AIPS HELP file for AIPS in 31DEC22
As of Tue Oct 3 8:43:54 2023
AIPS: The AIPS (Astronomical Image Processing System) program
itself. No adverbs in the normal sense.
Type: Main Program.
Use: Start AIPS itself from the command line. For Unix systems, the
following usage applies:
aips [OLD, NEW, or TST]
[TV=[tvdisp][:][tvhost] or TV=local[:n] or NOTV] [TVOK]
[DA=host[,host,...] or DA=default or DA=all]
[REMOTE or REM or TEK] [DEBUG[=prog][:aips]]
[LOCAL] [NORL] [NOEX]
(For VMS systems, the "=" options are not available; The last
release to support VMS was 15APR91). Note that the information
here is also available in the Unix manual page for AIPS which in
turn is found in the SYSUNIX area as "AIPS.L".
The aips (or AIPS) command starts up the AIPS command interpreter
and associated AIPS server processes.
Options: All command line options are case insensitive.
AIPS allows up to three versions to co-exist (disk space
permitting) in one installation. They are identified either by
date (e.g. 15OCT98) or name (OLD, NEW, or TST). On most
installations, these will all be the same.
OLD Start the OLD version of AIPS. For NRAO this is a frozen
version which has been distributed worldwide.
NEW Start the NEW version of AIPS. For NRAO this is the
most recently released version and is frozen right at the
time of initial public release.
TST Start the TST version of AIPS. For NRAO this is the
unreleased, development version. This is the default.
TV=[tvdisp][:][tvhost] or TV=local[:n]
TV display server to use instead of the default. The AIPS
startup script TRIES to deduce which host the user is
sitting in front of (this may not work; it is often
difficult or impossible to determine this information).
This may not be the same as the machine on which AIPS is to
be run if, for example, the user has remotely logged in to
another machine within a terminal emulator window.
The "TV=local" option allows use of Unix based sockets for
the TV and other servers. If you choose this option, you
MUST run the XAS server and any AIPS sessions that will use
it on the same host, though the DISPLAYs can be the same or
different. Also, no remote AIPS sessions will be able to
talk to this local TV.
If you instead use "TV=local:0", it will attempt to start a
new instance of the TV and ancillary servers. This can be
used to have multiple TVs on the same host, and is useful
in a compute server environment with X terminals. If you
have multiple Unix-socket based TVs already started, you
can choose which one a new AIPS session will use by,
e.g. "TV=local:2" to choose the second one.
NOTE: The default TV behavior is to use INET or Internet
based sockets, as the scripts have been doing since 1992.
The "local" Unix socket based functionality does not change
For the default use of internet sockets, the full syntax of
this option is TV=TVDISP:TVHOST, where TVHOST is the name
of the machine on which the TV display server (usually
XAS), Tektronix graphics server (TEKSRV), message server
(MSGSRV), and TV Lock server (TVSERV) are to run, and
TVDISP indicates the machine to which the DISPLAY environ-
ment variable should point for XAS. Do NOT specify
TV=hostname:0.0! Both TVHOST and TVDISP can be different
from the machine that AIPS itself is running on. See the
section on X Window System servers below for more
information on how to control the servers.
The default behavior of this option if only one of tvdisp
and tvhost is specified is:
TV=tvhost tvdisp defaults to tvhost.
TV=tvdisp: tvhost defaults to where AIPS is running.
TV=:tvhost tvdisp defaults to where AIPS is running.
For the remote TV options to work, you must be able to use
the rsh or remsh command; see the notes on it under the tp=
heading below. Also see the notes on environment variable
AIPSREMOTE. By default, if you do not specify any tv=
option, you will only get a TV if your current TERM
environment variable matches sun*, *xterm*, *hpterm,
dtterm, or iris*. The DISPLAY environment variable is used
if set, otherwise the "who am i" (on HP-UX, with the -R
option) is used to make a guess at "where" you really are.
