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ID Date Author Topic Subject
  160   13 Oct 2004 Konstantin OlchanskiSuggestionNo al_clear_alarm()?
We have al_trigger_alarm(), but no matching al_clear_alarm(), and I need it to
clear my alarm once the alarm condition no longer exists. Any objections if I
add this function? K.O.
  159   13 Oct 2004 Stefan RittBug Reportsilly odbedit "rename Display xxx/yyy"
> odbedit command "rename Display xxx/yyy" creates a key named "xxx/yyy" (yes,
> with a slash in the name) and this key cannot be deleted or renamed...
> K.O.

"rename" is "rename", not "mv" under Unix. If you want this functionality, put it
in and don't complain!
  158   13 Oct 2004 Konstantin OlchanskiBug Reportsilly odbedit "rename Display xxx/yyy"
odbedit command "rename Display xxx/yyy" creates a key named "xxx/yyy" (yes,
with a slash in the name) and this key cannot be deleted or renamed...
K.O.
  157   13 Oct 2004 Stefan RittBug Reportdb_paste: found string exceeding MAX_STRING_LENGTH
Can you attach 

/twist/data_onl/current/run17548.odb

so I can reproduce the problem?
  156   13 Oct 2004 Konstantin OlchanskiBug Reportdb_paste: found string exceeding MAX_STRING_LENGTH
I am updating TWIST to the latest MIDAS and when I load a saved .odb file, I get
these messages. Their text ought to say where and what strings it does not like.
K.O.



[twistonl@midtwist ~/online]$ odbedit
Please define environment variable 'MIDASSYS'
pointing to the midas installation directory.
[local:twist:S]/>load /twist/data_onl/current/run17548.odb
[odb.c:5600:db_paste] found string exceeding MAX_STRING_LENGTH
[odb.c:5600:db_paste] found string exceeding MAX_STRING_LENGTH
[odb.c:5600:db_paste] found string exceeding MAX_STRING_LENGTH
  155   08 Oct 2004 Konstantin OlchanskiInfoIncreased number of clients in midas.h, important!
>    A lot of programs have a commandline option, such as "--version", where they return the program version number then exit.  As well as the
> program version number, the version number of the midas library it's linked with could also be returned (There can be more than one
> libmidas.so on a system and this would show which one was currently being linked)

This would solve the versioning problem for midas built from versionned tarballs, and I am considering a similar scheme for midas installed from
RPMs. But what do I do for midas built from CVS?!? K.O.
  154   08 Oct 2004 chris pearsonInfoIncreased number of clients in midas.h, important!
> > For one thing, looking at a given midas-using executable, how do I tell what version of midas it has inside?
> 
> Ther is a function cm_get_version() returning the version. As for the executable, all you can do is a
> 
> strings <executable> | grep 1.9

   A lot of programs have a commandline option, such as "--version", where they return the program version number then exit.  As well as the
program version number, the version number of the midas library it's linked with could also be returned (There can be more than one
libmidas.so on a system and this would show which one was currently being linked)

   Something I would find useful would be for the version number to identify precisely which version you have, i.e. not to have different
versions of midas given the same version number.  I've had problems earlier this year due to midas-1.9.3 changing several times between
January and July, while keeping the same number.  I think if "in-between" versions of midas are to be made available, they should contain a
revision number or date or something in the version number to identify them.

> For remote connections (through mserver), there is already a version check. If the minor version differs, you get a warning, if the major
> versions differ (1.>>9<<.4), the client won't start. So at least for remote connection you get a clue.

   Safety measures like these can sometimes get in the way, if you know what you're doing.  So unless there is absolutely no possibility of
success, I think checks such as this one should be overrideable (by a client option).

Chris
  153   04 Oct 2004 Stefan RittInfoIncreased number of clients in midas.h, important!
> Right. We cannot fix the past, but we should fix the future. BTW, "do not mix versions" is hard to enforce and mismatches did, do and
> will happen

For remote connections (through mserver), there is already a version check. If the minor version differs, you get a warning, if the major
versions differ (1.>>9<<.4), the client won't start. So at least for remote connection you get a clue.

> For one thing, looking at a given midas-using executable, how do I tell what version of midas it has inside?

Ther is a function cm_get_version() returning the version. As for the executable, all you can do is a

strings <executable> | grep 1.9
  152   03 Oct 2004 Konstantin OlchanskiInfoIncreased number of clients in midas.h, important!
> However, we are planning to make a new release 1.9.5 soon (next week), so can can people tell not to "mix" 1.9.5 with pre-1.9.5 programs.

Right. We cannot fix the past, but we should fix the future. BTW, "do not mix versions" is hard to enforce and mismatches did, do and
will happen. For one thing, looking at a given midas-using executable, how do I tell what version of midas it has inside?

