Installing X-Plane 10 on Fedora 20

I’m a bit of an aviation buff and have been known to spend a fair few hours playing flight sims. My favorite sim these days is X-Plane, and thankfully it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. My current host for X-Plane is Fedora 20 and since there is a bit of extra effort to make it run properly, I thought I’d outline my process here.

First and foremost – This post assumes you have installed the appropriate graphics drivers and are not running whatever drivers were just included ‘in the box’, as it were. My system has an NVidia GeForce GT 640 and I use the akmod-nvidia drvivers from RPM Fusion, which works great. A quick Google search should turn up an appropriate process for your computer.

Secondly, I am running the 64bit version of Fedora 20 which brings with it some headaches, since the installer for X-Plane is 32bit, though they offer game executables in both 32 and 64. without several 32bit packages installed on the 64bit system, X-Plane is unable to run and complains about graphics issues. By default, Fedora will install the software and drivers for your graphics card in whatever your default architecture is, which for me is 64bit. Since the installer is 32bit, I need to add several 32bit graphics packages so that the 32bit installer can talk to my 64bit hardware.

Confused yet? Don’t worry about. Follow along and you’ll be all set.

The X-Plane 10 release DVDs I have were the very first batch after the game’s release and there is a known problem with the installer. You can grab an updated copy from the X-Plane website or use their free demo.

The first thing to do with the installer is open up a terminal and run it from there but before it will run you’ll need to install some 32bit libraries so the system can execute the program.

yum install mesa-libGL.i686 glibc-2.18.i686 mesa-dri-drivers.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686 sqlite.i686 libXinerama-1.1.3-2.fc20.i686 openal-soft.i686-y

This is, for me, all of the packages I need to install. The system will grab other packages to satisfy the dependencies of those packages, which is fine. Once they’re installed, it still won’t work and complains that it can’t find ‘libGLU.so.1′. For whatever reason, installing ‘mesa-libGL.i686′ installs a file called ‘libGL.so.1′ and X-Plane wants that extra ‘U’ in the file name so a simple symlink will take care of it.

ln -s /usr/lib/libGL.so.1 /usr/lib/libGLU.so.1

It’s a simple fix that takes care of the issue.. not an easy one to figure out since it’s only a one character difference in the name. Those sorts of issues tend to make me a little cross-eyed before I solve them.

This is one further similiar issue that turns up when you try to run the installed application. The X-Plane program has slightly different needs than the installer. For the 64bit application to run you’ll need to create this symlink as well:

ln -s /usr/lib64/libudev.so.1 /usr/lib64/libudev.so.0

With that done you should be able to just run the executable. If you still have that command prompt open though, which is how I run it, you can check to see if you’ve satisfied all of the installers dependencies with the ldd command. My executable is called ‘X-Plane 10 Installer Linux’ so I run:

ldd ./X-Plane 10 Installer Linux in the terminal from the folder containing the installer which gives me a list of needed files and their locations. If you see any lines that say ‘Not Found’ you can use ‘whatprovides’ to find them:

yum whatprovides */libX11-xcb.so.1 for instance, and yum will output the package name you need to install to satisfy the requirement. Keep an eye out for i686 versus x64_86 packages. On a 64bit system you have to specify .i686 at the end of the package so that it will install the non-default 32bit version, as we did in our first ‘yum install’ command.

With all of that done, just run the command to launch the program and you’ll be all set. For me:

./X-Plane 10 Installer Linux and the ‘X-System’ installer comes up as expected. Make sure you have you DVD in the drive, or mount the ISO from a network share like I do, and you’re off and running.

Once installed, you can choose to run either X-Plane-i386 or X-Plane-x86_64. Both will work though the x86_64 version can take advantage of more than 4GB of RAM, a limitation of i386.

Happy Flying!

Camera Equipment Change… Again.

It seems like every year or so I rethink my photography equipment and make some changes. I’ve gone through many variations of my day-to-day photography kit but I seem to keep reducing the amount of automation present in the system.

My plan for this coming year is to spend as much time with a manual focus, mechanical camera system as I can. I am keeping my Nikon F80s, Nikon F5 and Nikon D7000 but I’ve sold off my spare Nikon N80s, and Nikon FE bodies. When the situation requires digital or highly automated film shooting I will have those bodies available, but my day-to-day system will be based on the Nikon FM.