NOTV Prevents automatic activation of the TV server if no
display is wanted. This option also disables the Tektronix
graphics server, the message server and the TV lock server.
See the section on X Window System servers below for
information on how to control the Tektronix and message
TVOK Assume that the TV display servers are already running; the
particulars (display, host) are still worked out -- from
the TV=... argument (see above) if necessary -- but no
servers will be started.
DA=host[,host,...] or DA=default or DA=all
Select user data areas (directories, or "disks" in
AIPSpeak) that are local to the comma separated list of
machines. Data areas from "required" hosts and those on
the local machine are always added, regardless of the list
All disks from each named host will be assigned. Use the
FREE command within AIPS to see the disk assignments you
end up with. They are also shown on startup.
AIPS has a limit of 35 disks in any one session. The limit
on the number of disks that can be defined for any given
site is 512. Disk 1 is special in that it stores the AIPS
message and save/get files. The system is designed so that
one particular required disk will almost always be assigned
as disk 1. For performance reasons, this may be
undesirable if the filesystem in question is mounted via
NFS. See the description of personal .dadevs files
below, as it can be used to customize the list of possible
user data areas.
Selecting DA=ALL will try to include every area defined in
the startup file, up to the session limit. Bear in mind
that most AIPS tasks only have 10 slots for "BADDISK".
Selecting DA=DEFAULT will completely bypass the
configurable data areas and choose only those data areas
preconfigured by the AIPS manager; THIS IS NOT NORMALLY
ENABLED, CHECK WITH YOUR AIPS MANAGER BEFORE USING
There is a hierarchy of disk "lists" that AIPS will look
for on startup. These are:
$HOME/.dadevs This would be in your private login
area (what $HOME points to). It need
not exist. If it doesn't, AIPS looks
for the next file:
$DA00/DADEVS.LIST This is a host-specific file possibly
set up by the AIPS manager. If it
doesn't exist, AIPS finally looks for:
$NET0/DADEVS.LIST which is the site-wide data area
The normal state of affairs is to have just one place for
data areas to be defined, namely $NET0/DADEVS.LIST. Your
AIPS manager can choose to install host-specific list
files, and you can choose (if you run AIPS from your own
private account) to override both of these two with your
own private version. This allows for considerable
flexibility but moves the onus of maintenance of these
files to the user. In other words, if you have your own
.dadevs file, YOU have to keep track of your site's disk
If your AIPS installation supports multiple sites, e.g. to
support both little-endian (Intel, Alpha) and big-endian
(Sparc) systems, you can have any of these files refer to
one or the othe site by appending the site name,
e.g. $HOME/.dadevs.VCOARN for SITE=VCOARN.
The format for these files is all the same: a list of
directory names preceded by a "+" for required or a "-" for
optional. There should be two (2) spaces between the "+"
or "-" (in the leftmost column) and the directory name.
In addition to all of the above, you may define a list of
data areas in an optional $HOME/.dadevs.always file.
This is used in addition to whichever of the DADEVS files
have been selected by the rules above. The data areas
that you will be assigned start with any required data
areas in the $HOME/.dadevs.always file followed by any
required data areas in the selected DADEVS file
regardless of name. The 3rd group of data areas are
those optional ones in the selected DADEVS file
containing a string matching the user's host name. Then
come the optional data areas in the $HOME/.dadevs.always
file regardless of name. Finally, the optional data
areas in the selected DADEVS file with strings matching
the names of any hosts given in the DA=host[,host,...]
command-line option. The order of data areas within each
group, i.e. which is disk 1, etc., is determined by the
order in the files.
There is also a $NET0/NETSP file that is maintained by the
AIPS manager and controls TIMDEST and aips user-number
access to the disks. You will get error messages if your
private .dadevs file includes AIPS data areas ("disks")
that are not in the NETSP file. Regardless of the number
of sites in your installation, there is only one NETSP
Make sure tape servers are running on the comma separated
list of machines. While the AIPS account is usually set up
so that it can perform remote shell (rsh) commands, your
personal account may not. Check with your system
administrator or network guru for details. Also check the
Unix manual pages on rsh (remsh on HP-UX), rhosts, and
hosts.equiv. The tp= option uses rsh to issue commands to
TPOK Do NOT check or launch the TPMON tape daemons on the local
host. The default is to check if they are running and to
launch them if not found.
