GNU Astronomy Utilities

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1.1 Quick start

The latest official release tarball is always available as gnuastro-latest.tar.gz. For better compression (faster download), and robust archival features, an Lzip compressed tarball is also available at gnuastro-latest.tar.lz, see Release tarball for more details on the tarball release1.

Let’s assume the downloaded tarball is in the TOPGNUASTRO directory. The first two commands below can be used to decompress the source. If you download tar.lz and your Tar implementation doesn’t recognize Lzip (the second command fails), run the third and fourth lines2. Note that lines starting with ## don’t need to be typed.

## Go into the download directory.

## Also works on `tar.gz'. GNU Tar recognizes both formats.
$ tar xf gnuastro-latest.tar.lz

## Only when previous command fails.
$ lzip -d gnuastro-latest.tar.lz
$ tar xf gnuastro-latest.tar

Gnuastro has three mandatory dependencies and some optional dependencies for extra functionality, see Dependencies for the full list. In Dependencies from package managers we have prepared the command to easily install Gnuastro’s dependencies using the package manager of some operating systems. When the mandatory dependencies are ready, you can configure, compile, check and install Gnuastro on your system with the following commands.

$ cd gnuastro-X.X                  # Replace X.X with version number.
$ ./configure
$ make -j8                         # Replace 8 with no. CPU threads.
$ make check
$ sudo make install

See Known issues if you confront any complications. For each program there is an ‘Invoke ProgramName’ sub-section in this book which explains how the programs should be run on the command-line (for example Invoking Table). You can read the same section on the command-line by running $ info astprogname (for example info asttable). The ‘Invoke ProgramName’ sub-section starts with a few examples of each program and goes on to explain the invocation details. See Getting help for all the options you have to get help. In Tutorials some real life examples of how these programs might be used are given.



The Gzip library and program are commonly available on most systems. However, Gnuastro recommends Lzip as described above and the beta-releases are also only distributed in tar.lz. You can download and install Lzip’s source (in .tar.gz format) from its webpage and follow the same process as below: Lzip has no dependencies, so simply decompress, then run ./configure, make, sudo make install.


In case Tar doesn’t directly uncompress your .tar.lz tarball, you can merge the separate calls to Lzip and Tar (shown in the main body of text) into one command by directly piping the output of Lzip into Tar with a command like this: $ lzip -cd gnuastro-0.5.tar.lz | tar -xf -

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