Linux Mint 17.3 / 64-bit - Uspace / Preempt-RT ?

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24 Jun 2016 04:30 #76536 by CMB
Has anyone installed LinuxCNC 2.7.4 (uspace version) on Mint 17.3 / Mate - 64 bit with a Preempt-RT kernel?

I'd like to test Mint 17.3 with a mesa 7i76e on a new motherboard (Asrock N3150DC-ITX) which has marginal graphics performance running wheezy 7.9 compared to an Asrock Q1900DC-ITX due to a slower GPU clock speed. Yeah I totally missed that spec before clicking "Purchase".

I did try wheezy 7.11 / xfce which did improve the graphics performance of the N3150, by a surprising amount!
UEFI settings have been optimized, latency is under 60,000 but I'd like to give Mint a try for comparison and as a learning experiment.

What I'd like to know is: Can i use the 64bit version of Mint? Shall I install the Preempt-RT kernel as stated in PCW's post #62783 or is there a suitable kernel I can install with apt-get? Which apt-source should I use to install a compatible uspace version of LinuxCNC for Mint?

I realize this may be a big jump from installing the stable branch of wheezy 2.7, but I'd really like to test more modern pc hardware for running 3d surfacing toolpaths that really tax the shared graphics on these mini ITX boards. So far I've only really used wheezy but I've used it with software stepgen on an LPT port, RTAI with a 5i25 and 6i25, Preempt-Rt with a 7i92 and 7i76e... all of which is documented pretty well as opposed to the many possible distro / kernel / hardware combinations.

I'm relatively new to linux and linuxcnc but I don't mind the learning curve so any advice is much appreciated, especially an indication of how big of a jump it is to migrate from wheezy to mint. At this point I'm mainly interested in Mesa HM2 Ethernet devices so if there is another distro I should look at instead of mint, please advise. JT's install notes for Mint have piqued my interest, but I'm not sure how to modify for the uspace and Preempt-RT I need for the ethernet controls.

Thanks,
CMB

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24 Jun 2016 12:41 #76546 by andypugh
I think that the buildbot creates packages for 64-bit uspace.
buildbot.linuxcnc.org/

They are for Debian Wheezy or Ubuntu Precise, so I don't know if they work with Mint, but it's probably worth a try.

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24 Jun 2016 13:02 #76549 by PCW
I have LinuxCNC running on 64 bit Mint 17.3 (with a Zotac CI323 = N3150 CPU)
I just installed from source (both LinuxCNC and kernel)

The only real trouble I had was that the N3150 CPU needed a quite new kernel for the
Graphics to work (I'm using 4.4.7)

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24 Jun 2016 13:58 #76558 by CMB
Thanks guys!

I've not yet attempted to install LinuxCNC from source, I'll do some more reading.
I'll try updating the procedure mentioned in post #62783 to use 4.4.7 with Mint 17.3 / 64 bit and then research the uspace linuxCNC installation from source.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm relatively new here so all my efforts thus far have been focused on learning the basics of LinuxCNC with Wheezy 7.9 using various Mesa hardware (which I really, really like) so If I can learn how to get this running on a modern distro with a newer kernel that allows me to use readily available modern PC hardware...I will be absolutely ecstatic!

The graphics does work on my Asrock N3150DC-ITX but the (graphics) performance is barely usable with wheezy 7.9 and XFCE using Axis and locks up wtih Gmoccapy so it's good to know I may be on the right track.

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24 Jun 2016 14:34 - 24 Jun 2016 14:37 #76566 by PCW
Yeah I think you need a quite new kernel to support the graphic hardware in the N3150
Axis works fine for me but I have not tried gmoccapy with the Zotac (similar performance to J1900)

(probably not suprising, the N3150 was released in Q1-15, the J1900 Q4-13)
Last edit: 24 Jun 2016 14:37 by PCW.

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24 Jun 2016 15:07 - 24 Jun 2016 15:08 #76573 by CMB
I intentionally tried the much newer N3150DC-ITX as the Q1900DC-ITX is harder to get now and I like the performance and external DC power jack with these mini ITX mb's.

I did notice the J1900 has a GPU clock of 688mhz vs 320 for the N3150 (after I purchased it) which may contribute to the lesser graphics performance vs the J1900 when running gcode files larger than 3-4 MB.

A question about installing the newer kernel. I had already started to install 4.1.5 before i got your reply regarding 4.4.7 and it has been going for just over 3 hours installing a ton of drivers which I'll never use. Should I be using the Xconfig popup to eliminate some of these or is this simply a time consuming process on a 1.6 ghz cpu?

Obviously I've got a lot to learn about installing kernels this way.
Last edit: 24 Jun 2016 15:08 by CMB.

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24 Jun 2016 15:14 #76576 by PCW
Yes you can use the xconfig popup to disable unneeded drivers
You do need to make sure you enable the fully preemptable kernel in xconfig
you can speed things up quite a bit by using make -j4

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24 Jun 2016 15:57 #76581 by CMB
Ok Thanks!
I"ll abort the 4.1.5 install, re-start with 4.4.7 and explore the settings in xconfig to gain a better understanding of what is actually going on during the kernel install.

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25 Jun 2016 13:08 #76642 by gambaf
PCW, what kind of latency do you get with the N3150 CPU and rt-preempt?

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25 Jun 2016 21:05 - 25 Jun 2016 21:50 #76658 by CMB
In response to my original post referring to the marginal graphics performance of N3150 CPU!

I found the reason for the marginal performance which had nothing to do with the CPU.
I had mistakenly installed LINUXCNC - 2.7.4-114-g92b991a by adding:
"deb buildbot.linuxcnc.org/ wheezy 2.7-rtpreempt"
to my apt-sources.list instead of
"deb linuxcnc.org/ wheezy base 2.7-uspace"
to install the official release "LINUXCNC - 2.7.4"

Being a new user I had actually done this on another install of a J1900 Cpu about 6 months ago and everything worked out well but I did not realize I was installing unofficial releases from the buildbot (until now when I encountered the problem).

LINUXCNC - 2.7.4-114-g92b991a was causing Gmoccapy to freeze which led me to blame the N3150 which now runs great with LINUXCNC - 2.7.4 installed onto wheezy 7.11 / 64bit with Preempt-RT. I'll continue to pursue the Mint route to see what improvements are to be had with the 4.4.7 kernel.

Perhaps It's a bit too easy sometimes for a new Linux user to type sudo apt-get install linuxcnc-uspace and not actually realize they are getting the latest version from what is defined in their apt-sources.list
Coming from windows it may help some folks to manually download the .deb package and install it with sudo dpkg -i to gain a better understanding of exactly which release they're installing.

Thanks,
CMB
Last edit: 25 Jun 2016 21:50 by CMB. Reason: clarification

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