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Linux Distribution
  • As I am currently only able to support OSE via IT I was looking though the website for possibilities of improving the IT department.
    I read on the wiki that there is a great need for an OSE Linux distribution.

    After doing some research online it shouldn't be that hard to create a distro that suits our need, the question is what are our needs?

    The wiki mentions:
    • Prenstallation of all mission-critical software:
      • Blender
      • FreeCAD
      • QCad - CAD, Architecture purposes
      • Kdenlive
      • ekiga same use as skype but enterily opensource
      • irrsi irc client, easy to use IRC from shell
      • LinuxCNC (this might require a dual boot installation where back versions of Linux are installed. For example, LinuxCNC works on Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (long-term support) and 10.04 LTS, but not on Ubuntu 9.10. Whatever distribution of Linux is chosen, we need to make sure that LinuxCNC, one of the critical components of CNC machining - is accommodated
      • KiCAD circuit design KiCAD
      • Arduino Environment for programming the Arduino microcontroller
      • Stereolithography file viewer for STLPLY or Collada file formats
      • yacy and seeks search engines (not strictly needed but the hybrid use of them could be handy to analize in teams an intranet's content if nothing else). Linked to internet seeks constitutes a valid alternative to google too.
    • Preinstalled libraries and Other Design Libraries
    • QCad libraries for design files, house designs, other purposes
    • Library of Pattern Language Icons for symbolic modeling of integrated agroecotechnological systems.

    Those applications shouldn't be that hard to get it up and running and ready for distribution. My question to you is what kind of linux distribution and what kind of interface would be most usable for those needs? I am mostly familiar with ubuntu editions and they contain one of the largest depositories of applications but to be honest I am not that happy with the latest unity interface but thats perhaps a manner of taste.

    Distribution is another manner, it can be set up via a peer to peer network or it might be directly downloadable from the OSE website?
    As I am currently traveling a bit and cant set up a home server at the moment I am currently only capable of creating such distribution but distributing is another story. perhaps dropbox or google drive might help out here...
     
  • 34 Comments sorted by
  • theyve been using ubuntu at the farm. but im sure its a mixed bag of what software on each system.
    i think people are either going to use it as an everyday design/colaboration computer. otherwise theyll be set up to control machines like the torchtable.
    i think itd make sense to use a torrent distribution for this?
     
  • Torrent distribution is definitely a viable option. I found out that there is a live version of LinuxCNC 10.04 LTS and is still supported till april 2013. So I was wondering if it is worth to extend this version with freecad, blender etc (I'll have to figure out how to extend one though but no worries). To have an all inclusive version and you only have to plug it in. 

    For beta testing I will continue with that for now and see how viable it all is. I mean in the end all the applications can be removed if needed.

    Or do people have a strong argument for upgrading to 12.04 and leave LinuxCNC for what it is and have thus one OSE version and one LinuxCNC?
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    August 2012
    You don't need to have a dual boot system for LinuxCNC. There are two options for installing it on any distro based on ubuntu 12.04. First,there is a PPA with all of the packages that one needs to install LinuxCNC. Just run

    sudo echo " deb http://buildbot.linuxcnc.org/ precise v2.5_branch-sim" >> /etc/apt/sources.list

    sudo apt-get update

    sudo apt-get install linuxcnc-sim

    During this process you will need to answer 'y' to all of the prompts, and it will complain about unverified packages. once this is complete you will have it installed.  The other option would be compiling from source, however option 1 would probably be easier for you.

    I don't know how much GNU/Linux experience everyone here has, but I could help with remastering a GNU/Linux distro. One thing you may want to keep in mind is that even though Ubuntu is open source, the artwork and logos are owned by Canonical. They would probably be fine with us just leaving it in there, but it might be a good idea to replace it with some other GTK-themes, artwork, etc.
     
  • Thanks for the install tutorial...

    Indeed, but is 12.04 supported by linuxcnc? Of course, I should have updated my previous post, it is possible to install it yourself, I was talking about updating the linuxcnc live cd...

