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Installing the Observing Tool

A new OT (version 2014A.1.2.10) was released on March 5, 2014. This is an optional but recommended update. Be sure to sync any local changes (or save to XML). You will have to reenter any keys. The new features are described in the Release Notes.

The OT uses Java 6. On recent Intel Macs (Core 2 Duo or equivalent) Java 6 is available from Apple for OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and newer.  If you are having trouble running the OT on these machines, please check that youhave the latest Java update from Apple. Users with older 32-bit Intel (Core Duo or equivalent) Macs will need to upgrade to at least Snow Leopard (10.6) to get a 32-bit version of Java 6.  An alternative for these machines, including those running Tiger (10.4), is to run the OT under Linux in a virtual machine. Unfortunately, Apple does not provide Java 6 for older PowerPC Macs. 

This page contains instructions for downloading and installing the Observing Tool (OT). You can install the software on a network of workstations or, for best performance, on individual machines. This machine needs internet access to communicate with databases situated at the Gemini Observatory and with other on-line image and catalog servers. Anyone installing an OT for a multi-user environment should read the site-manager details

If you are installing the OT for the first time, please read the installation instructions. The OT installation files are located on the Gemini software site.

cautionPre-Upgrade Instructions

The OT stores programs that are created or fetched in a special local database in each user's home directory. The format of the binary files in this database is specific to each OT version and so they must be converted each time the OT is updated. For the 2014A update we suggest that you export all the programs in the 2013B OT local database to XML files (see the saving and loading help page for more details) for backup and reference. The "Bulk Export to a Selected Directory" option is useful for this.  Load old programs as needed from the XML backups or keep the 2013B OT for referencing them. We recommend that you download programs afresh from the ODB rather than import them from XML.

Additional Information

It is possible to have more than one version of the OT installed, though this can lead to a higher chance of confusion and problems. Each version of the OT will have its own, independent, local database.  Installing and running a new OT will not remove the database from the previous version. If you did not export your programs to XML and a new OT suddenly shows that you have nothing in your database, DON'T PANIC. As long as the ~/.jsky/spdb and ~/.ocs15 directories are not deleted then the previous database still exists, you just need to use the earlier version of the OT to export the programs to XML files.

The auto-update feature is not yet available in the 2014A OT so it must be installed from the distribution files until further notice. 

Installing the OT

Distribution files for the following operating systems are available:

  • Windows (XP / Vista / 7 / 8)
  • Solaris (10, 9 or 8 recommended)
  • Linux (Redhat Enterprise 5 or 6, or Fedora recommended, likely to be compatible with other distributions)
  • Mac OS X (Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion)

If you experience any problems installing or running the OT, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or known bugs pages for the latest information.

The OT software is available on the Gemini software site. This is an HTTPD server so you should use your web browser to download the files (follow this link to browse the OT directory). Depending on your browser, right or shift+click to save the file.

Alternatively you may request a CD-ROM containing all four operating system versions by e-mailing Bryan Miller (bmilleratgemini.edu).

Using the Gemini Observing Tool on Windows

The OT has been extensively tested on Windows XP and 7; the Windows version appears to be very stable. It has not been tested with Windows 8 but we have no reason to believe there will be problems in other Windows versions as long as the Java included in our distribution is used.

Installing on Windows

  • Download the current Windows distribution of the OT from the Gemini software site. Right or shift+click the file named ot_2014A.1.2.10_windows.exe (~95MB download).
  • The Windows distribution is provided as a Windows executable installer.
  • Use Windows Explorer to display the directory in which you downloaded the installer. You must have at least 157 Mbytes of disk space available to install the OT on Windows.
  • Double-click the installer executable. When the installation is completed, select "Close" to exit the installer.
  • The installation places a "Gemini\Observing Tool 2014A.1.2.10" folder in your Start menu. Double-clicking Observing Tool from this menu launches the OT.