PR=# Select printer number (e.g., pr=2). If this option is not
specified, the user will be presented with a menu of
available printers and prompted to enter a choice. If
there is only one printer, no menu will be presented. You
may change the selected printer within AIPS via the PRINTER
REMOTE or REM or TEK
Indicates that the user is running from a terminal with
Tektronix display capability. Graphics output will be sent
directly to this terminal. NOTE: AIPS will NOT switch from
text to graphics mode on terminals with a separate graphics
Start AIPS in debug mode. With no arguments, the user will
be prompted for the name of the debugger (e.g. gdb, dbx, adb,
csd, xde, dbxtool, debugger, xxgdb), and whether to run AIPS
itself in debug. If you answer no, only AIPS tasks will be
run in debug mode. If "=prog" is specified, this suppresses
the prompt for the name of the debugger program. If ":aips"
is specified, this suppresses the prompt for whether to run
AIPS itself in debug mode and assumes it will. Use of both
these options is useful in speeding up the startup of the
system when debugging a program or AIPS itself.
LOCAL Start a local copy of AIPS.EXE residing in the current
NORL Disable GNU readline library and command-line editing.
This is primarily useful for running back-grounded AIPS
sessions, running AIPS from "here-document" shell-scripts,
and for debugging.
NOEX This defers AIPS execution and is not normally used
directly by users.
COMMAND-LINE EDITING (NEW to 15JAN96)
AIPS now utilizes, under most UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems,
the GNU "readline" library for user input.
This library gives the user the ability to use the cursor-arrow
keys, as well as various "control" and "escape" key sequences, to
recall previously-entered commands, edit the current command-line
(without having to back-space and re-type the entire line), search
the command history for previously-executed commands, define
customized key bindings for executing commands and macros, etc.
The default key bindings should be very familiar to users of Emacs
and/or the bash shell; many of them should also be recognizable to
users of the Korn and tcsh shells. Hard-core vi users can put AIPS
into "vi-mode" and use vi-like key-bindings instead.
The user's command-line history is automatically saved between
sessions (unique to both the user and the "AIPS number" of the
session) and then recovered at the next AIPS startup.
Within AIPS,"HELP READLINE" will give a short summary of this
functionality. Outside of AIPS, "man readline" will probably give
you more information about this functionality than you would ever
want to know...
This feature can be disabled with the norl command-line option.
There are two areas where AIPS "run files" are stored: $RUNSYS and
$RUNFIL. The former is for system files (AIPS user number 1) and
the latter is for individual's own run files (any user number).
You can override the latter if you have the environment variable
RUNFIL already defined (e.g., in you .login or .profile).
X WINDOW SYSTEM SERVERS
If you are running under the X Window System, AIPS will open up to
three windows: a TV window (normally XAS), a message window
(MSGSRV) and a graphics window (TEKSRV). If you specify the notv
option on the command line, none of these will be started.
MSGSRV and TEKSRV are actually simple programs running inside a
terminal emulator. You may use any terminal emulator that you
would normally use on the machine on which you are running AIPS for
the MSGSRV window. Examples include xterm (the sample vt100/
Tektronix emulator that comes with the MIT X Window System code);
cmdtool and shelltool (the standard terminal emulators for
OpenWindows) and AIXterm (the standard terminal emulator on
RS/6000s). You can choose which one to use by setting the
environment variable AIPS_MSG_EMULATOR to the name of the terminal
emulator you wish to use. For example, if you want to use cmdtool
you would type
setenv AIPS_MSG_EMULATOR cmdtool
if you use the C or TC Shell, or
AIPS_MSG_EMULATOR=cmdtool; export AIPS_MSG_EMULATOR
if you use Korn, BASH, or Bourne shells before you start up AIPS.
