[AstroPy] Co-ordinating Python astronomy libraries?

Perry Greenfield perry@stsci....
Tue Jul 6 16:03:47 CDT 2010

I'm heartened by all the responses so far in seeingg that there is  
interest at some level in the topic.

We don't expect magic to happen and suddenly see coordination happen  
painlessly, nor simultaneously on all fronts.  I (I'm speaking for  
myself on this) don't think that it is bad that there are multiple  
approaches tried for various things. Multiple approaches often show  
good ideas in each approach that others can learn from.

Nevertheless, I can't but feel that in some areas the duplication of  
effort has gone too far. One example would be for FITS WCS modules. It  
would be good to understand if we could merge some of these efforts  
into a smaller number, or at least attempt to. There seem to be  
multiple parallel efforts to replicate the IDL astron library that may  
benefit from sharing of work and coordination.

At this point it seems clear sphinx is going to be the documentation  
standard, and we might as all well begin using it or converting to it  
(we at STScI are in the process of doing that).

We will be setting up the public astrolib repository this week (and  
I'll send an email when it is available). Are there any volunteers  
interested in migrating to it? It probably would be good only to have  
1 or 2 to start with to see what issues arise.

For those reluctant, we are curious about what the main obstacles are.  

1) SVN? (what do you use?)
2) trac? (what do you use?)
3) security? (e.g., having other developers having the ability to  
commit changes to your code)
4) government regulations or laws (e.g., I have heard some are  
prevented from using some US hosts because of US laws)
5) worries about the safety of the code (we back up the repository  
nightly to disks at STScI)

As to 3) I think it is reasonable to list those who are responsible  
for making decisions about what changes are accepted for any  
particular module (i.e., local control), and should anyone abuse that  
by repeatedly committing changes that aren't approved by the lead or  
leads on that module, they would lose their commit privileges. In  
other words, by moving your code to the astrolib repository, you  
aren't ceding control over changes to that code.

Any other thoughts?


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