ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

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ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

Hello there!

I am very new to SBC and the Ubuntu OS (read never used before), and I am working on a project with the N2+. Right now I am trying to just get the GUI up and running on the N2+, and I get the attached splash screen (right terminology?). I am hoping to get a graphical interface, and have gotten to the same point on 20.04 and 21.04 when I have tried them each. I believe it is supposed to have GNOME already on the image? But I am not able to get that when booting. Any suggestions?

Next steps are to:
Install driver for QGOO 1200 WiFi Dongle
Install driver for Nooelec SmarTee USB Dongle
Install driver for FlightAware USB Dongle

If there are any suggestions on where to look, or things to try I am definitely open to suggestions.

Thank you!
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by tobetter »

Did you flash an OS image, not installing it using Netboot Installer?

For GUI with Gnome, you need to flash a desktop image or select one when installing using Netboot Installer method. If you want to install Gnome Desktop on top of current setup, please do run the commands.

Code: Select all

sudo apt update
sudo apt install ubuntu-desktop^
sudo reboot
It would be great if you can briefly explain about your project if you are planning to use generic desktop environment or need full screen GUI for your own application. We have two different type of GPU drivers, ARM Mali GPU driver which is only available with Ubuntu 20.04 and Panfrost GPU driver after Ubuntu 20.10. Probably you would need to research both to select one, Ubuntu 20.04 vs Ubuntu 22.04, IMO.

For USB dongles listed, if they do not work, please do share their VID/PID presented with lsusb command when they are attached.

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mctom »

If you're new to Linux you may be surprised that stuff by default "just work" via USB. No need to install drivers unless something doesn't work. Always check if it works first. :)
Also it seems you have selected a server image, that's why you don't get GUI. But as @tobetter said, are you sure you need one?

Good luck!
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

Thank you both for the reply!

I flashed an image to a 128GB micro-SD card using a tutorial I found on here (downloaded the 20.04 xz file, then used BalenaEtcher to flash the SD card).

The project consists of a remotely placed enclosure utilizing the Odroid N2+ to process and upload live data from a FlightAware ADS-B USB Dongle (fed from antenna with filter), as well as process and analyze signal data from NOAA 18 and NOAA 19 satellites when they pass overhead (also fed from an antenna with filter). I am also working on a GOES 16 antenna to also retrieve data about every 15 min and download to my storage server. All of these systems work independently on my Windows 10 device, but I am trying to put them in as small a package as possible to mount remote.

I am attempting to adapt existing systems that are for the raspberry pi to the Odroid (pi-aware which uses a dedicated board and Raspberry-Noaa, also uses a dedicated board, but both should coexist, unless I am mistaken).

If I do not need a GUI interface, I am all open. My only server image (if you can call it that) is with 11th gen Dell servers used for home networking.

Edit: I can attach an image of the enclosure if helpful to get a sense of things.

Thank you!

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mctom »

NOAA are in deep space, right? Terrible, terrible stuff. I always look up to people who design stuff that actually survives deep space.

I'm not entirely sure if I understood you correctly, so let me rephrase all that:

You want to place Odroid N2 in an enclosure, in a remote location, where nobody will ever see it, let alone operate it. Its main purpose is capturing data and passing it to another machine. If this is the case, then you don't need GUI and you can do everything using remote terminal. You can connect to Linux machine remotely via SSH and work on it as if you were sitting with a keyboard and a display. Linux distributions for SBCs almost always have SSH enabled by default. Certainly all official distributions for Odroids.
You can establish connection from a Windows machine using putty or any other ssh client, or "ssh" command from Linux machine. You don't need keyboard and display for your N2+ at all.

The minimal distribution (or "server", as it is sometimes called) is no different than any other Linux you can get, except it has fewer things preinstalled. That means lighter system and better performance for what you actually need.
And installing stuff on Ubuntu is almost always one-line terminal command anyway.

pi-aware is written in tcl that I've never heard of, honestly. Sorry, I'm not a dev :D But if it works on RasPis, it should be doable. Perhaps it will work on Odroid with no adaptation at all, who knows.
You mention a "dedicated board", if you mean something pluggable to GPIO pins, it certainly can be adapted to Odroid, but is not expected to work out of a box.

