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qfits 6.2.0-8
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qfits: quick FITS library
-------------------------

Introduction
------------

qfits is a C library giving access to FITS file internals, both
for reading and writing. qfits was born from the need to have a
simple and efficient library to handle FITS files. It has been
initially designed to support any kind of FITS data stream, but
only relevant parts were implemented. New features and support
for more data streams have been added as the need came up. This
ensures that all features present in the library have been
thoroughly tested, since they are all used daily in a production
environment.

Overview
--------

The FITS format is pretty simple, declaring ancillary data in
80-char lines in ASCII format, and storing values in fixed-size,
uncompressed format. Data are stored on the disk more or less as
they will be in memory (bar some trivial transformations).

qfits has several levels of complexity, depending on whether you
only want to retrieve ancillary data from headers, or only read
pixels in, or do some true data manipulation or header
re-formatting.

People only interested in getting ancillary information from FITS
files (i.e. reading FITS headers) will potentially use only 1 or
2 functions from qfits. If you want to do header manipulation
(remove/add/modify keywords and dump the header back to disk),
you will definitely want to have a look into the qfits_header
methods. If you want to load pixels from FITS images, a couple of
function calls should do the job. If you want to work on table
data, you will want to check the qfits_table methods for generic
data loading.

qfits only gives you handles on the FITS format, it does not
provide extra functionalities related to table or image
processing, this is left to other (higher-level) libraries.

Implementation
--------------

qfits is written in 100% pure ANSI C that should compile on any
Unix. qfits has not been compiled or tested on any non-Unix
platform (Windows, Be, etc.). qfits has been shown to work
reliably on the following platforms:

	- AIX
	- Dec/OSF1 (True64)
	- FreeBSD
	- HPUX
	- Linux
	- Mac OS X / Darwin
	- Solaris

qfits should work fine on all POSIX-compliant Unixes. If you port
qfits to any other platform, please let me know.