IRAF V2.14EXPORT Release Notes


IRAF Group


December 1, 2007


These release notes provide a summary of the major changes in V2.14. This is a major release of IRAF and will be available for all supported platforms. More detailed technical documentation of all system changes will be found in the ‘notes.v212’ files in the iraf$local directories. Detailed revisions notes for each application package are in the package directories in a file called Revisions, e.g. apphot$Revisions.

IRAF V2.14 is a major-version release of the system and requires a FULL INSTALLATION of the package, even if you have an existing V2.13 system. The Installation Guide ( contains a detailed description of the installation process for both first-time installations and updates to existing systems. Installation will require downloading the AS, IB, and NB distribution files from this directory. The AS distribution is common to all PC-IRAF platforms and is required for any installation. There are separate sets of binaries (the IB and NB distributions) for each PC-IRAF platform and only those binaries required for a particular platform will need to be downloaded.

PC-IRAF V2.14 supports the following platforms:


D istribution

Additional Systems

MacOSX 10.4 and higher


(Intel or PPC arch)

Linux RedHat 9


Fedora, Enterprise, CentOS

Debian 3.1 (Sarge) and higher


Other Debian-based systems and all other linux



Windows XP only

NOTE: The SUSE architecture has been dropped as of this release, however support for SuSE systems is available in the LNUX architecture. Future releases may seek to merge RHUX and LNUX into a single Linux platform release to minimize the number of required distributions.

All versions are supported with a single IRAF distribution, although you need to install separate binaries for for each platform.


The primary changes to IRAF V2.14 were done to support the new Mac Intel and Cygwin platforms, as well as fix long-standing issues with the viability of the system on recent Linux and Mac OS X systems. However, a number of key features and tasks will be new to users.

The following list is a partial summary of changes in this release:

  • Mac (Intel) Now a Supported Platform

  • Cygwin (for Windows XP) Now a Supported Platform

  • SUSE dropped as system architecture

  • ECL Now Default Interpreter

    Starting with this release, the ‘cl’ command to start IRAF will invoke the ECL interpreter as the default. Users can still access the old CL by starting with the command “% cl -o”

  • FITS Now Default Image File Format

    Starting with this release, FITS will be the default image format for all output images. Use of OIF (i.e. the “.imh” format) is still available by changing the ‘imtype’ variable setting.

  • ZPN Projection now supported by all tasks using the MWCS interface

    The ZPN projection driver from the Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit was installed in the MWCS interface. ZPN is a zenithal/azimuthal polynomial projection.

  • RV.FXCOR now fits Gaussian peaks using double precision. Additionally the HJD output is printed to 5 decimals precision.

  • Access to 2MASS and USNO-B1 catalogs from the ASTCAT package

  • Display overlay colors may be set with expressions

    • The masks specified by the ‘bpmask’ or ‘overlay’ parameters may now be set using image data or colors represented by expressions. See the ‘Overlay Colors’ section of the DISPLAY help page for details.

    • Transparent masks (using the name ‘transparent’ or a mapped color less than zero) are now permitted.

  • IMEDIT has the following changes:

    • A new option to do vector constant replacement was added. This is particularly useful for editing bad pixel masks.

    • New options ‘=’, ‘<’, and ‘>’ to replace all pixels with values ==, <=, or >= to the value at the cursor with the constant value was added. This is useful for editing object masks.

    • The ‘?’ help page is now set by an environment variable rather than hardcoded to a file in lib$src. The environment variable is imedit_help and is set in to point to the file in the source directory.

  • New Tasks In the System:


      • BPMEDIT - Examine and edit bad pixel masks associated with images

    • images.imcoords:

      • MKCWCS - Make or update a simple celestial wcs

      • MKCWWCS - Make or update a simple celestial/wavelength 3D wcs

    • lists:

      • RAVERAGE - Compute running average, standard deviation and envelope

    • noao.nproto:

      • SKYSEP - Compute are separation between two RA/Dec values

      • SKYGROUP - Group a list containing RA/Dec into spatial sublists

  • New Parameters

    • images.imutil:

      • HSELECT - Added a ‘missing’ parameter to be used when keywords isn’t in header.

  • New Environment Variables

    Two new environment variables are available for use in IRAF networking:

    • KS_RETRY, if defined, is the number of retry attempts using the default rsh (or KSRSH) protocol. The task will sleep for 1 second between attempts and then loop back to try again to make the connection. This is meant to avoid potential clashes between multiple machines connecting simultaneously as with the pipeline.

    • KS_NO_RETRY which when defined instructs the task not to attempt a retry using the fallback rexec protocol. This test is made after the KS_RETRY checks to allow for various combinations of settings to allow the code to skip retries entirely (i.e. define only KS_NO_RETRY), retry using the default protocol but not with rexec (i.e. define KS_RETRY as some value and set KS_NO_RETRY), or retry only with rexec (i.e. old behavior, don’t define anything).

  • Increased Buffer Sizes

    • Various environment buffers were increased to allow for longer settings of $PATH or other strings that would occassionally overflow.

    • SZ_IMNAME was increased from 79 to 128 characters.

    • SZ_ERRMSG in system error strings increased from 80 chars to SZ_LINE (1023) to allow inclusion of full paths in error messages.

    • The FFT procedures in the VOPS interface now permit vectors of 2^31 points (up from 2^15)

  • New Developer Libraries.

    Several new libraries are available for SPP developers:

    • Installed the ‘mef’ library from the FITSUTIL package for doing general MEF manipulation. This will remove the dependency on FITSUTIL from several external packages.

    • Installed the ‘dbc’ routines from the FITSUTIL package. This is an extension to the imgead header database routines that allow for a comment field to be created/manipulated in the header.

    • xtools$xtargs.x is a simple interface to parse an argument string consisting of a list of whitespace separated keyw=value pairs.