IRAF currently runs on the following platforms:
AIX4 IBM/RS6000 AIX 4.x</td> DUNX Digital Unix 4.0 (OSF, Compaq Tru64) HPUX HP-UX 10.20 IRIX SGI IRIX 6.x PCIX FreeBSD 3.3 PCIX Slackware Linux 4.0 PCIX RedHat Linux 5.x PCIX RedHat Linux 6.x PCIX SuSE Linux 6.x PCIX Solaris 7 for Intel SSOL SunOS 4.x SSOL Solaris 5.5, 5.6, 5.7 VMS7 VAX/VMS 7.1
Plans for supporting LinuxPPC on a Macintosh are also in the works.
Because of the different budgets people have available, the deals they can get from vendors for multiple purchases, local system management support, the number of expected users, and the extent of non-IRAF use the machine might get, it is impossible for the IRAF Project to recommend a specific platform to users considering a purchase. If there is some doubt about whether IRAF is supported for a particular machine users should contact the IRAF group with any questions, we would also be happy to answer any questions about specific devices or configurations.
Hardware requirements depend largely on the number of expected users, the types of reductions to be done, and what additional software will be used. A typical single-user workstation requires a minimum of 32Mb RAM (2-3 times that in swap space), enough disk for the OS, X windows, the IRAF system and sufficient room for data. Some type of tape drive is also des- ireable. Servers or multiple-user systems will typically have more RAM and disk, graphics accelerator cards are not required but may, in some cases, speed up window performance.
The dev$tapecap file can be used to configure most tape devices for use with IRAF. Current entries include Exabyte, DAT, 1/2" reel, QIC cart- ridge tapes, Mac DC2000 cartridge tape, and Mac FDHD floppy disks. There are currently no entries for other types of floppy drives or optical devices, but it's possible entries could be written for these. The distributed tapecap file is missing entries for DAT devices using the native Sun ST driver, contact the IRAF group for information on how this may be installed.
IRAF doesn't currently take advantage of 24-bit frame buffers, though several experiments with 24-bit display have been done. While IRAF may not use such a card, graphics accelerators on some such cards may speed up window performance. Users considering such a card should make purchase decisions based on factors other than expected IRAF use.
This is possible provided you have an X server running on the PC (several are available for PCs). If displaying from a remote machine, typical usage would be to run the display server (SAOimage or XImtool) on the IRAF host system, setting the '-display' command line flag or 'DISPLAY' environment variable to display the window on the PC. Since the server is running on the same node as IRAF there is no need to set the IRAF 'node' environment variable (or it should be set to the name of the IRAF host). Care should be taken to reset the number of colors for the display to use only 8-bits (i.e. 256 colors) in order for the display servers to work properly.
A complete set of benchmarks for IRAF has not been done since 1987, the results of those are obsolete now anyway. While some machines are gen- erally faster than others, benchmark results often depend on the task being tested, disk access times, available memory and a variety of other factors. Proper benchmarks should fairly use both I/O-bound and CPU-bound tasks in testing, as well as multiple image formats and data types, in order to draw any objective conclusions about relative performance. Head-to-head comparisons between machines may not be of much interest to certain users if their usage is much different that that being tested. The 1987 benchmark results are available in the iraf archive as iraf.noao.edu:iraf/docs/bench.ps.Z.