3.4 Physics Analysis Oriented Event Display ( Fireworks / cmsShow )

Fireworks for all release cycles are available as part of CMSSW distribution. See section Using cmsShow from a CMSSW release for details.

Latest version of Fireworks

Aug 4th 2020: release based on CMSSW_11_1_X

CMSSW_11_1_X data
Linux 64-bit:
wget http://cmsshow-rels.web.cern.ch/cmsShow-rels/cmsShow-11.1.2.tar.gz
tar xzf  cmsShow-11.1.2.tar.gz

cd  cmsShow-11.1.2
./cmsShow data.root
Mac 10.15, Catalina conda tool required, see installation instructions:
conda create -y -c conda-forge -n fwlite-1112 fwlite

conda activate fwlite-1112
conda install -c conda-forge -y sigcpp-2.0
cmsShow.exe $CONDA_PREFIX/data/RelValZZ.root

CMSSW_11_0_X data
Linux 64-bit:
wget http://cmsshow-rels.web.cern.ch/cmsShow-rels/cmsShow-11.0.3.tar.gz
tar xzf  cmsShow-11.0.3.tar.gz

cd  cmsShow-11.0.3
./cmsShow data.root
Mac 10.15, Catalina conda tool required, see installation instructions:
conda create -y -c conda-forge -n fwlite-1103-2 fwlite

conda activate fwlite-1103-2
conda install -c conda-forge -y sigcpp-2.0
cmsShow.exe $CONDA_PREFIX/data/RelValTTBarReco.root

CMSSW_10_6_X data
Linux 64-bit:
wget http://cmsshow-rels.web.cern.ch/cmsShow-rels/cmsShow-10.6.linux.tgz
tar xzf  cmsShow-10.6.linux.tgz

cd  cmsShow-10.6
./cmsShow data.root
Mac 10.14, Mojave conda tool required, see installation instructions:
conda create -y -c conda-forge -n fireworks fwlite

conda activate fireworks
cmsShow.exe http://fireworks.web.cern.ch/fireworks/10/RelValZpMM_RECO.root

CMSSW_10_2_X data
Linux 64-bit:
wget http://cmsshow-rels.web.cern.ch/cmsShow-rels/cmsShow-10.2.4.linux.tar.gz
tar xzf  cmsShow-10.2.4.linux.tar.gz

cd  cmsShow-10.2.4
./cmsShow data.root
Mac 10.14, Mojave system headers required:
curl http://cmsshow-rels.web.cern.ch/cmsShow-rels/fireworks-mojave-10.3.sparseimage.bz2| bzcat >fireworks-mojave-10.3.sparseimage

hdiutil attach fireworks-mojave-10.3.sparseimage
cd /Volumes/Fireworks/bin
./cmsShow data.root

Mac 10.13, High Sierra :
curl http://cmsshow-rels.web.cern.ch/cmsShow-rels/fireworks-10.2.4.highsierra.sparseimage.bz2| bzcat >fireworks-10.2.4.highsierra.sparseimage

hdiutil attach fireworks-10.2.4.highsierra.sparseimage
cd /Volumes/Fireworks
./cmsShow data.root

CMSSW_9_4_X data
Linux 64-bit:
wget http://cmsshow-rels.web.cern.ch/cmsShow-rels/old-releases/cmsShow-9.4-1.linux.tar.gz
tar xzf  cmsShow-9.4-1.linux.tar.gz

cd  cmsShow-9.4-1
./cmsShow data.root
Mac High Sierra :
curl http://xrd-cache-1.t2.ucsd.edu/alja/fireworks-9.4-1.highsierra.sparseimage.bz2 | bzcat >fireworks-9.4-1.highsierra.sparseimage

hdiutil attach fireworks-9.4-1.highsierra.sparseimage
cd /Volumes/Fireworks
./cmsShow data.root

Supported platforms
  • Linux: 64-bit SLC6 is the official platform. Fireworks works also on all newer GNU/Linux distributions; some Xorg / driver combinations can cause problems (e.g. Intel graphics cards).
  • Mac HighSierra: install Xcode command-line tools: xcode-select --install.
  • Mac Mojave: install XCode command line tools xcode-select --install and manually install headers open /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/Packages/macOS_SDK_headers_for_macOS_10.14.pkg



Fireworks is the CMS event-display project and cmsShow is the official name of the executable. Both names are used interchangeably so don't get confused.

