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I've recently started imaging via an ancient laptop I have running Ubuntu. I'm using Kstars and Phd2 and find they work fine. The laptop is on its last legs though.

 

I've now have a spare windows laptop. With all the cloudy nights I've hooked it up to the scope and seem to have APT and Phd2 working (although a night out under the stars is needed to fully test that theory!)

This laptop won't be used for processing.

 

My question is to those who have tried both operating systems, are there any benefits to using Windows software over Ubuntu? If not I'm thinking of installing Ubuntu on this one also instead of learning a new piece of software.

 

Thanks

Edited by g-rex
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I've been running Pi3's since they came out (as webservers and SQL servers) and Pi4's on my scopes since they came out.  I believe the "issues" people have been having are: 1.  Lack of 64bit OS w

My up-coming TCS runs Ubuntu on an Odroid C2, a very nice, very low priced and very small Arm-based SBC.  I have been hearing bad things recently about reliability of the Pi4 range, so you may wish to

Very interesting and informative thread - thanks. I'm starting out on my imaging journey and this thread answers a lot of questions I was beginning to form while planning my control gear.  My pla

There is good software in both platforms.  I think the main deciding factor should be the drivers.  If you can find INDI drivers that work well for your hardware, then either Kstars or CCDCiel will make good options.  If the ASCOM drivers work well, then APT is a good choice.  A lot of the software doesn't care.  PHD2, PixInsight, StarTools and several others work the same on either platform.  Astrometry, for plate-solving as an example, doesn't care which platform. Deep Sky Stacker is a good Windows-only program.  But no better than Siril in Linux. 

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Thanks for the reply.

The processing machine I use runs Windows and I use DSS and PS.

It was more that I'm used to Kstars for imaging and didn't really want to learn new imaging software unless there was a solid reason for doing so.

 

By the sound of your answer it seems six of one and half a dozen of the other?

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Well then...KStars has a Windows version.

And yes.  You can get good results with either.  Unless you have special needs in hardware or some specialty operation, you can win the war from either side.

Myself, I hate Windows, but I recognize in this instance, that the field is level-ish.  There are, of course, fans who will argue the point from either side.

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I have gone the other way and gone from APT with Stellarium to using KStars / EKOS on either Ubuntu or on RPi.

To be honest I liked APT and thought it was a great bit of software and for sure love Stellarium
So why move ?  Well curiosity really, I saw so many on SGL using KStars with EKOS I wanted to try it so I belaced the hard drive in a smallish Fanless PC, so I could keep the Windows OS and go back to it if required.
Since I have also use dit on a RPi and with some tweaks even the RPi seems to run it okay.

I am torn a bit as there are a lot of aspects about EKOS/INDI I like, I really like the way the sequencer is set out and all the way there is a seperate tab for all the equipment and having all the parameters on there easy to view.
I also love the plate solving in EKOS and being able to drag an old image out from a previous session and plate solve so the mount goes to that exact position again so you can add data.
Now don;t get me wrong the plate solving worked great in APT but I don't think you can do the same with the previous image (but forgive me if I am wrong or it has been added)

EDIT - Yes it can. So was probably just me that had only just started plate solving and not realized I could do that.

What I do not like in KStars is the planetarium, it does a job but compared to Stellarium I think it is very clunky with some poor images of DSO's.

So difficult to suggest which is best, if any, as both have their merits and you have to see what suits you.

I also need to try NINA as this has some very good comments last year or so, trouble is if not careful you spend more time messing about setting up and learning how to use software when there are precious few clear nights where I live (and the OP) as it is 🙂 

Steve

 

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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@JonCarleton as far as I'm aware Kstars won't connect locally on Windows. Only wirelessly to a mini pc at the scope?

 

@teoria_del_big_bang I totally agree about Kstars being quite light as a planetarium. It almost put me off initially after using Stellarium, but the fact that everything is under one roof so to speak (even the guiding works okay) made me stick it out. Also once I've done a go-to and started imaging that's the planetariums job done. Also it's only light aesthetically I suppose. It works well. 

Plate solving will be a game changer for me and it works fantastic on Kstars - not that I have anything to compare it to. 

I think I may stick with what I know.

It's just that voice on my shoulder saying I may be missing out on something 😂

 

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2 minutes ago, g-rex said:

I totally agree about Kstars being quite light as a planetarium. It almost put me off initially after using Stellarium, but the fact that everything is under one roof so to speak (even the guiding works okay) made me stick it out. Also once I've done a go-to and started imaging that's the planetariums job done. Also it's only light aesthetically I suppose. It works well. 

