Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Getting IRAF the easy way

If you have ever reduced astronomic data, then is almost sure that you know the IRAF package. Despite being old and cumbersome this package is unvaluable for image reduction and analysis in astronomy.

However it's installation is a quite involved ritual, well, not anymore. Realizing that the entry where I discussed a debian package for IRAF was the most visited one, I am posting a much better solution: installation scripts, you can use this scripts for installing IRAF (and related packages like ds9) in ubuntu, and in Scientific Linux (this script should also work in Opensuse and Fedora). Just download them anywere and follow the instructions on screen. This scripts are only small modifications from the original one by amd77. Just make sure you have installed csh (it is in the universe repository in ubuntu and quite probably in the distribution media of Fedora and Opensuse) , you just need to run the comand: bash installiraf_* and enter your password in Ubuntu or the root password in other distro, so here are the scripts (links not working):
After running the script you should run the command mkiraf for creating a login.cl file, I have that file in my home directory but you can put it anywhere, just remember to start iraf (the command is cl) from the same directory.


Since I posted this (quite a long ago) there have been all sort of changes in of libraries/packages included in modern distributions. Since there is no simple way to address this isssue (there are 6 versions of Ubuntu, 6 of Fedora and 5 of opensuse in the past 3 years, and that not counting that both come in 32 and 64 bit versions) I declare the scripts dead.

Nonetheless, an iso image which includes an useful installer is now being offered at: http://www.astro.uson.mx/favilac/downloads/ubuntu-iraf/iso/IRAF_Ubuntu.iso. Just keep in mind that it only works for 32 bit kernels (which are the majority of installed kernels, anyway).

The same autor also offers a (rather outdated) set of rpms at http://www.astro.uson.mx/favilac/downloads/IRAF/ . Find out which one is better suited for your distro and add it to your repos. I have not tried to install from these rpms so I can not comment on them.

For users of 64 bit systems only solution I know is to actually download iraf from iraf.net and proceed to install as detailed in the installation manual.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't find saoimage in edgy repositories, so I added warty repositories to make it work.

Also you could have mentioned in the article that you leave default answers for all the questions installation asks for.

Nevertheless, the script has been a great help. Thanks a lot.

What I really don't get is why Debian has Iraf packages, and Ubuntu doesn't?

Jure Kodzoman

Anonymous said...

The debian packages previously at


have disappeared

Luis Sanchez said...

As far as I know, the debian packages aren't available anymore. My guess is that due to the huge number of distributions available the people at NOAO simply abandoned the idea of making packages for each distribution.

By the way if you are using ubuntu edgy and all you need is to open astronomical images you can get DS9 from add/remove utility.

Zed Pobre said...

Some clarification here, since I spotted this while looking for the answer to another question...

I'm the first Debian maintainer for IRAF; NOAO never built any packages for Debian themselves, it was always done by Debian volunteers. IRAF was eventually removed from the main Debian distribution because a number of the components had licenses that left them non-free or completely unredistributable outside of NOAO, and the resulting crippled version simply wasn't viable. Justin Pryzby attempted to take over the building and packaging of the next version to be released, and after much work got a working set of packages built, but had to distribute them from the iraf.noao.edu site due to the licensing problems. Eventually, he too appears to have lost interest in attempting to keep that behemoth of a package building cleanly (and trust me, getting it to compile properly at all can be monstrously difficult, much less in an automated fashion suitable for package building), especially given its permanently uncorrectable unofficial status, and bitrot (library changes, mostly, I suspect) eventually caused his packages to have problems building.

With no further updates apparently forthcoming, after some time, NOAO simply pulled the nonfunctioning packages off of the FTP site.

No one that I know of is currently attempting to do this again, so end-users will have to compile their own. The last time I tried it, NOAO provided bootstrap IRAF binaries that make this process a lot smoother for users that don't have to worry about redistribution or buildability from original source, so most people won't have the same kind of troubles that the packagers have had. I assume this is still the case.

Shourav said...

This page describes how to setup IRAF on a Ubuntu/Debian machine. Apart from the exact commands, there are some instructions in square brackets that need to be followed. Installation of X11IRAF, DS9, Tables, and STSDAS are included.


kadrach said...

any chance to get the install script back online ? :)

pelkiu_kikimara said...

please make it work again, i need those scripts very much :(

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