Results from previous benchmarking of the OT are shown below. Sufficient memory appears to be the most important element affecting performance and, whilst OT will run with less, we suggest a minimum of 2GB of memory and a Core 2 Duo or newer processor when using the OT on the Windows platform.

Using the Observing Tool on Solaris

Solaris 8, 9 or 10 are the recommended Sun operating systems for running the OT. The OT has been extensively tested with Solaris 9.

For correct operation in all situations, you must run OT on a properly patched Solaris OS. The easiest way to gather Solaris patches is to follow the URL below:

Installing on Solaris

  • Download the current Solaris distribution of the OT from the Gemini software site. Right or shift+click the file named ot_2014A.1.2.10_solaris.tar.gz (~114MB download).
  • Use gunzip and tar to unpack the distribution:
    gunzip -c FILENAME.tar.gz | tar -xvf -
  • The distribution unpacks into a single directory named "ot_2014A.1.2.10_solaris".
  • Run the OT. You can use the complete path to the startup script, as shown below (where the $ represents your shell prompt), or you can include that directory in your PATH:
    ${where_you_untarred}/ot_2014A.1.2.10_solaris/ot_2014A.1.2.10

Results from previous benchmarking of the OT are shown below. Whilst OT may run with less, we suggest that the machine should be a recent UltraSparc with at least 512 megabytes of memory.

Using the Observing Tool on Redhat Linux

The OT can be used on recent RedHat Linux distributions, including Enterprise 4, 5, and 6, and Fedora. It has been extensively tested under Enterprise and Fedora up to Fedora 18. We have not heard of any problems on other Linux distributions.

Installing on Linux

  • Download the current Redhat Linux distribution of the OT from the Gemini software site. Follow the link to browse the ftp directory and right or shift+click the file named ot_2014A.1.2.10_linux64.tar.gz (64-bit) or ot_2014A.1.2.10_linux32.tar.gz (32-bit) (~100M download).
  • Use gunzip and tar to unpack the distribution:
    gunzip -c FILENAME.tar.gz | tar -xvf -
  • The distribution unpacks into a single directory named "ot_2014A.1.2.10_linux32" or "ot_2014A.1.2.10_linux64".
  • Make sure that the libgnome libraries are installed. These are needed to display file attachments. These can be installed with the following commands:
    Ubuntu/Debian
    sudo apt-get install libgnome2-bin
    RedHat-based
    sudo yum install libgnome
  • Run the OT. You can use the complete path to the startup script, as shown below (where the $ represents your shell prompt), or you can include that directory in your PATH.
    ${where_you_untarred}/ot_2014A.1.2.10_linux(32 or 64)/ot_2014A.1.2.10

Results from previous benchmarking of the OT are shown below. Sufficient memory appears to be the most important element affecting performance and, whilst OT may run with less, we suggest a minimum of 2GB of memory and a Core 2 Duo or newer processor when using the Observing Tool.

Using the Observing Tool on Mac OS X

The OT can be used on Mac OS X (Leopard and newer releases on Intel processors, with Java 1.6). On recent Intel Macs (Core 2 Duo or equivalent) Java 6 is available from Apple for OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and newer.  If you are having trouble running the OT on these machines, please check that you have the latest Java update from Apple. Users with older 32-bit Intel (Core Duo or equivalent) Macs either need to upgrade to at least Snow Leopard (10.6) to get a 32-bit version of Java 6 or run the OT in a Linux virtual machine.

Unfortunately, Apple does not provide Java 6 for older PowerPC Macs. 

Installing on Mac OS X

  • Download the current OS X distribution of the OT from the Gemini software site. Follow the link to browse the ftp directory and click the file named ot_2014A.1.2.10_macos.dmg (~68MB download).
  • The OS X release is provided as a mountable disk image. Simply double click on the disk image to mount it, then drag the Observing Tool icon to the Applications folder, your DeskTop, to the Dock or to any place you find convenient. Double click on the icon to launch the application. 

OT benchmarks

See the PIT installation page for somewhat related Java benchmarks.