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Vox45

Moving to Linux - What works and alternatives

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24 minutes ago, Pompey Monkey said:

I gave this post a "like" because it's obviously well informed.

However, everything I've highlighted in red illustrates why the mainstream user does not understand and does not adopt Linux: I know what an "ISO" is, but many wouldn't and I have no idea what the other highlighted terms mean, and I'm an engineer who's been on a Unix administration course! I know that GIYF, but it takes time ;)

I want to adopt Linux, but the learning curve is steep and, to be honest, puts me off somwhat.

I will, however, persevere. One thing that came to mind to me is to get a secondary system running with mount/camera/obsy simulators until I'm confident that I can diagnose problems and find solutions without wasting night upon night of clear skies before going "live"....

Well, I wouldn't say I was that well informed lol, more an amateur struggling with Linux who's had a little bit of experience.

'Trusty Tahr' is the usual alliterative name of the Ubuntu 14.04 version of the Long Term Release Linux operating system. Although I bought my present  laptop with Trusty Tahr pre-installed, many people load Ubuntu onto machines by using a downloaded ISO image as I have done in the past. As well as LTR releases which are supported for at least five years these days, there are intermediary Canonical releases that are often a tad experimental and not supported for a long time. My point here was that the latest Ubuntu version isn't always the most stable or compatible. 'Trusty Tahr' is renown to be stable. However, the recently released 16.04 LTS 'Xenial Xerus' is having teething problems. No doubt Canonical will fix this. Furthermore, Trusty Tahr will be supported for a while and is a perfectly usable operating system for at least another four years I believe. There is no need whatsoever with Linux to run out and get the latest operating system.

Canonical (Ubuntu) isn't Microsoft and they have no need to push newer operating systems on anyone.

Edited by Mak the Night
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7 hours ago, Vox45 said:

EQMOD are not cross-platform can be quite a turn off for some

There is an INDI driver set for Skywatcher mounts:-

http://indilib.org/devices/telescopes/eqmod.html

I also know of another for INDI but the name eludes me right now.

I think when it comes to hardware control Linux is probably mature enough if you know what you are doing. What I cannot comment on is image post processing for those doing camera work/imaging (or in fact controlling Astro dedicated CCD cameras).

I write software for both Windows and Linux so this is something that interests me (and potentially a cloudy night hobby :) )

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1 hour ago, ajk said:

There is an INDI driver set for Skywatcher mounts:-

http://indilib.org/devices/telescopes/eqmod.html

I also know of another for INDI but the name eludes me right now.

I have an NEQ6+EQMOD and the indi driver works perfectly. It even supports GPS as a positional tool.

Edited by NickK
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13 hours ago, NickK said:

I have an NEQ6+EQMOD and the indi driver works perfectly. It even supports GPS as a positional tool.

Ok I did not know this. I was under the impression that EQMOD would only work with ASCOM ! That is good news for me as I really like EQMOD and have an EQDIRECT cable ;)

Regarding post processing software running on Linux (FreeBSD and Linux), Pixinsight is my prefered choice. The fact that they want to enter the hardware control game using INDI could help some of us transition to Linux easily

PI Official statement:

"We are excited to announce the release of a new PixInsight module: INDIClient, an open-source, multiplatform INDI client available on FreeBSD, Linux, OS X, and Windows. The new module is now being distributed as an official update for the latest PixInsight 1.8.4 versions. "

To summarize, I could be moving to Linux and keep using natively (no WINE):

EQMOD (Mount control)

Pixinsight (Image Processing)

oaCapture (Planetary imaging)

PHD (Guiding)

Carte Du Ciel / Stellarium / Virtual Moon Atlas

Still no replacement for:

HitecDCfocus (there is a list of INDI drivers here, but nothing on HitecAstro)

AstroTortilla (plate solving)

BYEOS (APT) style DSLR control

Remember that the goal is to make a smooth transition away from Windows. I did "the old switcheroo" on my wife a couple of years ago, I got her to use Firefox and LibreOffice ... once she got used to it, I told her that I was going to upgrade the OS without telling her anything more. I installed OpenSuSE and never got any negative comments since then. If the tools are the same, most people won't care about the underlying OS.

