Astronomical Image Processing System
The "Midnight" Job


A reminder: did you check the Change Log for the wizard? It tracks changes and bug fixes to that script, as well as listing the known problems.


The AIPS "Midnight" (MNJ) job allows you to keep up with the latest development, bug fixes, and changes in AIPS. Originally designed for use within NRAO among the different sites, it has been extended to many outside institutions in both the US and elsewhere in the world. You may run the MNJ automatically if you set up cron to do so, but you may also run the MNJ by hand only when the mood strikes your fancy.

If you wish to run the MNJ, you must first install AIPS. Instructions for that are found in 31DEC24 release and 31DEC23 release. The former will be updated every day until the end of 2024, so a MNJ run at any time in 2023-2024 should work. The latter will be updated daily through December 2023 and may be updated on occasion (for patches) thereafter. Thus a MNJ on 31DEC23 will work through 2023 and may work without error messages (and do useful stuff) in 2024. Note that a MNJ will update documentation and source models at any time since they are not treated as version-dependent files. MNJs on older versions may also run and, rarely, do useful things like fetch documentation files. Of course, some of them will apply only to current versions, not the one for which the MNJ was run.

The script can now do a binary installation for MacIntosh OS/X (Apple and Intel cpus), and Linux (32- and 64-bit) computers in the 31DEC09 and later versions. The binary installation uses rsync to copy the text and binaries from Socorro. The script invokes the MAKE.MNJ (MAKE.BMNJ for binary installations) shell script to do all of the setup for the midnight job. All you have to provide is a start date (use the day before you fetched the 31DEC23.tar.gz file which is the default in Having done the installation, the MNJ will use cvs to update text files for text installations and for binary installations prior to the 31DEC18 release. Binary installations also use rsync to update binary areas plus, in 31DEC18-31DEC23, all text areas. 31DEC24 now uses rsync for text installations as well.

There are certain minimal requirements for running the midnight job:

  • A computer on which AIPS already runs (!) and which is connected to the internet (need not be full time);
  • A version of perl (included with most Linux distributions);
  • 31DEC24 no longer requires cvs although the installation script may still refer to it. For older text installations and binary installations of 31DEC17 and earlier, a working version of the cvs software maintenance system. Other references to cvs include plus others (try "Concurrent Versioning System" in Google). The secure shell is no longer required. If cvs is not in your $PATH, MAKE.MNJ will ask you where it is to be found. Be sure that you can answer that before running the MAKE.MNJ portion of
  • rsync must also be available and enabled for binary MNJs.

Below are some tips that may make it easier to install/update:

  • type, e.g. perl ./ (or perl ./ -n if binary)
  • When done, make sure to get the new definitions:

    For bash, ksh, zshFor tcsh, csh
    . LOGIN.SH
    source LOGIN.CSH

  • You may make a cron entry for the do_daily.$HOST script that MAKE.MNJ creates for you. Alternatively, you may run it by hand at any time you wish.

  • It almost certainly has to run from the account that installed AIPS.

  • You must run from an account that is able to send mail. Please make sure that the $SYSLOCAL/UPDCONFIG file specifies mail account(s) that are read regularly. Some sites start their cron job and fail to notice that it fails on a daily basis and fail to read the e-mails we attempt to send them asking for things to be corrected. It helps if you notify us to give us a person to contact regarding your MNJ. Or better yet, subscribe yourself with the list manager form.

  • That's it. Given halfway reasonable network connectivity, you should be able to let it run unattended if you have cron run the MNJ.

    The MNJ goes on working on an AIPS version even though that version is no longer the development vesrion at NRAO. When the version is fully frozen, then you need only run one more MNJ to bring your version up to do with that final version. Further executions of the MNJ will produce error messages most of the time because files showing the date no longer advance. The "frozen" version may be updated with patches once in a while during the year following its freezing, so the MNJ may run without complaint once in a while. Subscribe to bananas if you wish to be informed of those times. Subscribe to mnj if you wish to be informed of those times or any other mnj issues.

    Modified on $Date: 2023/12/05 18:25:40 $
    [Eric W. Greisen]