Readme Free and Open Source Readme file
What is the Goal of setiQuest
SetiQuest is a program of the SETI Institute in California.  The goal of setiQuest is to “… empower earthlings to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company.” SonATA software (which we use in the search), is being placed under a Free software license. This document talks about the free and open source program.

What is SonATA?
SonATA stands for "SETI on ATA", the software that Searches for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence in data collected through the Allen Telescope Array.

What can you do with SonATA?
SonATA contains sophisticated digital signal processing software that you may be able to use for your applications outside of SETI. You can also help improve the software, and thereby extend the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. We hope that you will contribute your changes back to the main codebase.

Who can use SonATA?
Anyone can use SonATA; it is free and open source.

Why use SonATA?
It is up to you. Use it in your art project, use it for your signal processing, but most of all, contribute to a larger cause – help answer the question – “Are we alone.”

Who can contribute?
The development process is open to anyone with interest and skill. If you contribute your enhancements, we may include them in the trunk. Code is not the only worthy contribution.

Can I run SonATA Code?
Yes. In the first release, we are offering only binaries that can be run on a Linux platform. We also have a plan to release source code in stages, that will allow you to roll your own binaries following our build instructions.

What are the minimum hardware requirements?
A computer containing at least two 64-bit processors with SSE3 capability, containing at least 4GB memory.


What license is the software being released under?

  • For software: the GNU General Public License 3.0 It is requested that the attribution “Licensed through SETI”  be included in published uses of the software including analytics based on the software, combined and merged software, papers, articles, books, reports, web pages, etc.  For uses of the software outside the GNU license, please contact the SETI Institute for alternate arrangements.
  • For content and data: the Creative Commons License 3.0 Attribution must be: “Licensed through SETI” in all published uses including analytics, software, papers, articles, books, reports, web pages, etc.

Software Infrastructure

What Languages is SonATA written in?
SonATA is mainly written in C++ and Java, with some Tcl/Tk.

What platforms does SonATA run on?
SonATA is currently being prepared to run on OpenSUSE 11.2. We look forward to community members porting SonATA to other platforms once the entire source code is open sourced.

What compilers are used?
The current code was built using GCC. The makefiles are structured around GCC.

When will the software be released?
 The target date for open source release of SonATA is March 2011.

Is there a Package Map?
Yes, it is being documented.

What External libraries and versions are used?
ACE  5.7.8 (

expect (
xtail 2.1 (

jnt.FFT.jar latest version (
plot.jar 5.5 (

Code Repository

What Version Control System is being used?
The code will be maintained in GitHub as an open source project, with browsing access to anyone. Users can create their own repositories on GitHub, and also download the software to their desktop.

Is the public GitHUB the only repository?
Yes.  SETI Institute employees work on the same code tree as the Community.  You'll be able to see all the work we are doing.

The SonATA documentation can be found in the setiQuest wiki. As mentioned above, community developed documentation enhancements would be very welcome.

Joining the setiQuest Open Source Community

Who can Sign-up?
Anyone with an OpenID is automatically a part of the setiQuest community. Others can sign up through the homepage.

Users who have signed up on setiQuest website, or those with OpenID can sign-in to get access to a large amount of information, including data from the Allen Telescope Array, software etc.

Are there different membership levels?
Three levels of active members are being envisioned

  1. Submitters make changes to the source code, and submit them for integration. Anyone can be a submitter.
  2. Integrators are responsible for the integrity of their GitHub branches, and for merging the submitted branches into the trunk. They can also modify, redirect the user, or reject branches, as appropriate. Initial integrators will be appointed by the board. After that, submitters can be admitted as integrators upon a vote of the existing integrators and approval from the board.
  3. Board-members set the vision and direction. They also resolve conflicts. Decisions of the board are final.

What are the Contribution paths?
You can contribute Code, Documentation, or file Issues as a Submitter.

Are there Mailing lists?
The following lists will be created. Once they are announced, feel free to join or more by sending mail to the mailing list pre-pended by “owner-“. - low volume general announcements only - the place for general discussions...archived as a forum - stream of all checkins from GitHub - [not for general subscription] - [not for general subscription]

Once specific project areas have grown sufficiently distinct, additional mail lists may be created by request to the board.


How can one submit Issues?
We will use Redmine as our issue tracking system ( Any logged-in user can submit issues in the tracker. They can also look at the entire list of issues, and produce reports.

Anyone can register interest in an issue by becoming a watcher. Once that is done they are notified of all updates on the issue. They can end notification about any issue at any time.

How can software be modified?
Users can upload all their changes to their own repository on GitHub. They will then send mail to giving the relevant information. One of the integrators will acknowledge ownership of the branch and take appropriate action.

Who can I contact for further information?