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IRAF V2.15 Alpha Release Now Available

  • Tuesday, March 02 2010 @ 09:39 PM GMT
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Mosaic of M31 from
107 8K x 8K images,
built on 64-bit Mac.
Final size: 13K x 15K
Data Credit: P. Massey
The Alpha release of the NOAO/IRAF V2.15 system featuring 64-bit platform support is now available. This release covers both 32-bit and 64-bit Linux and Mac OSX systems (Intel and PPC) and includes modified sources for some 30 external packages. This system is recommended only for experienced users and those willing to use a potentially unstable system download at this time. Several features (such as the simplified install procedure) and more complete documentation are in preparation and will be introduced in later releases.

As an Alpha release, we expect bugs will be found and we are relying on users to provide testing and feedback, especially for the science tasks and external package code. Some detailed release notes are available in the release README file and are included below, these will also be expanded in the future.

Note this release is currently being bundled with "dual binaries", i.e. both 32 and 64-bit binaries are included in a single distribution to allow easier installation for testing and comparison on a given platform. The Alpha-release distribution directory is http://iraf.net/ftp/iraf/v215-ALPHA and will be updated as needed (final releases will be posted to the iraf.noao.edu project site). Links to individual distribution files:

Please report any problems you may find to the forums or in an email. Problem reports should include the platform and any information necessary to reproduce the error.

Update March 24, 2010: Bugfix update of distribution. Installing this fix is recommended for all users.
Update May 6, 2010: Minor bugfix update release.
Update May 23, 2010: First draft of 64-bit Port Guide available.
Update September 19, 2010: Final snapshot release before building release candidate. Fixes various issues with TABLES package and other minor bugs in compiling code. Full update recommended.


                **** IRAF Version 2.15-ALPHA Release ****

**  Mar  2, 2010 - V2.15-ALPHA for PCIX (Source/OSX/Linux)
**  Mar 24, 2010 - Bugfix updates of distribution


This directory and its subdirectories contains the network version of the
full IRAF V2.15-ALPHA distribution.                                      

    README                  This file
    PORT.GUIDE              64-bit Software Porting Guide
    COPYRIGHTS              Copyright information for this software

    bugs.log                System buglog (known bugs) to date
    help.log                System helplog (user tips) to date
    sysnotes.v215           V2.15 system revisons notes       
    v215revs.txt            V2.15 revisions summary, text version

    iraf_v215-src.tar.gz    Source-only distribution
    iraf_v215-osx.tar.gz    Mac OSX Full distribution (macosx/macintel arch)
    iraf_v215-linux.tar.gz  Linux Full distribution (linux/linux64 arch)    

    extern/                 Subdirectory containing compatible extern packages

See below for information on what it is contained (and what isn't), how
to upgrade/install this release, who should install it, and what to look
for in terms of potential problems.                                     

Questions or problem should be directed to the forums at 


When posting problems, please be sure to include the platform and any
information (e.g. parameters or data files) necessary to reproduce the


   1)  What is the IRAF V2.15-ALPHA Release
         -  What it contains, and what is still missing
         -  What has been tested, and what hasn't      
         -  Mac OSX Binary Changes                     
         -  Deprecation of 'redhat' architecture       
         -  Dual-Binary Distributions                  
   2)  Who Should Install                              
   3)  How to Install This Release                     
         -  I am installing for the First Time:        
         -  I am replacing an existing IRAF installation:
         -  I am installing multiple IRAF versions:      
         -  I want to build the IRAF system from source: 
   4)  Upgrading External Packages                       
         -  Mixed 64-bit IRAF and 32-bit External Packages
   5)  Known Problems                                     


1)  What is the IRAF V2.15-ALPHA Release

    V2.15-ALPHA is an Alpha release of the IRAF V2.15 system.  As such,
this release is made with known problems in the system (detailed below) and
with the expectation that other problems will be uncovered.  It also means 
this release does NOT contain the final feature set or documentation we    
plan for the V2.15 release, these will be incorporated in updates to follow.
    A future Beta release will be closer to what we expect the final V2.15  
system to include and will provide an opportunity to test those features.   
This release is intended to allow real-world user testing of the system,    
specifically to exercise the science code that could not be extensively     
tested during the upgrade and port process.  It also provides an opportunity
for developers to begin upgrading external package code to work with        
64-bit platforms.                                                           

What it contains, and What is still missing

    V2.15-ALPHA is a cumulative patch of all applications since the last
release as well as a port of IRAF to 64-bit platforms.   In short, this 
release contains                                                        

    o   IRAF V2.15 for the following architectures:

            linux       All 32-bit linux systems
            linux64     64-bit linux systems    
            macintel    64-bit Mac OSX (10.6) systems
            macosx      32-bit Mac OSX (10.4+) i386 and ppc systems

    o   Updated source code for ~30 external packages.  These packages
        should build cleanly on all v2.15 platforms and have had at least
        a minimal check/modification of code for 64-bit compatibility.   

