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Omega Force

Which operating system(s) do astronomers most often use on their computers?

  

13 members have voted

  1. 1. Which operating system(s) do astronomers most often use on their computers?

    • Microsoft Windows
      67
    • Apple Mac OS X
      11
    • Linux
      7
    • Other
      1


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thehand    7

I appreciate what you're saying.  I've been Windows free for 15yrs at home but still have to deal with it at work.  I have no desire to wrestle with it on my own systems.

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D4N    823
I would be interested to hear anyone's experience using WINE

I use it for Registax and AS!2. I tried DSS but it didn't work very well.

It is best to move the files you are working on into their own folder, this will speed things up.

It won't work for things that interface with hardware as it is not possible to install the drivers in such a way that they will actually work.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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AustinR    19

Depends on what you wantt to do - an operating system is a tool just like any other software. Want to do astrophotgraphy? Use windows. Want to write software? Use linux. Want nice expensive hardware? OSX.

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r3i    460

Just moved my astro setup over from a long in the tooth XP laptop to one running Windows 8.1, it went surprisingly smoothly.

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bitnick    9

Has anyone tried "Distro Astro" Linux? Looks kinda neat, but as a complete distro of course requires a dedicated PC. The individual programs should be installable on mainstream distros as well though (with more or less work) - maybe Distro Astro can serve as a demo list of FLOSS (Free, Libre, Open Source Software) programs useful for astronomy? Ekos looks very interesting for camera control, for example. It claims to handle CCDs, DSLRs and webcams, focus control, guiding, goto, polar axis corrections etc etc all in one!

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jnb    469

Has anyone tried "Distro Astro" Linux? Looks kinda neat, but as a complete distro of course requires a dedicated PC. The individual programs should be installable on mainstream distros as well though (with more or less work) - maybe Distro Astro can serve as a demo list of FLOSS (Free, Libre, Open Source Software) programs useful for astronomy? Ekos looks very interesting for camera control, for example. It claims to handle CCDs, DSLRs and webcams, focus control, guiding, goto, polar axis corrections etc etc all in one!

It won't need a dedicated PC as you could virtualise the machine. Personally I would go with one of the more mainstream distributions such as Ubuntu and then install those packages onto that platform.

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JamesF    7,846

That's basically what Distro Astro is.  The latest release is Ubuntu 14.04 underneath, with the various astro-specific packages added on for you.

James

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JamesF    7,846

Actually, it might even be Mint 17 underneath (which is in turn Ubuntu 14.04).

James

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Astro_Baby    790

Until a few weeks back I was running XP or Win7 on PCs, recently I changed over to an iMac with OSX / Dual Boot to Win 7 for some odd stuff I use which requires Windows compatibility.  MS Office for the Mac and a whole new suite of image editors for the Mac but I still like to use UL PhotoImpact for web optimised images and for some editing requirements.

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Ouroboros    926

Do you find it irritating having to reboot to swap between working in the two different operating systems?

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Roysten    43

Like a few people here have mentioned I have an xp laptop for capture and a win7 desktop for processing. Can't speak for other platforms but software compatibility would often be the first main hurdle.

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thehand    7

I look forward to trying out Distro Astro once I get my system set up.  Since I have no desire to mess with Windows again it will be interesting to see whether there are any real limitations.  I've gotten by without it for 15 years and in many cases for the better.  An operating system may be a tool but there are whole subset of programs that you get used to using that support it.  I rather like how everything I have needed so far has been either FOSS, for real work, or commercially available for Linux, as in the case of games (some of you may remember the old Loki games or it's successor LinuxGamePublishing).  I'm not a programmer and never have been able to develop that skill but I successfully moved my wife to Linux years ago, she's not a programmer either, and now she finds Windows a pain to deal with as well.  To say that Linux is simply for programming is gravely mistaken.  It's simplicity and stability are second to none.

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Astro_Baby    790

Do you find it irritating having to reboot to swap between working in the two different operating systems?

