced and click on the last tab (that says ethernet) to get the MAC address.

Ziyad Saeed replied on : 56 of 108

For someone who has only used the X11 variant of matlab on mac can you post some screenshots of the new UI, before i think of upgrading

Ken replied on : 57 of 108


As we’ve mentioned a number of times before on this blog, the MATLAB user interface does *not* use X11 — it’s written in Java which has Cocoa underpinnings on the Mac.

The overall look and feel has not changed from R2009a to R2009b.


Joel Reymont replied on : 58 of 108


I understand that you don’t use X11 but X11 is started when I run Matlab R2009b on Snow Leopard. Matlab is killed when I kill X11.

This happens with both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Matlab. What am I missing? Please feel free to write to joelr1 at

Ken replied on : 59 of 108


Let me elaborate a bit on our use of X11. It has been the case for a number of years that the MATLAB Desktop itself is written in Java, essentially using native widgets, so there is no such things as a before-and-after X11 screenshot on the Mac (@57).

Going back to the original blog posting, there are still limited uses of X11 (Figure window callback handling for one) in MATLAB. So, yes, if you kill X11 you will take MATLAB down with it (@59). The dependency on X11 is declining release-to-release, and virtually all visible graphical elements in MATLAB are non-X11, but it will take a few more releases before all dependencies are removed and the bouncing X11 icon upon start-up disappears for good.


Jeremy replied on : 61 of 108

I’m having the same problem as Marcelo.

I’m running an early 2008 Mac Pro, and upgraded to Snow Leopard *before* installing Matlab 2009b.

The installer script prematurely exits with the error

-[NSKeyedUnarchiver initForReadingWithData:]: data is empty; did you forget to send -finishEncoding to the NSKeyedArchiver?

Is there a workaround for this?

Faria Ahmad replied on : 62 of 108

I recently upgraded my Tiger OS to Snow Leopard 10.6.1 and I can’t manage to install Matlab R2008b correctly. Every time I try to open the application it says there’s an error saying it can’t load the library when trying to activate it. It used to work fine in Tiger. I don’t know what to do. Does anyone have any ideas?


Thomas replied on : 63 of 108

Hi Ken,
I can’t launch Matlab (2009b) by double-clicking the associated files (m-, fig-, mat-files) on my Finder/ PathFinder (Snow Leopard). They are associated with ‘’. When I link them with ‘’, Matlab will launch but I can’t open up the linked files. In other words: Linking the files with ‘’ in the file browser will launch Matlab but does not open up the file. Linking them with ‘’ instead *won’t* launch Matlab but can be used to open documents once Matlab is up already…
Any ideas to how to link files properly to launch Matlab *and* to get them opened up in Matlab? Anyone else experiencing similar problems?

brian replied on : 64 of 108

Just installed R2009b Mac Pro 8 core machine with Snow Leopard and 10 GB RAM. Matlab is crawling — delay after every keystroke, rendering is glacial — bench 3D is 16 seconds; an order of magnitude slower than any other system in the bench list. My 8 core machine is at the very bottom of the list. System has plenty of memory free — over 5 GB. Restarting Matlab doesn’t help. Any ideas??

Ken replied on : 65 of 108


Thanks for the report. We’ve only recently become aware of this problem and have not fully characterized it yet. We’ll post more information once we have it, but for now it looks like you need to open your MATLAB files within MATLAB and not the Finder.


brian replied on : 66 of 108

Fixed problem referenced above (#65)…

First, the speed issue was only with graphics and keystroke response. Non-graphics bench tests were fast. I discovered the graphics slowdown was because too many files were open in the editor. After closing almost all editor files and restarting, things were fast.

An interesting contrast… Matlab 2007a, my previous version (from which I copied the MATLABDesktop.xml file when I installed R2009b), runs blazing fast with all of the same files in the editor. So there must be a difference in the way these two versions handle the editor cache and how that affects graphics speed. To the tune of 16 seconds for 3D bench (R2009b) vs. 0.8 seconds (2007a). Interesting.


Marcel replied on : 67 of 108

I have just upgraded to 2009b on a MacPro 8 core machine. I’m having the problem that matlab immediately stops if I run the script example.m from the command line (matlab -nojvm -r example). The splash screen appears and afterwards, matlab stops. Disabling the splash screen using -nosplash does not change anything, except that there is no splash screen (as expected). Any ideas ?

Christian replied on : 68 of 108


I’m a student too. And I can’t currently afford another version of Matlab, so I stuck with 2007a and Snow Leopard. I already red the previous posts an installed the java 1.5. So far it works.
But now I run in trouble with other software, because I had set the JVM 1.5 as first.

My question: Is there a way like editing the info.plist (or a script) so only Matlap uses the 1.5 version and the all other software runs with 1.6?

thx for help

Joe replied on : 70 of 108

I am running Matlab 2009b on a Macbook Pro with Snow Leopard.
The first run of bench is pretty slow. Interestingly, subsequent runs can be much faster!

first run:
0.2087 0.3393 0.2374 0.3910 0.8831 1.4489

later run:
0.0817 0.1398 0.1892 0.3254 0.5410 0.7869

Shen-Hsiao replied on : 71 of 108

With reference to the comment that Matlab on OS X doesn’t X11 for its interface, isn’t Simulink part of Matlab? I’m running Simulink v7.4 on R2009b (latest) and the interface looks like an old Motif-X11 pprogram.