    If it runs well on 12.04 I would suggest we create a list of software that is required... We should keep the file size below a dvd image, e.g. 4.7Gb. So people can also burn and share it or USB it and share it :)

    And of course if someone is good with a pencil, digitally or not we could fancy it up with an OSE layout!

    For building a distro there is not really any skills needed but some might be useful. For building a distro I found this wonderful package http://www.geekconnection.org/remastersys/


     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    August 2012
    I have never used remastersys myself, however I know that a lot of distros use it to generate their ISO files. It looks like I could setup a computer and build the ISO in 4-5 hours if I had a complete list of programs that they needed and the artwork/theme. I can make the GTK theme if someone can come up with a good design.

    If they wanted a window manager other than Unity then it might take a little longer, but not by much.

    We would probably want some more input onto this thread by the people who would actually be using it, since don't know a whole lot about CAD/fabrication/simulation stuff that they would need it to do
     
  • @Hosef, that would indeed be great! I currently have the capabilities to build it however I do not have distribution possibilities as an upload of < 50kb/s is not useful. This will change in a week or 3 when I have glasfiber again :)

    We need to contact people that are into using the tools needed. There was a list on the wiki which I mentioned before and I think some of them definitely needs to be in there like:

    • # Blender
    • # Freecad
    • # QCad
    • # LinuxCNC
    • # KiCAD
    • # Arduino

    • # IRC client
    • # Skype client (needs to be open source? As long it is free it is good to me...)
    • # Office suite
    • # In combination with the online app , a client for extracting the information for offline storage. This is a later concern though
     
  • I would propose to add

    #   Gimp
    #   Scribus (desktop publishing)
    #   a FTP-client

    and some kind of collaboration software to share files, to support distributed work on files, and to support simultanious engineering. Don't know if there is anything like that available for Linux, though ...
     
  • Do you guys know RetroShare? It is an instant messaging application on steroids, it has filesharing features and VoIP is in development.
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    August 2012
    We will need to be careful about the software that we put on here because we are limited to 4GB for the squash file system. We might be able to get more into it by putting the CAD files and build instructions on separate discs as well as having an 'optional' software disc that has a bunch of .deb files on it.

    We can also have this tie in with the web infrastructure. When the .iso is first built we can clone the repo before running remastersys, and then there will be a repo installed onto the computer by default. Then, when someone from the village can take the computer to get internet access the can pull an updated copy of the repo. And the same with updating the .iso to be in sync with the progress made at the central repo. Just install, then pull the repo, then run remastersys.

    Retroshare does look very promising. I think Retroshare + Ekiga + some VCS, would handle all of the colaboration tools that we might need. The team at FeF is looking at BigBlueButton as a video conference solution though.

    We must also remember that many villages will not have access to powerful computers and as such we should not use Unity or KDE as the default window manager. I think XFCE or LXDE would be better from a resource usage perspective.

    We might also want to consider the possibility of the village enabling computer while we are building the village enabling distro. There are many areas where the people don't even have a computer, or the electricity to power it. Therefore, I would presume that making a package one could buy that would include a way to collect and store power as well as a computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone, and webcam would be a very valuable service. We would want all of the pieces to be as rugged as possible without putting the cost to high for people to afford.
     
  • We will need to be careful about the software that we put on here because we are limited to 4GB for the squash file system. We might be able to get more into it by putting the CAD files and build instructions on separate discs as well as having an 'optional' software disc that has a bunch of .deb files on it.

    I would suggest, not to put any documents, schematics, CAD files and such onto the distro. This should be a bare bone ready to use distro. It should be possible when there is an online application to sync all data to an usb or such or create a monthly data package.

    We can also have this tie in with the web infrastructure. When the .iso is first built we can clone the repo before running remastersys, and then there will be a repo installed onto the computer by default. Then, when someone from the village can take the computer to get internet access the can pull an updated copy of the repo. And the same with updating the .iso to be in sync with the progress made at the central repo. Just install, then pull the repo, then run remastersys.

    Indeed, the iso should only contain application/linux data. All the village information should be pulled from the web.

