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Vox45

Moving to Linux - What works and alternatives

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14 hours ago, ajk said:

Correct. I will do the work to ask Indi maintainers to pull it into their repo at some point, but before I do that I need at least another pair of eyeballs on it, that's where you come in :)

I fully expect feedback from you in the form "this doesn't work", "this doesn't work as I expect" or "this is great! But can I also have it do foo as well please?". Lets get it polished up. Then we'll go for inclusion in the main code base of Indi :)

 

Got my RPi ...  :)

I installed the OS but had some troubles installing the INDI packages. I'll have a look at this today. Next step will be to test your driver and give feedback :) I expect to do this later this week.

RaspBerryPI3.JPG

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The INDI folks have a few things they're looking at from my understanding:

* lighter capture functionality

* indi management through web interfaces rather than always needing a big application

Just remember that there are some companies such as CloudMakers that are creating additional components that are quasi-commercial but outside of the INDI tree.

 

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Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Cinnamon – BETA Release. Linux Mint 18 features a Linux kernel 4.4 and an Ubuntu 16.04 package base

I can now test EKOS on it with the INDI server on RPi ... Good times.... :)

 

**Heads up**

Issues with KDE apps

If you're experiencing issues with KDE apps (Okular, Gwenview, KStars..etc) run the following command:

  • apt install kdelibs-bin kdelibs5-data kdelibs5-plugins

**Heads up**

Edited by Vox45
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What I have noted is that Linux is about as susceptible to problems with USB-serial devices in use.

For example, with an arduino and serial issues, if you disconnect in INDI then unplug and replugin the USB for the arduino the driver simply creates another /dev/ttyACM0 -> /dev/ttyACM1 ->/dev/ttyACM2 ... and eventually the device link fails requiring a reboot (as is a kernel space driver). It also randomly stops working.

Never had a problem like that in OSX or Windows. OSX seems very reliable but that is likely to be the SP210x driver itself on the host system - not INDI and not Arduino's fault.

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8 minutes ago, NickK said:

What I have noted is that Linux is about as susceptible to problems with USB-serial devices in use.

For example, with an arduino and serial issues, if you disconnect in INDI then unplug and replugin the USB for the arduino the driver simply creates another /dev/ttyACM0 -> /dev/ttyACM1 ->/dev/ttyACM2 ... and eventually the device link fails requiring a reboot (as is a kernel space driver). It also randomly stops working.

As a workaround you may find that once the Arduino has been unplugged, if you run (as root)

  # modprobe -r cdc_acm

then as long as there are no other ACM devices connected the kernel module will be removed and then reloaded automagically once the Arduino is replugged and it should start at ttyACM0 again, saving the requirement for a reboot.  I've not tried this to check it works, but it's certainly worth a go.

James

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7 minutes ago, JamesF said:

As a workaround you may find that once the Arduino has been unplugged,

Here lies the problem :D 

I don't want anything unplugged. I shouldn't need anything unplugged.. this is the user expectations vs developer (driver) laziness.

It should automagically just work :D

 

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20 minutes ago, NickK said:

Here lies the problem :D 

I don't want anything unplugged. I shouldn't need anything unplugged.. this is the user expectations vs developer (driver) laziness.

It should automagically just work :D

 

Oh, I agree that it should "just work".

In this case I imagine that whoever maintains that driver has not had time to make the necessary changes to the code (or perhaps they're no longer able to and the driver is unmaintained).

Without looking more into the state of the ACM driver it might also be possible to create a udev ruleset that makes a predictable device name (eg. /dev/arduino) so any unplugging and replugging wouldn't matter.  It's a workaround again and requires a bit of faffing about, certainly.  Not exactly what you want the less technical user to have to do.

I have a nagging feeling that Win7 does actually have some incarnation of a similar problem in the way it assigns COM port numbers.  My recollection from of using EQMOD is that unplugging and replugging the mount can cause the COM port number to increase and fairly quickly one reaches the point where the preconfigured drop-down in EQMOD doesn't cover a large enough range, at which point you have to go and fiddle with something in the Windows configuration to reset it.