Exactly my thoughts, When I first tried KStars I nearly gave up straight away after using the planetarium, but stuck it out and glad I did as all other aspects I really loved.
As I sat at my laptop, or a desktop inside and connected via Teamviewer, or remote desktop I just ran stellarium on a 2nd screen to use to search for what was about and how high up it was, then used KStars and just typed the target in and it went straight there.
And as you say  once sequencing starts that's the planetarium over with, unless you want to search about for a 2nd target when your main target goes out of view, but again I could do that in stellarium anyway.

8 minutes ago, g-rex said:

Plate solving will be a game changer for me and it works fantastic on Kstars - not that I have anything to compare it to. 

Don't get me wrong it works well on APT and a while since I used APT so may have changed as well, but I don't think quite as easy and so many options as EKOS / KStars.

Steve

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I don't use Windows, but I'd be surprised if KStars didn't at least connect to ascom drivers.  I'd have to look at the docs...and the KStars docs are a bit behind the current version.

But connecting from a client to an indiserver on a remode box should be non-OS-specific.

 

and +1 for plate-solving!!!!!!!  It changed my world.

 

Edited by JonCarleton
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7 minutes ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

 

Don't get me wrong it works well on APT and a while since I used APT so may have changed as well, but I don't think quite as easy and so many options as EKOS / KStars.

Steve

I have thread somewhere about setting up a mini PC with Ubuntu and KStars/Ekos et al to run headless at the scope via VNC.

I really liked Ubuntu and having had a bad relationship with Astroberry really wanted to see Ekos Fly. Unfortunately I hit imaging difficulties again so swapped OS's. I'm now back on W10 running APT. So the point of my post is that ASTAP https://www.hnsky.org/astap.htm, is now available in APT and is a very fast solver with other nice utilities included.

I'd say that with ASTAP selected in APT, it's as fast as Ekos at solving. Another bonus of APT is that it talks to Stellarium too. All other things being equal, I think Ubuntu/Ekos is a very sleek and attractive combo. Just me having trouble with it :(

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There are many, many ways to run headless at the scope in Windows or Linux.  VNC is one.  SSH in Linux is another.  KStars/Ekos will talk to an indiserver via a WiFi socket (So will CCDCiel) in Linux, anyway...probably Windoze too, so you could run it inside on a Desktop or Laptop and connect to the scope computer over WiFi.

I have 2 Pi4 computers on my scope.  One runs indiserver and manages the scope, the other is basically my Laptop/Desktop-ish.  I port the HDMI monitor output with a iogear device and use a USB wireless Logitech keyboard.  The reason I use two Pi4's is because the USB ports and WiFi take a beating with just one.  With two, I can run indiserver on one, use it's WiFi to talk to the scope on the scope HotSpot network, connect to the other Pi4 via an ethernet cable for a rocket-fast network between them, so no delay on images..and still connect to the Internet with the WiFi from the other for network time, amont other things.  I run the second Pi4 as though it was my laptop and just keep the keyboard and screen in the house.  A bit complicated, perhaps, but it makes sense when you think about it.  

The only thing that changes when I remote is I have to use my phone for an Internet HotSpot for network time sync.

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1 hour ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Now don;t get me wrong the plate solving worked great in APT but I don't think you can do the same with the previous image (but forgive me if I am wrong or it has been added)

 

APT can indeed load a previous image and platesolve.

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If your gear works well on Linux then that'll be fine, so it's personal preference.

If I was starting from scratch then if I wanted the value/portability of the raspberry pi I'd make sure I bought gear that worked with Indi. If I was going to use a proper laptop anyway, I'd probably choose Windows and so not have to worry about compatibility.

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Funny really, when I first considered taking up Astro Photography and not really looked into it properly, I expected there to be very little software available for controlling things, and because of the niche market, and lack of it, that it would be astronomically expensive (apt phrase or what).

But 3 years later I find there are so many I cannot choose which one to go with and, whats more they are either free or very reasonably priced, so makes me feel I need to try them all out to see for myself.
So probably go with my current EKOS / KStars for now,and maybe mid year when the darkness fades I may start with NINA which seems to get a lot of praise.

BUT, if anything like what I have used so far (APT and KStars) then probably little to choose between them, all so far have done a cracking job and far more than I ever envisaged when I started.
What these guys writing these have done for the hobby is incredible and really changes the whole hobby in terms of what is possible, so my admiration to all of them 👍  👏  👏

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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16 hours ago, g-rex said:

benefits to using Windows software over Ubuntu

The Ubuntu advantage for me was multistar guiding and automation. Now with phd2 having multistar in development and nina seemingly on the verge of putting sgp out to pasture, the advantage is not so great, but not close enough to get this user to switch. 

Ruined clear night sessions fighting windows anti-virus and upgrade mechanisms decided it for us.

