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Announcement of Ureka v1.0beta5

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STScI and Gemini are announcing the first public beta release of the Ureka binary packaging installer for common astronomical software (primarily for the UV/Optical/IR community). The goals of the Ureka installer are to:

  1. minimize the number of actions needed to install all the different software components. We are seeking a "one button install" (it's not quite one button,but not far from it)
  2. permit installation without requiring system privileges
  3. make installs as problem-free as possible for the great majority of users
  4. allow users to install their own software (particularly Python-based) within this framework, or update versions of software within the framework
  5. permit different Ureka installations to coexist and to easily switch between them
  6. enable installing different versions of the same software package under a particular Ureka installation
  7. support Macs and most popular Linux variants

Ureka does not use LD_LIBRARY_PATH (or its Mac equivalent) and thus should not affect existing software after installation or use.

Keep in mind that no installation system is completely foolproof (that's very nearly impossible to achieve). In particular, when users update or add software to the Ureka framework, they increase the risk of breaking something, but we feel that is an option that users should have as long as they understand the possible risks.

This beta version includes IRAF and associated packages for IRAF, DS9, and a fairly full suite of Python scientific software packages (e.g., numpy, scipy, and matplotlib). The full listing of included software can be found at this link:

Ureka can be downloaded from: (choose "1.0 beta 5") Instructions on the installation and use may be found on the same web page.

This is a beta release. We do expect to uncover some problems that testing at Gemini and STScI did not encounter. If you do find problems, please let us know Feedback on addition software components that would be considered generally essential for this distribution is also welcome.