Edited by Vox45
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Great thread, very informative. I use Linux Mint 17.2 on my desktop for processing including:-

Registax (via Wine)

PIPP

SER Player

GIMP2.8

GIMP2.9 (via Wine)

Tilting Sun (via Wine)

AS!2 (via Wine)

Edit: ImPPG

Edit: ImageMajick - (Brilliant for putting animations together with one command line!)

I also use Stellarium & Carte du Ciel

All of the above run really well on this distro and I find Mint more stable and user friendly than Ubuntu. I have tried OACapture on this machine and seems to work well.

My laptop is Win 10 which annoys me immensely; really want to move to capturing in Mint as well, just not brave enough to do away with my only Windows machine only to find there is something that doesn't work! Must look at dual booting again as I have not really looked at this since UEFI muddied the waters for me.

 

Edited by David Smith
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16 hours ago, Pompey Monkey said:

I gave this post a "like" because it's obviously well informed.

However, everything I've highlighted in red illustrates why the mainstream user does not understand and does not adopt Linux: I know what an "ISO" is, but many wouldn't and I have no idea what the other highlighted terms mean, and I'm an engineer who's been on a Unix administration course! I know that GIYF, but it takes time ;)

I want to adopt Linux, but the learning curve is steep and, to be honest, puts me off somwhat.

I will, however, persevere. One thing that came to mind to me is to get a secondary system running with mount/camera/obsy simulators until I'm confident that I can diagnose problems and find solutions without wasting night upon night of clear skies before going "live"....

I agree Paul, I've dabbled a bit with Linux Mint but whenever one looks at blogs and support pages one is confronted with compu-speak, and that doesn't help me one bit (or should that be byte :wink2:). I think it is an obstacle for those who want to use Linux unfortunately, and will stifle uptake. One feels that one needs to become an expert just to enter the game. A pity, as I'm going off Windows and would like to have a back-up plan.

Ian

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I feel a bit foolish now ! While researching all this and following links posted by members above, I see that there is already something out there that solves all my needs.

Just take a look at  http://indilib.org/

Runs on:

Preconfigured Virtual machine (Kubuntu)
Ubuntu
Fedora
Geentoo
Android
Raspberry PI

Supports lots of devices (Filter Wheels, CCDs, Domes, Focuser, etc) Guiding with PHD, plate solving with astrometry.net

Using Ekos solves the APT/BYEOS need and AstroTortilla. http://indilib.org/about/ekos.html

My only remaining issue is the HitecDCfocus ...

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The other issue I have preventing me from moving fully to Linux Mint is mosaics. At the moment I use AutoStitch 64 bit for pretty much all of my mosaics (occasionally MSICE) and I cannot get this to work under wine. Now my Mint install is 32 bit but Autostitch 32 bit would not work so I am assuming 64 bit AutoStitch will not work on Mint 17.2 64 bit either? I have tried a couple of Linux alternatives and to be honest they don’t even come close. Any suggestions on this front would be hugely appreciated.

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4 minutes ago, The Admiral said:

I agree Paul, I've dabbled a bit with Linux Mint but whenever one looks at blogs and support pages one is confronted with compu-speak, and that doesn't help me one bit (or should that be byte :wink2:). I think it is an obstacle for those who want to use Linux unfortunately, and will stifle uptake. One feels that one needs to become an expert just to enter the game. A pity, as I'm going off Windows and would like to have a back-up plan.

Ian

I agree that it can be a bit scary. It does take a new mindset and it can be frustrating at times. It's like throwing out old slippers and putting on new ones... it hurts for a while ;)

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19 minutes ago, David Smith said:

My laptop is Win 10 which annoys me immensely; really want to move to capturing in Mint as well, just not brave enough to do away with my only Windows machine only to find there is something that doesn't work! Must look at dual booting again as I have not really looked at this since UEFI muddied the waters for me.

 

I'd planned to dual-boot a Win 8.1 machine with Win 7, but now realise that the the former uses UEFI and the latter standard BIOS. I guess that you'll be confronted by this with dual booting Win10 and Linux, though I'm sure that there is help on the web, and I'm guessing you have more computer knowledge than me. I've got cold feet over my project, and I think I'll just swap drives and do a clean install of Win 7. I can happily do without Win 8.1 anyway.