Cheers

Edited by alacant
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I'm another Astroberry KStars/EKOS/INDI user on the Pi4. Recently I tried out the PHD2 multistar guiding on the platform and it worked really well just like the internal multistar guiding.

I too have gone through many iterations of capture software on a PC, still having a subscription to APT (only 6 Euros/year), looked at Nina which looks great, SGP which also looked good and is used by many people - some people have recently commented on its pricing model.

I have nothing against Windows operating systems (Microsoft server systems have kept me in employment for many decades) but after one or two "updates" done during the night when I was imaging I had enough. I turned the updates off in services but the Windows update medic service turned it back on. I can disable both services permanently by editing the registry and placing permissions on the keys. I could also change the time when it does upgrades but as I said I had had enough. No more Windoze on capture PC.

Linux was the way to go and the footprint of the Pi4 in a Flirc case is miniscule and EKOS does everything I want to do automatically while I sleep - plate solve, focus, capture images, guide the mount, change filters, rotate the camera, open/close a dome (if I had one), etc. Also being conscious of the little amount of time in the UK we get to image between the clouds I am no longer experimenting with capture software. Kstars/EKOS it is for me. I also have a second Pi just in case I run into issues with the first one.

Broadly speaking INDI in Linux is the equivalent of ASCOM in Windows and there are INDI "drivers" for most gear. New drivers are being added all the time.

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16 hours ago, g-rex said:

My question is to those who have tried both operating systems, are there any benefits to using Windows software over Ubuntu? If not I'm thinking of installing Ubuntu on this one also instead of learning a new piece of software.

You may well find that much supposedly Windows-only software works just fine under WINE.

I run Astrometrica under WINE on Ubuntu 20.04.01LTS for instance.

The only thing currently missing for a Ubuntu TCS being built is an INDI driver for the Vellman card which controls the dome. LesveDome can drive it under Windows. I have not yet tried it under WINE.

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Very interesting and informative thread - thanks.

I'm starting out on my imaging journey and this thread answers a lot of questions I was beginning to form while planning my control gear.  My plan is to build a seperately networked set-up with a link to the house for remote control/monitoring.  I have a couple of x86-based SBCs and microITX systems so will be using those to control the scope, camera and mount(s).  I may have difficulty putting Windows on some of them due to the hardware so I was looking at using Ubuntu or Mint instead.  For portable use on my Star Adventurer Pro I wouild look at a Pi4, if the PicoITX board is too cumbersome.  We'll see.

I have separate computers that I use to do the post-processing so that's not an issue here, but I was curious about how far I could go using Linux-based computers.  This thread has answered that nicely.

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3 minutes ago, savcom said:

I may have difficulty putting Windows on some of them due to the hardware so I was looking at using Ubuntu or Mint instead.  For portable use on my Star Adventurer Pro I wouild look at a Pi4, if the PicoITX board is too cumbersome. 

...

I have separate computers that I use to do the post-processing so that's not an issue here, but I was curious about how far I could go using Linux-based computers.  This thread has answered that nicely.

My up-coming TCS runs Ubuntu on an Odroid C2, a very nice, very low priced and very small Arm-based SBC.  I have been hearing bad things recently about reliability of the Pi4 range, so you may wish to investigate carefully and to work out whether a Pi3 may be sufficient.

All my post-processing is done under Ubuntu, though a very small fraction (only Astrometrica) also uses WINE.

I am so frustrated about the source of Astrometrica not being available so it can be ported that I have given serious thought to re-implementing it to run under any popular OS.

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1 hour ago, Xilman said:

I have been hearing bad things recently about reliability of the Pi4 range, so you may wish to investigate carefully and to work out whether a Pi3 may be sufficient.

 

I've heard much the same - and it's not clear where the unreliability is coming from, so I too will be staying away from the Pi4 for now. 

I have two Atom-based motherboards and one Atom-based and one i7-based SBC, so I think I have enough computing power  👍.  I have a couple of 5-port switches and some TP-Link wireless nano-routers that will do the basics for networking and waterproof box to mount it all in.  Just need to put it all together, one step at a time.

 

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Just to say I have 2 x Pi4 4GB and have never had any issues with them at all. Not sure where you are hearing the unreliability from.

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57 minutes ago, TerryMcK said:

Just to say I have 2 x Pi4 4GB and have never had any issues with them at all. Not sure where you are hearing the unreliability from.

Me too (well one 4Gb & one 8Gb) and the 4Gb has run fine for over a year now, No reliability issues with the Pi4 for me (YET, should I have said that !)

 

1 hour ago, savcom said:

I've heard much the same - and it's not clear where the unreliability is coming from

 

2 hours ago, Xilman said:

I have been hearing bad things recently about reliability of the Pi4 range,

But it does interest me what  may be unreliable, can you send be some links to this please ?