    Retroshare does look very promising. I think Retroshare + Ekiga + some VCS, would handle all of the colaboration tools that we might need. The team at FeF is looking at BigBlueButton as a video conference solution though.

    I am not sure here, one way it looks nice, but yet again I think that without reusing schematics or linking of them we run into a lot of duplications and versioning. Not sure which program can handle it though. Another problem is that there is no central server and I think it might be important to have that or am i wrong?

    We must also remember that many villages will not have access to powerful computers and as such we should not use Unity or KDE as the default window manager. I think XFCE or LXDE would be better from a resource usage perspective.

    Sounds good to me! Have ubuntu now in a virtualbox and it sure is demanding.

    We might also want to consider the possibility of the village enabling computer while we are building the village enabling distro. There are many areas where the people don't even have a computer, or the electricity to power it. Therefore, I would presume that making a package one could buy that would include a way to collect and store power as well as a computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone, and webcam would be a very valuable service. We would want all of the pieces to be as rugged as possible without putting the cost to high for people to afford.

    If it is for simple tasks, a raspberry pi might come in handy?

     
  • About lightweight window managers/DEs, consider also Enlightenment/e17, which is finally going stable.
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    August 2012
    I had considered E17 as an option, however I didn't know if it would be easy enough for the average non-technical user. I am not really a front end person, so I would need someone else to share an opinion on this point. If we decide that E17 is good enough, then I think it might be a good idea to use Bodhi Linux as our base for a few reasons:
    1. It is based on the LTS release of Ubuntu so it will get program updates for a while
    2. It is based on the LTS release of Ubuntu so it will work with remastersys
    3. It is based on the LTS release of Ubuntu so it will work with the pre-compiled binary of LinuxCNC
    4. Its maintainers focus very much on it being lightweight
    5. It has an ARM version as well as an x86 version so we can support the raspberry pi
    6. It has E17 pre-installed

    @Xienixs, The version control system would be used to connect to the central
    server. The file sharing thing would be for short term collaboration and
    review of work before you had something ready to stick into the VCS.
     
  • Had a quick look at Bodhi, and also with the many themes available, tablet support and what you said about ARM support I surely think we should consider this one among others.

    @Hosef, thanks for the explanation. For small group collaboration it is essential indeed.

     
  • I think the solution is very similar to CAElinux if you want to make a common project

    www.caelinux.com

     
  • It was mentioned above that LinuxCNC should be included in an OSE distribution. The catch might be that LinuxCNC uses an RTAI patched real-time kernel. So when the LinuxCNC PC boots, real-time is enabled. User programs will run just like with a standard kernel but as a subordinate of the real-time patch. I pretty much run the same software on my CNC and non-CNC PC's. I just don't know if it is best to base the OSE distribution on the patched kernel.

    Last I heard RTAI doesn't support Ubuntu 12.04, so getting LinuxCNC to run with the chosen kernel for the OSE distribution might be an issue.  64-bit kernels might have issues too.

    Another thing that comes to mind. CAD and CNC systems work better with different hardware, so it may be better to keep them on separate PC's. For instance, it is common to set the video driver on the LinuxCNC PC to "vesa" in order to get decent latency or to even get the CNC PC to run at all. This may not be compatible with a CAD workstation that may need a smarter video driver.

    --
    Kirk Wallace
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/machine_shop/
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/E45/index.html
    California, USA
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    September 2012
    I have LinuxCNC installed on my computer which is 64-bit and is using kernal version 3.2.0-23-generic, so I think that they may have fixed any problems that may have existed in the previous versions. That being said, I don't have a CNC machine, so I can't test everything.

    If someone with a CNC machine and a modern 64-bit system could test this, that would be very helpful.
     