Ian

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29 minutes ago, David Smith said:

The other issue I have preventing me from moving fully to Linux Mint is mosaics. At the moment I use AutoStitch 64 bit for pretty much all of my mosaics (occasionally MSICE) and I cannot get this to work under wine. Now my Mint install is 32 bit but Autostitch 32 bit would not work so I am assuming 64 bit AutoStitch will not work on Mint 17.2 64 bit either? I have tried a couple of Linux alternatives and to be honest they don’t even come close. Any suggestions on this front would be hugely appreciated.

I don't do mosaics, but maybe you could try this out and let us know :)

http://indilib.org/support/tutorials/155-create-super-mosaics-with-ekos.html

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I am taking the plunge !

I got a spare laptop with Win7 on it, I'll install Linux Mint (interface closer to Windows... baby steps) and see if I can install the INDI stuff. Since Ubuntu is supported, I would guess that Mint would also work even thought it is not explicitely listed in the list of platform.

... I'll report on this.

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6 minutes ago, Vox45 said:

I am taking the plunge !

I got a spare laptop with Win7 on it, I'll install Linux Mint (interface closer to Windows... baby steps) and see if I can install the INDI stuff. Since Ubuntu is supported, I would guess that Mint would also work even thought it is not explicitely listed in the list of platform.

... I'll report on this.

Mint is basically Ubuntu anyway, so it should work. I'm pretty sure anything in the Ubuntu repo works with Mint.

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This is looking better and better :)  Thank you everyone :)  I have Linux Mint on one of my laptops.  Also on my no.2 desktop (home built).  I really need to look into image processing software for Linux so that I can avoid using Photoshop.  I've used the GIMP in the past - must check up on latest version - have they upgraded to 64bit yet, for instance? 

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3 minutes ago, Gina said:

This is looking better and better :)  Thank you everyone :)  I have Linux Mint on one of my laptops.  Also on my no.2 desktop (home built).  I really need to look into image processing software for Linux so that I can avoid using Photoshop.  I've used the GIMP in the past - must check up on latest version - have they upgraded to 64bit yet, for instance? 

PI works on Linux :evil4:

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Yes, I know :)  I'm considering buying it.

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I see there's a free trial so I'll get that once I'm ready - I know lots of imagers swear by PI :)

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I reckon I could use the GIMP for tittivating my photos and PI for astro images.  My Win 7 machine seems to be getting slower and slower and I can't work out why.  This could be a whole new project for me to get my teeth into :D  I shall need to sort out my hardware...

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Ah - there's more software I shall need to look into eg. SketchUp - there isn't a Linux version but sems it might work in WINE.  I need SketchUp for my 3D printing design.

Hope I'm not going off-topic - I guess this thread is for astro imaging.

Edited by Gina

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I did attend a 3 day training for Pixinsight as the learning curve can be a bit steep. I was fortunate enough of being completely new to image processing so I did not have to get rid of photoshop mindsets ;)

There are a lot of tutorial for PI and once you understand the philosophy of it, it is a joy to work with. Very powerful.

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Unfortunately looks like Inkscape can't export STL files.  But there are other CAD softwares that can and I might investigate those.  OTOH I'm used to SketchUp and I'll probably try it it WINE first.

Edited by Gina

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ho the humanity !

INDI Forum Admin : "I think I would have to add a warning NOT to use Mint since it's pretty old compared to Ubuntu. It's recommended to download Kubuntu/Ubuntu 16.04 and then you won't have problems with the PPA"

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4 minutes ago, Vox45 said:

ho the humanity !

INDI Forum Admin : "I think I would have to add a warning NOT to use Mint since it's pretty old compared to Ubuntu. It's recommended to download Kubuntu/Ubuntu 16.04 and then you won't have problems with the PPA"

In that case I would recommend Ubuntu MATE 16.04, not the standard version of Ubuntu with the Unity desktop.  I found the MATE desktop to be much more intuitive coming from a Windows background.

 

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