The Nikon FM is a fully mechanical camera that Nikon built and sold between 1977 and 1982. The camera does take a battery but it powers only the metering system and does not affect the shutter operation. If you have no batteries, the camera still works normally, you’ll just need to meter your scene in some other way. In use, the camera looks very similar to and functions similarly to the Nikon FE but the FE uses the batteries both for metering and for shutter operation; When your batteries start to get low, the camera stops working properly.

I’ve been using a Nikon FM with a 28mm F/2.8 lens as my day-to-day camera for at least a year and I’ve spent some time over the past few weeks researching and expanding my compatible lenses. I am keeping my Nikon 28mm F/2.8 lens, which has become my favorite focal length, but I’ve also added some ‘new’ glass as well.

In my research I discovered that Nikon made a series of lenses, the E Series, that were sold as a more budget friendly line of lenses. In many cases Nikon took the same glass that was in their higher end lenses and packaged them in less robust bodies. In an ironic twist, these lower end lenses are built as well if not better than the new stuff Nikon is selling today. Over time to reduce weight and cost many lenses are now mostly plastic but these lenses are almost totally made of metal. They feel quite solid in the hand and are very smooth to use.

The E Series glass is still seen as ‘lower quality’ today than its counterparts and sells for very low prices. I’ve purchased a 50mm F/1.8 lens, a 135mm F/2.8 lens and a 70-210 F/4 lens for just barely over $100, combined. Together with my 28mm F/2.8 lens and my TC-200 2x tele-converter I should have a fairly flexible kit. I am looking around for something 24mm or wider, as well as a macro lens, and a 300mm F/4.5 lens but they are low priorities. The kit I have assembled shouldn’t have any trouble getting me through this year.

In addition, I’ve also purchased a second Nikon FM body. I usually shoot Kodak Portra 400 @ ISO3200 in the Nikon FM so with the addition of a second body I’ll be able to keep available a slower film for shooting outdoors. The Portra 400 Pushed to 3200 looks great and gives me the speed I need to shoot indoors and in very low light but with the FM’s fastest shutter speed being 1/1000 of a second, slower speed films are a must outdoors.

The next step for this year will be to learn more about lens filters and how they can, and should, be used. Obviously, with the slower shutter speed of these cameras, I’ll be looking into ND filters to reduce the light hitting the film but I also want to look more into the various other correction filters that can be used for many different purposes like color balancing for different lighting situations.

I may do some short post about the various lenses I’ve picked up if I find them interesting in and of themselves. We’ll see…

Robert

Building an Inexpensive iSCSI SAN on Centos 6

I was recently given an HP DL360 G4 server with two 36GB SCSI disks. At first blush the system is of little use in todays tech landscape due to it’s low storage capacity and limited processor feature set. My unit has two Intel Xeon processors at 3.0Ghz without Intel’s VT technology and 4GB of RAM. It would make a good single use server for many functions and would grow in usefulness as it’s storage capacity increased. SCSI hardware has fallen out of general use in recent years and has been superseded by SAS, or Serial Attached SCSI, in much the same way that for desktop machines SATA has replaced PATA. We’ve gotten to a point where moving one stream of data really fast is more efficient than moving several streams together but at lower speed.

With this in mind, I started doing a little research on Ebay for larger capacity SCSI drives that I could swap into this machine. I was able to find mountains of SCSI disks for pretty reasonable prices but again and again the HP Storage Works 30, better known as the HP MSA30, kept popping up. There are loads of them on Ebay these days fully loaded with 36GB, 73GB, or 146GB SCSI disks. I did a little research and discovered that the MSA30 is a 14 disk SCSI enclosure with no real onboard intelligence; It’s just a box with 14 hot-swap SCSI disks and a SCSI port or two on the back. The unit supports the final SCSI protocol that saw any real success in the market, SCSI Ultra-320, meaning it can move data at 320MB/s. The MSA30 had the option of being configured with a single SCSI bus for all 14 disks or two buses, each handling 7 drives. Depending on your needs you would pick the configuration that would suit you best. It is possible to fully saturate a SCSI bus so if you were concerned about the bus being a bottleneck, you could improve you theoretical throughput by splitting the disks across two buses and having 640MB/s of throughput available. My intention is to build a SAN that operates over a Gigabit network though, which means the theoretical maximum speed for me is 120MB/s. Bus saturation is not a concern.

