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LinuxGuy
03-29-2008, 09:38 PM
It would be great to have a place to discuss Linux robots and things specific to Linux and Robotics. It would be nice to be alet o look in a certain place to find Linux specific Robotics stuff. ;) ;)

There are quite a few things being done with Linux Robotics. Look at the many universities doing Robotics - a large number of them use Linux.

This would widen Trossen Robotics' appeal. :)

8-Dale

Alex
04-01-2008, 10:20 AM
We've thought about that more times than I can count:)

What prevented us from doing this in the past was that the community just wasn't big enough yet to create a Linux based Robotics forum and the we didn't have enough experience in Linux to support it by ourselves. The last thing we wanted was to have forums with tons of threads left unanswered:(

With all of the awesome discussions taking place recently though, I can see that with everyone's contributions it could be possible:D

What I was hoping to eventually do was move threads created in the Robotics General Forum over to two newly created forums:

Windows based Robotics
Linux based Robotics

and possibly

Mac based Robotics

I'd really like to hear everyone's thoughts here so that we can determine if we have enough members to help get it started.

Sienna
04-01-2008, 10:53 AM
I would like to see a Linux community, and maybe even a subset of that be an embedded Linux community. Thats where I plan to do most of my robotics programming.

I just installed CentOS in a dual boot config on my main Windows PC.

I also wouldn't mind seeing a Mac community, but it will be a while before I get over to working with robotics on my macs (even though they both have built in bluetooth and Xcode is cool)


Another set of forums that might be useful is segregation by language. I am an open standards C programmer, and would like to get with other C programmers for things like robotics libraries, etc.

Matt
04-01-2008, 10:53 AM
I have to agree with Alex for the moment. We are really stingy about what forums we build since 40 forums with 2 posts each is bad. I would suggest to just create linux threads for now in the software forums. I could see an argument for creating an OS forum however. One where people can specifically discuss all the OS formats out there.

LinuxGuy
04-01-2008, 11:05 AM
What I was hoping to eventually do was move threads created in the Robotics General Forum over to two newly created forums:

Windows based Robotics
Linux based Robotics

and possibly

Mac based Robotics
I don't really think you need a Windows Robotics forum, since pretty much everything here is already Windows based. I somewhat out of place here because I do not want to use Windows for my robots. I have left one community, so you will find me being here much more from now now.

The new Macs have UNIX under the hood, so might be (initially at least) combined in a Linux forums section.

You have a much wider product range, including several things I really want to explore and tinker with at some point.

Much of the same things that apply to Linux, other than GUI related stuff, will also apply to the new Macs, which have Darwin under the hood. I don't know if the new Macs can actually run GNU software though, so none of my comments may apply.

8-Dale

Alex
04-01-2008, 11:07 AM
hmm.... I could always create a PC based robotics forum and add thread prefixes to only that forum:

Linux
Embedded Linux
Windows
Mac

That way, we only create one forum for focusing directly on PC based robotics and each thread inside this forum will be identified by their thread prefix...

Thoughts?

Linux or Mac peeps, is it cool to use the term "PC Based Robotics" for the title of the forum? If not, got any better suggestions to encompass all areas of OS's?

LinuxGuy
04-01-2008, 11:21 AM
I would like to see a Linux community, and maybe even a subset of that be an embedded Linux community. Thats where I plan to do most of my robotics programming.
It's too bad more forum software can't do sub-boards like SMF can. Then you could have a whole section devoted to Linux, with threads and sub-threads. I run SMF on my forums, but I don't see them ever being very active.


I just installed CentOS in a dual boot config on my main Windows PC.
I am currently running Kubuntu (KDE version of Ubuntu) here, dual booted with Windows XP for those time I need it (Alibre Design Expert 3D CAD, Programming PICs/dsPICs, some multi-media (Vongo, etc), and WoW when my account is active).

I have found Kubuntu to work with much more multi-media stuff than any other distro I have run (all the majors, CentOS, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Debian, Fedora). I still prefer Gentoo thoguh, because it is more like FreeBSD (Oh, I have also run FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD). My server runs Debian 4.0 and is online 24/7. I just need a power supply and case and I can build my third PC which will be Linux/UNIX only, to experiment with and eventually be a user box only so I can give this one completely over to Windows XP. I've been running Linux/UNIX since Linux Kernel 0.98. :happy:


I also wouldn't mind seeing a Mac community, but it will be a while before I get over to working with robotics on my macs (even though they both have built in bluetooth and Xcode is cool)
If the kind of Mac I would be happy with wasn't so expensive, I would love to have one.


Another set of forums that might be useful is segregation by language. I am an open standards C programmer, and would like to get with other C programmers for things like robotics libraries, etc.
It's true that a C/C++ forum would be useful, with OS specific things being covered in the specific OS forum. Pyhon is also a very popular language for Robotics (PyRo and MyRo are written in Python.

I will eventually be using PyRo to control W.A.L.T.E.R. I already have a Python based IRC bot working in stock configuration, and will be integrating that into the control software for W.A.L.T.E.R. I will also be integrating a web framework such as DJango or other. I'm hoping to have W.A.L.T.E.R. fully operational with Hammer and Python before the Linux Plumber's Conference in September in Portland (I live in Beaverton, about 20 miles away).

