Frequently Asked Questions

What is KERN?

KERN is a bi-annually released set of radio astronomical software packages. It should contain most of the tools that a radio astronomer needs to work with radio telescope data. KERN is based on the latest Ubuntu LTS.

I use KERN. How do I cite you?

                    author={Molenaar, Gijs and Smirnov, Oleg},
                    journal={Astronomy and Computing},
You can find the paper on arxiv.

How do I report a problem, or ask for a new package to be added?

Open up a bug report in our packaging issue tracker. Please make sure that you are running the latest versions of the packages you are using (run apt-get update && apt-get upgrade). Note that a package in an existing KERN release is only updated when there is a dramatically serious problem.

I want to help! What should I do?

If a package is not working properly, open up a bug report in our packaging issue tracker. If you want to create or modify a package yourself, you can follow our How to do KERN packaging guide.

What does the name KERN mean?

KERN means 'core' in Dutch and Afrikaans.

How does the release schema looks like?

We have a bleeding edge development repository (KERN-dev) that will be updated with the latest packages. Ideally every half year we will freeze this repository and do a KERN release. This release will then only contain critical bug fixes but not functional changes.

What about docker images?

we have prepared easy-to-use base docker image which you can use to create custom docker images containers all the KERN packages combined with your own scripts.

The Dockerfile below is all you need to setup a docker container for any of the packages in kern:

FROM kernsuite/base:dev
RUN docker-apt-install aoflagger

The kernsuite docker image is a clean ubuntu system with the kern suite repository enabled. It also contains an up-to-date pip so you can directly install Python libraries. The docker-apt-install command is just a wrapper script that updates the apt cache before installing the package followed by a removal of the apt cache. This is the best way to prevent adding of clutter to your docker image and the image size to explode.

You can also have a look at the Dockerfile.

What about Singularity?

Of course we do singularity. See this github repository for build files for building your singularity container.

Why did the first KERN release get version number 0?

KERN has a presuccessor named the radio-astro launchpad PPA. This PPA is not updated anymore and renamed to KERN-0.

Why Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is one of the mostly used Linux distributions in (radio) astronomy, or at least in Europe and Africa. For now we base KERN on the latest Ubuntu LTS with a delay of 6 months up to a year. For KERN-0 this was Ubuntu 14.04, following releases are based on Ubuntu 16.04. KERN-4 is based on 18.04

Will you support other distributions/versions?

For now this is just too much work, so no. The recommended way to use KERN when you are not running a supported platform is with Docker, Singularity or in a virtualmachine. We made Vagrant files for you already.

What about windows and Mac OS X?

Surprisingly KERN works quite well on Windows 10. You need Bash on Ubuntu On Windows. On OSX we recommend to use Docker.

How do I stay up to date?

Follow us on twitter.

Can I mix KERN releases?

Not recommended and unsupported, but we are not stopping you.

I want to debug my application but there are no debug symbols?

Don't panic! They are actually existing but in a different repository. You can enable the debug repository by editing /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kernsuite-ubuntu-kern-4-bionic.list and copying the line starting with deb and appending /debug to it. It should look something like this:

deb bionic main
deb bionic main/debug

When is the next KERN version released?

There is no fixed release date, but we intent to release a KERN release every 6 months.

What key has been used to sign the packages?

pub   2048R/2D4D24EE 2017-10-17 [expires: 2022-10-16]
      Key fingerprint = 8EA8 7A46 9764 17CA B0FB  4E2A BF82 6FAF 2D4D 24EE
uid                  KERN packaging 

Who made that earth core logo?

We found it on flickr

Who made KERN?

Gijs Molenaar, together with all people reporting problems and submitting patches (thanks!).

Important links

The Lauchpad PPA account
KERN github group
KERN on twitter
KERN on Docker hub
KERN debian source repositories
KERN docker file repositories