The core of Fireworks is built on top of the Event Data Model (EDM) and the light version of the software framework (FWLite). Event Visualization Environment (EVE) of ROOT is used to manage 3D and 2D views, selection, and user-interaction with the graphics windows. Several EVE components were developed by in collaboration between Fireworks and ROOT. In event display operation simple plugins are registered into the system to perform conversion from EDM collections into their visual representations. As a guiding principle, Fireworks shows only what is available in the EDM event-data, no reconstruction or result enhancement is performed internally. Visibility of collection elements can be filtered via a generic expression (PAT parser is used internally).

When run in a standalone mode (as cmsShow) Fireworks reads data from an EDM ROOT file (or a collection of files). Remote file access is possible for castor, dcache, http, and xrootd. Flexible event-filtering is supported by managing a set of filters that can be enabled, disabled, and-ed, or or-ed on the fly. TTree::Draw() is used internally to select events matching individual filtering expressions. Full event-navigation and direct event access by providing run, lumi and event ids is possible.

When run within the full CMSSW framework (as cmsShowFF) data is read from in-memory edm::Event after the standard event-processing is complete. A user can investigate the registered paths, modules and their execution status. Furthermore, module parameters can be changed and the event-processing repeated with changed parameters. Minimal event-navigation is supported and event-filtering is not supported in this mode.

The following considerations were made to make Fireworks usable by everybody:

  • Given that event displays are not everyday tools, program interface is optimized for intuitive and simple use.
  • 3D accelerator is recommended, but not required. The new event display is routinely used and tested on non-accelerated computers to make sure the performance is reasonable.
  • Distribute also as a stand alone player with all necessary components: no need for remote use over X11.


Fireworks is available as part of CMSSW release and as a stand-alone tarball. The stand-alone option is available for both 64-bit Linux (built on SLC5 but should run on all Linux distributions) and Mac OS X. All necessary components, including a proper version of ROOT, are distributed inside the tarball.

Using cmsShow from a CMSSW release

Fireworks is integrated to CMSSW since release CMSSW_3_1_0_pre6. To run cmsShow, setup the environment and run cmsShow with your sample file:

cmsShow data.root

At CERN you may try to use the afs area code without creating a SCRAM working area, e.g.:

cd /afs/cern.ch/cms/slc5_ia32_gcc434/cms/cmssw/CMSSW_3_9_5
eval `scramv1 runtime -csh` # or -sh if use bash
cd /tmp
cmsShow rfio:/castor/cern.ch/cms/store/relval/CMSSW_3_9_5/RelValTTbar/GEN-SIM-RECO/MC_39Y_V6-v1/0009/14F2D01A-9BFA-DF11-8B0F-0018F34D0D62.root

For advance users it is also possible to run cmsShow within full CMSSW framework. in this mode event display is executed with cmsShowFF script and python configuration file as an argument. See more info at WorkBookCmsShowFF.

Using cmsShow tarball

All that you need to get started is a proper download of the stand-alone event display for your operating system and a data file to look at. The display is distributed with 2 small EDM ROOT files containing collision data (data.root) and Monte Carlo events (mc.root). Running cmsShow is simple.
Unpack the tarball and run it:

tar xzf cmsShow-version.tar.gz 
cd cmsShow-version
./cmsShow data.root

Solution For Unsupported Operating Systems

Virtual Machine

It is possible to run cmsShow on 32 bit OS or Windows OS, if computer is 64-bit architecture, by creating a Linux 64-bit Virtual Machine. Detailed instructions are at VBox-Chapter01, here is an extract tested on Fedora and Snow Leopard:


There is no native support for Fireworks on Window. You can setup a virtual machine or try the following solutions:

  • Use Exeed3D:
    • Exceed3D is a more expensive version of the usual Exceed package which allows one to login to linux machines from windows.
    • If you have it installed, fireworks can be used straightforwardly, although it may be slighly slower than on a linux machine.

