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System Requirements

FITS is a Java program and requires Java version 1.8 or higher. To find out your Java version type java -version in a command-line window.

Building FITS

As of release 1.3.0 FITS is built using Apache Maven. The build artifacts are fits-.jar and The JAR file contains the compiled Java source files contained in this project whereas the ZIP file contains the final artifact which can be extracted and used to process input files for analysis. The ZIP file can be built with the following command, which will also run the entire test suite:

mvn clean package

To build yet skip the tests, use the following command:

mvn clean package -DskipTests

NOTE: A few Maven dependencies are not in public repositories. These are within the source tree in the lib-local directory. Other dependencies are within the lib directory for use by the FITS custom classloader.


Download the latest official binary release from our Downloads page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The code on this GitHub site is not meant for direct installation since it does NOT include the necessary fits.jar file (which is a primary build artifact of this project). If you want to use this GitHub site for installing FITS, you must first download (or Git clone) the code then build the project using Maven. (See above.)

If this is your first time downloading FITS, create a directory for FITS, for example:

On Windows: C:\Program Files\Fits
On Mac OS X: /Applications/Fits
On *nix: /home/myuser/Fits

Extract the contents of your ZIP file to your FITS directory. You should end up with a another directory under your top-level FITS directory that has a version number embedded in it, for example on Windows:

C:\Program Files\Fits\fits-1.4.1 (or whatever the current version is)

Running FITS

FITS can be run on a command-line or within a program using the Java API.

FITS from the command-line

Run FITS on the command-line using one of the start-up scripts (fits.bat on Windows, on Mac OS X and *nix).

For example on Windows:

Open up a command line interface window: Click on Start -> Type in cmd in the lower-left box and hit enter
Navigate to the directory where you installed FITS, for example: cd "..\..\Program Files\fits\fits-0.9.0"
Execute FITS using the start-up script with the -h parameter to see the parameter options: fits.bat -h

For example on *nix:

Open up a terminal window.
Navigate to the directory where you installed FITS
If it not already, make the file executable
    chmod +x
Run the script named

Here are a couple examples of running FITS to get you started. These are relatively simple examples assuming Windows - more complex examples can be found in the on-line user manual.

Run FITS against its release text file printing the FITS output to the terminal: fits.bat -i (or, on Linux, ./ -i
Run FITS against its release text file saving the FITS output to a file: fits.bat -i -o myoutput.txt
Output the technical metadata only (in the TextMD format) for the file to the terminal: fits.bat -x -i
Output the FITS output plus technical metadata (in the TextMD format) for the text file to the terminal: fits.bat -xc -i


Whether using the default configuration file contained within the application deployment or configuring an external file, the default logging output file, fits.log, is configured to be written to the directory from which the FITS is launched. This can be modified by finding the following line within the file in the top-level directory of the FITS deployment:

log4j.appender.FILE.File = ./fits.log

Modify the path to fits.log to have this log file written to a different place on the file system. To use a file external to the FITS deployment, when launching FITS add the following property to the deployment script:


For more information on configuring the verboseness of logging using ERROR, WARN, INFO, DEBUG, see the log4j site

Using FITS Java API

See the Developer Manual.

Learn more

After you are up and running see the User Manual for more documentation.

License Details

FITS is released under the GNU LGPL open source license. The source code for FITS is included in the downloadable ZIP files.

The tools bundled with FITS use the following open source licenses:

  • Jhove (LGPL version 2.1 or any later version)
  • Exiftool (GPL version 1 or any later version; or the artistic license)
  • National Library of New Zealand Metadata Extractor (Apache Public License version 2)
  • DROID (BSD (new version))
  • FFIdent (LGPL)
  • Tika (Apache Public License version 2)
  • MediaInfo BSD-like

The source code for each of the above tools is available on their websites.

In addition, FITS includes the following open source libraries:

  • JDOM (Apache-like license, modified Apache version 1.1)
  • staxmate (BSD (new version))
  • stax2 (LGPL version 2.1)
  • Woodstox (LGPL version 2.1)
  • xercesImpl (Apache Public License version 2)
  • xml-apis (Apache Public License version 2)
  • xmlunit (BSD (new version))
  • JNA (Dual license LGPL version 2.1 and Apache Public License version 2)

For more license details, see FITS License

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