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Thread: Idratek/IDRANet and Linux

  1. #21
    Automated Home Sr Member MrFluffy's Avatar
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    There are plenty of pascal compilers available for various flavours of *nix, but of course the old Java run once nowhere without some porting problem could apply especially as the dephi cross compiles against the .NET foundation libraries.

    Ill email them to see if they want to release the spec of the packet contents. I'm not expecting them to port cortex on a whim as thats just not financially viable and thats the bottom line for a company, just release some info that enables the core protocol to be implemented.

    I probably will end up borrowing or imaging a old laptop with xp and trying cortex, if only for evaluation purposes, I just don't want to lock into one software vendors products.

  2. #22
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Another method maybe the XAP protocol as Idratek now support this through Cortex. I know that this still meane Cortex is doing the translation but if XAP is ported to *nix maybe this is an alternate route.

    Once again good luck

  3. #23
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_B View Post
    Another method maybe the XAP protocol as Idratek now support this through Cortex. I know that this still meane Cortex is doing the translation but if XAP is ported to *nix maybe this is an alternate route.
    xAP is both network and OS agnostic and we do already have several *nix applications out there. However Cortex does the translation between the IDRANet protocol and xAP so, as Paul says, that's not going to mean you can do without Cortex...

    At some stage I would love to consider designing an embedded hardware xAP gateway allowing xAP and IDRANet devices to interact in a 'Reflex' type of way and thus exposing IDRANet devices to other means for control plus the fallback operation. I already have the hardware to do this, but it would require access to the IDRANet protocol information to implement. This way IDRANet hardware could be a valuable product range for xAP networks too.

    However Cortex is such a great application and for me it's absolutely stable, running on a vanilla XP WHS machine so I feel very comfortable. Cortex also provides all the configuration setup for the IDRANet devices. I now feel with XP that it's always the bits you add that cause issues and not the core OS.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFluffy View Post
    I just don't want to lock into one software vendors products.
    What you can do is run Cortex and then use the xAP protocol to control and monitor IDRANet devices. xAP is an open and free protocol and can be implemented from any OS. There are plugins for other HA applications and the Linux based MisterHouse has inbuilt xAP support. This will require you have Cortex running all the time , which may not be your ideal model but would provide an open solution.

    I think as you explore Cortex you will find it most powerful and the ability to supplement its functionality with other applications on any OS via xAP could be just what you're wanting. Handling much richer data via xAP eg Weather, TV listings, RSS feeds etc is a useful adjunct. You can add touchscreen functionality and custom web pages too.

    Kevin
    Last edited by Kevin; 10th September 2008 at 01:20 PM.

  4. #24
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    I agonised the same as you ... in the end, I accepted the situation & went for a self-assembled low-power 24/7 MiniITX PC completely dedicated to Cortex, to run on an otherwise all-Mac network ... if Idratek had not been totally reliant on native access to RS232, we'd almost certainly have gone for a Mac Mini with Parallels, running 'XP & OSX & maybe Linux, too - a far more comfortable approach, but it was not to be ! Fortunately, the MiniITX PCs are low power - ie: the extra costs (significant at they are) will be mitigated (to some degree) over time. I'm sure their decision to go with Windows seemed inevitable (I almost said logical) at the time, but it's a real shame ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 10th September 2008 at 08:42 PM.

  5. #25
    Automated Home Guru jpdw's Avatar
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    Default another similar view!

    I'm also in favour of linux over MS so I had similar desire to avoid a windows machine. After "playing" with Cortex I realised a lot would be lost even if you could decode the packets & emulate commands sent.

    Power consumption of multiple servers is/was also a concern for me so my original intention was to run Cortex in a VM on my Linux server, but performance and need of a native serial port caused a change of heart.

    So I'm currently building a single mini-itx server which will run XP natively for Cortex but also hosting linux via coLinux. So far, the XP/coLinux combination seems stable (though without cortex so far) so it looks promising. And all under 30w.

    My advice would be to beg/borrow/buy a windows XP box for testing cortex using a 30 day trial licence. If you like it, do as some others of us have done and accept you need a windows box to run it. I'm sure you could happily run cortex on a windows hardware platform that others are throwing away as "out of date". Use remote desktop from your usual workstation and you can almost forget you have a windows box in your server rack!

