- Download various packages and files.
- Begin following instructions provided, typing in arcane and arbitrary commands at the terminal. (If you have no instructions, you are basically out of luck.)
- If you're lucky, it will take more than 2 commands before you encounter an error.
- Spend anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours surfing the web trying to find out exactly what additional sequence or combination of arcane and arbitrary commands you need to type in to fix the error. Typically these will be scattered across several forum threads a few years in age, and must be pieced together with a care rivaling that of a linguist deciphering Linear B.
- Repeat steps 2-4 until you either (miraculously, miracles DO still happen) finish the installation, or realize there are better uses of your time, like counting the number of sand grains on the nearest beach, or watching paint curl.
As you can probably tell, I just spent the last two and a half hours trying to install a package for IRAF on my Ubuntu distribution, with only marginal success. During this time I overcame exactly two Linux errors (along with a good number of human-caused mistakes). And I still can't get the package to work right. I'm beginning to be worried about the increase in my blood pressure. If you ever need a good argument against going into astronomy, it is the fact that IRAF does not run on Windows (or even Mac).
*sigh* Anyway, now that I have sufficiently vented my spleen, I need to get to bed and get my very-much-needed sleep. A hui hou!