8-Dale

Alex
04-01-2008, 12:32 PM
It's too bad more forum software can't do sub-boards like SMF can. Then you could have a whole section devoted to Linux, with threads and sub-threads. I run SMF on my forums, but I don't see them ever being very active.

??

It is possible, at least with our forums, to create forums within forums. It just doesn't look that pretty and it clutters things up. We've tried it in the past, and are not big fans of creating subforums. Thread Prefixes really help this out because you can create a single forum dedicated to many different topics and sort by the thread prefix and date to see the latest threads with that prefix:D

LinuxGuy
04-01-2008, 12:57 PM
hmm.... I could always create a PC based robotics forum and add thread prefixes to only that forum:

Linux
Embedded Linux
Windows
Mac

That way, we only create one forum for focusing directly on PC based robotics and each thread inside this forum will be identified by their thread prefix...
The only problem I see with this is that Embedded Systems are very different from PC based systems. It's really a whole different world. You can't build an embedded system (any OS or no OS at all) using the same methods used to build a PC based system. Embedded really is a whole different world, whether used for robotics, animatronics, process control, or other uses.


Linux or Mac peeps, is it cool to use the term "PC Based Robotics" for the title of the forum? If not, got any better suggestions to encompass all areas of OS's?
The only real division is between PC based and Embedded systems. It's not an OS or even processor specific division. Often, embedded systems and devices are created using System-On-Chip processors that have all, or at least most, of what is needed for a given application. You can not treat these types of systems the same way you do PC based systems. The upcoming TinCanTools (http://www.tincantools.com) Hammer-RDP, which has just started its development cycle is a good example - Full Linux (kernel 2.6.x), 32 MB RAM, 16 MB Flash, Samsung S3C2410 ARM9 processor). The Hammer Board (http://www.tincantools.com/product.php?productid=16133&cat=0&page=1&featured) is what I am using for the new MCP (Master Control Processor) for W.A.L.T.E.R.

I am not an employee of TinCanTools (http://www.tincantools.com/) or any other company.

8-Dale

LinuxGuy
04-01-2008, 01:00 PM
It is possible, at least with our forums, to create forums within forums. It just doesn't look that pretty and it clutters things up. We've tried it in the past, and are not big fans of creating subforums. Thread Prefixes really help this out because you can create a single forum dedicated to many different topics and sort by the thread prefix and date to see the latest threads with that prefix:D
I like the thread prefix scheme, which works really well in most cases. :happy: It just doesn't work with respect to PC based systems and Embedded Systems. Embedded Systems (or whatever you might want to call them) needs a whole different forum catagory.

8-Dale

Alex
04-01-2008, 01:08 PM
It just doesn't work with respect to PC based systems and Embedded Systems. Embedded Systems (or whatever you might want to call them) needs a whole different forum catagory.

Yeah, I'd have to agree. This would require two different forums all together because there is not much (if any) relation between embedded and PC based Systems.

So, I take it calling the one forum "PC Based Robotics" is cool for Linux-heads;)

LinuxGuy
04-01-2008, 01:23 PM
So, I take it calling the one forum "PC Based Robotics" is cool for Linux-heads;)
It does not apply to embedded systems used in robotics or other uses though, regardless of what OS (or even no OS) is used. Maybe a new forum could be called simply "Embedded Systems", which would cover all embedded systems, robots or otherwise. :happy: Appropriate prefixes could be added for "Robotics", "Process Control", "General", "Discussion", "Projects", and any others that would be appropriate. I think these would be good starters. Robotics and Process Control would probably be the biggest catagories for starters.

I would not have a problem with my W.A.L.T.E.R. thread(s) being moved to Embedded Systems with a prefix of "Robotics". :happy: If you'd rather just concentrate on a specific area, like Robotics, you could call a new forum Embedded Robotics, which is clearly very different from PC Based Robotics. Somehow, I don't think you want to have that narrow of a designation for a new forum though, since there is so much more that is part of Embedded Systems. :happy:

It might give people whole new ideas, although many might already be working on embedded projects, and ways to use products Trossen sells. :happy:

8-Dale

Sienna
04-01-2008, 06:24 PM
PC means "Personal Computer". If any Linux or Mac or Window's people have a problem with that applying to all personal computers, they are being elitist in my opinion.


There are three 'classes of processors' that I see:
Microprocessor Based (Basic Stamp, Basic Atom, PIC, Atmega, etc)
Embedded Computers (ARMs, PPCs, etc)
PCs (Any Pico ITX, Micro ITX, ATX, BTX, etc, mostly x86 based)

There are your different flavors of OS choices (*nix, Mac, Win)

There are your many control schemes (for instance, I plan to make a Hammer do heavy I/O Lifting, but a wireless tethered computer might do vision / slam / planning)

There are many languages (C, C++ (those are NOT the same people), Python, VB, ASM, Smalltalk, etc)

I think there are just a LOT of potential things we can do.

