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supcon:tooling_availability

Availability of the supervisory control tooling

The tooling used for supervisory control runs on the Linux operating system. The recommended distribution is CentOS 5.x, but in principle any Linux system should do.

:!: Please note that the Linux operating system, as well as most of the tooling used in for supervisory control, treat input case sensitively! This includes model names, file names, etc.

There are several ways to get access to such a system. This page explains the available options, and how to make sure you use the latest versions of the tooling. First, an overview of the available options:

Availability option Available for Available where Environment File sharing Installation/Updating
1. Pre-installed system TU/e students Systems Engineering lab (GEM-Z 0.08) Linux OS Directly available setuptoolselect
2. Linux Live CD TU/e students/employees At TU/e campus (or via VPN) Linux OS Accessible via SSH setuptoolselect
3. SE-rack via SSH TU/e students/employees At TU/e campus (or via VPN) Any OS Accessible via SSH setuptoolselect
4. VirtualBox image Everyone Everywhere (on your own PC) Any OS Directly available Pre-installed, manual update
5. Own Linux system Everyone Everywhere (on your own PC) Linux OS Directly available Manual install/update

For TU/e students following a supervisory control course, option 1 is recommended. To work outside of the lab sessions, options 2 and 4 can be used. Option 4 is recommended if you want to work from home.

For anyone wanting to use the tooling outside of the TU/e, for instance at home, option 4 is recommended.

1. Pre-installed system

For TU/e students, especially those following courses in supervisory control, the lab PCs are the easiest way to access the tooling. The lab PCs have a CentOS 5.x Linux OS, and come with all the required CIF1 and supervisory tooling pre-installed. The Systems Engineering lab (GEM-Z 0.08) has several such computers, and several students have a similar computer of their own. To access the tooling from one of those PCs, follow these steps:

  • Turn one the computer and wait for the login prompt.
  • Enter your username and press the <enter> key. You username will look like TUE+s123456, where 123456 should be replaced by your student s-number.
  • Enter your password and press the <enter> key. Your password will be the same as with your s-account.
  • Once the operating system has finished loading, you can open a terminal window (also called command prompt), by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting 'Open Terminal'.
  • You can now enter commands on the command line in the terminal window.

Your files are stored on a central server, and are available from all the lab PCs, the SE-rack server systems, etc. To install or update the tooling, you need to use setuptoolselect (see below).

2. Linux Live CD

For TU/e students and employees, it is possible to use the SE-rack servers provided by the Systems Engineering group to access the tooling remotely. One way to access the SE-rack servers is by using a bootable Live CD from a Linux distribution. The recommended Linux distribution is the latest CentOS 5.x version available, but other Linux distributions will work as well. Note that access to the SE-rack systems requires a user account for those systems. Also note that access to the SE-rack systems is limited to the TU/e campus, although using a VPN connection to the TU/e campus network should be possible as well. To access the tooling using a Linux Live CD, follow these steps:

  • Put a Linux Live CD in your computer's CD-ROM drive. For the following steps, we assume you use a CentOS 5.x Live CD.
  • Reboot your laptop and make sure it boots from the CD-ROM drive.
  • Wait a few minutes for the operating system to boot. You'll be automatically logged in.
  • Similarly to the lab computers, you can open a terminal window by right-clicking the desktop and choosing the 'Open Terminal' option.
  • In every terminal window, you need to remotely access one of the SE-rack systems:
    • Enter “ssh -X USERNAME@serack-NN.se.wtb.tue.nl” (without the double quotes), where you replace NN by an integer number in the interval [70,74] (that is, from and including 70 up-to and including 74), and USERNAME by your username.
    • See SE-rack systems for more information on the SE-rack systems and how to find a system with low load.
    • You username will look like TUE+s123456, where 123456 should be replaced by your student s-number.
  • You may get a message like this: “The authenticity of host 'serack-XX.se.wtb.tue.nl (XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX)' can't be established. RSA key fingerprint is XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?.” Enter yes and press <enter>.
    • Ignore the “Warning: Permanently added 'serack-XX.se.wtb.tue.nl,XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.” message.
  • You will be asked for your password. Enter it and press <enter>.
    • Your password will be the same as with your s-account.
  • You can now enter commands on the command line in the terminal window.

