Although I still use KStars and INDI, I have to agree that I shifted from using it fulltime to using it to set everything up, then switching to SGP. And It's totally not meant, as the TS also states, as a rant, we all love the enormous effort put into this still free software. It has so much potential, INDI rocks, but at the end of the day an astrophotographer needs to be able to rely on a system. My problem with it is that I updated to much, also my fault, but I noticed that stuff that always worked, suddenly didn't, then it did again, then it didn't. Things like the guider or my Canon, it fluctuated too much between versions to be able to rely on the updates. Again, totally get it, I programme as a hobby as well, still love the open-source of it and I might even go an learn to get involved into INDI as well. But these basic things fluctuating has been a thing since I started in 2015, our Dutch weather is terrible, so I kind of had to switch at some point. I do keep a good eye out on it though, the moment I think it's working great again with my setup I'll go back 100%. For the same reason of stability which is also needed and INDI totally offers that, Windows isn't my thing either.
Regarding moving "FOV indicator" to a different place. Yes, you can do that. How? Just double click at any place in the sky map and that's it. Unless I am missing something but the FOV should be there in the center of the sky map.
Yes supernov, I totally get that. It has happened to me before. I had thought everything was all good to go, then I thought updating right before I went to a star party would be a good idea. No, it really was not. Since then I have always kept two versions of kstars on my mac, one that I know works perfectly as a backup, and one that is the most recent. This plan has served me very well aince then.
The problem was that for awhile there progress was happening extremely quickly, with sometimes 10 or more commits from multiple people in one day. It was great improvement and came a long way in a short time, but sometimes stability and reliability of KStars and INDI suffered because of it.
But you should know that there have been changes that Jasem has instituted in the way we handle releases since then because of the issue. He has made the linux releases work more like the mac and pc releases. Now the version of both INDI and KStars that is on the ppa is a stable and mostly tested version, and there is a new nightly builds version which is the one being worked on. It has really helped to improve both stability and reliability. There will always be bugs that need to be worked out with any software, but this way hopefully we catch more of them before releasing a build.
Yes I think this intermediate period of the big change to github and all the commits was not optimal for the system as a whole. But I did see the positive direction coming out of that and that's why I'm still following the progress closely, as said, I love the entire setup and idea. Seems things are settling done judging from the forum issues (my new indicator ). So I'll fire it up for a session soon again. Thanks for all the effort and for the nice discussion!
Weather and work requirements have not been kind to me for the last 3 months, so I have not had the chance to provide much input here lately. Just to say how awed I am by Indi and Ekos and how acutely aware I am how much work is being put into this by Jasem, Rob, Eric and a bunch of others I have not had the chance to communicate with in person so far. I know I couldn't do it!
Obviously, there are still ways to improve on things, but that's what we, the users, are there for. Our job is to test out the software, find the conditions that don't work, then analyse the parameters as tightly as possible and then report our findings. Although I have used this software for only about 7 or 8 months so far, I love the tinkering that comes with it and I have also seen the enormous progress that has been made. Working with others here in the forum is rewarding and I find it amazing how quickly problems or quirks that I have found and reported on have been fixed by those far more capable than me.
Yes, sometimes it can be frustrating when the telescope does not behave the way I want it to, but that is part of the trouble-shooting and improvement process. I do it in my job every day.
Thanks Jasem, Rob, Eric and everyone else who is contributing and making this fantastic software package available to us all.
Now, if you could do something about the weather and the light pollution I have to deal with, I would greatly appreciate that, too!!
Atlas Pro AZ-EQ, ASI1600MM-Pro, ASI120MM-S, ES102ED, WO-Z61, Nikon D3300, ASI-EFW, ZWO LRGB,Ha,O3,S2 filter set
The OP's comment really have to be taken to heart. When I first starting using Kstars, it was unusable with bugs. About 6 months later it was OK and I try to see it as a work in progress that can use my help by pointing out bugs and providing logs, etc. I know this is a hobby for the programmers but its should not be considered "Free". The time I invest in trying to use it, and failing, is not free. We have very limited amount of observing time where I live and can't afford to have things not work. Many people opt to pay for software if the cost of using "free" software becomes to great. Personally, I could see that you guys were really on to something with Kstars/Ekos so I opted to keep trying. If it weren't for the fact that Kstars was the only software that could drive my Pentax K5, I probably wouldn't have continued to use it. But now I've invested in modding my K5 instead of getting a CCD after deciding that Kstars will be my software of choice. I even shop for devices based on their support by Kstars.
However, what developers need to understand is that there is an expectation from the user that the software will install and work as claimed, and should be intuitive. Probably at least 50% of the effort needs to be made toward robustness and ease of use. For example, if I unplug my mouse and plug it in again on my computer, the pointer comes back to life and starts working where it left off. This is the expectation today.
