Section 15: PC-IRAF

Is there a version of IRAF that will run on my PC?

 Yes, with some restrictions.  As long as you have an x86 based
PC with at least 8Mb RAM running Linux (other OS's will follow) you can
run the latest IRAF as well as all of the X11IRAF utilities and
external packages.  DOS/Windows are insufficient for running IRAF but we
may eventually support other systems such as Windows NT.

What Operating Systems are supported?

        FreeBSD 3.3
        Slackware Linux 4.0
        RedHat Linux 5.x
        RedHat Linux 6.x
        SuSE Linux 6.x
        Solaris x86 7

What is the minimal hardware configuration?

 A minimal system should have at least
            16 Mb RAM
            500 Mb disk
            15" 1024x768 8-bit monitor
            486-33DX processor
IRAF will probably run with as little as 8Mb RAM but the system will most
likely be paging heavily, especially if the X server is also running.

What is the recommended hardware configuration?

 A recommended system would have
            128 Mb RAM
            9+ Gb SCSI/EIDE disk
            17" 1600x1200 8-bit monitor
            P-600 or faster processor
        A suitable desktop or deskside PC-IRAF system should have 1 Gb or
more of disk and 64-128 Mb of memory;  half this system would work but we
wouldn't recommend it.  A Pentium CPU and a PCI backplane are recommended.
There are indications that PCI (or at least a fast local bus) makes a big
difference in the overall performance of the newer PCs.  A large system
cache (256 Kb is common on current systems) is necessary to realize the
speed of the newer processors.  A DAT/Exabyte might also be preferred to
import data if the machine is not on a fast network.

How much disk space does IRAF require?

 The following summarizes the disk requirements in megabytes for
the major components of IRAF after installation (uncompress and untar).
These values will vary depending on the platform.
        Component       Size (Mb)         Comment
        ---------       ----------        ------------
        AS                70              All sources
        IB                20              normal CORE iraf binaries
        NB                25              normal NOAO package binaries

Where can I get PC/IRAF?

 We strongly recommend that Linux/IRAF be downloaded from our
anonymous ftp archive distribution,
this is not only free but means you can download any recent patches as well.
A CD-ROM distribution is also available (see below) for a cost of $53 US
that includes external packages, documentation and contributed software
but since these discs are produced by-hand there may be a slight delay in
filling the order (interested users should fill out and return the orderform.

Where can I get precompiled binaries for external packages.

 For some of the major external packages not supported by IRAF
(e.g. STSDAS/TABLES), check  For IRAF sponsored
packages look in for contact site support if
you have problems building from the sources.

Is there a CD-ROM distribution or runtime system? How much does it cost?

 IRAF is available on CD-ROM by filling out and sending the orderform found
at our website.  This is
currently a V2.11.3 distribution CD containing the V2.11 systems
presently in release, as well as documentation, external packages, and
contributed software also available from the archive.   The cost is $35 plus a
standard $23 shipping and handling charge.  We are planning a PC-IRAF runtime
CD-ROM so IRAF needn't be installed directly on the hard drive.

Will IRAF run on my laptop?

 As long as you have sufficient disk, memory, and Linux or other
supported Unixes are running, yes!

How hard is it to install Linux?

 This is a common question but one that can't really be answered
accurately.  A lot depends on which distribution of Linux you have (see
below),  how much you know about the hardware and Unix system management,
and the type of system you have.  Linux is a high-quality Unix implementation
and lots of help is available on the net for new users, pointers to various
CD distributors can be found on pciraf.html.  For a
"standard configuration" installation is usually made easier by installation
scripts for Linux that do most of the real work for you, configuration of
networking, local printers, X, etc may be left to the user once the base
system is installed.  It's not a bad idea to try an installation once and then
do it again once you know what's required.

Where can I get Linux?

 Linux is freely available via anonymous ftp from several sites (a good
place to start would be,,, etc) or an
be ordered on CD-ROM from various distributors who package the system for
easier installation, but for a cost of $15-$60 depending on the vendor.

How can I be sure my version of Linux is compatible?

  PC-IRAF V2.11.3 was built using FreeBSD 3.2, Slackware 4.0
(LNUX), Red Hat 6.1 (RHUX), SuSE 6.3 (SUSE), and Solaris 7 (SOL7).  Support
is also available for RedHat 5.x systems but users should consult the note
at the end of the distribution README file for special installation
        Several distributions of Linux are supported directly because these
are the most popular with users and they represent different "flavors" of
Linux currently available.  In most cases the Slackware (LNUX) binaries will
work on any platform not named explicitly here (Debian, Corel, etc) but
since Linux distributions change much more rapidly than IRAF it may be that
for a certain distribution version a different IRAF binary will be required.

Where can I get help installing Linux?

 Many common problems and installation considerations are discussed in
the various "HOWTO" documents at the Linux FTP sites, these have also been
compiled into a book from O'Reilly Assoc. called _Running Linux_ by Matt
Welsh.  There are also numerous FAQs and documentation in circulation.  If
you have a specific question and can't find help in these documents, the
best solution is to post a question to the comp.os.linux newsgroups, the
users on the net can be very helpful and have likely encountered the same
problems themselves.  For a starting point on Linux help see our PC-IRAF
web page at pciraf.html.

What if my hardware isn't currently supported?

 This is most often the case with new hardware (e.g. SCSI adapters
or video/sound cards) where drivers for these boards haven't yet been written
for the Linux kernel.  It's usually only a matter of a few months before
somebody on the net will contribute a driver for the hardware and support
will appear in one of the almost weekly kernel releases.  Care should be
taken though when installing the Linux system if you're in fact installing a
new distribution that may include something like ELF binaries which may not
be supported by IRAF itself.  Kernel updates can be done independent of a
full installation which is the best route to add support for new hardware.
	If you have a clone board for something like a sound card (which IRAF
won't use) or SCSI adapter that isn't a true clone you can also run into
problems.  For these situations consult the net for advice on what can be
used as a workaround, in some cases there will be no workaround so the best
advice for new hardware purchases is to research or use only "standard"
components in your hardware.

IRAF Project
National Optical Astronomy Observatories
950 North Cherry Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85719
(602) 327-5511