    There are also a number of new features that have changed the system 
    significantly enough to warrant a major release.  Specifically,      

    o   A port to 64-bit OSX and Linux systems
    o   A single linux architecture for 32-bit systems
    o   Universal (i386 and ppc) binaries for OSX 32-bit systems
    o   A simplified IRAF build procedure                       
    o   TABLES package now distributed w/ core system           
    o   Compile-time prototype checking of code to reduce errors.
    o   A new MEMIO interface to detect pointer over/underflows, provide 
        memory garbage collection & usage reporting, and more.           
    o   SVG graphics device for better web-presentation of plots.        
    o   Numerous bug fixes and enhancements.                             

    The one major feature missing from the planned V2.15 system with this
release is a simplified install method.  While the distribution file is  
now is now a single download that includes both source and binaries in   
a single directory tree, our plan is to further simplify the process to  
allow both a system-wide installation as well as a personal installation 
that does not require root permission to install.  We also plan to have  
a network install script to download and unpack needed files (both the   
IRAF base system and external packages).                                 

    A guide to porting applications to 64-bits is in preparations, detailed
revisions and release notes wil be available within a few days.            

What has been tested, and what hasn't

    The primary work on v2.15 was the port to 64-bit platforms.  The
approach taken required changes to data structure definitions (see  
details in the Port Guide) in core system interfaces, a new memory  
management interface and application-specific changes where external
formats are used (e.g. binary file formats requiring 32-bit integers).
These changes were tested individually, however it isn't always possible
to test every application that uses a particular interface.             

    As a normal part of the port process, the "images" test scripts we
maintain were run on each platform.  These script exercise key image  
applications and interfaces (e.g. IMCOMBINE or image interpolation) and
we're confident the current release does not change the results.       

    o   Test results run on v2.15 and v2.14 systems show identical values
        on 32-bit systems.                                               
    o   Tests run on v2.15 64-bit systems are either the same or within  
        floating-point precision as compared to 32-bit systems.          
    o   Comparison of 32-bit and 64-bit results between Linux and Mac OSX
        systems are within expected floating-point precision differences.
    o   Image (and binary table) data created on 32-bit machines can be  
        read on 64-bit machines and vice versa.                          
    o   Spot checking of applications revealed a few problems which have 
        been fixed.                                                      

    What we have NOT been able to test as extensively are the science
applications and 3rd-party external packages, we are relying on the  
user community and a long test period to reveal problems with these  
applications.  To help in testing, the ALPHA distributions are built to
contain both 64-bit and 32-bit binaries to allow testing and comparison
of both platforms on a single (64-bit) machine.                        

    Because of data structure changes and the new memory interface, we
expect that long-standing problems in applications will show up as new
bugs, i.e. a bug that caused no apparent damage on 32-bit machines will
crash as a 64-bit task.  Similarly, we hope users will be able to verify
that results from 64-bit applications match those from earlier IRAF versions
or from equivalent 32-bit tasks.                                            

    When reporting a bug or problem,  please be sure to indicate the
platform used and supply whatever information (parameters or data) is
necessary to reproduce the problem.                                  

Mac OSX Binary Changes 

    In previous IRAF releases, the Mac architectures were defined as

        macintel        OSX (Intel) binaries (32-bit)
        macosx          OSX (PPC) binaries (32-bit)  

With this release we were faced with the prospect of a new Mac architecture
for 64-bit Intel or some other form of reorganization.  Rough statistics   
indicated that users are spread about evenly between the 32-bit ppc and    
intel systems and new 64-bit Snow Leopard systems.  However, since all     
new machines will be 64-bit capable and come with OSX 10.6 (or above),     
we opted to combine the 'macosx' architecture into a single i386/ppc       
Universal 32-bit binary and use the existing 'macintel' architecture for   
64-bit Intel binaries.  Therefore the new architecture definitions are:    

        macintel        OSX (Intel) binaries (64-bit)
        macosx          OSX (Intel/PPC) Universal binaries (32-bit)

This change primarily affects Mac Intel users still running 10.5 (or
earlier) or 10.6 users on older hardware not capable of running 64-bit
binaries.  These users were previously required to use the 'macintel' 
architecture but will now be required to use 'macosx'.  This change is
done automatically in the 'cl' login command, but is something to keep
in mind for users who explicity set an IRAFARCH environment variable. 