  • Runing on remote-desktop
    It is possible to get the event display running with proper version of Xming-mesa.The default OpenGL that Windows provides with Xming is not usable. One way to get proper OpenGL support is to use Xming with Mesa drivers (software rendering). Just install this X-server and use it. Useful links:
    Xming main web site


  • cmsShow-11.1.2, released 04-08-2020
    • Update DataFormats to CMSSW_10_1_2

  • cmsShow-11.0.3, released 06-05-2020
    • Update DataFormats to CMSSW_10_0_3
    • Autodetection and load of geomtery version
  • cmsShow-10.2, released 09-18-2018
    • Update DataFormats to CMSSW_10_2_4
    • Add more option for TGeo geometry display
    • Fix bug in parsing of parameters in OSX version

  • cmsShow-10.0, released 08-03-2018
    • Update DataFormats to CMSSW_10_0

  • cmsShow-9.4-1, released 16-01-2018
    • Fix X flip in pixel reco geometry

  • cmsShow-9.4, released 16-01-2018
    • Update DataFormats to CMSSW_9_4_2

  • cmsShow-9.2-1, released 21-07-2017
    • OSX: use native Cocoa GUI
    • Add option to shift projection origin and origin of Jets to one of primary vertices

  • cmsShow-9.2, released 20-06-2017
    • Update DataFormats to CMSSW_9_2_2
    • Fixes in pixel geometry
    • Add option to draw Jets from the BeamSpot

  • cmsShow-9.0-2, released 15-05-2017
    • Use 2107 geometry by the default

  • cmsShow-9.0-1.mac.tar.gz, released 26-04-2017
    • Fix crash in view controller (cocoa only)

  • cmsShow-9.0, released 26-04-2017
    • CMSSW_9_0_pre3 DataFormats
    • native Cocoa GUI on OSX

  • cmsShow-8.1-2, released 06-02-2017 for Linux OS
    • Fix crash on the next event: changes in gcc dependencies

  • cmsShow-8.1, released 06-01-2017
    • Update data formats to 8_1_0_pre10

  • cmsShow-8.0-2, released 01-08-2016
    • Improve ecal rechits detail views for reco::Electron, reco::Photon and reco::Muon
    • Add possibility to open ecal rechit detail view for any edm type
    • Fix visibility of 4th ME station in 3D view

  • cmsShow-8.0-1, released 18-05-2016
    • Introduce color palettes
    • Fix problem with detail view plugin detection
    • Improve table view content in standard configurations
    • Set clipping with offset in 3D region view

  • cmsShow-7.6-1, released 18-05-2016
    • Fix problem with detail view plugin detection

  • cmsShow-8.0, released 15-03-2016
    • CMSSW_8_0_2 DataFormats
    • Update reco geometry file (tag 2015)

  • cmsShow-7.6, released 29-01-2016
    • CMSSW_7_6_3 DataFormats

Links to further documentation


Support and Feedback

Most error messages are not informative enough to guess what is wrong and so we need more information and detailed instructions how to reproduce your problem. Therefore, whenever you report a problem, please include the following information:

  • type of your operating system and its version,
  • output of "glxinfo"
  • if applicable, a crash report produced by running with debug option: cmsShow -d,
  • instructions how to reproduce the problem.

Please send all your requests and comments to hn-cms-visualization (remove SPAMNOT)

Review status

Reviewer/Editor and Date (copy from screen) Comments
AntonioMorelosPineda 15 Feb 2013 Upgrade to workbook style
MatevzTadel - 08 Mar 2011 Created.

Upgrade to workbook style, A.Morelos,15-Feb-2013

Responsible: MatevzTadel
Last reviewed by: AntonioMorelosPineda - 15 Feb 2013

Please send all your requests and comments to hn-cms-visualization (remove SPAMNOT)

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