Please excuse me if I dig into too many details, but I'm not sure what your level of expertise is. And you seem eager to learn new stuff, which always leads to interesting discussions. :)
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mad_ady »

Are you using software-defined radio? If you're using gnu-radio, you might need a light gui.
If your boards decode the signal in hardware and only send back processed data, than it should be simpler.

A picture of the enclosure would be nice for us, geeks.

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by rooted »

ads-b is cli based last I used it, I've not used any of the weather satellite stuff so I don't know about it.

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

The NOAA satellites are around 530 mi/840km (synchronous orbit), and the GOES are about 22,000 mi/34,000km (geostationary).

You have understood the overall goal of the project! And I am willing to learn and open to discussion. By dedicated board, the pi-aware, and raspberry-pi tutorials I've found have both been installed on a dedicated raspberry pi.

I am using two Nooelec SmarTee SDR units, and one FlightAware SDR unit. I was looking at creating 3 partitions, and running each SDR within the partition, not sure if that is the best approach.

Photo attached!
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mctom »

Incredible. I'm no wireless expert, so I hope you know what you're doing in terms of radio. All these are passive antennae so shouldn't disturb each other, I think? Fresnel zones will be happy? :)
Sgro wrote:
Tue Apr 05, 2022 1:18 am
I was looking at creating 3 partitions, and running each SDR within the partition, not sure if that is the best approach.
Er.. No, doesn't make much sense. Partitions are logical structures on mass memory devices that let you organize stuff the way you want. It doesn't mean you'll be able to run 3 Linuxes at the same time or anything like that. And storing data on separate partition won't help with anything. You may as well create three directories, as from the Linux filesystem perspective it's going to be exactly the same.

In Linux, unlike Windows, one operates at the single filesystem tree. If you mount another partition to Linux (ie. make it accessible), it will appear somewhere in this tree (usually in /media/xxx). You can of course decide where you want to have your partition mounted, but then again, it will appear just as another directory.

Is there a specific goal you wanted to achieve by creating partitions?

If you want to keep these applications somewhat separated, sometimes separate user accounts are created for certain programs, but that is often done for safety reasons that you're not at risk of. I think. You're not running potential malware, keeping secrets or letting other users into this system, right?

More "proper" isolation technique would involve containers, such as docker. They let your "dockerized" applications run in isolated environments, as if each was running on a fresh Linux install. But that's more complicated than what I just said, and probably get even more complicated once you want to let your dockerized programs talk to hardware. Frankly I've never found any good reason to use docker, but you'll find many people around here that prefer having everything dockerized. ;)
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

All systems are passive, correct. Each system has been tested independently, tuned as best as possible (using the NanoVNA - slick piece of kit), and tested with all SDR units and DIY antennas operational at the same time on my laptop, in the proposed configuration, in my garage (mounted in there due to HOA restrictions, slight signal loss, but acceptable for the time being). I have my general amateur radio license, and between work and this project also studying to upgrade to extra.

And that makes sense, partitioning really only divides the memory into smaller units. And by partitioning (realize the error in that statement, I was thinking virtual machine - like VirtualBox or VMware), I was looking to create 3 separate "containers", so I could install the programs necessary to run each system. I'm probably overcomplicating things.

I am not looking at keeping anything sensitive, or having others access, so separate accounts are not needed. 2/3 systems will share a lot of the same software, with the FlightAware being the most unique of the 3.

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by rooted »

Right, partitions could be docker containers. Makes good sense for a project such as yours.
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

Playing with the system a little (wow is Ubuntu simple (logical structuring), just the little Ive been able to dive into it), I was able to find a good adaptation article for PiAware to Ubuntu, and on a fresh server image it worked after some fiddling. Then using a fresh install with a GUI, I was able to get the other systems working independently. Now, if I can combine 3 instances at the same time, that will be the key! It looks like the Docker Container method may be best.

It might take several weeks, but after I iron it out, as it relates to interfacing and the GUI (original topic), I might post the ultimate solution, and more a less a step by step of what I did.

Thank you all for the input so far! It has been very helpful.

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mctom »

I think Docker containers are completely unnecessary, but certainly learning them won't hurt and may be a valuable skill in the future.

I wonder if you have problem with running multiple programs via ssh. If that is the case, get familiar with tmux. :)

Ultimately you'd want to run all three things automatically at system boot, so it could recover from power outage.
If you could prepare three bash scripts, each that runs one of these tasks, then all you'd have to do is to call these scripts from /etc/rc.local, an "autostart script".

