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GitHub release X11IRAF CI test


This package contains X11/GUI development utilities and applications developed by the IRAF Project, National Optical Astronomy Observatories, since 1994. It provides the following programs:

The source code if x11iraf is mostly Open Source conform to the Open Source Definition by the Open Source Initiative. The list of files that are not conform is documented in the file LICENSES-nonfree of the source package. Note that x11iraf can be built without using these files.


The x11iraf package is maintained on Github. The preferred way to report a bug is to create a new issue on the x11iraf GitHub issue page. To contribute patches, we suggest to create a pull request on GitHub.


On some systems, x11iraf can be directly installed from the package repositories:

Packages for Arch Linux are currently in preparation. Please contact us if you want to help packaging for macOS or other Linux versions.

Distribution Files

The X11IRAF sources are available from github at

System Requirements and Dependencies

Besides a normal development environment (C compiler, make, lex, yacc), the installation requires the ncurses, X11 (xaw, xaw3d, xmu), TCL and XPM libraries to be installed. To compile the helper for ximtool, also a working IRAF installation with its development tools is required.

On Debian and its derivatives (Ubuntu, Mint, Devuan, Raspbian etc.):

$ sudo apt install gcc make bison flex libncurses-dev tcl-dev
$ sudo apt install libxaw7-dev libxmu-dev xaw3dg-dev libxpm-dev
$ sudo apt install iraf-dev

On MacOS X (both Intel and ARM systems work), you need to have the XCode tools installed. If you haven’t, you can install them with:

$ xcode-select --install

Click “Install” to download and install Xcode Command Line Tools. Additionally, you need to install XQuartz from

For the ism_wcspix.e helper of XImtool, you also need a working IRAF installation. Make sure that the xc compiler works and can be found in the PATH.

Unpack the Source Tarball

The source distribution file is built as a tarball with the package name and version as base directory. Thus, distribution files can be unpacked with the command

$ tar xzf /<path>/x11iraf-2.1.tar.gz
$ cd x11iraf-2.1/

Build from Sources

In the source directory, type make:

$ make

This will automatically compile all sources and create the executables xgterm/xgterm and ximtool/ximtool, and the helper ximtool/clients/ism_wcspix.e. The compilation can be tuned by setting CFLAGS and LDFLAGS. If the environment variable OSI_COMPLIANT is set to YES, the build uses only source files that are Open Source.

To copy the executables to /usr/local/bin, execute as root

# make install

This will also install the manpages to /usr/local/man/ und the required terminfo file for xgterm to /usr/share/terminfo/. If you don’t want to invoke make install, you should make sure to run tic xgterm/xgterm.terminfo to compile and install the terminfo file.

Use another font on xgterm

On modern, HighDPI monitors, xgterm often appears too small to be usable. The reason here is that xgterm uses the “fixed” font by default. The “lucidasanstypewriter” font family is available by default on many system and provides font sizes that fit on many screens. To try it out, start xgterm with the option -fn lucidasanstypewriter-14. Available font sizes are 12,14,16,18,20, 22, 24, 28, 32.

To make the font setting default, put the selected font into the file ~/.Xresources (create the file if it does not exist):

xgterm*font: lucidasanstypewriter-18

and load them into the X11 resources with

$ xrdb ~/.Xresources

Other fonts can be used as well as long as they are fixed width (typewriter) X11 bitmap fonts. One font worthwile to try out is “terminus” (package “xfonts-terminus” on Debian/Ubuntu/Mint systems).

Other included programs

The sources include a few more programs that are out of interest for the normal user:

These programs are not built by default.