Deprecation of 'redhat' architecture

    Another architecture change in V2.15 is the introduction of a single
'linux' architecture or all 32-bit systems.  Earlier releases saw the   
removal of the 'suse' architecture as being redundant, however it could 
be problematic to similarly remove the 'redhat' architecture due to the 
number of external packages that still use it.                          

    With this release what we've done in the base release is to simply
make the 'bin.redhat' directories into symlinks to the 'bin.linux' directory.
Similarly, in the modified external package source the links have been       
made.  The preferred usage however is simply to remove references to         
'redhat' and use 'linux' instead (e.g. in personal settings for IRAFARCH     
or when building external packages).                                         

Dual-Binary Distributions (ALPHA only)

    For this release we are providing a source-only tarball of the system
as well as tarballs containing both source and platform-specific binaries.
The 'linux' distribution contains both the 'linux64' (64-bit) and 'linux' 
(32-bit) architectures; similarly the 'osx' distribution contains the     
'macintel' (64-bit) and 'macosx' architectures.  Having a limited number  
of distribution files simplifies the frequent updates expected during a   
test release phase, but having both 32 and 64-bit binaries in a single    
distribution also allows for easy installation of a system that can be    
used to directly test results from either platform.                       

    To accomplish this last feat, a user can define an IRAFARCH environment
variable to specifically run one or the other binary on a suitable machine.
For example, on a 64-bit Linux system you might:                           

    % setenv IRAFARCH  linux
    % cl                                        # run 32-bit binaries
    ....run some science applications                                
    % setenv IRAFARCH  linux64                                       
    % cl                                        # run 64-bit binaries
    ....run the same science applications                            
    ....compare results                                              

The same example holds for running macintel/macosx binaries.  

    A related feature of the IRAFARCH setting is the ability to
cross-compile 32-bit binaries on 64-bit systems.  For example, simply
setting IRAFARCH to 'macosx' on an OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) 64-bit system
will produce Universal 32-bit binaries.  Similar cross-compilation is   
intended for Linux systems but isn't yet working as of this writing.    

2)  Who Should Install

    As an ALPHA release, this system is targeted towards 

    o   experienced users willing to test the new 64-bit features
    o   science users wishing to test applications and results are
        not harmed by the changes made                            
    o   developers who need to modify external packages or locally 
        written software for 64-bit compatibility                  

The installation, 64-bit port and build documentation is known to be
sparse at the moment, this will be added in coming weeks.  The distribution
itself is a single tarball of the iraf root directory, if you do not know  
what to do with such a file you should probably wait for a later release.  

3)  How to Install This Release

    To install this release, you should download the binary distribution
file appropriate for your machine (either linux or osx) and then identify
yourself as one of the following users and follow the steps described:   

    - I am installing for the First Time:

        1)  Create an 'iraf' directory (preferrably /iraf/iraf) and unpack
            the distro file there                                         
        2)  Define $iraf in your environment                              
        3)  Run the $iraf/unix/hlib/install script to install the system  

    - I am replacing an existing IRAF installation:

        1)  Save any local configuration file (graphcap, extern.pkg, etc)
               of the existing IRAF installation to a separate directory 
        2)  Delete the existing IRAF tree                                
        3)  Unpack the distribution in the existing iraf root directory  
        4)  Replace/merge local configuration files                      

    - I am installing multiple IRAF versions:

        1)  Create a new 'iraf' root directory and unpack the distro file
        2)  Define $iraf in your environment to be the full path to the  
            IRAF system you wish to be the system-wide default.  If this 
            is the existing iraf installation you can skip this step, to 
            make the v215-ALPHA the default you'll redefine $iraf and run
            the install script.                                          
        3)  Set $iraf and $IRAFARCH in your environment as appropriate   
            before running the 'cl' command or compiling software.       

    - I want to build the IRAF system from source:

        1)  Download the iraf_v215-src.tar.gz source-only distribution
        2)  Create a new iraf root directory and unpack the distro    
        3)  Define $iraf in your environment                          
        4)  Run the $iraf/unix/hlib/install script to install the system
        5)  Configure the directory tree for the proper architecture and
            compile, e.g.  on a 64-bit linux system:                    

                % cd /iraf/iraf
                % setenv iraf /iraf/iraf/      
                % setenv IRAFARCH  linux64
                % make linux64
                % make sysgen

        In future versions this process will be made more robust and
        automatic, the above steps should compile the core system, NOAO
        and TABLES packages.

    We recommend if possible that a dedicated machine be used for testing
to avoid possible confusion with a dual-version system.  Note that while
environment variables can typically be used to control which version of
IRAF is started, these same environment variables when defined in startup
files such as .login or .cshrc can cause confusion when building software.

4)  Upgrading External Packages

    The v215-ALPHA release contains source code tarballs for some 30
external packages that have had preliminary checks/modifications for
64-bit compatibility.  These releases should be considered preliminary
updates until the responsible authors have had an opportunity to
examine and approve the changes.

