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Vox45

Moving to Linux - What works and alternatives

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On 25/05/2016 at 11:28, Vox45 said:

There are also Linux distribution that were created specifically for astrophotography

That looks very interesting thank you, a Live one ,, nice introduction web site etc., only one small problem I dont think my internet is stable enough to take a 2.2G ( or thereabouts ) iso down in one go, nor my browser to recover from a drop.

Is there a reliable torrent of  it   DistroAstro3 anywhere anyone ?

 

Edited by SilverAstro

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10 hours ago, Vox45 said:

And there is one major thing that I always forget to mention when talking about Linux in general is that when you update your system, you update EVERYTHING on it. No more visiting a bunch of website and keeping tabs on which version you have and which is current. In my case I just need to run this:


sudo apt-get update

that's it! Eveything is updated at once to the latest version availlable... less time spend managing your system, more time spent imaging ;)

Except that can drive you/me "up the wall.  I've just had to trash an installation and restart from scratch because I tried to install what to many is a "traditional Linux app" - no documentation, no instructions and no help anywhere (no forums, no e-mail contact addresses).  You had to use "dpkg" (no apt installation) and it sort of installed but sometimes gave missing dependencies.  So used apt-get to find the missing dependencies and it found and installed loads, but at the end, seemed unable to find some and ... just could not find them.  So I could remove the package with dpkg but no way to roll-back all the garbage that apt's trying to find missing dependencies had put in !!

I'm sure if you used Linux all the time you'd get to spot such things and stop them before they happened - but most don't switch 100% to Linux and if my laptop was not so expensive it would have "been thrown".

And it was a package associated with INDI (not from Indi).  Actually I found the Indi stuff very easy to install as they have brief clear step by step instructions that work.  I'm surprised that developers can spend their time going through the development, testing, release, publish etc. and completely miss the step that allows others to actually use it (by a brief paragraph on how to install/run).

Ian

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On 28 May 2016 at 00:42, psamathe said:

And it was a package associated with INDI (not from Indi).  Actually I found the Indi stuff very easy to install as they have brief clear step by step instructions that work.  I'm surprised that developers can spend their time going through the development, testing, release, publish etc. and completely miss the step that allows others to actually use it (by a brief paragraph on how to install/run).

Some of the best software in the World never gets used because of this. However, as a developer myself, I can tell you some of the worst software in the World gets used, reused and over promoted because, although the software is rubbish it's very well documented and therefore can be consumed.

Now, I do try my best to write documentation but tbh, it can often get left behind in my eagerness to solve a bug or finish the latest new feature. If you are a one man band you have to try and find a happy medium in all this (also, we actually find it hard to write documentation because we often take many technical things that are simple to us for granted).

That's where "your community" comes to the rescue. It often helps if your early adopters/beta testers are also willing to help out by contributing documentation. These people may not themselves be developers but their contribution, say in forum posts, howtos, etc are just as valuable as the software itself.

Yes, end user frustration really is a big pita but not being able to finish off some code because "support" gets in the way can be just as frustrating for us.

Commercial software often comes with support and I've found much of the money you pay goes into support and manuals as actual code. If you want to use "free" software then you have to accept support from developers is a "best effort" basis. If you are not willing to "join it's community" and help out a bit yourself (ie you just want to take it and expect it to work) then better off going over to Windows and buying something instead. And I myself use a lot of commercial Windows software for exactly this reason. Time is often money.

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I found the same thing when I was developing software.  Luckily I had a friend who was reasonably computer savvy but not very technical.  I would run my documentation past her to see if it was understandable.  Also, in the early days of Ubuntu I ran a documentation and beginners guide to Ubuntu web site and explained Linux in terms a Windows user could understand. 

Writing documentation that was dumbed down from the very technical language that I was used to both in my career and later, used to be my forte.  Around the turn of this century I gave classes to our local Women's Institute on starting to use computers.  Personally I think documentation is a very important part of any software but can easily be forgotten in the drive to develop Open Source software.

Edited by Gina
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17 hours ago, Gina said:

After using various other distros including Debian and OpenSusie (or however it's spelt) and several others the release of Ubuntu was a breath of fresh air - just install and go - it just worked :)

OpenSuSE....  it's german for « Software und System-Entwicklung »  (Software and Systems Development) ;)

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12 hours ago, ajk said:

That's the HitecAstro DC Focuser and a Skywatcher Auto Focuser on order from FLO. I'll probably have the software done before I have a telescope to attach it to!

This goes to show how powerful open source is :thumbright:

Thank you ajk for your work and time on this, let me know so I can be one of the beta tester if needed :)

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Hi guys

Thought I'd suggest one Linux flavour that doesn't get much of a mention but one I've never had a problem with (he says touching wood!) and that is 'Netrunner' found here http://www.netrunner.com always worked brilliantly!.

Steve

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I must say, EKOS looks really promising.

However, one question remains - stacking images. I am running an MacOS since 2008 and i still keep a virtual machine with Win XP around only for some stacking programs and AstroTortilla. Win Xp is a pain, but my workflow still needs that stacking software :/ And Win 8 and 10 seem to be even worse than XP.

Using virtual machines might also help you a lot for trying out different Linux flavours without having to completely trash your system. A good one which gets heavy professional use is vmware.

 

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On 26/05/2016 at 13:10, Gina said:

 My Win 7 machine seems to be getting slower and slower and I can't work out why.