With the MSA30 in mind I began to do some research on the supported SCSI RAID cards available. The DL360 G4 server has two full height PCI-X slots, one is full length and the other is half length. If you’ve never seen a full length card before, they are more than 12″ long and not the size you’re likely to see in a desktop computer. HP was selling the Smart Array 6400 series cards with the MSA30 units. The cards with external ports, the 6402 and 6404, are the ones I was interested in. The 6402 has two external SCSI VHDCI ports and the 6404 has four, both are full length cards to the DL360 G4 can only house one of these cards.

With my research complete I took to Ebay and started buying up parts. When all was said and done, two MSA30s were purchased plus a Smart Array 6402. I also planned to use an Adaptec 29320 card I had lying around. It’s a PCI-X card but it’s not full length and will comfortable fit into the server with the 6402. After a quick stop over at Monoprice.com for 3′ SCSI VHDCI cables to connect the MSA30’s to the SCSI cards, it was time to begin the build.

I began by setting up the DL360 with Centos 6, my current favorite linux distribution. I did a minimal installation and added in the necessary bits to install and setup the HP tools I needed for management. I wanted to be able to use the web based RAID configuration tool as well as the other web based system management tools they make available. It wasn’t too hard to do but it’s likely worth it’s own post. From there I started to provision all of this new storage.

One of the MSA30s I purchased was loaded with 14 146GB 10k disks and a single SCSI bus. Since this was to be the lower performance unit I hooked it up to the Adaptec card and disabled all of it’s onboard RAID tools. The unit supports RAID1, RAID1 and RAID10 but it wasn’t able to utilize all 14 disks in a single RAID10, which was my goal, so I used the linux based MDADM software RAID tools instead. I created on large RAID10 which totals just shy of 1TB of storage. Performance testing tells me that I am able to write to the enclosure at, on average, 130MB/s and I can read at 222MB/s. It’s likely that I could do some performance tuning to increase that a bit but since it’s faster than the 1Gb link the iSCSI SAN will run it, there is no reason to.

The second of the MSA30s came with 14 146GB 15k disks and two SCSI buses. This was to be the high performance unit so I wired up each 7 disk group to a port on the Smart Array 6402 and I used the HP RAID config tools to build the RAID10 array. The card I bought has a working battery backup so I enabled write caching, which in concert with the faster disks and dual SCSI buses provided higher performance than the first array. When tested identically to the first array the second MSA30 give an average write speed of 169MB/s. It’s read speed though is twice as fast as the other array and comes in at just about 460MB/s. Had I been using a single SCSI bus that could have been no faster then 320MB/s so there is certainly a performance improvement for the dual-bus enclosure. Depending on the work load you plan to put on the MSA30 getting the dual bus enclosure could certainly make sense.

From there it was a simple matter to configure the NICs on the server and then setup the iSCSI server. I have one NIC on my main network and the second is on a separate network dedicated to just iSCSI traffic. I used this guide (http://www.server-world.info/en/note?os=CentOS_6&p=iscsi) to setup the iSCSI server though I didn’t use logical volumes.

The HP DL360 G4 server I used was given to me so it cost me nothing but they sell on Ebay these days for $40-$60 dollars. I bought two MSA30 units and I paid $140 a piece for them with free shipping. I paid $18 for the Smart Array 6402 and just shy of $70 for the three SCSI VHDCI cables I needed to wire everything up. In total, the whole system cost me less than $400, which is incredibly cheap for a high performance iSCSI SAN, even if I do say so myself!

Topslakr’s Tweet’s for 2012-10-07

  • @historyteach46 well now, your first real rainbow. You must be excited! #
  • @jcrclarksonesq Good luck.. and don’t forget to drive into the back of whatever @MrJamesMay is sitting in, preferably near a cliff. #
  • (Because I'm a fool) I was looking up the cost to process and digitize Super 8 footage and it's less than I thought. Roughly $35/roll. #
  • You pay $20 for a 50 foot cartridge of Super 8 film. Once you shoot it, you pay $18 to get it developed and then $0.32/foot for HD scanning. #