James

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28 minutes ago, JamesF said:

My recollection from of using EQMOD is that unplugging and replugging the mount can cause the COM port number to increase and fairly quickly one reaches the point where the preconfigured drop-down in EQMOD doesn't cover a large enough range, at which point you have to go and fiddle with something in the Windows configuration to reset it.

James

Ho yes it is still happening in Win10.

After unplugging and repluging my USB HUB yesterday It went from COM4 to COM5 to COM6 all the way to COM8 before, for whatever reason, it went back to COM7 ... drove me crazy

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4 hours ago, JamesF said:

Oh, I agree that it should "just work".

In this case I imagine that whoever maintains that driver has not had time to make the necessary changes to the code (or perhaps they're no longer able to and the driver is unmaintained).

Without looking more into the state of the ACM driver it might also be possible to create a udev ruleset that makes a predictable device name (eg. /dev/arduino) so any unplugging and replugging wouldn't matter.  It's a workaround again and requires a bit of faffing about, certainly.  Not exactly what you want the less technical user to have to do.

I have a nagging feeling that Win7 does actually have some incarnation of a similar problem in the way it assigns COM port numbers.  My recollection from of using EQMOD is that unplugging and replugging the mount can cause the COM port number to increase and fairly quickly one reaches the point where the preconfigured drop-down in EQMOD doesn't cover a large enough range, at which point you have to go and fiddle with something in the Windows configuration to reset it.

James

I've had that problem :(  Had to run some odd code to clear out the assignments!  Can't remember what it was now but I think I found it by Googling the problem.

Unplugging and replugging seems to be needed a fair bit in Win 7 :(  Not a happy situation for a remote system!!! :eek:  I was hoping to avoid that with Linux.

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On 28.5.2016 at 22:25, ajk said:

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. 

Correct ajk, but virtualbox screws up on usb 2 speed, which means you will have _big_ trouble using any kind of active guider- the pictures are not transferred fast enough, which is the reason why i switched to vmware (from virtualbox) when i added a guider to my setup.

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I use the FTDI chip in my designs and the problem with com port numbering in Windows is only an issue if you unplug the device, and then replug it while the application still has the old com port open. It then gets the next available number - a process that actually makes sense. If you unplug again and make sure that the application doesn't have the port open it will revert to the original number. That's FTDI 231XS. Do't know about the other ones.

 

/p

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On 06/11/2016 at 10:51, uhb1966 said:

Correct ajk, but virtualbox screws up on usb 2 speed, which means you will have _big_ trouble using any kind of active guider- the pictures are not transferred fast enough, which is the reason why i switched to vmware (from virtualbox) when i added a guider to my setup.

It's been a while and many updates to VirtualBox since I've tried it, however I encountered no similar issues using PHD Guiding in a W7 VM with my Lodestar USB guide camera. I've since migrated to GoQat as it is a native Linux application. The latter requires a bit more tuning, but works quite well once the appropriate settings have been configured.

In general, I've seen somewhat mixed results with USB devices and Windows software running in a VM. Prior to purchasing the Lodestar, I spent a fair amount of time trying in vain to get SBIG's drivers talking to an ST-i. Also no joy using a P & E microcontroller debug interface for some S08 development. Many other devices, among them several printers and my HP scanner, work as well from the VM as natively. Since I don't need to do a lot of hardware control from a VM, I don't worry about it too much, but if you have some hardware that must be hosted from the virtual environment, it's probably good practice to do some research to be sure it will work.

A minor correction to an earlier post: VirtualBox is supported by Oracle, who also provide some proprietary (though free of charge) extensions.

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Hi All,

 

I see this post has gone towards the technical side a little. I must admit I skimmed though the pages but could not see a list of distros and software to use that have been confirmed as working.

