GNU Astronomy Utilities


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1.6 New to GNU/Linux?

Some astronomers initially install and use the GNU/Linux operating systems because the software that their research community use can only be run in this environment, the transition is not necessarily easy. To encourage you in investing the patience and time to make this transition, we define the GNU/Linux system and argue for the command-line interface of scientific software and how it is worth the (apparently steep) learning curve. Command-line interface contains a short overview of the very powerful command-line user interface. Tutorials is a complete chapter with some real world example applications of Gnuastro making good use of GNU/Linux capabilities written for newcomers to this environment. It is fully explained, easy and (hopefully) entertaining.

You might have already noticed that we are not using the name “Linux”, but “GNU/Linux”. Please take the time to have a look at the following essays and FAQs for a complete understanding of this very important distinction. In short, the Linux kernel is built using the GNU C library (glibc) and GNU compiler collection (gcc). The Linux kernel software alone is useless, in order have an operating system you need many more packages and the majority of such low-level packages in most distributions are developed as part of the GNU project: “the whole system is basically GNU with Linux loaded”. In the form of an analogy: to say “running Linux”, is like saying “driving your carburetor”.


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