Are you getting huge CPU spikes? Try setting it to never check for updates, and when you update just do it manually. A lot of people have the same CPU spiking often for hours (probably svchost.exe) and setting it never to check for updating stops this.

I run GIMP on Ubuntu and it's in the repo, along with Pinta which is a cross platform fork of Paint.NET.

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I'll check my update settings - thank you :)

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9 minutes ago, uhb1966 said:

A good one which gets heavy professional use is vmware.

VMWare is commercial (but it is very good).

However Virtualbox from IBM is free and using Vagrant to build out/provision is very useful.

Regarding Linux distros. For those touting their favourite, it would he helpful to say why it's your favourite and how it could benefit adoption. Just saying "I use it and it's great" doesn't help us make an informed choice or likely to try it.

So far DistroAstro is an obvious one as it's community is like minded people. Ubuntu also just because of it's popularity. I would learn towards one of these. 

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8 minutes ago, Gina said:

I'll check my update settings - thank you :)

You're welcome.

borkdates1.jpg

It seems to be another case of MS incompetency.

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Thanks :)  My setting was "Check for updates and let me choose... " so I've now set it not to check for updates - Win 7 was not amused :D

Edited by Gina
typos

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24 minutes ago, Gina said:

Thanks :)  My setting was "Check for updates and let me choose... " so I've now set it not to check for updates - Win 7 was not amused :D

svchost.exe has been causing problems for people around the globe recently with CPU spiking for hours while Win 7 & 8 machines take hours every day searching for updates. If I had my tin foil hat on I'd swear it was deliberate MS policy. Linux will only benefit from Mickey's latest shenanigans.

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Just now, Gina said:

Looks good :)

It's quite customisable. I actually prefer Stellarium on Ubuntu as it runs better than on Windows I think. But KStars is quite good. I've been experimenting with it for a year or so. I ran Stellarium on Windows for over five years, so I'm a bit more comfortable with it.

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The repo list of astro software in the Ubuntu Software Centre:

repo1.png

repo2.png

Not so sure about the Maitreya7 'astrology' software, I'm guessing some airhead Virgo included that lol.

Edited by Mak the Night

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I don't know what the bug with the planetary skins on Celestia is, I know it hasn't been fixed in several years.

sat1.png

Saturn renders fine.

jup1.png

This giant ping pong ball is supposed to be Jupiter though.

gliese.png

Most other planetary skins render though.

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I have moved to Linux too, about 3 years ago. I have found Mint to be the better distro due to ease of use and a more "windows stye" interface (I never warmed to the Ubuntu side-bar menu).

I have tried many different Distros (PClinuxOS is very good),  all of which can be found here:  http://distrowatch.com/

After a while it became clear that I still needed Windoze programes that I have been using for many years, Fast Stone image viewer and Registax to name two, so I decided to create a dual boot system on both my Laptop and Desktop, so now I have Mint 17.3 and Windoze Vista on both. In Mint it is possible to access the Vista partition so moving files from one to the other is not a problem.

I currently run, VMA, Carted Du Ceil, Stellarium, Celestia and few other astro programs, some of them in Wine.

So, I now use Mint for as much as possible and Vista only for the astro things that will not work on Mint....simples :icon_biggrin:

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For those who are following the progress of my journey down the Linux eldorado road (wink) Here are a couple of videos that gives a nice overview of the Ekos interface (guiding and Astrophotography)

Astrophotography Tutorial in Ekos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt4Gb3Yfh9g

Autoguiding in KStars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tpuOJ28200

As a reminder: Kstars is the planetarium software and from there you can start Ekos. So basically, under linux you just need to install the INDI drivers and platform, install Kstars-Bleeding and that's it. Ekos is part of Kstars.

Using Ekos you get "advanced Astrophotography tool for Linux. This includes highly accurate GOTOs using astrometry solver, ability to measure and correct polar alignment errors , auto-focus & auto-guide capabilities, and capture of single or stack of images with filter wheel support."

So to simplify and give a general idea, just remember that:

INDI = ASCOM

Kstars = Carte Du Ciel

Ekos = EQMOD/AstroTortilla/PHD and much more

Edited by Vox45
Modified Kstars to Kstars-Bleeding
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Just to add to the thread if memory serves for all the Indi stuff you have to install Kstars-bleeding which is a different install to just Kstars but I`m sure someone will jump in with better info :happy7:

Steve

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14 minutes ago, Gasman said:

Just to add to the thread if memory serves for all the Indi stuff you have to install Kstars-bleeding which is a different install to just Kstars but I`m sure someone will jump in with better info :happy7:

Steve

I modified the post. You are right the package is called Kstars-Bleeding

On ubuntu :

sudo apt-get install kstars-bleeding
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After years of lurking, I just ordered a Raspberry PI 3

My endgame is to install Kstars on Linux Mint (once the ubuntu-16.04 version of Mint is release in july/august) and install the INDI part on a raspberry PI. This way I can have the "control" part at the telescope and use the interface at my desk over WIFI or an ethernet cable, I'll be free from my 5m USB cable at last :)

Problem is that I've just completed my PowerPanel V2.0 and I am already thinking of buidling a new one for my RP. That would be "PowerPanel V3.0 embedded Raspberry PI edition" :)

The combination of my PowerPanel+RP at the mount would mean that there would be only 1 cable hanging from the mount, the power cable to the battery. Hopefully, in the near futur, I will be able to add an eCat to the PowerPanel (v4.0 ?) and get rid of this last cable ;)

Edited by Vox45

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