Starlink Software Collection for Cygwin

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Starlink Software Collection for Cygwin


This is a release of much of the Starlink Software Collection to run under Microsoft Windows using the Cygwin environment.

Cygwin is a Linux-like environment that makes it much easier to port UNIX programs to Windows, with the additional advantage that you also get a Linux environment to work in. This makes it ideal for UNIX users who need to also need to make use of Windows, but don't want the associated problems of maintaining a dual boot system.


Before you can run the Starlink software under Windows you must install Cygwin. There are instructions on how to do this, and where to find a mirror site at the Cygwin home. Normally getting started just consists of downloading and running the Cygwin "setup" program. The setup program allows you to install packages and keep your system up to date, so is well worth getting to know. Note that you should install the 32bit version of Cygwin.

The minimum environment that you need to get started should consist of the default set of packages offered by setup, plus the following (you can download these after the default install by re-running the "setup" program):

  • tcsh
  • xinit
  • jpeg library (version 62 which is now obsolete)
  • ncurses (version 8)
  • cygrunsrv

The whole should take about 100Mb+. Once you've got this installed you'll need to run the command:


From the Cygwin terminal window. Just accept the various defaults and re-start Windows. This part is necessary if you want to run {GAIA}. Under later versions of Windows you will need to run this command as an Administrator, usually just right-click on the Cygwin terminal to choose this option.

Finally you need to download the actually binary release. This is provided as a single gzip compressed tar file at Download. The installed size is currently around 1.7Gb.

To unpack the gzipped tar ball just do:

     cd /
     tar zxvf $HOME/stardev_cygwin_20070227.tar.gz

assuming you have copied it into your Cygwin home directory, and then add a softlink so that the software is found at "/star":

     ln -s $HOME/star /star

Using the software

Just like for a Linux installation it's best if you actually use the C-shell, rather than the Bourne shell, you'll also want to run an Xserver most of the time, so try the following command:
Or select the XWin Server from the Start menu (later versions of Cygwin only offer this option).

Which should start the X server and open an xterm (which should be much more familiar to UNIX users). In the xterm type:

      tcsh -l
      source /star/etc/login
      source /star/etc/cshrc

and you should be ready to go. Typing:

      gaia &

Should give you a display like that shown above!

Once you're happy you'll probably want to arrange to use the tcsh as your login shell, and create .login and .cshrc startup files, as normal to perform the initialisations.

Known issues

Known issues (old)

  • The partition that you install the SSC into should probably use NTFS. I have seen permission problems for scripts on other types of partition, during development (but haven't tried a "normal" install on a non-NTFS partition). It is not known if the SSC works for any Windows 9x flavour (but the NTFS issue rules these out anyway).
  • Windows may occasionally lock a file and refuse to let you overwrite it, even though it has been apparently removed. The only work around for this is to re-start Windows. This problem seem particularly bad from ICL.
  • If you have installed Windows XP Service Pack 2, then you will need to allow several programs to open various ports that are blocked by default. By default Windows will make this clear when the access occurs (and you should just respond by saying yes).
  • The AUTOASTROM package is not available under Cygwin, so the new autoastrometry toolboxes of GAIA will not work.

Questions or comments to:

Copyright © 2005 Central Laboratory of the Research Councils
Copyright © 2006 Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
Copyright © 2008-2009 Science and Technlogy Facilities Council
Copyright © 2009-2013 Peter W. Draper
Last modified: 07-Aug-2017
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