Feels very outdated, especially when the manual says to drag-and-drop blocks… and that doesn’t appear to work with the X11 version of Simulink.

Ed replied on : 73 of 108

All this Java/X11 nonsense has been dragging on way too long. Any change for a native version in the near future or am I saddled with Parallels for a while? Cheers

Ed replied on : 74 of 108

Another question: Happily I have recently migrated from Windows to a mac, but something I really miss when changing from Octave to Matlab is the ability to right click in a plot window and drag a rectangle to replot the graph using the new coordinates defined by the rectangle. Is this functionality exclusive to Octave, or is there a bug in Matlab (or am I just missing something)? Cheers, Ed.

Felipe replied on : 76 of 108

I am having the same problem as Faria Ahmad (post 63). When I install R2007a Student Version on Snow Leopard 10.6.1 and try to activate Matlab, X11 opens, and then I see an “Activate Matlab” program open, and then I get the following error messages:

1) Unable to load native library
2) There was an unexpected exception. See the log file
(/var/folders/zt/ztu4dDmnGQOb1hM28RXl0k+++TI/-Tmp-/TMW_svact.log) for more details.

Any ideas?

Thanks much.

Yoshiki replied on : 77 of 108

Hi, can someone please post screen captures of MATLAB r2009b running on Snow Leopard, I am interested in the interface if there is any difference between r2009a & r2009b’s interface.

Thanks in advance.

Nicki replied on : 78 of 108

Hello, I am running Matlab R2007a student version. I just switched over to snow leopard and I think I am having the same garbled text problem (perhaps related to Java), as was mentioned on this page. I think it might be the same bug reported here

I was curious if this work around will work for R2007a, or if I am having a different problem. I noticed that some people suggested downloading an older version of Java to fix this (unless they are two separate problems), but I was reluctant to do that if not necessary b/c I didn’t want to risk messing up other programs. I really need my text, and images, to display correctly though.


jonah replied on : 79 of 108

I’ve been having the same issue that Olive (#16) and Michael (#17) have with 2007a but with 2008a – all y axis labels are printed in reverse (mirrored). This only happened once I upgraded to snow leopard. Is there a way to fix this? It’s quite annoying to have all the y axis labels illegible.

dan replied on : 80 of 108

The buttons in uisetcolor are cut off by more than a few pixels. Only a few pixels remain on the ‘OK’ and ‘Cancel’ buttons, making it hard to use for anyone that doesn’t know ‘OK’ is on the right.

Jerry replied on : 82 of 108

Hi, I am new for Matlab on Mac. Is parallel computing turned on by default? I cannot see the option for configuring parallel computing in the preferences menu like in R2008 on Windows.

Scooter Willis replied on : 83 of 108

I had the same problem and the fix is to go Applications\Java Preferences and specify that 32bit version of Java should be the default.

Anna replied on : 84 of 108

So read the start of the thread and can’t find an answer on how to make my Matlab work on SnowLeopard. I have 2007a and it worked fine on my MacBook and now that I’ve upgraded to SnowLeopard, I get the “Unable to Load Native Library” when I try to start it. It downloaded just fine, but I can’t start it. Any suggestions on how to make it work?

Ken Atwell (MathWorks) replied on : 86 of 108

An update on the issues discussed in the original blog post:

Apple released Java Update 1 in early December and it should be broadly available to Snow Leopard users as I write this. See This update fixes several issues, including the three called out in the original posting.

Sajid Nawaz Khan replied on : 87 of 108

For those Snow Leopard users experiencing an activation error, you need to ensure you are running Java in 32 bit mode. To do this:

1. Navigate to Application > Utilities > Java Preferences
2. Drag the ‘Java SE 6 32-bit’ row above the ‘Java SE 6 64-bit’ row
3. Quit Java Preferences (Cmd+Q)
4. Run Matlab.

This is what your Java settings should look like:

Josee replied on : 88 of 108


At work, we won’t be able to get a newer version of matlab immediately, but my computer is SL. For now, i’ve bootcamp-ed it to install matlab on the windows partition, but i’d much rather work solely on the Mac side (2 x 2.26GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon, 6GB memory).

So I guess I have two questions:

1. Are older versions of Matlab compatible with SL? (Matlab doesn’t start and I wonder if it’s a bug i can fix or if it’s a SL issue.. the icon bounces for a couple seconds, X11 opens, then both Matlab and X11 close suddenly — regardless of whether I start matlab from the dock or from Applications, and regardless of Java preferences)

2. Am I better off working on the Windows partition until we get Matlab 2009 or 2010?

Thank you!