  • I asked about 64-bit on the LinuxCNC list, but what comes to mind off hand is that the kernel version (uname -a) should indicate a special kernel and not generic, unless you are running the non-real-time simulator version.
    http://wiki.linuxcnc.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?LinuxCNC_Pure_Simulator

    Also the 32-bit version runs fine on a 64-bit machine. I don't have a 64-bit machine so I don't have first hand detailed information, sorry. I hope to get this sorted out soon.
    --
    Kirk Wallace
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/machine_shop/
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/E45/index.html
    California, USA
     
  • I think this link:
    http://buildbot.linuxcnc.org/

     shows that only Hardy Heron Ubuntu 8.04 has a 64-bit real-time LinuxCNC. The rest are non-real-time simulators or 32-bit. I'm not sure that it should be a big deal since LinuxCNC works fine with 32-bits.

    If the OSE distribution goes to 64-bits, plus the LTS requirement for LinuxCNC, then I guess dual boot will be needed. I would lean towards just having a utility that makes it easy to create a Live or Install CD or flash drive. The way I see it, I would download the OSE distribution, then see the LinuxCNC install icon on the desktop, use it to create a CD or Flash drive, then install or run it on another PC hooked up to a CNC machine. The OSE PC could also be used to remotely control the CNC so the OSE PC could be the center of activity. It should be easy to have a list of OSE centric sample configuration files, such as plasma and pcb mill, ready to run.

    --
    Kirk Wallace
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/machine_shop/
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/E45/index.html
    California, USA
     
  • I also would suggest : 
    inkscape

    also you should put all the sources for these tools, the build deps for them and git clones of them
    because if you are on the field you might not have internet access.

    also we should work on including docs and mailing lists archives, so when you ship this to the third world they can use it.

    mike
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    September 2012
    @kirk_wallace
    I like the idea of remotely controlling the LinuxCNC computer.  That would open the possibility of controlling several CNC machines from a single computer, which would make larger operations easier to manage.

    @h4ck3rm1k3
    Do you mean having source code on the disk instead of or in addition to installing the program?
     
  • What would be different if this OSE Linux distribution existed, as opposed to what exists now? For instance, I like the idea of having commonly used software and documentation in one convenient disk or flash drive. Does this require a distribution, a customized file to use with a package manager, or just a document describing how a user can install these items on their present system? Maybe there is justification for all of these options. Is there a to-do list and schedule for this project?

    --
    Kirk Wallace
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/machine_shop/
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/E45/index.html
    California, USA
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    September 2012
    The idea for using a distribution is that you would have a disk that you could send someone who doesn't have Internet access, they could install it on a computer through an easy to use graphical interface, and then have CAD, simulation, communication, file sharing, version control, and CNC programs pre-installed along with the documentation for said programs, GVCS replication instructions, and the ability to update everything when they find Internet access, all while requiring minimal computer knowledge from the end user. (that was probably not grammatically correct)

    This project will need more than just computer people to complete. We will need writers and subject matter experts to collect a complete set of documentation for us. We will need people to translate it into all of the languages we choose to support.

    At the moment there is no time line, or task list. I would say that our current step would be to determine what programs should be included and which languages and CPU architectures should be supported. There is a wiki page for this, although there isn't much there.
     
  • Is there a link to the Linux Build wiki page manager?

    If there is no time line or task list, how does one take up the cause?

    As for the current step of determining what packages to include, it could be fairly organic, just make up a list, throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. On the other hand, changes can be quite disruptive, so they should be kept to a minimum when the system starts to become stable.

    Much, if not the majority, of the input will need to come from people using software in the field. I would not want to waste my time working on something that no one would use.

    --
    Kirk Wallace
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/machine_shop/
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/E45/index.html
    California, USA
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    October 2012
    The wiki page is here

    I believe that the current problem is that we have several skilled computer people here who want to do this and improve the online infrastructure, but no people from FeF or any replication projects to tell us what they want/need and help prioritize tasks.

    We have a preliminary program list, but it is not nearly enough information to build a distro. I could build an ISO with all of those programs and put it on the website if you anyone would like, but I don't think it would be that useful until we get more information about the end usage.
     
  • I think we are running in circles here...

    What would be wise I think is to build a distro with the packages stated now and place this online. Based upon this people can download and use it and from there on they can give us feedback ( maybe create an [email protected] email address + icon on the desktop or something). Otherwise they (the users) wait with responding until there is a distro and we wait with making a distro before there is a response.......