K.O.
  151   03 Oct 2004 Stefan RittInfoIncreased number of clients in midas.h, important!
> Stefan, to avoid confusion from crashes caused by incompatible ODBs would it be possible to add a "version number" to ODB,
together with a check and an error message 
> saying "oops... incompatible ODB, please rebuild your programs"? We tend to have different versions of midas floating around and
users have old executables stashed away, 
> and all this makes it rather difficult to manually keep track on what ODB is compatible with what midas.

I fully agree that a version number in ODB is a good thing, and I certainly will put one there, but this won't help for old
applications. If I add new code which checks in cm_connect_experiment() if the version number matches, this will only help for new
applications connecting to old ODBs. If old applications (prior to invention of the version number) connect to a new ODB, they still
will crash.

However, we are planning to make a new release 1.9.5 soon (next week), so can can people tell not to "mix" 1.9.5 with pre-1.9.5
programs.
  150   03 Oct 2004 Konstantin OlchanskiInfomscb usb support for macosx
After a felicitous confuence of stellar bodies (Stefan, myself, some mscb hardware
and a mac laptop all in the same room for a few days), I wrote some MacOSX
code to support the MSCB-USB dongle using the native IoKit USB API. During testing,
I was able to communicate with an MSCB High voltage regulator module. I am now
commiting this code to CVS, warts and all (we can clean it up when somebody actually
uses it). Tested compilation on Linux (with libusb) and MacOSX (native
IoKit. MacOSX+libusb is possible but untested), Win32 should be unaffected by my changes,
but I could not test it.
K.O.
  149   03 Oct 2004 Konstantin OlchanskiInfoIncreased number of clients in midas.h, important!
> It is important to note that clients compiled
> with the old limits cannot coexist with clients compiled with the new limits. You will get
> ODB corruption notifications and everything will crash, and you wonder where this comes from.
> 
> So once you CVS update midas.h, revision 1.139, please make sure to recompile *ALL* your
> midas applications with the new midas.h.

Stefan, to avoid confusion from crashes caused by incompatible ODBs would it be possible to add a "version number" to ODB, together with a check and an error message 
saying "oops... incompatible ODB, please rebuild your programs"? We tend to have different versions of midas floating around and users have old executables stashed away, 
and all this makes it rather difficult to manually keep track on what ODB is compatible with what midas.

K.O.
  148   03 Oct 2004 Stefan RittInfoIntroduction of new transition scheme
A new transition scheme has been implemented and committed. Previously, one had the
possibility to register for PRE/POST transitions, which was necessary in order to first
stop the frontends, then stop the logger to close the data file. While this scheme
long time has proven to be successful, it was now concluded that three levels
(PRESTROP/STOP/POSTSTOP for example) are not suffucient in some cases. Therefore,
a true sequence-based scheme has been introduced, implemented and committed.

The PRE/POST transition have been removed and an extra parameter "sequence_number"
has been added to cm_register_transition. If clients register with different
sequence numbers, their RPC transition function is executed according to their
sequnce number, smaller numbers being executed prior to larger numbers.

The frontends register at sequence number 500 for example, while the logger
registers with 200 for start and 800 for stop, making sure it's called after the
frontend(s) when stopping a run. The default numbers can be changed from within
the user code with the new function cm_set_transition_sequence(). This way, it is
for example possible to have all frontends being called in a certain sequence
when starting and stopping runs.

The modification will (hopefully) not have any influence of existing experiemnts,
as long as they don't call cm_register_transition directly. If so however, one has
to add the additional parameter to this function.
  147   29 Sep 2004 Stefan RittInfoIncreased number of clients in midas.h, important!
Due to some request several limitations like the maximal number of clients to the ODB have 
been increased in midas.h and committed to CVS. It is important to note that clients compiled
with the old limits cannot coexist with clients compiled with the new limits. You will get
ODB corruption notifications and everything will crash, and you wonder where this comes from.

So once you CVS update midas.h, revision 1.139, please make sure to recompile *ALL* your
midas applications with the new midas.h.

Stefan
  146   28 Sep 2004 Piotr ZolnierczukForumMIDAS/MVME167/Linux
Hi,
 has anyone tried runnning midas frontend on a Linux running 
on a Motorola MVME167 motorola embedded CPU?
I have seen people running Linux on a MV167 
(http://www.sleepie.demon.co.uk/linuxvme/)
so in principle this can be done.

The reason I am asking is that we have a lot of them in house 
and we would like to avoid paying for VxWorks
(I have succesfully run Midas on a mvme167/VxWorks node)

Or maybe one has come up with a much better solution 
[short of dumping mv167 into a sewer :)]

Piotr
  39   21 Sep 2004 Stefan Ritt ODB-EPICS gateway
The easiest way to achieve this is to write a new class driver, probably derived
from the multi.c class driver. One has just to rename all "output" with "write"
(or better "ODB2EPICS") and all "input" with "EPICS2ODB". The multi class driver
handles already a factor/offset for each channel (which could be 1/0 of course),
a threshold to update the ODB/EPICS only when a value changes significantly, to
retrieve labes from the bus driver (EPICS labes -> ODB settings), automatic
event generation and error handling. So it would be a good starting point.