Arjun replied on : 89 of 108

I am new to MATLAB on Mac (Mac OS X 10.6). I have installed MATLAB 7.9b by specifying the Intel architecture option to ‘Intel’ and not ‘Intel 64’. I am therefore afraid I might not be utilizing the 64 bit compatibility offered by MATLAB! Am I right in thinking so?


kena replied on : 90 of 108

Josee (@89) —

We’ve only officially supporting R2009a and later on Snow Leopard, but releases as far back as R2007a and 7b are believed to generally work (see the original blog post), especially with Java Update 1 (@87). If you are running something even older you are in rather uncharted waters :( and sticking with your Windows partition maybe be the way to go until you can get on to a newer MATLAB.

Arjun (@90) —

Yes, your thinking is correct. You would want to select the Intel 64 option at installation time.

jacob replied on : 91 of 108

There was an unexpected exception: Can’t load library: / Applications/ / bin/ maci64/ libactivation.jnilib See the log file (/ var/ folders/ ET/ ETdG0ua+FHm+uWPs3avnPk+++TI/ -Tmp-/ TMW_svact_jacobkline.log) for more details.

I get this whenever I go to activate MATLAB. Any ideas?

Francisco replied on : 93 of 108


I got the exact same error trying to install R2009a Student Version on snow leopard. The worst part is that the error is completely visible, there is an extra forward slash between “” and “bin”. The library’s path should be:


I just wish I knew how to fix it. ARRG!

John Schultze replied on : 94 of 108

What is the status, if any, on getting the figure copy options to work on OSX like they do in Windows, I currently keep a Windows VM (Parallels) just to accomodate documentation (specifically copying figures in to Powerpoint/KeyNote/OpenOffice). It is a real headache to maintain two setups for this, outside of using LaTek or ps/eps (and Adobe) what would your recommendation be?

Mike replied on : 95 of 108


We’re working on it; we have a real good solution to these and whole host of other figure problems, but it still a few releases away. We’ll have a big announcement when it’s ready.

MySchizoBuddy replied on : 96 of 108

You should at least make another post about progress on mac gui. You guys have gone silent.

Mike replied on : 97 of 108


We can only talk about updates to release products. This is a good idea, and I’ll share some of the new stuff in MATLAB R2010a for the Mac in a future post.

Ambarish replied on : 98 of 108

I just downloaded MATLAB 2009bSP1. After working on it for a few minute I recieved this sudden error.
Connection to the X11 Display Server (/tmp/launch-e1dEja/org.x:0) has been lost.
No more graphics windows can no longer be displayed in this session.
Graphics Objects can still be printed, and all commands should still work.
We recommend that you try to save your current session and exit

I was not even executing anything. I thought MATLAB got rid of X11.

Chaitanya_A replied on : 100 of 108

Our system admin has been trying to install MATLAB2008b on my brand new Mac OSX 10.6 Snowy white leopard.

We have a network license system in place, but after putting in the relevant lines in the .bashrc I still get “License Manager Error – 96”

The line in the .bashrc file is:

export LM_LICENSE_FILE=2700@ip_num_of_license_server

Any help/advice is appreciated!

Samsa replied on : 102 of 108


I just read all the comments and can’t believe it. It seems like if Matlab on OSX is becoming useable – great!
For me there’s one question left. According to the Bench results in post 12 it is an evidence, that the OSX version is (in average) as fast as the Win version running with Boot Camp (or something similar). But: Is the speed, Matlab running on a Mac comparable to the performence of Matlab on a normal PC (with Win)? For sure the test should include a Mac and a PC with similar specifications.
Would be great to know that.


Ken Atwell (MathWorks) replied on : 103 of 108

The Mac that we used to create the comparison benchmark at @12 was done on a Mac Pro with multi-boot enabled through EFI. That is a low-level switch, so I expect that Windows 7’s performance on this system is fairly analogous to a more “traditional” PC system with a similar hardware configuration. Stated different, the benchmark at @12 should fairly represent how a “normal” PC would perform.

Mahdi replied on : 104 of 108

I installed R2010a on Snow Leopard and it is still using the X11! Besides, Simulink’s dialogs look like Win95 applications. I cannot wait to see MATLAB running natively on Mac :(

thomas decloedt replied on : 105 of 108

i am running matlab R2010a on mac 10.6.4.
When making plots, the text inside my labels gets cut off.
The only work around i have found so far is to add a few extra spaces after the text. Sub-or superscripts don’t look very good either.

Lasse Ruokolainen replied on : 107 of 108

I just got a new macBook Pro, with 2.66 GHz Intel i7 and 8 MB of RAM. This machine is running the native Matlab R2010b. Now, this computer should have a shitload of horse power. Still the benchmark tells me that my machine is almost twice as slow as a Linux machine with 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2. Needles to say that I’m very disappointed. When running Matlab, only ~25% of the processing capacity is used. This implies that there is some incompatibility with matlab and the new processor architecture. Is there some hope of fixing this issue?

Ken Atwell replied on : 108 of 108

@Lasse, can you send your bench results (use a methodology like I used in reply #12 above) to me at ken.atwell AT Not all aspects of BENCH are multi-threaded, so more core will results in a less than linear speed-up.