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sage-python, import matplotlib: no module named _tkagg

asked 2011-06-28 16:41:40 +0200

tdstephens3 gravatar image

updated 2011-06-28 17:44:09 +0200

EDIT 2: Below is the description of a problem and a subsequent edit, where I thought I had the solution. In fact, what I did was move the problem from one place to another... I am no longer receiving the error No module named _tkagg and I am getting a plot window, but after opening a tk window I get a stack trace that reads:

Exception in Tkinter callback
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/opt/sage/local/lib/python2.6/lib-tk/", line 1410, in __call__
return self.func(*args)
File "/opt/sage/local/lib/python2.6/site-
packages/matplotlib/backends/", line 245, in resize
File "/opt/sage/local/lib/python2.6/site-
packages/matplotlib/backends/", line 249, in draw
tkagg.blit(self._tkphoto, self.renderer._renderer, colormode=2)
File "/opt/sage/local/lib/python2.6/site-packages/matplotlib/backends/", 
line 18, in blit
_tkagg.tkinit(id(tk), 0)
AttributeError: 'module' object has no attribute 'tkinit'

along with no actual plot on the tk window. This issue remains unresolved.

I am using Sage's python and trying to import matplotlib.pyplot in order to generate some visual output (to the screen for now, to a file at some point). I understand the backend I should use is TkAgg for this, and I have that set in my matplotlibrc file.

When running a short script


import matplotlib.pyplot as plt 
def main():
    x = [0,1,2,3,4,5]
    y = [1,6,4,4,2,7]


bash$ python

I am greeted with absolutely no output. When examining this closer, by running a sage-python (python2.6.4.p10) shell I get the following:

>>>import matplotlib.pyplot
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
File "/opt/sage/local/lib/python2.6/site-packages/matplotlib/", line 95,          
in <module>
new_figure_manager, draw_if_interactive, show = pylab_setup()
File "/opt/sage/local/lib/python2.6/site-    
packages/matplotlib/backends/", line 25, in pylab_setup
File "/opt/sage/local/lib/python2.6/site-    
packages/matplotlib/backends/", line 11, in <module>
import matplotlib.backends.tkagg as tkagg
File "/opt/sage/local/lib/python2.6/site-packages/matplotlib/backends/",    
line 1, in <module>
import _tkagg
ImportError: No module named _tkagg

I have tried

sage -f python-2.6.4.p10
sage -f matplotlib-1.0.1

but this does not magically fix the problem. As well, Google seems to not be much help. What do you think?

EDIT 1: FIXED! I am able to get a plot window from either the sage-python prompt -or- by running this 'program' from the bash shell. What I did was to track down the _tkagg call (by reading the stack trace more carefully) coming from the file


the file starts out as:

import _tkagg
yada yada yada

so I went searching around ... (more)

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2 Answers

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answered 2011-07-04 20:39:17 +0200

Jason Grout gravatar image

updated 2011-07-04 20:41:50 +0200

For Sage's matplotlib, the graphical guis are also turned off by default. Define the environment variable:


and then reinstall Sage's matplotlib:

sage -i matplotlib

to compile support for other backends in Sage.

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Ah, it looks like you moved on from my answer. Can you post your solution as an "answer" so that people know the question is resolved?

Jason Grout gravatar imageJason Grout ( 2011-07-04 20:40:45 +0200 )edit

answered 2011-08-16 18:07:38 +0200

Alex gravatar image


I have got the same problem after compiling SAGE on my notebook. I searched in the web and I found that the file is missed in the folder /sage-4.7/local/lib/python2.6/site-packages/matplotlib/backends (if I understood well, it was a bug of matplotlib). You can find this file at I use Ubuntu 11.04, there is no file specific for it, so I decided to try with the file for Fedora 14 for i386. I copied it in the folder above and it looks to work well (I tried a couple of graphs).

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Asked: 2011-06-28 16:41:40 +0200

Seen: 5,631 times

Last updated: Aug 16 '11