[pskmail] Seamless integration of Pskmail Server with Windows

  • From: John Douyere <vk2eta@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: pskmail@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 6 May 2010 12:59:44 +1000

I was in discussion with Steven (VK2BOS) two days ago while he was testing
connections to my server and he mentioned various test he did to run Linux
under Windows. He reported the usual performance issues with virtual
machines and mentioned that a new packaged solution was available called
andLinux.

I tested this solution yesterday on Windows XP and I have to say I am very
impressed.

It provides a Linux system (Ubuntu in this case) but without having to
resort to a virtual machine per say. Consequently the memory usage and
overheads are minimal.

This is ideal in my opinion for operators who want a server without having
to switch to Linux for all of their applications and don't have loads of CPU
speed and memory to run virtual machines nor maybe the inclination to get
these VMs setup and going.

I tested the server v1.01 configuration and on a dual-core 1.2Ghz laptop I
was down to less than 10% with Fldigi minimized on the allocated CPU core
(it cannot use multiple cores) and up to around 20% with Fldigi window
visible and the waterfall on normal (THOR22 decoding).

The installation was quite strait forward too.

The key steps are:

1. Install andLinux. Change audio settings to allow for audio in.

2. Download and run the server install script.

3. Download and un-pack Fldigi

4. Run and configure.

Here are the details for each steps:

1. Install andLinux.

Details of andLinux are at  http://www.andlinux.org/

I chose the minimal install with XFCE windows manager.

Direct link for download:
http://downloads.sourceforge.net/andlinux/andlinux-beta2-minimal.exe

At installation, choose the default options, except (at your discretion)
that I chose the COFS option for file sharing with the windows file system
and manual launch of andLinux as an NT service.

Remember the username and password entered, they will be used later on.

This install will create among other shortcuts a small application launcher
in the system tray.

Audio recording is disabled by default for some reason. Re-enable it by
editing the default.pa file in the  C:\Program Files\andLinux\pulseaudio\
directory (adjust for different install path).

In the default.pa <http://xxx.pa> file, change the statement "load-module
module-waveout record=0" with "load-module module-waveout record=1".

Reboot the PC to ensure pulseaudio is using the latest configuration.

After Windows restart, if you chose the manual start of andLinux, start it
now from the start menu (andLinux/Start andLinux).

You may have to give it a few seconds before proceeeding to the next step to
ensure the Linux system is started (otherwise you get a "cannot connect"
message).

2. Download and run the server install script.

From the andLinux application launcher in the system tray, launch a
terminal. In the terminal, type firefox <enter> to bring the web browser
from within Linux. You could do this from Windows but you would have to move
files around after.

Navigate to the usual Pskmail wiki and download the server install script:
serverinstaller-1.0.1.sh<http://www.pskmail.it/mirror/sharon.esrac.ele.tue.nl/pub/linux/ham/pskmail/serverinstaller-1.0.1.sh>(for
example or a later version). It will be by default in the Desktop
directory.

From a linux terminal window (see how to launch above), navigate to download
folder, by default "cd Desktop". If you want to check that you have the
install script there type "ls" (that is lower-case-L and lower-case-S) to
see the content of the directory.

Change the permission of the script to execute with:

chmod +x serverinstaller-1.0.1.sh

Then run the script as the superuser with:

sudo ./serverinstaller-1.0.1.sh
Enter your password as provided during installation.

Press enter at all prompts until finished.

Make sure all users have execute & read access to the server executables
(they are not always set as so in the distribution) with:

sudo chmod 777 /usr/local/share/pskmail_server/*

Also make sure the user's folder for pskmail configuration is own by the
user and not root with:

sudo chown -R yourusername:yourusername .pskmail
Note the ":" between the two usernames and the "." before the pskmail folder
name. Replace "yourusername" with the username you entered during andLinux
installation.


3. Download and un-pack Fldigi

Back to the FireFox web browser window, navigate to Fldigi downloads.
Download the Linux versions WITH pulseaudio (NOT the "npa" version).

In the previous Linux terminal, in the Desktop folder there should be the
Fldigi download. Check with "ls". Extract the files with:

tar -xf fldigi-3.20.11.bin.tgz



4. Run

In the same terminal type:

fldigi &
pskmail_server


This will launch Fldigi then the pskmail server. Here you are with a new
server...

When Fldigi starts it will promt for basic informations. You should strait
away set the proper configuration as per the Pskmail manual (in tabs ID,
Misc/sweetspot and Misc/pskmail).

But also you should change in the audio tab of the configuration the device
used. Select PulseAudio and leave the "Server String" blank. Save the
configuration.

Note that the server will ask for call details and GPS location every time
it starts until you update the configuration file
(pskmailrc.pl<http://pskmail_rc.pl>).


The easiest way to edit that document is to use the file manager called
Thunar in the andLinux launcher (in the system tray). Once launched, press
CTRL-H to show hidden files (the ones starting with a dot).

Double click on .pskmail to open that directory.

Find pskmailrc.pl and double click on it as this will open it for editing.
Change the following lines below.

$ServerCall = "N0CAL";
replace NOCAL with your server name (e.g. VK2ETA-2).

$relay = "mysmtpserver";
replace mysmtpserver with your email smtp (outgoing) server name (i.e
smtp.myisp.com).

my $latitude = "0000.00N";    # format: decimal degrees x 100 + decimal
minutes xxxx.xxN
my $longitude = "00000.00E";  # format: decimal degrees x 100 + decimal
minutes xxxxx.xxE
Enter your coordinates (even approximative) using the format above.

I also suggest you change the line $scanner = "S"; to $scanner = ""; so that
changes of mode and scanning are disabled. You can enable this later when
you are satisfied your server works.

All the rest can be left as is. Save and relaunch the pskmail_server: in the
terminal window, press CTRL-C to stop the server and restart with a
"pskmail_server".



To create launch icons in the Windows desktop do the following:

Right click on the normal Windows desktop, select new and shortcut. Enter
the path to the program:

"c:\Program Files\andLinux\Launcher\andCmd.exe" Desktop/fldigi

Then click next and enter the name of the application: for example "Fldigi
(Linux)" and click finish.

Repeat for the Pskmail server using the following path:

"C:\Program Files\andLinux\Launcher\andCmd.exe" xfterm4 pskmail_server

And "Voila". Great integration between Windows and LInux.

If you keep Fldigi minimized you will use minimum resources.

On my dual core 1.2GHz machine the whole exercise uses less than 25MB or RAM
and less than 5% of the CPU on a dual core 1.2GHz laptop. Some modes are
more CPU demanding than others. This was measured with THO22 as the
listening mode. It seems that the PSKR modes are more CPU hungry.

Enjoy.

Thank you Steven (VK2BOS) for this great information. Steven is located
around 50KM west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains and is interested in remote
messaging application for WICEN, our emergency Amateur services in
Australia.

Best 73s,

John (VK2ETA)

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