Bash scripts are essentially lists of commands that you'd normally type into the shell, plus some optional extras.
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by rooted »

Docker is rarely necessary for most regular projects but it's so nice and clean and a pleasure to use. Unless you are using CoreELEC then it becomes a welcome necessity.

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

What would be the recommended method instead of a docker? I am open to simple solutions!

Running the systems on boot would be huge, and the bash scripts sound like a great solution to that.

The three "guides" I am looking at following are as follows (Linux or Ubuntu based).

NOAA Satellite processing software tutorial: https://lokcon.me/2019/06/15/rtl-sdr-noaa
GOES Processing Tutorial: https://github.com/pietern/goestools
ADSB Tutorial: https://pastebin.com/eKbm118F

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mctom »

Well, I'm not familiar with software you're about to run, but the universal truth is, if you can run all three via command line, then you can automate their startup easily.

Here's what you can do:
- find commands, or sets of commands, that let you run each program, separately
- place these commands into separate text files with *.sh extension (Extension is optional, but indicates a shell script to humans)
To each file, add a first line: #!/bin/bash - this is an information that the following script should be run in bash - because it's a bash script.
- Add "executable" flag to all these files, by running chmod +x filename.sh on all of them. This will let you run your scripts.
If everything went okay, if you launch ls you should see your scripts on the list colored green, meaning they are executable (unless the list is not colored in the first place).

Now you have three Bash scripts to run each of your programs. You can test them by running each of them.
To run a script type: ./filename.sh or bash filename.sh.
However, if you run your script, that in turn runs a separate program expected to work indefinitely, your script will run indefinitely too - scripts end when underlying programs end.
To walk around this problem, you can run scripts in the background, so you won't see script output on the screen and return to command prompt immediately. To do that, run a script like so: ./filename.sh &

Then, you can run htop, a "task manager", to see if your programs actually work in the background. You can sort processes by PID (process ID) to quickly find the most recently spawned processes.
Once you are past that, note all the scripts that you ran in the background will be terminated once you close terminal window or log off from terminal/ssh session. That is not a problem, because all you do is testing.

If everything works as expected, you can run all these scripts automatically on startup. You will have to modify /etc/rc.local, which is a file owned by root - so sudo will be necessary to modify it.
Add paths to your scripts at the end of this file, but before exit 0 if present. For example: /home/odroid/scripts/filename.sh &. By doing so, all your scripts will run in background after every reboot.

The most popular simple text editor in command line is nano. To edit a file just type nano filename.sh. To edit a file owned by root, use sudo nano file.
Don't expect familiar shortcuts to work in nano. :)

One more important point: Scripts started automatically by /etc/rc.local will all be run as root. Keep that in mind in case this makes any difference to you. For example, any files produced by these programs will be owned by root, and the root's default home directory is /root. If you want to run your scripts as another user (for example 'odroid'), in /etc/rc.local launch them instead like so: su -c '/path/to/script.sh' odroid &
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mad_ady »

What mctom said is correct and would work, but it's not how the cool kids would do it.

Since systemd appeared it made creating startup scripts easier. You would create a new service (e.g. myApp):

Code: Select all

# cat /etc/systemd/system/myApp.service
[Unit] 
Description=Example systemd service.

[Service] 
Type=simple 
ExecStart=/bin/bash /usr/local/bin/myApp.sh
[Install] 
WantedBy=multi-user.target

You can enable it on boot with

Code: Select all

# systemctl enable myApp
You can start/stop it with

Code: Select all

# service myApp start
You can view its output/logs with

Code: Select all

# journalctl -f -u myApp

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mctom »

What mad_ady said is corrent and indeed all the cool kids do systemd services instead of rc.local stuff, I was just mindful of...
Sgro wrote:
Sun Apr 03, 2022 8:33 am
I am very new to SBC and the Ubuntu OS (read never used before),
Consider it a homework for extra points. ;)
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mad_ady »

Being new to linux is a good excuse to start with the most common way of doing things/the best practice. Otherwise there's a lot of legacy stuff to learn...

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

Those are good starting points! I will give them a go!

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mctom »

Let us know how it went. :)
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

Thank you to everyone's help and guidance here, I made some significant progress for one day (4 hours in reality)! due to one of the programs I did end up installing the 20.04 Mate flavor of Ubuntu. I did have to install a driver for the wifi dongle, which after a few trials and errors worked out pretty well! I also managed to get the Pi-Aware installed with some minor modifications, but as of right now, it is up, running and receiving ADS-B data, and communicating with FlightAware seamlessly (See photo). Finally, I did manage to get most of the GOES software working, up until the point that my work in progress antenna is needed (oops).

