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INDI Library v1.9.1 Released (26 Jun 2021)

Bi-monthly INDI Library v1.9.1 is released bringing a few new drivers and improvements to existing drivers.

A totally headless, no GUI, INDI server?

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Hi y'all,

I was wondering, is there a plain headless INDI server out there for Raspberry, or any other box for that matter? By headless I mean just that, a totally GUI less, lightweight, system to which I can connect a laptop through WiFi, so I can use Kstars on the laptop, while the INDI server is running on the PI.

Okay, actually I've already got a Raspberry Pi 3 with Stellarmate on it and it's connected to my MacBook through WiFi. It all works nicely… until I unplug the Raspberry Pi by accident and it doesn't start anymore. The reason why it doesn't start anymore is that the OS on which Stellarmate is built is a GUI-based OS.

What happens after a hard reboot is that, at times, it requires a fsck to be performed, but it won't do it all by itself. It's gonna to ask. One needs to type Ctrl-D, because it expects to be plugged to a monitor and a keyboard since it's a desktop environment.

My Stellarmate-powered RaspBerry is stuck to my C8 tube, it has no monitor and no keyboard and I don’t carry one with me in the field. So when this happens, my astrophotography session is pretty much screwed up and I can pack my gear and go home. And plug the Pi to a monitor and to a keyboard and press Ctrl-D.

Thus my question, is there a simple, no-fail, INDI server out there that won't let me down if I unplug the power cable by mistake? I don't care about any GUI interface on the device that runs the INDI server, I never use it. GUIs suck.
Last edit: 1 year 11 months ago by Ron.
1 year 11 months ago #42400

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I am running an ubuntu headless PC for Ekos and that has happened to me too.
Solution, make it run fsck at every boot. If it's ok it only takes a few more seconds, if it's not it will correct the filesystem by itself.
I know it's not ideal for an SDCard based system (more wearing of the card) but it's a solution.

Use this: sudo tune2fs -c 1 /dev/sdX, where sdX is replaced by the SDCard device, something like "/dev/mmcblkp02", you have to see wich is your root partition.
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Last edit: 1 year 11 months ago by nMAC.
1 year 11 months ago #42401

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INDI Server is a command line program. INDI Web Manager is a python based web hosted program. Neither one requires a monitor or X window system to be loaded. Also the pi can connect to wifi networks without needing a GUI. So yes you could configure a PI to be GUI less and headless.
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1 year 11 months ago #42403

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Well, I certainly can't, but someone smarter than me could.
1 year 11 months ago #42407

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Hi,

Another suggestion is to create a file in the root directory using command : sudo touch /forcefsck
When the Pi boots then the file is recognized and a forced fsck is done and the file is removed.
It won't hurt to run that at every bootup so you can put the command (without 'sudo') in the system crond configuration file, then the file is created at every boot.

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1 year 11 months ago #42408

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Ron, booting in text mode is simple. You just need an ssh cnx. Once logged as root just type :

systemctl set-default multi-user.target # next boot will be in text mode ( equ. runlevel 3 )
or, if you decide to go back to graphical mode :
systemctl set-default graphical.target # next boot will be in graphical mode ( equ. runlevel 5 )

As long as you have an ssh cnx you can swap at will between th two modes :)

- Marc
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Last edit: 1 year 11 months ago by Marc.
1 year 11 months ago #42409

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By the way... I always bring with me a clean copy of my working SD card when I'm in the field. It helps saving the day sometimes :) I just have to swap the cards in case of emergency and I can perform the autopsy once home :)

- Marc

PS : Actually, I also bring a second Pi. You're never too prudent when your night relies on this little buddy. :)
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1 year 11 months ago #42411

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INDI server does not have a GUI, it is headless as is.

So you can either install Debian or Ubuntu server on the Pi, and just install INDI server there. Or if you want to use GUI-OS like StellarMate, you can do as Marc suggested above which is to set the run level to 3 to prevent going to GUI mode. Btw, SM OS already forces fsck on boot if it detects issues. What version were you running?
Jasem Mutlaq
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1 year 11 months ago #42424

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Please note that this problem has nothing to do with 'desktop' or 'gui'. So especially the answers suggesting to switch to runlevel 3 / text mode won't help anything, you'd run into the same error again as it happens way before any desktop environment is started.
It is the initial system startup script that would (try to) run the file system check. And usually, it does this with the option '-y' to run unattended (for filesystems that support this).
As Jasem mentioned, the automatic fsck is already done in SM, so it might well be that in your case you did hit an error that fsck could not fix. Then of course (also) a headless system is at the loss (unless it has something like automatic restore from a separate partition).

I'd just always carry a second SD card with a backup with me.....
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1 year 11 months ago #42433

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Derpit wrote : "... so it might well be that in your case you did hit an error that fsck could not fix."

Right, but considering Ubuntu has most probably a journaling filesystem, this shoud not even happen and a power loss shouldn't do much damage... Those days when a power loss on Unices systems was a catastrophe are long gone :). If fsck could not fix the problem, maybe it's because the card itself has been corrupted ?

- Marc
1 year 11 months ago #42439

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I am new to Stellarmate, but wouldn't starting RealVNC on your laptop create the opportunity to work on the Pi as it were?
I always run RealVNC next to Kstars on my laptop just to start other programs on my Pi....
Cheers
1 year 11 months ago #42443

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But perhaps VNC is not running on the Pi in the situation you mention?
Last edit: 1 year 11 months ago by Arnold de Bruin.
1 year 11 months ago #42444

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