Topslakr’s Tweet’s for 2012-09-30

  • @historyteach46 even the jars look excited! #
  • @seawoulfe Bidding early drives up the price. I always wait until the last 20 seconds to bid. It’s best best way to get it cheap! #
  • @seawoulfe Excellent. It’s always good to win! #
  • I've been running a single file copy operation for more than 4 days. It's nearly 50% done now. Looks like it could finish Friday. #
  • Film shooters: My wife wants a TLR. I like to shoot really wide angle stuff. Are the Mamiya interchangeable lens TLRs any good? #
  • Sunny and drizzle on the ride home can only mean one thing. http://t.co/QkUDbzNu #
  • @suescustom much better than the one @historyteach46 posted! #
  • @coldkennels @jbphoto Seriously refined. I shot more than 40k images in my first year with a DSLR. #
  • @jbphoto @coldkennels On the weddings I shoot 2nd, the main photographer shoots around 3000 images. #
  • @coldkennels @jbphoto I know, I know. I was young and stupid… now I’m just stupid. 1671 frames of film shot this year to date… #
  • @coldkennels @jbphoto Lightroom tells me all I need to know… and then some! #
  • @TomWelland next time use ‘join.me’ it’s free and let’s you remote control some ones computer, with permission of course! #
  • @OldSchoolLab @kimunscripted Maybe an interactive form online that generates the completed paperwork with the math done? #
  • @OldSchoolLab @kimunscripted @perfectpercept @lenire I was thinking that the customer prints the filled form and sends it with the film. #
  • @OldSchoolLab @lenire @perfectpercept @kimunscripted My idea: Instead of a blank form you enter the info online and print a complete one. #
  • @OldSchoolLab @lenire @perfectpercept @kimunscripted No change on your side, no math on the customer side. Keep it simple… #
  • My boss is coming up from Boston to visit our NH offices tomorrow. My office looks like a tornado hit it, so I have a fair bit if work ahead #
  • My office really isn't going to be much tidier than this… http://t.co/3QeLFklV #
  • @stevetheberge I’m sure I don’t know what you mean! I was just an innocent guy taking a picture of his off, honest mister! #
  • A little wet tonight at the Deerfield fair… http://t.co/hcoAem6M #

Topslakr’s Tweet’s for 2012-09-23

  • @jcrclarksonesq @thehamsterscage It may be stacked in their favor.. but they did manage to get separated last time… the need the help! #
  • @smalldoseszine I am still listening to No Shadow. Awesome awesome song. #
  • I bought my first pack of @ImpossibleUSA film today. I’m cautiously optimistic about how it will turn out. #
  • @suescustom @historyteach46 What happened? #
  • Power’s been out for a couple hours… which is nice. Any stiff breeze seems enough to take out @psnh around here. #
  • @MsHsKidQuotes It would be hard to recreate the smell of that outhouse… #
  • @jbphoto Three packs on their way to me… my first Impossible film. With the $2 SX-70 rainbow I found.. I had to get some film! #
  • @jbphoto I’m still dealing with the sticker shock.. I spent a lot of money for 24 exposures! #
  • @jbphoto Well, except that a frame from a 120 camera could be blown up and enjoyed in amazing detail. This is my first ‘Lo-Fi’ endeavor too. #
  • @jbphoto Why didn’t he just.. Goto Staples? #
  • @CA_tea Did you get new pearls? #
  • @CA_tea did a new batch of jasmine pearls come in? #
  • I need to transfer nearly 6000GBs and the fastest link I have available is 100Mb ethernet. This is going to take a while… #
  • It seems my iPhone has shipped… so far so good. It even appears to be setup to arrive tomorrow. #
  • @smalldoseszine More to the point.. where do I go to get these sweet sweet deals on cassettes! #
  • Hmm. Nice turn of events. I suspect both my @ImpossibleUSA film and my iPhone will arrive tomorrow. It'll be like Christmas! #
  • iPhone 5 has arrived. Initial impression: Feels great in the hand. The height looks weird to me but it looks otherwise quite stunning. #
  • iPhone 5 does remind me, a bit, of Darth Vader. #
  • I remember being struck by the quality of the iPhone 4 display. Display quality on the 5 is also great but it’s now right on the surface. #
  • AT&T put an 8.5×11” color laser printed sheet in the box with the iPhone 5 advertising cases… Odd. #
  • The process of restoring my iCloud back to setup the iPhone 5 is great. I’m Just where I left off on the iPhone 4, and it took only a minute #
  • The only problem so far is that the new Apple headphones don't fit my ears. No surprise there… #
  • @jbphoto Let me recommend then, that you get the ‘little’ burger. Also, two people can easily share a regular french fry :) Sooo Goood! #
  • @jbphoto They fill the fry cup, tuck it into the bag and them dump a bunch more fries in on top. Might ask for we’ll done fries though… #

