[AstroPy] Deployment and packaging

Matt Davis mrdavis at stsci.edu
Wed Jun 15 21:30:33 EDT 2011

I can see that there seems to be substantial interest in producing an easy Python installation usable by astronomers. Something like EPD but free, or maybe like Python(x,y) for Windows. In fact, there's no reason something like that needs to be specific to astronomy. All the tools you list would be great for someone in geoscience, medicine, engineering, or many other fields. I think it would be fantastic if we could fill this need, but I don't think it's a need specific to astronomy and for that reason it should be a separate project from AstroPy (with substantial staff overlap, to be sure). I have worked in Earth sciences and they face the same challenges to Python adoption that astronomers do. And there is much to be gained by helping other fields join the Python fold, especially when it comes to things like handling large data sets, statistics, pipelines, parallel processing, imaging, etc.

AstroPy, I think, should be a project separate from being packaged with anything else. It can have dependencies, of course, and some modules may have more dependencies than others, but the fact would be that someone could install AstroPy tools into a Python environment they made themselves, into stsci_python, into EPD, into some Python distribution we (as a community) make, or into any other Python environment that supports our distribution method.

- Matt

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