[AstroPy] Proliferating py-astro-libs

Taro Sato taro at ap.smu.ca
Thu Jun 9 22:26:00 EDT 2011

On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 7:25 PM, Marshall Perrin <mperrin at stsci.edu> wrote:
> I'm going to be provocative here:  As a community, we are doing something
> wrong if everyone wants to start their own new module rather than
> contributing to a common shared open-source core.  We are clearly doing
> something wrong if people repeatedly implement the same basic functions
> rather than building on what's already there. What do we need to do
> differently? How can we make it easier to use a shared repository and shared
> namespace for all this?
> I'm not arguing that somehow there has to be one true library that everyone
> uses, one ring to rule them all. But wouldn't it be better if there were a
> more straightforward choice that community members could easily contribute
> to, leading to a more coherent overall system? I would assert that astrolib
> is probably the best candidate for growing into this, but I don't really
> care which one the community rallies behind. I'd just like to have some
> sense that we might actually be converging towards an IDL-like unified core
> rather than just proliferating little packages.   Currently we're just
> forming dwarf galaxies; how can we get them to accrete together to build a
> grand design spiral?
>  - Marshall

I agree mostly with what Marshall says, but as a (sort of) an
outsider, it's still quite obscure what projects are considered to be
the "main" community efforts.  I still don't really know which
packages should be the de facto standards to do certain things for my
own work (aside from PyFITS, PyRAF, stsci_python... something that
comes out of STSci).

So Instead of relying on somebody else's work which can get abandoned
any time, I've been rolling out my own ports of misc. tools whenever
necessary.  Seeing that can lead to redundant efforts & reinventions
of wheels, I even wanted to join the community effort if such a thing
existed and contacted somebody at STSci, but nothing came out of it
(that was several years ago though...).

My point is, if you claim there *are* community efforts that we could
contribute to, we would appreciate which ones they are and advertise
as such.

Taro Sato
Department of Astronomy & Physics
Saint Mary's University             email: taro at ap.smu.ca
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3                 phone: (902)420-5027
Canada                                web: http://ap.smu.ca/~taro

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