taskGNU Astronomy Utilities - Tasks: task #14885, CFITSIO and WCSLIB as optional...


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task #14885: CFITSIO and WCSLIB as optional dependencies

Submitted by:  Mohammad Akhlaghi <makhlaghi>
Submitted on:  Sat 17 Mar 2018 01:07:41 PM UTC  
Should Start On:  Fri 16 Mar 2018 11:00:00 PM UTC Should be Finished on:  Fri 16 Mar 2018 11:00:00 PM UTC
Category:  Installation Priority:  5 - Normal
Item Group:  Enhancement Status:  Postponed
Privacy:  Public Percent Complete:  30%
Assigned to:  None Open/Closed:  Open
Effort:  0.00

Fri 06 Apr 2018 01:49:31 PM UTC, comment #1: 

All the programs can now read their input datasets in any of the known formats (see this commit).

However, they still write their outputs in FITS format, and a thorough check hasn't been done to make sure everything else is FITS-independent. So this task isn't fully complete yet, but atleaset, the program inputs don't need to be FITS any more (although FITS is, and will be, the preferred and recommended format).

Mohammad Akhlaghi <makhlaghi>
Project Administrator
Sat 17 Mar 2018 01:07:41 PM UTC, original submission:  

Currently these two libraries are mandatory dependencies for Gnuastro. However, recently Gnuastro also accepts TIFF images and previously it also read JPEG images. Therefore the progarm inputs don't necessarily need to be FITS images (as they currently are except for ConvertType) and output datasets can also be written in JPEG/TIFF also.

Therefore if someone doesn't use FITS files, but still wants to benefit from Gnuastro's features, they shouldn't be forced to install CFITSIO or WCSLIB.

To do this, we just have to make an `array' library that will read and write the separate formats based on filename. Similar to how http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/gnuastro.git/tree/lib/table.c table.c] reads the desired input/output format and uses the appropriate library to do the job.

Ofcourse, FITS isn't just for arrays (images or cubes), it is also a wondeful format for tables. For now the only other alternative is plain text. But later, we can also use other standards (with other optional dependencies).

FITS will remain the suggested/recommended format throughout Gnuastro, it is far more superior for scientific processing than other formats for many reasons (allowing tables/images with a huge variety of types, multiple extensions, human-readable keywords and etc...).

But as some non-astronomy groups are starting to use Gnuastro and they only use TIFF/JPEG formats, there is no need to force them to install FITS prior to installing Gnuastro.

Mohammad Akhlaghi <makhlaghi>
Project Administrator


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