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Old 11-14-2009, 08:00 AM   #1
theocoreduro
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Lightweight live CD OS to display information (for a presenting to an audience)


Scenario: I have an Arduino microcontroller using serial communication hooked up to the computer via USB. There are two buttons attached to the microcontroller: Button A, and Button B. When a button is pressed, the microcontroller will send the computer a message. The computer will then have to display, in big letters, which button was pressed. The graphics displayed should look more or less like those of the attached image.

I was wondering what software set-up would be necessary for this. I know it has to be on a live CD because it will be used on different computers. Since all it has to do is display some simple graphics, it would be unnecessary to have all the features of a Linux desktop. Could it be possible to have a special display manager that only shows these graphics? I have played around with Processing but I think that it has too many dependencies (Java) and too many features for what I need.

Could someone please point me in the right direction or give me some advice?

Thank you.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg buttons.jpg (16.2 KB, 5 views)
 
Old 11-14-2009, 08:05 PM   #2
aus9
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hi

never used it but here are some tips


I suggest since it has to be portable....install linux to an usb stick with persistence....otherwise you need to remaster a live cd which is not for beginners.


then install the software but as you may have to use persistence....install into your home folder and not system wide.

http://www.arduino.cc/playground/Learning/Linux

2) I am not entirely sure if you have thought thru the ramifications of different computers?

so are you moving and installing the hardware to diff computers?

if so, will the clients be better off having linux installed onto hard drive?
 
Old 11-15-2009, 07:00 AM   #3
theocoreduro
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Thank you for your response, asus9.

Yes, I agree that it should be on a USB - or at least for now for testing purposes. I don't need to install any Arduino software on it because that is only necessary for programming it. The Arduino plugged in via USB only uses serial communication, which I assume most distros can handle.

Yes, there will probably be different computers with different hardware, but I don't think this should be a problem as there are many live CDs boot on a lot of hardware.

As for the software that displays the buttons, what do you recomend? Is it possible to create some special display manager that will just start and show the graphics without loading a window manager or anything like that? What distro do you think I should use? The only requirement are that it has to be lightweight and be able to run from a CD.

Thank you.
 
Old 11-15-2009, 07:44 AM   #4
aus9
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I think you misunderstand me so let continue your thoughts to see if you agree?

pretend you download a live cd....highly recommended even if I do not use your hardware.....agreed.

But to run the live cd...on each computer....connecting your hardware via usb connector....is still going to need this cd to recognise your hardware/software......so each time you boot the cd....you have to connect a separate usb stick and mount it....and load the software from the link....and only then insert your hardware.

OR

you download an usb image and write to usb storage or download a live cd that can write itself to usb storage AND
then you install the Arduino software....as persistence....I explain that below

so you are not re-inventing the wheel....and taking up time....and not creating a bad impression for a ms audience.


------
usb storage fall to 3 main camps

1) a true hard drive like install....writeable....and you can have your own home/name

2) livecd like structure...but detects usb stick with its /home folder....writeable....known as persist

3) livecd like structure but no persist...safe but not recommended for your case.

------

I agree that minimum and fast to boot live cd/usb is the way to go

I do not have your hardware so can not recommend what to choose.

But heck....I use sidux 2009-03.....its not for beginners but xfce is very fast and sidux has scripts to allow cd to write to usb with or without persist.

a number of live cds offer similar tools to install to usb but differ on scripts etc

http://manual.sidux.com/en/hd-instal...-en.htm#usb-hd is worth a read.

2) As for the software that displays the buttons, what do you recomend?
I thought the software in top link was the answer? I am not going to d/load it as I can not test it without hw.

But a display manager is good....and sidux and most other good live cd/usb systems can autologin so I see no problem there.


ROADMAP

so it may take more than one distro download for you to discover which is the easiest and quickest to boot to a display manager.

sidux
puppy
slax.....are all fine choices but puppy is root login so watch that ok.

b) then install the software as from first links

c) Now the proof....when you install usb hw....does distro detect it fast....and then allow your interaction

I repeat I have no idea. I am only trying to point in you a direction of discovery.....there may be zero pain or there may be heaps?
 
Old 11-15-2009, 09:10 AM   #5
theocoreduro
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Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.

I am not a complete newbie to live CD/USB - I frequently run SLAX from my USB and have even made my own customized live CD with it.

I'm sorry, I may not have been clear about the Arduino software - it is only a development environment, for creating and uploading code to the microcontroller. Since I will have already developed and uploaded the scripts to it from my own computer, I don't need the software. The only thing that I need is serial communication with the USB device, which most (if not all) distros should have.

So, essentially, my question is, is there some kind of window manager that I can tweak to only display what I was talking about? I just heard about some way this can be done through the Enlightenment window manager - I will look into this and report back. I guess I will use SLAX or Puppy then.

Thank you.
 
Old 11-15-2009, 07:48 PM   #6
aus9
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well its becoming clearer.

I think what you mean? is a display manager that boots up to your software with no login or other crap?

That is called autostart and is possible for nearly all major desktop environments or windowmangers.

but I am thinking you are actually safer....meaning better off...creating an udev rule which in its rules launches the software on detection of hardware.
And that is possible as well.

are we on the right track?

The difficulty of the first approach is you probably need an fstab for the usb device to have a mount point. But detection of usb devices can be fickle at boot....so if there is a glitch...its a heroic fail.

so I am recommending you look at udev writing rules and create an udev rule.

Last edited by aus9; 11-15-2009 at 07:50 PM.
 
Old 11-18-2009, 01:01 PM   #7
theocoreduro
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OK, I have figured out (thanks to your help) how to do it:

I'm going to use Slax, without KDE or any extras, but just with Xorg, Fluxbox and JRE. Using Processing, I made a small executable and setup all its libraries. It is launched as soon as I login and starts the graphics in fullscreen.

Again, thank you for all your help.
 
  


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