I would recommend not to use ubuntu but rather mint especially if you are coming from windows as mint has more of a windows look about it. But recommend if you need help go to the unbuntu forums as there seems to more help offered there (in my experience).

Sorry I have used mint for several years so am bias.

If you do no want to remove you copy of windows then you can use a usb pendrive and make a bootable persistant copy.

This is easier than it sounds and simply you download a copy of linx and then create a usb using free software. When you plug in the usb and start up your pc you tell the pc to boot from the usb rather your hard drive and linx will start up. Normally any changes that are made are lost when the computer is shut down but a persistent drive will keep these changes.

Once you restart the pc you normal windows will boot.

This also means that if you use this on your laptop to capture images/video you can then just plug the usb into any other pc and carry on editing there.

 

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I wouldn't really recommend mint, as it's still based on Ubuntu 14.04 (quite an old release).

Directly using ubuntu would provide both more up to date packages, and a wider community for support.

Also, if you're looking for a more "window-ish" look there's always the kde version (and you can install kde over the regular ubuntu by simply installing the "kubuntu-desktop" package), which imho never had the success it deserved.

Personally I don't use ubuntu (nor mint) so I hope I'm not biased towards it, I just would like to suggest different alternatives, particularly for "newbies" :)

 

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23 minutes ago, GuLinux said:

I wouldn't really recommend mint, as it's still based on Ubuntu 14.04 (quite an old release).

Directly using ubuntu would provide both more up to date packages, and a wider community for support.

Also, if you're looking for a more "window-ish" look there's always the kde version (and you can install kde over the regular ubuntu by simply installing the "kubuntu-desktop" package), which imho never had the success it deserved.

Personally I don't use ubuntu (nor mint) so I hope I'm not biased towards it, I just would like to suggest different alternatives, particularly for "newbies" :)

 

For those interested, I've been using the new Mint beta release and haven't have any issue as of today.

On 10/06/2016 at 16:15, Vox45 said:

Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Cinnamon – BETA Release. Linux Mint 18 features a Linux kernel 4.4 and an Ubuntu 16.04 package base

I can now test EKOS on it with the INDI server on RPi ... Good times.... :)

 

**Heads up**

Issues with KDE apps

If you're experiencing issues with KDE apps (Okular, Gwenview, KStars..etc) run the following command:

  • apt install kdelibs-bin kdelibs5-data kdelibs5-plugins

**Heads up**

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I agree that this thread is far from the intended goal stated in the first post ;)

Although it is interesting and generated a lot of discussions, I may have to start another thread with only the conclusion of my experience with Linux and INDI so newcomers don't feel that they have to go through 10 pages of posts before being able to move to Linux... I feel that we are making it look a lot more difficult that it actually is.

Now I am not saying that Linux is not without its difficulties, but I do remember having to create keys in the Windows registry using cryptic commands or modifying files to add drivers for a webcam without complaining about how difficult it was. It is just a different set of problems. And we are good at problem solvings aren't we ? :)

I think that people are affraid of change, basic human nature, but once you take the plunge you open up a new world of possibilities. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The reality of it is that I installed Mint and INDI/Kstars in less than 30 minutes and I only had to type those 4 commands (copy/paste actually) ;)

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mutlaqja/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indi-full
sudo apt-get install indi-full kstars-bleeding

As far as these commands go you just need to know some basic 'jargon' and they become clear:

sudo : a command to become admin (in linux it is called 'root') and have the rights to do admin stuff

Apt : (for Advanced Package Tool) is a set of core tools to install applications and keep your applications up to date.

so this command [sudo apt-get install indi-full] says in plain english: become admin and install INDI...

the funny one is [sudo apt-add-repository ppa: mutlaqja /ppa] ... in plain english it means : become admin and add a link to a place where I can get software (a repository). The name of this place is "mutlaqja"

So you might wonder what is a "mutlaqja" ? well it is the name of the lead Developer & Maintainer of INDI: Jasem Mutlaq :)

My point is, I understand that some people don't want to waste time fiddling about on a computer and their interests falls elsewhere, but for those who are 'Linux-curious', lets stop making it sound as if you needed a computer degree to start using it.

