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How to run the Toolkit under Linux

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:57 pm
by Stuart
This issue is a continuation from the old forum (RIP).

My issue is that as a Linux (Ubuntu) user I rarely use Windows. Having had a career in IT I get fed up with the unnecessary complications that it brings. But one thing I can't do under Linux (and there aren't many such things) is run the Toolkit.

There are three possible ways:

1) a native coded version: not available and a lot of work for the author. Still the best way. Why would anyone with technical skills want to use windows? It's a huge insecure kludge. Enough of that.

2) under a windows OS under Virtualbox. This I have tried but failed (XP/64 and Win10). Probably it can be done but I have not had the patience to delve deeply and find out why mine fails.

3) under WINE (a windows environment inside Linux). This also fails for the crucial tasks though some work (e.g. basic/html conversion).

If anyone has sorted out any of these routes I would be mighty grateful if they could share the secret.

Re: How to run the Toolkit under Linux

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:19 am
by Electroguard
My MX Linux experiences are similar to yours, and I suspect the linux Toolkit limitations are mostly due to inadequate windows device driver emulations, particularly in Wine.
It is on CiccioCB's ToDo list to create a cross-platform version of the Toolkit, but that will be a major new undertaking, and there are more immediate tasks to do.

Running Annex Toolkit in a Win7 vm hosted by VMware 15.5 does actually recognise the serial com port of many of my devices, including an FTDI UART which I use for all Sonoffs etc. Obviously I could use that FTDI UART to flash anything using its serial RX & TX, but usually if I have a device whose linux emulation of its usb com port driver is not recognised by windows, I just bite the bullet and dual-boot to run Toolkit from Win7... so I have not actually needed to use the linux flashing scripts yet.
Likewise for a serial console, usually I can avoid direct serial connection for debugging by using wlog, or udp... and I have not needed to find a linux gui serial console yet, but I expect they exist.

The Toolkit UDP Console is not an essential requirement to use UDP, because it's easy to create a simple UDP Console in Annex to show incoming UDP messages in a textbox$ (RX), and another textbox$ (TX) to send UDP messages.
I don't even need to keep available a special UDP Console device, cos I build in a UDP Console facility to all my scripts now, allowing me to connect by browser to any device and send/receive to any other device.
It is nearly as easy to UDP your debug msg as it is to WLOG your msg.

It is ok to use WLOG for your debug msgs, but it should be used sparingly like an expensive taxi rather than being overloaded like a free bus ride, else problems can happen if it is over-used. And it might not be much use anyway unless remembering to tick the Editors 'Stop Log' checkbox so that it only shows your specific debug requests and error msgs (but be aware that currently it needs to be done every time the Editor window is opened).

I have a boring new year video which shows an Annex UDP Console being used to control another device.
I think it enabled internet access to the normally isolated Annex system, allowing the Sentry Timeserver to sync to internet time, then disabled internet access again afterwards.
It also shows how a docking bar can make a handy single-click launcher for connecting to Annex devices. Another handy hint is that I launch my Annex devices using the Falkon browser, so that they can be opened and closed without interfering with anything else opened in Firefox.