While 2.75 of the 4 suites worked out pretty well, the last one for NOAA is causing some issues. I've tried two different methods, and both ran into errors. Mainly the software packages were not able to be downloaded as it was not in the repository I believe. Something along the lines of PPA comes to mind when trying to install. The particular software is called predict, which predicts when the satellites will pass overhead.

Outstanding items:
Install GPredict (solve PPA issue)
Investigate Best Remote Desktop solution
Build GOES Antenna (1.6Ghz)
Continue to work on finding best cloud interface for storage (looking at saving downloaded data to an AWS server, and maybe tying into my Arduino Weather Station data).
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mctom »

PPA are Personal Package Archives, and they act as extra sources of software for the usual apt package manager. For example, you want to play the newest version of hedgewars and make sure all your friends online have the same version of the game so you don't run into issues, everyone shall add hedgewars PPA and do apt update && apt upgrade. If apt has more than one copy of hedgewars available in its repositories, it will pick the highest version by default.
And you've already found a launchpad.net site with instructions how to add GPredict PPA to your system, and it didn't work. I just noticed why. That PPA has no packages for Ubuntu 20.04 that you have. They stopped adding at 18.04 :/

I think it will be easier to build (compile) gpredict instead, the instructions on their site are clear and require some 4 commands. However, as they say further on, building something for the first time involves "dependency hunt" - building will fail numerous times returning error messages about which libraries are missing in your system and you have to install. The problem is it won't tell you exact name of a package that you need to install, but in most cases they are easy to guess. Packages with build libraries often have names starting with lib and ending with -dev. Sometimes a necessary library has a completely different name than what error message said, in that case google is always able to help.
If you still run into problems, I'll try building it myself and make a build dependency list for you. It's a shame when software authors don't do that.

For remote desktop, if you run MATE then it should be possible to configure xrdp - a RDP server that will let you do remote control with Windows Remote Desktop or Remmina in Linux. I only remember that setting up xrdp is a royal pain in the butt, and once you get this to work you're so happy you go to a pub to celebrate. Also note that this won't work like remote connection to Windows desktop, where everything will be exactly the same as you left it last time. xrdp will create a new session on each logon, completely independent from what is actually going on on the display. Actually you may let 5 people log in via xrdp and each one will get their own desktop to work with. Something like Windows Server does, I think, after you buy a $150 license per seat. That behavior may be changed, probably, but I never looked into that. That'd be called "attach to existing session" or something along these lines.
Other alternatives may include vnc that will show you the screen contents instead of providing a new session, but again, I never tried that.
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by Sgro »

I did manage to work my way through GPredict, and got that installed (successfully I after some tweaking), and I did get XRDP to work as well! Small steps right?

Next step is to figure out the WXtoIMG download, I think I have a good idea of what needs to be done, but it requires adding two files to the root (need to research that further) - i.e. how to login to the root structure. After that the USB dongle works for the NOAA Sat, but is throwing an error, and I think it is related to having issues blacklisting three items using a text editor. While I figure out why I cant screenshot in XRDP, the error is "USB_claim_interface error -6", "Failed to open rtlsdr device #0" - which is the one for the NOAA package. After that, a package I tried to install earlier, and a failed predict package are causing some messages when updating, but they dont appear to be affecting things as they stand so I will deal with them at the end.

Overall good progress!
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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by rooted »

Sounds like you need to blacklist the rtl-sdr driver? I'm not sure how multiple instances are handled, does NOAA have it's own SDR driver?

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by mad_ady »

Isn't rtl-sdr part of linux media framework? The kernel may be too old...

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Re: ODROID-N2+ GUI and Interface

Post by rooted »

mad_ady wrote:Isn't rtl-sdr part of linux media framework? The kernel may be too old...
It's a kernel driver since a long time ago, I'm not sure when it was added

The thing is some SDR applications don't use it but it takes over the hardware when loaded.

*Edit*
It's been a while since I used my SDR dongle, it's not that some applications take over the hardware it's the driver to use the hardware as intended for DVB. So you need to blacklist them:

Code: Select all

blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
blacklist rtl2832
blacklist rtl2830

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