Monday, 11 July 2011

Installing AIPS on Ubuntu

EDIT : This was written for Ubuntu 10.04. Some additional details for newer versions of ubuntu can be found at

The first pieces of software you need to install AIPS (Astronomical Image Processing System) are compilers for Fortran and C. I use gfortran and gcc/g++ because they are free and open (and easy to install), but if you have access to Intel's compiler suite use them for increased performance (or so I hear).

The easiest way to get gfortran, gcc and g++ is from the Synaptic Package Manager (under system/administration).

You'll also need to install a bunch of dependencies (all from Synaptic). These are:

        libx11-dev and its dependancies

When you have these installed, go to the NRAO AIPS website ( and grab the latest stable version of AIPS. This comes in the form of a tarball and a .pl script.

Put the tarball and the script in the directory where you want to install AIPS and follow the directions on

The settings you need to give the script vary according to your computer setup, but it's important to ensure that your fortran compiler is set to gfortran, and your c compiler to gcc. The linker should be gfortran too.

When you run the script everything should go smoothly! You're not done yet though. Make sure to add

        sssin        5000/tcp    SSSIN        # AIPS TV
        ssslock        5002/tcp    SSSLOCK        # AIPS TV Lock
        msgserv        5008/tcp    MSGSERV        # AIPS Message Server
        tekserv        5009/tcp    TEKSERV        # AIPS TekServer
        aipsmt0        5010/tcp    AIPSMT0
        aipsmt1        5011/tcp    AIPSMT1
        aipsmt2        5012/tcp    AIPSMT2
        aipsmt3        5013/tcp    AIPSMT3
        aipsmt4        5014/tcp    AIPSMT4
        aipsmt5        5015/tcp    AIPSMT5
        aipsmt6        5016/tcp    AIPSMT6
        aipsmt7        5017/tcp    AIPSMT7

to /etc/services to get AIPS to run properly. To do this you may need to open the file as root.

One last thing - add the aips path to your profile so you can run it straight from the terminal. For me the line was ". /home/colm/aips/LOGIN.SH; $CDTST". The CDTST bit at the end is needed if you intend to compile custom AIPS tasks.

Now you can begin monkeying around!


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