🙂 Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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58 minutes ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

But it does interest me what  may be unreliable, can you send be some links to this please ?

🙂 Steve

Hi Steve

I was aware of the USB-C issues but a quick trawl revealed these (which may now be resolved of course). Looks to mainly apply to earlier versions of the Pi4.  Also - it's not clear if these would affect the uses we are putting them to.

USB-C issues:
https://hackaday.com/2019/07/16/exploring-the-raspberry-pi-4-usb-c-issue-in-depth/
https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/02/24/raspberry-pi-4-rev-1-2-fixes-usb-c-power-issues-improves-sd-card-resilience/


Raspberry Pi failure rate and main instability sources:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=295976&p=1785170#p1785170

 

HDMI issues:
https://forum.libreelec.tv/thread/20161-rpi4-hdmi-cec-not-working/
https://howtoraspberrypi.com/raspberry-pi-hdmi-not-working/
https://www.raspberrypistarterkits.com/guide/raspberry-pi-hdmi-not-working/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, savcom said:

Hi Steve

I was aware of the USB-C issues but a quick trawl revealed these (which may now be resolved of course). Looks to mainly apply to earlier versions of the Pi4.  Also - it's not clear if these would affect the uses we are putting them to.

USB-C issues:
https://hackaday.com/2019/07/16/exploring-the-raspberry-pi-4-usb-c-issue-in-depth/
https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/02/24/raspberry-pi-4-rev-1-2-fixes-usb-c-power-issues-improves-sd-card-resilience/


Raspberry Pi failure rate and main instability sources:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=295976&p=1785170#p1785170

 

HDMI issues:
https://forum.libreelec.tv/thread/20161-rpi4-hdmi-cec-not-working/
https://howtoraspberrypi.com/raspberry-pi-hdmi-not-working/
https://www.raspberrypistarterkits.com/guide/raspberry-pi-hdmi-not-working/

 

 

 

 

 

1st one looks like early hardware problems which have probably been sorted now.

Second one is a forum talking about SSDs and swap files the latter are totally configurable.

Third one is irrelevant as hdmi is not necessary (nor any screen for that matter) with Astroberry.

Thanks for linking to them though ;)

Edited by TerryMcK
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4 minutes ago, savcom said:

Hi Steve

I was aware of the USB-C issues but a quick trawl revealed these (which may now be resolved of course). Looks to mainly apply to earlier versions of the Pi4.  Also - it's not clear if these would affect the uses we are putting them to.

USB-C issues:
https://hackaday.com/2019/07/16/exploring-the-raspberry-pi-4-usb-c-issue-in-depth/
https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/02/24/raspberry-pi-4-rev-1-2-fixes-usb-c-power-issues-improves-sd-card-resilience/


Raspberry Pi failure rate and main instability sources:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=295976&p=1785170#p1785170

 

HDMI issues:
https://forum.libreelec.tv/thread/20161-rpi4-hdmi-cec-not-working/
https://howtoraspberrypi.com/raspberry-pi-hdmi-not-working/
https://www.raspberrypistarterkits.com/guide/raspberry-pi-hdmi-not-working/

Cheers I had seem things about the HDMI but so far not had an issue and unless I get some issue whereby I cannot get into the Pi with VNC, Remote Desktop or the like never really needed it. One thing I have noticed is that when I do plug a HDMI monitor in the Internal WiFi is just about useless. I now use a USB WiFi adapter and that still works fine.

I hadn't heard about the USB C issues and to be honest a lot of that link is over my head. I can't say I have had an issue with it though so far, touch woo.

Steve

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I've been running Pi3's since they came out (as webservers and SQL servers) and Pi4's on my scopes since they came out.  I believe the "issues" people have been having are:

1.  Lack of 64bit OS with the Pi4 was released.  Time has solved this one.  Even Raspberry Pi OS has a 64bit version now.

2.  Lack of proper cooling.  Especially when/if you overclock.  You can't use a box case and either need a heat-removing case or a fan...maybe 2 fans.

3.  USB issues due to power.  The USB ports on a Pi do not have a robust power supply.  Cameras are HEAVY eaters.  You MAY NOT run most Astro cameras solely on the power of a Pi USB port.  If you try, either the Pi or Camera will be unstable and fail.  The simple solution is to add a powered USB hub to drive the USB devices.  Problem gone.

There was also a delay with some Astro software in getting 64 bit versions that would run on the Pi4 out there.  This was partly due to #1 and is mostly resolved for most Linux software now...though there are some exceptions as of this writing.  It made sense really, if the 64bit OS came out yesterday, you can't expect all the re-compiles with adjustments to be done today.

That said, I have no issues with my dual Pi4 setup whatsoever.

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