POCS Software Update - v0.7.0 - March 2020

Hi everyone,

This is just to let all of the builders know that there is a software update coming soon (early March 2020) that will bring some updates and consistency to the all of the running units. We currently have units on various versions of POCS (mostly from the docker branch, but a few holdouts still on the older code base).

This new version will be tagged as v0.7.0. This is en route to our v1.0.0 that we want to release by June 2020. The high-level goals of v1.0.0 are:

  • POCS (and environment) easy to install.
  • POCS easy to configure.
  • POCS easy to test.
  • Easy to verify hardware unit.
  • Easy to start automated nightly operations.
  • Easy to update software to new version.

The upcoming v0.7.0 will get us most of the way there, with a v0.8.0 providing an “updater” utility that will make updating a more seamless process.

The caveat to this update is that we still have a slight mix of different electronics interfaces and therefore some inconsistency with the arduino sketch files. We will likely have to work on a case-by-case basis for each unit until we can get that updater to be super smart (v1.0.0?).

Thanks for your patience and helping us discover new worlds!

P.S. if you are a potential GSoC student reading this, many of the above changes will be in preparation for our potential GSoC projects.


Quick update:

The panoptes-utils repo has been cleaned up and had a new minor release. I’ll be doing the big merge of the POCS docker branch into develop today.

As a fun preview:

Nothing quite like deleting 10,000 lines of code from a repository. :grin:

While in general we encourage small PRs, for a big change like this there is not much that can be done to avoid it. The normal process would be to have a whole separate feature branch, say add-docker, and features would be incrementally added (and reviewed!) into that branch. Then merging add-docker into develop would be smooth.

Ours won’t be so smooth. But, since no one really needs to use the old version, it shouldn’t be that bad.

I’ll get to the big POCS merge today and get things cleaned up and tested. By the end of this next week I’ll give out some instructions for everyone to update.

And just for good luck, let’s aim for the Ides of March for that release date. What could go wrong?

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Thank you for the update @wtgee

I have a question about software and the computer.

I am in the process of convincing my IT department at my county school system that it is safe to connect our PANOPTES unit (still in build phase) to the school network. My IT department is uncertain of the software coming from git hub and they want to use an existing county imaged computer rather than the Intel NUC.

Any advice on how I can encourage them that the PANOPTES suggested build sequence are safe options? They are really locking things down after our neighboring school system, Baltimore County Public Schools was recently hacked with sensitive data held at ransom. They want insurances that they can control the computer through the existing firewall and that the data the telescope is uploading is going to a secure location and that the software is safe and secure. They almost fell out of their chairs when I mentioned github and Linux.

Thanks for any assistance!