Astronomical software directory

Frequently Asked Questions


Recent FAQs



What is Skysoft site about?

Skysoft is a YAASD (Yet Another Astronomical Software Directory), but with a different overall approach.
Our choice is to design this site as a community supported directory. The idea is that, like a chat session, content remains timely because of frequent user interaction. Users and developers are invited to contribute with software news, user's views, comments and bug notifications. The site is designed so that software developers acquire more visibility because of astronomical context. Developers can post a brief description of their product, with the classification which can ease the search and retrieval of software projects.

Why not a traditional site?

Traditional sites as ASDS are valuable, and widely used. But we think they are most useful in the standard context of mainstream data analysis and reduction, where 10 to 12 applications do 95% of the work, and remain static for many years. It is difficult for traditional sites to easily accommodate new ideas, new approaches for less-used telescopes+instruments. For instance, during data mining, we have found several interesting approaches to the same specialized problem (not addressed by mainstream tools), but which were rewritten over a decade by different groups, each without knowledge of others' efforts.
Skysoft has a faster and more flexible approach and is a complement to traditional sites. We do not need to have all the expertise in all the fields Skysoft covers: it is it is enough that such expertise resides in the users' community!

What is the Skysoft approach and what are its advantages?

Skysoft is intended to be built by the community which uses it! If you think that Skysoft lacks some information you deem useful, just add it! Many others can benefit by your (minimum) effort! Plus you gain publicity for your work!
Our aim is to build a site useful for astronomers and instrument developers, and to make this utility widely available, easy to use, and up-to-date with the latest developments. We cannot cope with the enormous amount of information and expertise needed. But the community as a whole has all the necessary competence! If we all share our 2 cents of information, we will build a site more useful for everybody.
We started with a small amount of software we found in the net, just to boostrap the site. The selection was rather arbitrary, based on our own knowledge. Obviously, we have missed important information: please add it and help improve the site! We are ready to add a newsletter, an event calendar, some discussion lists, and more.

I found some errors in SkySoft site. I found something is missing. How I can do?

If you found something is wrong in our software database or in our links collection, please hit the modify button and send us the modified text. If something is wrong in the news, please send a mail to us at baffa at
If you found we lack some important software, web links, news or event, please submit the relevant informations using the add software and submit news buttons.

So do I absolutely need Skysoft?

No. Everything which is available at Skysoft site can be found using other astronomical software collections, or asking Google, or asking some colleagues and friends. But wait, my last Google interrogation returned 112000 documents! A more specialized site can help speed up things significantly!! We aim to be your first choice in search process!
Come to Skysoft!

Learning assembly language is still a good idea?

Randall Hyde wrote a piece on why learning assembly language is still relevant today. The key, says Randall, is to learn how to efficiently implement an application, and the best implementations are written by those who have mastered assembly language.

Which Linux distribution is best suited for me?

DistroWatch has a nice overview of various Linux distros. The article also discusses some of the advantages and disadvantages of each distro.

Best Strategies for Commenting Code?

Ryan Campbell writes about Successful Strategies for Commenting Your Code. His essay gives advice and examples on proper commenting, and details some different strategies.

Is a Domain Name an Automatic Trademark?

Adapted from Slashdot: Even if they own a trademark on a name, that's insufficient grounds for a domain transfer. ICANN has some pretty well-established arbitration rules for these cases. Of particular note are sections 4a and 4b. A valid complaint exists only if: * (i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and * (ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and * (iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. You'll notice there's an "and" between each of those. All three have to be true for the complaint to even be considered. Section 4b outlines some examples of "bad faith". * (i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or * (ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or * (iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or * (iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location. Please note that putting a parked page with targeted advertising on the domain is considered a legitimate business use. However, it's generally considered to have the lowest priority among business uses. If its use infringes on the trademark of another (non-targeted ad parked page) legitimate business, generally ICANN comes down on the side of the trademark holder and authorizes the transfer of the domain to the trademark holder if that trademark is somewhat well-known. In other words, even if the other site has a trademark, if you're using it for a legitimate business and your site does not compete with them (does not leech off their fame for commercial gain), you're pretty safe.