July 16, 2019

SOML control room software on linux

Prior to the summer of 2019, the oven control room software ran only on a pair of SPARC based sun workstations (crater and dorado). These were a remnant from nearly 20 years previously when such machines were ubiquitous around the observatory. These machines, although amazingly reliable, were becoming increasingly difficult to support and maintain. In essence, the mirror lab was running on borrowed time.

The control room software is a mixture of C code (mostly) and SPP code that runs as tasks within the IRAF software. IRAF itself is showing its age and is no longer officially supported by NOAO -- it's future is somewhat uncertain, but it runs well on linux systems at this time. The mirror package was ported to run under x86 IRAF on linux. The portions of the mirror package that are coded in C have been compiled as 32 bit packages. This work is finished and these can be used in much the same way as on the old suns. The main difference is the window system and other packages on linux. There is no mailtool for example and the ability to launch a collection of windows on login differs significantly.

Those portions of the control room software that are written in C were also ported to be stand alone code that runs independent of IRAF. These are now 64 bit executables. At this time, the only packages that require IRAF are odisp and ograph (which are written in SPP). The pseudo package "ovenc" (the cron script) is an IRAF cl script and depends on odisp and ograph. The new code now generates FITS files (as does IRAF by default). Any existing scripts written in the IRAF "cl" language should work fine. Most users will probably choose to use ximtool for image display, but DS9 could be used equally well for those who are familiar with it.