Updates on netCDF releases and plans

Hi,

In the interest of keeping the community of netCDF users informed
about netCDF release status and plans, both short-term and long-term,
here are four updates:

1. Version 3.6.2 coming soon: Although we recently released netCDF
   version 3.6.1, we will soon be releasing version 3.6.2, probably in
   the next week.  If you haven't already installed 3.6.1, you could
   save some effort by waiting to install 3.6.2 instead.  It improves
   the ease of building from source on some platforms, fixes a rare
   bug that triggers an assertion violation, fixes another minor but
   long-standing problem resulting in some files being slightly longer
   than necessary (up to 3 bytes!), and adds a new tutorial.

2. C++ interface improvements: Recently there have been several good
   suggestions for improving the netCDF C++ interface, including use
   of a namespace, making some methods virtual, and adding convenience
   methods.  We plan to eventually provide a new netCDF C++ interface
   that uses namespaces, exceptions, and templates, but we will also
   continue to support the current interface for backward
   compatibility.  We appreciate suggestions for improving the C++
   interface from users of that interface.  Feel free to email them to
   me and we'll add practical suggestions to a netCDF-4 C++ interface
   requirements web page.

   A student will be working with us this summer on a few of the
   planned improvements to the C++ interface.

3. NetCDF-4 delayed: An alpha-test release of netCDF-4 is available
   for developers, but should be used only in testing.  The
   netCDF-4-alpha version uses workarounds that will not be required
   when HDF5 1.8 is released, and we don't want to continue to support
   those workarounds.  A release of HDF5 version 1.8 is now
   tentatively scheduled for October 2006, assuming there are no
   unanticipated problems.  In the meantime, thanks for your patience
   and help in providing feedback on earlier test releases.

   For more details on netCDF-4, a paper is available in PDF or Word
   form:

    http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/netcdf/papers/2006-ams.pdf
    http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/netcdf/papers/2006-ams.doc

   and a 15-minute recorded presentation given in January (complete
   with distracting and jerky mouse movements :-), is available here:

    http://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_104931.htm
   
4. New address for netCDF support questions: Rather than the
   netcdfgroup mailing list, please begin sending netCDF support
   questions not of general interest to
   "support-netcdf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" instead of
   "support@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx".  The latter address will still work,
   but involves a manual step to reroute the question to someone who
   can answer it.  We have recently moved to a new support system, for
   details, see:

     http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/newsletter/2006feb/06febel.html#Article3

--Russ

_____________________________________________________________________

Russ Rew                                         UCAR Unidata Program
russ@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                     http://www.unidata.ucar.edu

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