    One major package currently missing is STSDAS due to its size, other
major packages such as MSCRED need to be examined by their authors and
re-released officially.  The distribution directory will be updated as
needed with binaries and new versions of source trees during the test

Mixed 64-bit IRAF and 32-bit External Packages

    On 64-bit systems it is possible to still use 32-bit external package
binaries (e.g. for packages that haven't been updated yet), however care
must be taken to match the architecture names.

    For example, on Linux systems the arch name is 'linux64' and this
will be used to find binaries in external packages as well.  For packages
such as STSDAS where no 'bin.linux64' binaries are available, you can
simply use the 32-bit binaries by making a 'bin.linux64' symlink that
points to the 'bin.linux' directory.

6)  Known Problems

Since this is an Alpha release,  the system is not yet feature-complete.
Similarly, during development several problems were identified that were
tabled for a later fix since they aren't expected to impact many users
initially.  These include:

        o  A transient IMCOMBINE crash:  possible memory error that seems
           to happen when imcombine is used for a lengthy period during
        o  The XREGISTER task on 64-bit linux has a transient crash.
        o  "Fast" I/O mode is imio is temporarily disabled due to an
           undiagnosed problem that affects image file size.
        o  Double-precisions FITS (i.e. BITPIX = -64) cannot be read
        o  GKI metacode files not yet verified to be interchangeable
           between 32 and 64-bit systems
        o  MIP files (e.g. helpdb files) not verified to be interchangeable
           between 32 and 64-bit systems
        o  The new SVG graphics driver requires graphcap entries/testing
        o  FITS I/O in the TABLES package not yet tested
        o  Cross-compilation of 32-bit linux from 64-bit system produces
           binaries that segfault (compat lib issues?)

7)  Modification History


    Three critical bug fixes:

        1)  Leftover port code was causing a segfault on linux64 for
            tasks using the NLFIT library.  This affects e.g. IMEXAM
            and the DIGIPHOT tasks.
        2)  A stdio file buffer problem was fixed that was causing
            problems for any task that uses redirection or "scan from pipe".
        3)  Use of SURFACE in tasks like IMEXAM fixes a segault.

IRAF V2.15 Alpha Release Now Available | 6 comments | Create New Account

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.

  • IRAF V2.15 Alpha Release Now Available
  • Authored by: marcololli on Thursday, May 06 2010 @ 07:31 AM GMT
Yesterday I tried to install iraf v 2.15 alpha on linux with fedora 11 and on MAC
with 10.6.3, in both situation I got error during install script run.

First of all an error relating the lack of noao binaries, i.e. x_rv.e , i touch a
file with this name and after rerun the script i got another error with a foreach
sintax after near the end.

I tried also to compile from source but I got an error dealing the lack of
mkpkg.e binaries.

I am surprise of these behaviour, probably I made some mistakes in
installing phase.

Marco Lolli
  • IRAF V2.15 Alpha Release Now Available
  • Authored by: fitz on Thursday, May 06 2010 @ 07:40 PM GMT
It looks like the last update had a problem building the RV package, this is one of the binaries used to check the contents of the NOAO bin leading to the error report. There have been some other minor updates recently so I updated all of the distributions and the install script should work properly now. Thanks for the report and sorry for the inconvenience.

  • IRAF V2.15 Alpha Release Now Available
  • Authored by: marcololli on Friday, May 07 2010 @ 07:56 AM GMT

Thank you for your prompt answer, now noao binaries check is ok, but
still I got a foreach sintax error in install script soon after the
request of creating a default tapecap and before the delete of HSI unused

The error is

foreach : No match

I inspected the install script but i don't found any typo in the script.


Marco Lolli
  • IRAF V2.15 Alpha Release Now Available
  • Authored by: fitz on Friday, May 07 2010 @ 04:59 PM GMT

This is a bug in the install script that still assumes the old directory structure. You can either edit hlib$install so line 2852 reads

foreach i ($iraf/bin.*)

or get the modified install script from http://iraf.net/ftp/pub/install

  • IRAF V2.15 Alpha Release Now Available
  • Authored by: marcololli on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 07:35 AM GMT

Thank you very much for your support, now I am able to install
iraf V2.15 on my pc.

do you think to have a 64bit xgterm binary in a near future ?

Marco Lolli
  • IRAF V2.15 Alpha Release Now Available
  • Authored by: fitz on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 02:05 PM GMT
There is just way too much pain required (for no
significant reason or gain) to port the X11IRAF tools just
to have a 64-bit binary. If anyone wants to live the Open
Source dream, source code has always been available, I
have no plans to do it.

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