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Home > 1. PC Basics > 1.3 Saga on Mac

1.3 Running 32-Bit Saga on a Mac with WINE

  • Exercise Title:  Running 32-Bit Saga on a Mac with WINE

  • Abstract:  The capability has been the most requested addition to MDL, due to the number of students/professionals who work on a Mac PC.  Installation and setup is described.

  • Preliminary Reading (in OceanTeacher, unless otherwise indicated):

    • N/A

  • Required Software:

    • WineHQ - "Software to run Windows applications on Linux, BSD, Solaris and Mac OS X" [from the website]

    • PlayOnMac - Package for running Saga and other Windows applications on a Mac; includes WINE and automatically installs the helper application, XQUARTZ.

    • Saga - Not yet installed.  See below for special instructions

  • Other Resources: 

    • N/A

  • Author:  Henriette Grimmel

    • "The best way to run SAGA on Mac is via BOOTCAMP but only if users have it already installed, since otherwise sufficient free space on the hard disk as well as the installation of Windows software become necessary.  However, if available to the user, [it is] certainly the best option to run SAGA or any other Windows program.  An alternative is Parallels, an application to run Windows programs parallel to Mac applications. Free trial exists but installation of Windows software is here also necessary.  Thus, short-term WINE is the best solution to run SAGA on Mac, even if not always entirely stable. Snow Leopard of Lion required for PlayonMac (compatibility with Mountain Lion not yet tested)."

  • Editor:  Murray Brown

  • Version:  March 2013



1. Open WINE:  Figure showing the webpage of WINE applications (link above), where you have to select DOWNLOAD .
2. Third Party Tools:  Scroll down to 3rd Party Tools and select "Our Wiki Page".
3. Link to PlayOnMac:  Figure shows layout of webpage. Scroll down to PlayOnMac.

NOTE:  None of the other applications have proven to work yet but of course can be tested out if you wish.  Please let us know if you have good results

4. Download PlayOnMac:  Select DOWNLOAD to save PlayOnMac_4.1.9.dmg to an appropriate location on your computer.  [Of course you may find a later version.]

Install the program on your computer.

5. Download of Saga 1:  On the SAGA website  or SOFTWARE > SAG>DOWNLOADS .  Go into the SAGA - 2.0 folder and then the SAGA 2.0.8 folder in order to download the saga_2.0.8_win32_setup.exe file. It must be this specific file, not a zip file or the 64-bit file. See following two panels for guidance.  [You might find a later version than 2.0.8, but you must use the latest version that does have a SETUP.EXE file.]
6.  Downloading Saga installation file.

NOTE:  Do not install Saga yet.


7.  Downloading Saga installation file.

NOTE:  Do not install Saga yet.


8. Saga Installation 1:   Open the PlayOnMac application and click on +INSTALL A PROGRAM on the right side of the application panel
 9. Saga Installation 2:  Click on INSTALL A NON-LISTED PROGRAM in the bottom left corner of the new window.
10. Saga Installation 3:  First time users let PlayOnMac automatically install XQUARTZ on your Mac (it will ask you for that). Otherwise without it Saga and other programs will not run.
11. Saga Installation 4:  Follow installation instructions to CREATE a new virtual drive (give it any name you like). Once that virtual drive is created you can browse your computer to find saga_2.0.8_win32_setup.exe (most likely in your download folder).  Choose it and continue following PlayOnMac installation instructions.  It should install it without problem.

CREATE a shortcut for Saga (GUI) once it asks you for that if you want (that way you can have the Saga icon on your desktop or in your applications folder). Otherwise you will not find the icons anywhere but in panel of PlayOnMac once that is opened, meaning the application has to run.

You can run the Saga GUI once opening the PlayOnMac application by just clicking on the application name/icon and clicking on RUN at the right side of the applications panel.

12. Dealing with Problems:  IF Saga refuses to open and PlayOnMac reports you a problem, first thing to do is to select the application that is causing the problem in the general PlayOnMac screen and click DEBUG in the right side panel. Most times Saga will open again after that. Otherwise stay persistent in trying to run the program. It might take 10 crashes/tries until it reopens, try restarting the computer also.
13.  Additional Notes:
  • WINE and Saga work on Mac but are not stable, so for short courses I recommend not closing Saga at all once opened the first time and also not to shut down your computer for the duration of your course if you encounter regular crashes.
  • Files saved in or for Saga can be stored anywhere on your computer and you can access them.
  • If you want to delete a virtual drive you created (unnecessary ones that maybe don't even hold an application) you can click configure in the main PlayOnMac top panel and remove whatever virtual drive you don't want anymore. Be aware though, deleting a virtual drive also deletes the application stored "on" it.  Each application installed through PlayOnMac requires the creation of a new virtual drive.