The more I think about it, the more I think a 'metadata' tagging scheme would be better then trying to make fourms and subforums and prefixes.

Like how any modern photo app does things.

When a user makes a post, they get an option to select (maybe up to some limit, say 10), all the 'tags' they think their post applies to. (see my examples above for things that might be tags.) Then, when I come in, looking for embedded linux advice on the arm processor, the forum would have a search function that searches by tag. For instance, I could select "embedded", "Linux", "ARM" as the three tags that I am looking for.

Tags I believe would be MUCH more efficient and more easily growable then making new forums and subforums and prefixes.

All I have to do is search for "Embedded" "Windows" and "ARM", and viola, by changing one parameter, I am now looking for Windows Mobile applications, but without the need to segregate the Windows Mobile people from the Embedded Linux people.

Alex
04-01-2008, 09:00 PM
There are three 'classes of processors' that I see:
Microprocessor Based (Basic Stamp, Basic Atom, PIC, Atmega, etc)
Embedded Computers (ARMs, PPCs, etc)
PCs (Any Pico ITX, Micro ITX, ATX, BTX, etc, mostly x86 based)Aren't Stamps, Atoms, PICS, etc. Microcontrollers, not Microprocessors? I'm not to experienced here, so be gentle if I'm wrong:) Also, wouldn't microcontrollers fall under Embedded Systems?




Tags I believe would be MUCH more efficient and more easily growable then making new forums and subforums and prefixes.

Absolutely! You can already create tags in any thread in the TRC. We just don't have the luxury of defining a list to select from. The tag area in each thread is located at the bottom just below the social bookmarks and above the quick editor, just click "edit tags". You can search tags by clicking on the advanced option when you click on the search dropdown in the navbar.

Since there's no way for me or anyone else to pre-define a list of tags for members to choose from as of yet (believe me I looked all around for this feature back in November), I think a combination of thread prefixes and tags would be our next best bet.

A big plus with thread prefixes is that they are predefined by the admin and put into a list that members can select from any time they create new threads. They can also be unique to any particular forum.

Say we have the following two forums:

PC Based Systems
Embedded Systems

The most common areas in PC Based Systems would be "Linux", "Mac" and "Windows", so we'd start out with these thread prefixes. These prefixes would be available in a dropdown anytime a user creates a new thread. This way, they don't have to manually type these in everytime they create a new thread. Then, members can manually add tags in the threads to show the specific OS's they are dealing with (XP Pro, Ubuntu, OSX, etc.) and/or the type of system (Mini/Nano/Pico ITX, Desktop, Laptop, etc.) and/or programming languages (C, C++, Java, .NET, etc.).

Check out our Project Showcase forum to get an idea:

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/forumdisplay.php?f=101

You can see Contest Entry before the title of most of the threads there. Now, move that idea over to PC Based Systems, add the prefixes "Linux", "Mac" and "Windows" and now we got a pretty well organized and easily searchable forum. These prefixes are totally searchable too:

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/search.php

LinuxGuy
04-01-2008, 11:25 PM
Aren't Stamps, Atoms, PICS, etc. Microcontrollers, not Microprocessors? I'm not to experienced here, so be gentle if I'm wrong:) Also, wouldn't microcontrollers fall under Embedded Systems?
Yes, certainly they would be part of embedded systems.


A big plus with thread prefixes is that they are predefined by the admin and put into a list that members can select from any time they create new threads. They can also be unique to any particular forum.
I like the thread prefixes setup, and have been using it. I just can't find an appropriate prefix sometimes.


Say we have the following two forums:

PC Based Systems
Embedded Systems

The most common areas in PC Based Systems would be "Linux", "Mac" and "Windows", so we'd start out with these thread prefixes. These prefixes would be available in a dropdown anytime a user creates a new thread.
I'm already sold on the thread prefix idea. Yes, this setup for PC Based Systems/Robotics seems the obvious place to start, even though I am not doing PC based stuff right now, and if I was it would definitely be Linux based. Well, OK, there are some very cool things that only run under Windows that I would not mind tinkering with at some point, and the pico-ITX boards have caught my attention. :happy: You could also have prefixes here for things like ".NET Framework" (not robotics specific, of course), "MSRS" (tag would be too long to spell it all out), and other Windows based robotics things.

For Embedded Systems, one might start with "Robotics", "Process Control", "Imaging", "Bare Metal" (i.e. No OS), "ARM7 and ARM9", "Vision". Of course these areas overlap, but there are many instances that would fit best with each of these tags. I'd prefer not to see OS specific tags here. You could even add tags for "SRV-1", and other specific robots, "JAVA" (often used in embedded applications), "Python" (ditto). I am starting to really like this idea, so really want to see what others think also. I would like to see the tags in this area be OS and platform independent as much as possible.

I think I've given all the feedback I can on this now, so will just try and sit back and see what others think.

8-Dale

Alex
04-02-2008, 09:32 AM
I just can't find an appropriate prefix sometimes

We're always open to suggestions:
http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/forumdisplay.php?f=66

I can't guarantee that we'll add every suggestion, but we always look at them with open minds:D