You could also add these commands to your .login file (C Shell) or
.profile (Korn/BASH/Bourne Shells) to make the assignment more
permanent. You can also give AIPS_MSG_EMULATOR the special value
of "none" which will disable the message window without affecting
the Tektronix window or the TV. If AIPS_MSG_EMULATOR is not set,
the default is xterm.
You may choose the terminal emulator used for the Tektronix window
using the environment variable AIPS_TEK_EMULATOR in the same way
that you use AIPS_MSG_EMULATOR to choose the terminal emulator, but
it MUST support Tektronix graphics codes. On most machines the
only values of AIPS_TEK_EMULATOR that make any sense are "xterm"
and "none". If AIPS_TEK_EMULATOR is not set AIPS will behave as if
it were set to "xterm". (Note: dxterm, aixterm, cmdtool,
shelltool, and x-hpterm are not "xterm"; they cannot display tek
You can set preferences for positions and colors for all three
servers using the standard X Window System mechanisms. Further
information is available through the AIPS HELP system (subjects
MSGSRV, TEKSRV, XAS and XVSS).
Note that AIPS expects that a terminal emulator can start a program
that is specified using a -e flag on the command line. This is
true of all of the terminal emulators we know about but if you find
one that requires a different flag you can specify the flag as
AIPS_TEK_EXE_FLAG or AIPS_MSG_EXE_FLAG.
In addition to the Message and Tek server customizations, you may
choose to set a variable AIPSREMOTE to indicate your choice of remote
shell command. It is strongly recommended that the secure shell
(ssh) be used in place of the traditional Berkeley rsh or remsh
setenv AIPSREMOTE "ssh -n"
for csh or tcsh shells, or
export AIPSREMOTE="ssh -n"
for bash, korn, zsh and other bourne-like shells.
Further help is available after AIPS starts via the HELP command.
Within AIPS, "HELP TASKS" lists a one-line summary of each task.
Also, there is an APROPOS verb for listing tasks, verbs, procedures
and pseudoverbs that have a specified keyword in their one-line
descriptions (e.g. APROPOS GAUSSIAN to find out about things that
deal with Gaussian functions).
Authors (Approximately chronological):
NRAO: Eric Greisen, Bill Cotton, Gary Fickling, David Brown, Ed
Fomalont, Fred Schwab, Don Wells, Kerry Hilldrup, Tim
Cornwell, Pat Moore, Arnold Rots, Alan Bridle, Phil Diamond,
Pat Murphy, Brian Glendenning, Bill Junor, Chris Flatters,
Dean Schlemmer, Doug Wood, Gareth Hunt, Glen Langston, Dave
Adler, Leonid Kogan, Juan Uson, Gustaaf van Moorsel, Jeff
ATNF: Mike Kesteven, Mark Calabretta, Neil Killeen, Henrietta May
Leiden: Walter Jaffe
And plenty more.
The following is a superficial list of the more important setup
files. All these files are located relative to the $AIPS_ROOT
LOGIN.CSH File to call from your .login if your login shell
is the C shell or tcsh.
LOGIN.SH File to call from your .profile if your login
shell is the Bourne, Korn, or Bash shell.
HOSTS.LIST List of hosts that can run AIPS (or that are X
terminals or servers).
START_AIPS The script that actually starts AIPS. Should be
pointed to by a symbolic link in $SYSLOCAL/AIPS
DA00/PRDEVS.LIST Defines printers for your site.
DA00/TPDEVS.LIST Defines tape device names for AIPS.
DA00/DADEVS.LIST List of aips "disks" or data areas; see above.
DA00/NETSP TIMDEST and user reservation parameters
TPDEVS.LIST Defines hardwired AIPS TV devices, if any.
AIPSASSN.[C]SH Contains extra site/host specific definitions
(reserved and message terminal definitions,
overrides of other settings).
AIPS.MSG Login notice, to be edited by the local AIPS