Your files are stored on a central server, and are available from all the lab PCs, the SE-rack server systems, etc. To install or update the tooling, you need to use setuptoolselect (see below).

Burning your own Live CD

In the Systems Engineering lab (GEM-Z 0.08) several CentOS 5.3 Live CDs are available. You should leave them in the lab. You can however burn your own Live CD:

  • Download a CentOS 5.x Live CD from somewhere. It is an ISO disc image file, which is about 700 megabytes in size.
  • Burn the ISO disc image on an empty CD. Make sure you don't burn the image as a file, but as a disc image. There are many image burning applications available. One such application is ImgBurn, which you can download for free from here. It should work on all common versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.

:!: Several students reported problems with the CentOS 5.3 Live CDs. The network adapter of their (more recent) laptop was not recognized, making it impossible connect to the SE-racks systems. Either try a CentOS 5.8 Live CD (not sure whether that solves the problem), or use a Live CD of a more up-to-date Linux distribution (maybe Fedora, or Ubuntu, if they even have Live CDs?).

3. SE-rack via SSH

For TU/e students and employees, it is possible to use the SE-rack servers provided by the Systems Engineering group to access the tooling remotely. One way to access the SE-rack servers is by using an SSH program. Many such programs exist, for practically any operating system. An overview of some of the available options for the Windows operating system can be found at here. Note that access to the SE-rack systems requires a user account for those systems. Also note that access to the SE-rack systems is limited to the TU/e campus, although using a VPN connection to the TU/e campus network should be possible as well. The steps to follow to get access to the tooling using this method various depending on the software you use.

Your files are stored on a central server, and are available from all the lab PCs, the SE-rack server systems, etc. To install or update the tooling, you need to use setuptoolselect (see below).

4. VirtualBox image

Anyone can download one of the VirtualBox images with the CIF1 tooling as well as the supervisory control tooling pre-installed on them. VirtualBox is “a powerful (…) virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software (…).” VirtualBox runs on many operating systems (including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X) and can be freely download from here. For more information and a step-by-step description on how to use the VirtualBox image with all the tooling, see here. The benefit of this approach is that you have the tooling available off-line, on your own PC.

Both the tooling and your files are stored on the local system of the guest operating system, inside the VirtualBox image's virtual hard disk. The tooling comes pre-installed, and can be updated using a few simple commands, as explained here. It is possible to share files between the guest operating system and your host operating system, as explained here.

5. Own Linux system

Anyone can install a Linux operating system on his/her own machine, and manually install the CIF1 and supervisory control software. The benefit of this approach is that you have the tooling available off-line, on your own PC. This is quite a bit of work and is not a recommended approach. If you want to do this, any Linux distribution will do, but we recommend using a CentOS 5.x Linux distribution. You'll need to install several software packages:

  • See here for the CIF1 installation instructions.
  • See here for the SCIDE installation instructions.
  • See here for the SuSyNA installation instructions.
  • See here for the VizTools installation instructions.
  • See here for Ma's STSLib (nbc tool) website.

Both the tooling and your files are stored on a your local system. Both installing and updating the tooling is a manual process.

The 'setuptoolselect' program

Several of the above described availability options mention the setuptoolselect program. You'll need this program to install the tooling before your first use, as well as to update the tooling to the latest versions. Follow these steps to install/update the tooling:

  • Open a terminal window as previously explained, if you have not done so already.
  • Enter the following command:
    • setuptoolselect
  • This will create links to all the relevant tools in your bin directory.

You should run the command regularly, say once a day, to make sure you are using the latest versions of all the tooling.

If you need more control over which versions of the tooling to use, you should read the Selecting tool versions section on the Toolselect page.

supcon/tooling_availability.txt · Last modified: Monday, 17 September 2012 : 16:19:10 by dhendriks