Topslakr’s Tweet’s for 2012-09-23

  • @jcrclarksonesq @thehamsterscage It may be stacked in their favor.. but they did manage to get separated last time… the need the help! #
  • @smalldoseszine I am still listening to No Shadow. Awesome awesome song. #
  • I bought my first pack of @ImpossibleUSA film today. I’m cautiously optimistic about how it will turn out. #
  • @suescustom @historyteach46 What happened? #
  • Power’s been out for a couple hours… which is nice. Any stiff breeze seems enough to take out @psnh around here. #
  • @MsHsKidQuotes It would be hard to recreate the smell of that outhouse… #
  • @jbphoto Three packs on their way to me… my first Impossible film. With the $2 SX-70 rainbow I found.. I had to get some film! #
  • @jbphoto I’m still dealing with the sticker shock.. I spent a lot of money for 24 exposures! #
  • @jbphoto Well, except that a frame from a 120 camera could be blown up and enjoyed in amazing detail. This is my first ‘Lo-Fi’ endeavor too. #
  • @jbphoto Why didn’t he just.. Goto Staples? #
  • @CA_tea Did you get new pearls? #
  • @CA_tea did a new batch of jasmine pearls come in? #
  • I need to transfer nearly 6000GBs and the fastest link I have available is 100Mb ethernet. This is going to take a while… #
  • It seems my iPhone has shipped… so far so good. It even appears to be setup to arrive tomorrow. #
  • @smalldoseszine More to the point.. where do I go to get these sweet sweet deals on cassettes! #
  • Hmm. Nice turn of events. I suspect both my @ImpossibleUSA film and my iPhone will arrive tomorrow. It'll be like Christmas! #
  • iPhone 5 has arrived. Initial impression: Feels great in the hand. The height looks weird to me but it looks otherwise quite stunning. #
  • iPhone 5 does remind me, a bit, of Darth Vader. #
  • I remember being struck by the quality of the iPhone 4 display. Display quality on the 5 is also great but it’s now right on the surface. #
  • AT&T put an 8.5×11” color laser printed sheet in the box with the iPhone 5 advertising cases… Odd. #
  • The process of restoring my iCloud back to setup the iPhone 5 is great. I’m Just where I left off on the iPhone 4, and it took only a minute #
  • The only problem so far is that the new Apple headphones don't fit my ears. No surprise there… #
  • @jbphoto Let me recommend then, that you get the ‘little’ burger. Also, two people can easily share a regular french fry :) Sooo Goood! #
  • @jbphoto They fill the fry cup, tuck it into the bag and them dump a bunch more fries in on top. Might ask for we’ll done fries though… #

Topslakr’s Tweet’s for 2012-09-16

  • @realdougwilson @linotypefilm I can’t wait to see the film! I am so excited! Thanks for all the hard work. #
  • @Lessien I hope they add more features to it. Perhaps it would also be good as a writing app or an interactive encyclopedia! #
  • I know I may be unique but I like my 3rd generation Kindle with the small keyboard. I would miss the keyboard if I upgraded it. #
  • So far so good. My iPhone 5 is ordered! #
  • @BrentButt @Lenny_Rules So.. is it awkward that I can easily identify what episode and scene that image is? #
  • I’ve come home exhausted after a long week to find a spotless house and dinner bubbling away. Life is good! #
  • Just scored an SX-70 with the Q-light flash for $2 at an antique shop! Quite a find! #believeinfilm http://t.co/KOMbyb4D #

Topslakr’s Tweet’s for 2012-09-16

  • @realdougwilson @linotypefilm I can’t wait to see the film! I am so excited! Thanks for all the hard work. #
  • @Lessien I hope they add more features to it. Perhaps it would also be good as a writing app or an interactive encyclopedia! #
  • I know I may be unique but I like my 3rd generation Kindle with the small keyboard. I would miss the keyboard if I upgraded it. #
  • So far so good. My iPhone 5 is ordered! #
  • @BrentButt @Lenny_Rules So.. is it awkward that I can easily identify what episode and scene that image is? #
  • I’ve come home exhausted after a long week to find a spotless house and dinner bubbling away. Life is good! #
  • Just scored an SX-70 with the Q-light flash for $2 at an antique shop! Quite a find! #believeinfilm http://t.co/KOMbyb4D #