As of January 1, 2006 the email-based helpdesk system, firstname.lastname@example.org,
will no longer be supported by NOAO. Users accustomed to receiving personal
replies to questions will need to now become more comfortable with asking
questions in a public forum, however in many cases the question will have
already been answered in the archived mail. The advantage to this new
approach is that others in the audience may have had similar problems and
will benefit from the shared reply. The advantage for us is that users
can now discuss topics amongst themselves and so some of the more common
problems may be answered by people aside from the IRAF programmers.
In this forum-based approach to support, IRAF developers will continue to
answer questions and give expert advice as always, but we now also bring in
the wider experience of the users. Astronomy software in general is not
what is used to be and many major systems are not well supported yet remain
in everyday use. While primarily an IRAF support site, we hope the
website and the forums both evolve into a more general astronomy software
community site. Your participation in this process will help us achieve
How You Can Help
Setting up a web site and installing forum software is not a lot of work,
in fact not much more work than it takes to answer the email helpdesk
this site is meant to replace. But anyone familiar with the old IRAF
website will quickly see that what we're trying to do here is more
than simply updating the look and reorganizing things a bit.
The site is still evolving and will continue to do so over the first
few months. The work of creating it in the first place is done and
the bills are paid to keep the site up for at least a year, but in order
to keep the site going and to make this a place for the astronomical
software community as a whole we need your help! Please:
Register As A User
Forum and story postings may be done anonymously, but in order to
get a better sense of who uses this site please consider registering
as a user. This will also allow us to contact users in case the
site has problems, and will also allow users to contact each other.
for assurances that registering is a safe thing to do.
Search for Answers Before Posting Questions
IRAF Developers will continue to answer user questions in forums
when necessary, but many of the questions asked will have been
answered previously and are available by searching the sitemail
archives or in the FAQ.
Participate in Forums
Initially the site is meant to be an IRF Help Desk replacement,
however we envision this becoming a general forum for the wider
Astronomy Software community. If you read the forums and know
the answer to a posted question (and we know at least some of you
will), please consider answering it. Similarly, feel free
to start a thread on any astronomy software system, and if there
is wide enough interest simply contact
email@example.com to request that a new forum be created.
The blog format of the homepage is intentional and is meant to allow
announcements/stories to be posted on more than just IRAF. We would
like this site to be the "Slashdot of Astronomy Software" and news
of releases of software (IRAF or otherwise), topics of interest to
the ADASS regulars or
NVO users are always welcomed.
Additionally, we need people to suggest
links to what they consider to
be useful pages (e.g. local IRAF tutorial documents, external packages,
software tools, etc). We are investigating now how to setup a
user-contributed software repository and job board, if you are
interested in seeing these happy please contact us.
Okay, so we've been too busy to really have much stuff yet, but we do
have plans to offer highly prestigious T-shirts, coffee mugs,
mousepads and software CDs. The link above is a prototype shop, more
options will be available soon. Funds raised from these items will
be used to pay the hosting charges and hopefully we'll raise enough
to buy equipment to do the types of platform support we couldn't
otherwise manage. The profit margin is small so feel free to order
more than one!
If this site has saved you valuable time, or you think it is simply
worth supporting, we are also happy to take donations using the
"Make a Donation"
button on the left panel. As a "Thank You", all donations of $10US
or more will bestow upon the donor a highly prized "@iraf.net"
email address valid for the life of this site. Simply request one
when making your donation.
With Apple's announcement of their move to Intel-based
processors, and with the number of astronomers switching to Macs,
first fundraising effort will be to help with the purchase of a
Mac/Intel system to be used for an IRAF port, as well as for Linux
(and possibly Cygwin) support under VirtualPC. If you would like
to the a Mac/Intel IRAF port sooner rather than later, please
consider donating what you might spend on the software had it come
from a commercial vendor.
We do not plan to ever charge for support or software, however your
donations and desire for T-shirts and mouse pads will help keep
this site independently operating. Thank you in advance for your help!
Put In a Good Word
Lastly, if you've been inspired by this site (or think you can do
better) and are looking for a Web Hosting Provider, we've been very
pleased with the vendor hosting this site now. Simply click on the
graphic below and if you sign up with them we'll get a bounty to
help support this site. If that's not quite your speed, please help
by spreading the word about this site to those who might be interested.