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What about having a separate subforum for linux? This would help separating different issues/questions/topics in different threads :)

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1 hour ago, GuLinux said:

What about having a separate subforum for linux? This would help separating different issues/questions/topics in different threads :)

I can't speak for the SGL admin but I like your idea.

There is a forum for all INDI related stuff here but there are only ~1.5K members there compared to 51K here (knowing that there are SGL members on the INDI forum) so not the same fire power in terme of knowledge base and response time. I guess it is also a matter of time before more people switch to Linux/INDI and the community grows.

That being said, I don't want to make it sound like I am in a crusade to convert people to Linux, I just think there is a lot to gain for everyone from a broad base of Linux and INDI users as shown by the fact that in less than a week, a member of SGL was able to come up with a focuser driver that was not availlable in INDI. That is the power of openSource :) 

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3 minutes ago, Vox45 said:

I can't speak for the SGL admin but I like your idea.

There is a forum for all INDI related stuff here but there are only ~1.5K members there compared to 51K here (knowing that there are SGL members on the INDI forum) so not the same fire power in terme of knowledge base and response time. I guess it is also a matter of time before more people switch to Linux/INDI and the community grows.

That being said, I don't want to make it sound like I am in a crusade to convert people to Linux, I just think there is a lot to gain for everyone from a broad base of Linux and INDI users as shown by the fact that in less than a week, a member of SGL was able to come up with a focuser driver that was not availlable in INDI. That is the power of openSource :) 

I agree with all you said, but I also want to add that Linux > INDI. INDI forum is specific to that platform, while a general Linux area in a forum like this could actually cover much more stuff (I also made a few non-INDI astronomical applications for Linux... why not?)

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52 minutes ago, GuLinux said:

I agree with all you said, but I also want to add that Linux > INDI. INDI forum is specific to that platform, while a general Linux area in a forum like this could actually cover much more stuff (I also made a few non-INDI astronomical applications for Linux... why not?)

I'll let the admin comment on this but I do agree that it would be nice to have a centralized forum on all Linux based astronomical applications. With such a knowledgeable and active community lke the one on SGL I can see it becoming a reputable source of information quite fast :)

Let me add that I've realised over the last 2 years that there are already members here that are the main developpers of popular win/linux applications, just to name a few I am sure of: SharpCap, oaCapture, EQMOD, Stellarium, INDI HitecAstro focuser, so the knowledge is already here.

Edited by Vox45

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In my opinion, the biggest obstacle to overcome Windows is the lack of a good planetary stacker and a good deep sky stacker, but maybe someone  has a tip for that area of software?!

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16 minutes ago, uhb1966 said:

In my opinion, the biggest obstacle to overcome Windows is the lack of a good planetary stacker and a good deep sky stacker, but maybe someone  has a tip for that area of software?!

Well, Registax and AutoStakkert! both work quite good under wine... sure, a native application would be much better, but they do their job, and it's enough.

And for both planetary and deep sky stacking, siril is quite good too... probably a bit more oriented to deep sky, I still have to test it for planetary stacking.

Maybe it has a slightly steeper learning curve, but it's worth it.

 

I think actually what's a bit lacking in the linux world is a good postprocessing application, many on windows use Photoshop, and gimp is out of business because it's not handling properly 16bit images. I know there's a beta, but... it's still a beta, afterall, and apparently there are no imminent plans on releasing a stable version for that.

 

I tried Darktable for that... decent results, but it's a very confusing software.

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well, i have been using the gimp beta for over a year with no issues so far, but yes , its still beta. Thanks for the siril tip, will try.

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On 17/06/2016 at 07:47, uhb1966 said:

In my opinion, the biggest obstacle to overcome Windows is the lack of a good planetary stacker and a good deep sky stacker, but maybe someone  has a tip for that area of software?!

Posting again!

Stackistry 

 

Cheers,
Chris

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