     
  • Xienixs, thinking more, I tend to agree. The distribution should be applicable to any project one might take up. Those interested in this thread could try to use the current packages on a personal project and report back here, or I suppose any of us could apply for a wiki account and edit the distribution wiki page, or start a new wiki. For feedback on areas none of us have experience with, this could be filled in from forums or mail lists outside of OSE/FeF. It's just a matter of one of us taking up a cause and seeking the source.
    --
    Kirk Wallace
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/machine_shop/
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/E45/index.html
    California, USA
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    October 2012
    Ok, I made an account on the wiki and I can start editing the project page after work.

    I also found that the x64 version of Bodhi Linux is not based on Debian, it is custom built from scratch. Therefore remastersys will not work with it. So, for the sake of having a consistent look and feel, I think that we should not use Bodhi as our base system. I can start building the x86 and the x64 .iso files this weekend. I don't have an ARM computer at this time, so I will need someone else to build that .iso file. Also, it appears that Ubuntu does not have an ARM distro for download, which means we might have to use plain old Debian as the base for the VED(Village Enabling Distribution).

    Where would everyone like me to put the .iso files after I am done? I don't know if the website would be a good place since it might bog down everything else if 20+ people are downloading it at the same time. A Torrent might work if other people are willing to help me seed it. Any ideas?
     
  • I tried the wiki sign up link and kept getting an error, "No such special page" so I gave up.

    I have no ARM hardware. Whenever I need computing hardware I find a cheap or free low tech x86 motherboard. For CNC it seems silly to pay extra for these miniature ARM systems that go with a machine that weighs a ton or more.

    My guess is you could put the files wherever you prefer. Most decent server systems should handle 20 simultaneous downloads without any problem, or it will bring in more resources, though the service rates might go up with extra traffic.
    --
    Kirk Wallace
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/machine_shop/
    http://www.wallacecompany.com/E45/index.html
    California, USA
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    Beluga
     
    October 2012
    Could you add the .torrent here: http://linuxtracker.org/ ? I can seed it, 10Mbit up..
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    October 2012
    @kirk_wallace, You have to sign in using OpenID. They disabled all other account creation methods on the wiki.

    @Beluga, thanks for the idea.
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    hosef
     
    October 2012
    Ok, it has been taking me longer than expected to get everything the way that I want it. I have decided to use Linux Mint Debian Edition as the base. I have also found out that Qcad CE is not being supported any more so I am using LibreCad which is a fork of Qcad CE.
     
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    XienixsXienixs
     
    December 2012
    Finally, I have a relatively proper internet connection at home. Just moved, needed to pull some cables, drill some holes but I have it set up now... Unfortunately it is not glass fiber... but I sure will be able to set up a torrent for OSE that I can share from my in house server at at least some rate ( Checks will follow )

    Is there already a beta of the OSE Linux online or is it still being developed? Now that I have access to all and everything again I can set one up or continue on one that someone else set up. 

    So lets get this thread back on the road :)

    *Note to all, as christmas is around and new year as well I wont be home that often but from the 1st of January I should be available relatively smoothly!

    *Other note, I have  raspbery Pi in my possesion. Now I was wondering as it could be used as a low budget PC would it be suitable for the ideas we have? As it has an ARM not much is available for it... But it could be used for machine operations or obtaining blue prints and so on.
     
  • Sorry for the double post but it seems I cannot find an edit button...

    @ Hosef is it available somewhere?

    I now have a linux distribution available on iso. I will set it up for sharing tonight ( in 12 hours or so) as I am currently at work. Most of the applications I mentioned in the first post are installed including a standard OSE account. Ill do some rechecking on installing the iso to check if all goes smooth. Any questions feel free to ask!

    I know have a V0.0.0.0.1 as an iso 


    However it is made via remastersys as a backup so I could have a background / information document. Not sure if this is possible when having it as an installer. This is for now just to get an impression on what is possible.
     
  • True......cloud storage has made a lot of things very convenient now. Have used Google drive and it works great.

    Agile methodology
     

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