  6. #26
    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
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    Care to share what board and components you've used for your machine? I am planning to buiuld one before christamas but was hoping to get <20W as my current laptop runs at about that incl screen. Have looked With interest at the new Atom chips (and Acer apsire one of a colleague), but according the the Reg the other chips on the board are power hungry, so maybe VIA is still the low power way to go?
    TIA
    Jon

  7. #27
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    Ours is an EK10000G, with a DVI daughter board, as much extra memory as was possible, a good HD, an optical drive, a Travla 137 case etc, plus leads to feed off additional on-board RS232 pins, and OEM 'XP ... all from LinITX ... plus an IVX200 video capture board, dome camera, etc.

    the issue of how to link to the Internet remains open ... I'm hoping to be able to go via the Macs, but ... maybe David has tried various ways ???
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 18th September 2008 at 12:01 AM. Reason: afterthought

  8. #28
    Automated Home Guru jpdw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonS View Post
    Care to share what board and components you've used for your machine? I am planning to buiuld one before christamas but was hoping to get <20W as my current laptop runs at about that incl screen. Have looked With interest at the new Atom chips (and Acer apsire one of a colleague), but according the the Reg the other chips on the board are power hungry, so maybe VIA is still the low power way to go?
    TIA
    Jon
    - EN1200 (1.2Ghz proc, no fan)
    - 160Gb 2.5 HD (ie laptop spec for further power saving)
    - 1 x 1Gb memory stick.
    - Additional PCI ethernet card (not currently in use).
    - 60W silent PSU set (from linitx).

    Running XP & CoLinux but currently without Cortex or any real load on the linux side, it ticks along at 19-21w according to my plug-in mains power thingy. If the ethernet card remains unused I might remove it and save perhaps another 0.5w! Cortex will add some load but it's only a small installation to manage the heating so I dont expect it to make much difference, so should still be <30w.

    The board is vastly more capable on video playback than I need, but I wanted the high processor speed without fan cooling -- running XP & coLinux on my old 800Mhz original just would not have worked (plus most recent linux builds expect CMOV processor instruction, making the old C3 boards a PITA to install).

    I still need to finish setting it up - ie Linux server apps for email & web and other things currently on my existing linux box, then finally Cortex. But newly arrived twins are causing this project to have "resource shortages".

    I read a similar review of the atom, though by then I had bought the VIA board already. Hopefully the power-hungry accessories chips will get improved for v2!

  9. #29
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_j_hunter View Post
    the issue of how to link to the Internet remains open ... I'm hoping to be able to go via the Macs, but ... maybe David has tried various ways ???
    I briefly exposed the web server directly, but don't anymore. Long term plan was to put a reverse proxy on a NSLU2 (slug) and sit that in the DMZ on my firewall. But recently I invested in a PAYG "3" stick which enabled me to get VPNs working between my macbook and the firewall, so now I just VPN straight in and run remote desktop. I guess I'll get back to the web server at some point.

    I didn't understand the "via the Macs" bit. Were you meaning to use the Macs a s a firewall or router? I'm assuming you've got an ADSL router somewhere, most have halfway decent firewalls these days.
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  10. #30
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    >invested in a PAYG "3" stick which enabled me to get VPNs working between my MacBook and the firewall, so now I just VPN straight in and run remote desktop ...

    don't really follow that ... could you expand, a little ?

    >didn't understand the "via the Macs" bit ... the Macs as a firewall or router ... ADSL router somewhere, most have halfway decent firewalls ...

    we have a Contract "3" stick which goes into one of the Macs - usually one of the laptops - which all share via the network (Wi-Fi usually, and/or Ethernet, sometimes) ... plus a Time Capsule, currently a door-stop, but soon to be the hub of the network, into which all (MiniITX to be included) will link via Ethernet / Wi-Fi / USB ... ... ie: no ASDL router !

    BTW, Jaadu (VNC) works a treat on iPhone & iPod Touch - we use them as remote's to control our Macs via Wi-Fi (just-about complete functionality, others say it works via 3G, too, 'though we've not tried that) ... ie: looks like it could be a good as a full-function remote' for Idratek ... OK, the screen's small, so wouldn't want to do a lot via it, but it's quick & dead-easy to zoom & move about, so quick adjustments & overrides would probably be no problem, even fairly elaborate ones ...

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