USB is a hot plug technology and I'm pretty sure most users expect the same ease of use with any USB device they choose to plug or unplug from their RPi or StellarMate or Mac or even PC I should not get crashes or hang ups that require disconnecting and connecting or rebooting. I'm not saying this is happening now because I don't have time to test this now that I have a set up process that works. I only have 3 or 4 hours a night suitable for AP this time of year, and I only get 2 or 3 of nights per month. Speaking of setup process... the fact that I have one is an indication that things are finicky and not robust.
One has to keep in mind that the user is not a developer or a software programmer and just wants (needs) things to work. Computers are powerful machines, lets make them do all the work and let us to enjoy our evenings with easy to use, robust tools.
As Rob has already mentioned, I also keep a tested "old" version of KStars ready to switch to, just in case there was an update that had unintended consequences. In my worst case scenario, I just switch out the microSD card on my Pi3 or attach an SSD with the old version to my Zotac mini-PC and boot from that.
There are a few more improvements I can think of and I will post these suggestions to the Forum in due time. But as far as I am concerned, the software works pretty well already, as long as you know where its limitations are.
Atlas Pro AZ-EQ, ASI1600MM-Pro, ASI120MM-S, ES102ED, WO-Z61, Nikon D3300, ASI-EFW, ZWO LRGB,Ha,O3,S2 filter set
Many excellent points raised in this thread! I'd like to thank everyone who shared in this discussion. The KStars & INDI developers strive to make the best possible tools for astrophotographers out there. I think an important distinction to be made here is that majority of the popular software tools for astrophotography today are not concerned with the device driver development. Contrast this with KStars, where the team needs to work diligently on both frontends. Imagine if the folks over at SGP had to write every ASCOM driver for every device they support! So given the limited amount of time every developer so graciously invests in this open source project, you can see it can spread thin given the limited resources.
Nevertheless, KStars & INDI would not have gotten to where there are today if not for the patience and feedback of our users which we are enormously thankful for. Observation time is scarce and every second count. With each release, we are adamant on making it both resilient and feature-rich. It's a balance that has to be tuned carefully to appeal to broad range of users. With your continued support, we can work together to make the tools that you depend on exceptional.
Fully agree on that, it's great to see the community effort in it. Good point about the ascom drivers as well, I kind of hate the ascom way of control.. however, the drivers that do come with it never failed on me. That may have been my main point in all this, those remained (for better or worse) unchanged and thus stable. But ofcourse, that means they remain buggy for anyone's equipment where it didn't work.
I think INDI/Ekos is a great platform and once I get past a few hurdles I think I will be in good shape to use it. One of the key reasons I am back to trying this, is that I will be setting up a second imaging rig soon, and I want them both to run on Raspberry Pi's. The second rig will be on a Paramount MyT, which has good support with the SkyX on RPi and INDI can connect to it via the TCP Server to control it. SkyX does not do full stack image automation, which is why having INDI in the picture is a must. They do have SkyX LTI but it is way too basic for my needs.
The first test was for me to get my current rig working, which is on an AP1100 mount. That is where I ran into the issues I posted about. Now that I have Stellarmate updated to 1.3, and have a better idea about how to use the rotator UI to get my images rotated how I want them, I think I am good. The last hurdle I had was guiding (PHD would not move the star at all, Ekos guider ran the mount so far the OTA pointed at the ground). Tonight should have enough sky time in it for me to test this out and see.
SGP remains my backup solution, since it always works how I want it to. I am not particularly fond of things in SGP (like its outrageously long focus runs) but it does what I want it to well enough to collect data. It also has that magic Framing and Mosaic Wizard that makes framing, rotating, and the like so darn easy and intuitive.
I will continue to post feedback as my journey trying INDI and KStars continues.
I have joined the Kstars/indi community 4 years ago, sure it hasn't always been plain sailing but I can tell you that between then and today with the contributions of many here (not going to name names as I will forget some) the tools (Kstars/Indi/Ekos) we use for free are fantastic.
I was also involved with the small team in porting to OSX, it took probably about over 2 years maybe for the work to be completed
Ekos on Mac OS X ?
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I can't tell you how much I appreciate today being able to use Kstars on my Mac's without having to go through a VM, don't even know if the VM's are being kept up to date really. Wasn't going to install Windows on any machines, Windows is banned at home
I run a remote observatory, 400+ miles away from home, 3 countries between here and there. I do trust the system to work correctly. If something isn't going to work according to plans, it could cost me a fair amount of money, and or travelling costs.
Only very recently I was able to run a full session, see the following thread
First proper full on Ekos session !!!
Only now I can start enjoying astrophotography, going to be using the software as intended and not a little bit here a little bit over there...
I'm sure I'll find bugs, we all do, but we all need to participate ie: reporting them (with logs, otherwise Jasem will auto-respond with: Where are the logs? lol).
There is also the 'Wish List' forum if you want to throw in some ideas.
If only I knew more about coding, I would participate a lot more in the development.
Kstars Mac osx
Odroid C4 / WO Redcat51 / CEM25p / ZWO533MC / QHY5L-II-M (OAG)