Well not really....the iMac can boot OSX in about 5 seconds flat, it takes Win7 about 10-15 seconds to load from scratch so the boot cycle times are very fast (bear in mind my iMac is at max config - its the last stop before a Power Mac - thats a 3TB fusion drive, 32Gb of memory and a turbo to run the processor at 3.9Ghz.  The fusion drive means all the most frequently used apps reside in solid state memory so its boot times are very fast as its ability to get an application up and running.

I don't run any astro related stuff on the iMac apart from Stellarium  - my PC used to struggle a bit with Stellarium but the Mac loads it like lightning (but also shows the graphics looking a bit shabby at the iMacs screen resolution).

Initially I assumed I would use the iMac for video work and some imaging programs while retaining use of Windows for my MS Office applications and for the use of some stuff I have like photo stitching/panorama software plus the use of my Win 7 photo editors.

I have ben away from Apple for maybe 15-20 years all told and my memories were of Mac software always being quite pricey.  In fact some stunning image editors can be had very cheap these days from the Apple Appstore and the Mac came bundled with MS Ofice so I have found, at least so far, no need to ever boot Windows up. I have recently started taking an interest in photography again - I used to be a pro at one time and doing it professionally just killed it for me - recently I have found some enthusiasm for it and started working on landscapes.

There are a few odd programs I use for imaging and website building which are old, no longer available, but very useful to me so they will be retained under Win 7 but I don't see a problem with a 20-30 second cycle time to get them up and running if I have to reboot.

All my files are held on a RAID network storage system so are available to either boot on the iMac.

I just found that the cost of an iMac wasn't significantly more than a similar specced PC and its just so much faster at doing stuff like rendering for complex photo editing and video.  I cant show you much of my stuff on here because I typically do very large landscapes where the files sizes are vast - the most recent one is about 8500 pixels wide and compressed down to fit on the limits of SGL wouldn't look like much at all - I added a teeny pic to this to give you an idea but all of the detail is lost as are the fine shades in the landscape at this size.  To render that (its about a 12Mb file) with multiple layers took the iMac less time than it took for me to reach for my cup of tea.

The pic is a stitch of four shots - very heavily edited with original sky replaced and extended, clouds removed and brightened, the landscape relighted, sea and sky smoothed a bit and given an extra shot of brightness. The foreground landscape has been given a bit of contrast gain and color boost to bring out the shades and grain in the rock plus some false colour and the far land scape given a shot of smoothing to give it a hazy distant look.  The sky horizon has been burnt in to give it an almost white glow to generate a feeling of heat. This is the first whack at this using the iMacs imaging software and I am quite pleased with it. Render time on my old PC - ages - render time on the iMac about 6 seconds.

The scene is Santorni seen from the Nea Kameni volcano in the centre.  Where I am standing is almost at the peak of the slowly rebuilding volcano and the space between the camera and the cliff wall in the distance is the radius of the original bang the volcano made which wiped the Minoans out - you can see why !!! The bang that made would have been epic.  Its almost impossible to get a sense of scale without actually being there and seeing just how much rock would have been blown out of the ground. If you go there - wear solid boots by the way.  I did it in trainers and the surface is like ground glass and very hot. Rough enough and hot enough to have destroyed an almost new pair of very decent trainers.  By the time I got back on the boat the trainers had literally been ripped to shreds and semi melted :)

post-2158-0-26247200-1431257559.jpg

Edited by Astro_Baby
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Ouroboros    926

Thank you, Astro Babe, for such a thorough and interesting response to my question.

I suppose we are all different. I know I couldn't be doing with rebooting, however short the reboot time was. And you're right a Mac with solid state memory is very quick to load the OS. What a joy that is after using an old XP desktop for years that took many minutes to be ready after switch on.

I knew I could only tolerate seamless operation between Mac apps and Windows applications. I'm constantly nipping between different applications some in Windows some in OS as I work.

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D4N    823

VMWare does work well but windows is a bit of a resource hog so I find it best if I post process in OsX. Running ASCOM programs in XP during capture is ok though.