What one gets from the class driver in the ODB is:

  /equipment/<name>/
     variables/
        Input[]     <--- read from the bus driver (float)
        Output[]    <--- witten to the bus driver (float)
     settings/
        Names Input[]        <--- human readable names
        Names Output[]       <--- human readable names
        Update Threshold[]
        Input Offset[]
        Input Factor[]
        Output Offset[]
        Output Factor[]
        Devices/
           Input/
              DD/   <--- parameters for Device Driver
                 ... Epics addresses, flags etc.
              BD/   <--- parameters for Bus Driver
           Output/
        
So if one uses the standard mfe.c code together with the multi.c class driver
and epics_ca.c device driver all what is left is the following:

- replace cd_gen.c by multi.c in the examples/epics directory
- break down the already existing flags into enable epics/write/events
- maybe add th EPICS read period

The last two things should be done in the epics_ca.c device driver, so one can
use the multi.c class driver without any change. Event generation and error
handling then comes for free.
  38   21 Sep 2004 Konstantin Olchanski ODB-EPICS gateway
At TRIUMF, we use several different versions of code to interface MIDAS and
EPICS (http://www.aps.anl.gov/epics). Now that we more or less understand
our needs, I propose this design for a simplified "EPICS" MIDAS frontend. I
would like to keep this new front end in the MIDAS CVS repository, possibly
replacing the existing EPICS frontend in examples/epics.

The basic idea is to provide an ODB-driven bi-directional gateway between
EPICS and ODB with this functionality: periodically read EPICS data and save
it in ODB, optionally generate MIDAS events with EPICS data; for writing
data to EPICS, use hotlinks- if the user changes "write" variables in ODB,
the changes are sent to EPICS.

1) ODB structure
   /equipment/epicsgw/
     common/...
     statistics/...
     variables/
       epics[...] <--- EPICS->ODB data (double[])
       write[...] <--- ODB->EPICS data (double[])
     settings/
       num epics  <--- number of epics variables (int)
       num write  <--- number of write variables (int)
       names epics <--- human-readable names for EPICS variables (string[])
       names write <--- human-readable names for EPICS variables (string[])
       chans epics <--- EPICS channels for epics-read data (string[])
       chans write <--- EPICS channels for epics-write data (string[])
       period      <--- EPICS read period in milliseconds (int[])
       enable epics <-- enable (y/n) epics-read (bool[])
       enable write <-- enable (y/n) epics-write (bool[])
       enable events <- enable event generation (bool)

2) EPICS to ODB data path: periodically read each enabled "epics" variable
and write the data values to ODB. Other front ends can hotlink the "epics"
variables to receive updated epics data.

3) ODB to EPICS data path: monitor the hotlink to ".../variables/write". If
data changes, send the changes to EPICS. At startup, write all "write"
variables to EPICS.

4) event generation: TBD.

5) error handling: TBD.

K.O.
  42   16 Sep 2004 Stefan Ritt midas odb locking
> I will add a timeout of 10 minutes, then shutdown the ODB client with an error message.

I added a timeout handling to db_lock_database. It was already present in
ss_mutex_wait_for, so it was just a matter of passing the status up the calling stack.
ODBEdit stops if it cannot obtain a lock after 5 minutes.
  41   15 Sep 2004 Konstantin Olchanski midas odb locking
After some discussion with Stefan-

> 1) ODB locking appears to be sound...
> 2) ODB locking is "unfair"

Stefan reminded me that "priority boosting" is the standard solution for this
problem. Since Linux does not appear to implement this, we may try doing it inside
midas, time permitting. "Fairness" behaviour of Win32, BSD and MacOSX may be worth
investigating.

> 3) presently, we use an infinite timeout waiting for the ODB lock.

I will add a timeout of 10 minutes, then shutdown the ODB client with an error message.

> 4) in db_{lock,unlock}_database(), [there is no] race condition against the
"lock_cnt" variable [because it is local].

I will document this.

> 5) I found a failure mode where db_close_database() erroneously deletes the
> lock semaphore. Once the semaphore is deleted, ODB locking silently fails
> (in db_lock_database() we do not check for success status of
> mutex_wait_for()) and remaining ODB clients operate without locking protection.

I will add a check and shutdown the ODB client with an error message if the lock
cannot be obtained (the mutex was deleted, the "lock" system call returns an error,
etc).

> [how to decide when the last ODB client disconnected from the shared memory and
when to delete the lock semaphore?]

We considered using a counting semaphore to count active ODB clients, if counting
semaphores do the right things on all supported systems (Linux, Win32, MacOSX).

K.O.
  45   15 Sep 2004 Konstantin Olchanski mlogger crash if using mserver.
> I trapped myself into that problem recently so it's the right time to fix it (;-).
> We have two options: 
> a) Make the logger work remotely, even if it's suboptimal and 
> b) Make the logger refuse to run remotely.

After some discussion between Stefan, Pierre and myself, it was decided to disallow
running mlogger remotely via the mserver.

K.O.
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