If I am using Astrotortilla then I will have a virtual XP open for ASCOM, CDC & Astrotortilla; a virtual Snow Leopard for my DSLR capture app and be running PHD2 natively in OsX. I just swipe between desktops to view them.

Once I am on target I can suspend XP unless I am planning to hop around a bit.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Ajohn    93

The poll is a difficult one really. I mostly use Linux for everything so I  voted for Linux. I do have windows about - I'm on a vista laptop now away from home but that plus updating software in cameras etc is about all I use it for. I have recently bought another windows laptop but haven't got round to sorting it to my liking yet. Waste of money really but I feel I should ditch this one but I don't like the look of win 8 at all.

Of late I  have developed an interest in telescope remote control. There is a LInux package based around Kstars for this. If interested it would be wise to check that it can work with the gear that people already have. There is a problem with it though. It is always using what is referred to as bleeding edge software. Some one who uses their machine for all sorts of things is very likely to find that it's buggy. Stable versions of Kstars are available as with the vast majority of Linux software but for some reason the people who maintain the telescope control aspect don't maintain one.

There are a couple of packages about that offer similar facilities that can be run via a tablet. It runs on a TV dongle or Ras Pi etc and functions as a web server. All of the hard work is done in the Pi. Sensibly one person that produces this is very keen on stability. These are also Linux based.

There is a well known Windows telescope control application and as far as I am aware most equipment manufacturers produce drivers that can be used with it. Linux has the problem that some one has to decide to write one. This may or may not be a problem depending on the equipment that is being controlled. It looks to need more power at the telescope end than say the ras Pi linux approaches.

In terms of image processing I don't think there is much difference but Photoshop won't run on Linux. The GIMP just like it has a steep learning curve and often required entirely different techniques. I do a lot of normal photo processing and find under Linux that I use  more than one package.

At the professional end of astronomy I am told that Linux has 100% of the super computing market in all areas. I have also seen at least one package that is used by professional observatories. It was too obscure for me. It might pay to remember that windows desktops are an add on to Linux. It's a console application.

Some ms windows applications can be run under Wine on Linux and on a Linux desktop. What will run can be a bit hit and miss. One method that can be 100% successful is to run ms windows under a virtual machine. Probably the easiest one to use is VirtualBox. There are others. My main use of Wine is for odd bits and pieces that were written for ms windows or dos via the dos emulator years ago. Such things as telescope mirrror Faucault analysis software and odd bits and bobs like that. It will also run an earlier free version of a comprehensive optical design program now. Previously only some parts of it would run. More recent free versions are severely crippled so of no interest to me. It's very expensive software bought out right. Wine is subject to continuous development so what it will run evolves over time.

John

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Earl    1,238

Windows always wins for me as it has the greater versatility overall and is the platform of choice for many applications, I have given Mac a go, but find it very under performing for the same PC cost and limited in its application base.

I have not seriously looked at any other operating systems beyond a ,does it install, yes it works, that was fun back to windows.

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devoldev    1

Mac for all:

camera: logitech webcam with keith astroimager and IOxperts library

Chameleon CMLN-13S2M-CS  : oacapture 0.5.0

Mount: celestron cg5 GT :stellarium

image elaboration: Lynkeos, Astrostack,

Unix programs can be used DIRECTLY using a porting: Xephem at the moment 3.7.6

it is not necessary to use virtual support for unix; Mac os x IS a unix system

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MarsG76    1,703

A Sony VAIO laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium... the laptop is exclusively used for nothing but astroimaging. I replaced the original HDD with a SSD and its fast and very stable.

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carastro    2,237
Quote

W7 for processing (64bit quad core PC)

May take a look at W10 if there are no issues reported (wait for someone else to take the leap first!).

That's reassuring to know that I am not the only one who does this.  I only upgrade when I really need to as I experienced driver problems when changing from XP to Vista some years ago.  I still use vista as everything works on it, but I also use W7 for capture when using the dual rig.  

I have read many threads where people who love Macs but want to do astro imaging have had to give up and change to Windows due to little being available for Macs.  Perhaps this might have changed more recently, but it all depends what you want to do.  

Carole 

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