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Operating System

This page includes the Installation of the Operating System, setting up the Remote Access, installing the Tracking Software and an overview of the GUI.

1 Preface

The TrackMen operating system (OS) is a dedicated, customized Linux client meant to run various TrackMen programs. Generally, TrackMen software is not meant to run in other environments and alongside other applications, if not stated otherwise. These programs, especially real-time tracking systems and chroma keyers will thus require a dedicated workstation.
It is recommended to use certified hardware from Trackmen GmbH, Germany. However, it is possible to employ other computers at the users own risk. It is not possible for TrackMen to evaluate all available hardware parts. Thus, even if the below prerequisites are fulfilled, various components may show incompatibilities with the included drivers and processes.

1.1 Prerequisites

Generally, the TrackMen software requires hardware specifications listed below. Real-time tracking solutions require a lot of calculations and is not meant to be run on outdated or underpowered machines.

For the full and detailed hardware requirements check the System Requirements page.

1.1.1 Processor

Programs are developed and run on Intel processors. AMD processors are generally subject to evaluation and must be thoroughly tested before being employed.

Intel CPU must be of the type below or newer:

Haswell
Broadwell
Skylake
Kaby Lake
Coffee Lake
Cascade Lake
Comet Lake
Cooper Lake

Please do NOT use one of these CPU‘s or even older models:

Nehalem
Sandy Bridge
Ivy Bridge

1.1.2 Graphics Cards

TrackMen software is compatible with Nvidia graphics cards of the generation GTX10xx, RTX20xx and RTX30xx and their Quadro counterparts. Requirements in performance may vary from software to software, so please make sure to have a graphics card that is powerful enough for the desired application.

1.1.3 Video Cards

TrackMen currently supports BlackMagic DeckLink video cards.

2 OS Installation

2.1 Creating an Installation Medium

The OS is installed by booting the workstation from a USB flash drive. Proceed as shown below:

2.1.1 Preparations

1. Download the .iso image file from the TrackMen server, using the below FTP link. If redirected to a folder with multiple .iso files, go by the date in the name and select the most recent one.

If a browser struggles to open the link, it may be entered in the Freeware FileZilla by simply pasting the whole link in the Server field and clicking Quickconnect.

If no connection to the Server in FileZilla can be established, try opening the Server manager in the Files menu and change to Only use plain FTP (insecure).

Illustration 1: Download from FTP server, using the Freeware Filezilla

2. Burn the image on a USB flash drive, using a flash utility like Etcher or Rufus.

Illustration 2: Flashing a USB drive, using the Freeware Etcher

3. Make sure to have one hard drive connected, that is either free or has only dispensable data on it. For safety reasons, do not keep another hard drive connected during installation!

4. If possible, connect the workstation to a network that provides DHCP service and Internet.

2.2 OS Installation

1. Connect the installation USB flash drive to the workstation.

2. Start the workstation, making sure it will boot from USB with highest priority. If necessary, access BIOS or Boot Options during computer start.

3. In the upcoming screen, select Installation, using the arrow keys to navigate, and press <Enter>.

Illustration 3: In the welcome screen, choose Installation

4. Wait for the Setup interface to load and prepare.

The Installer comes pre-configured to partition the first found hard drive and install the operating system with the basics needed for TrackMen systems. No further modifications are necessary and all other setup steps can be done after basic installation.

However, if DHCP and internet are available, the Installation can automatically connect to the server and additional software may be installed right away. This is particularly useful to enable remote access for TrackMen support early on.

5. If no other than the basic software should be installed or no internet is available at this point, click Install in the lower right corner. Otherwise check Section 2.3 for advanced software installation.

Illustration 4: If no other software, like Remote Access, should be installed, click Install.

6. Wait for the installation to finish. The system will reboot and the selection to boot from hard drive will be available.

2.3 Choosing additional Software from Online Repository

In order to install desired hardware from the OS setup directly, please follow these steps. The most common choice is the remote support software package, which enables TrackMen to access the workstation, if activated later within the installed operating system.

1. Click the Software section link in the Installation Settings window.

2. In the upcoming window, click Details.

Illustration 5: Go to Details

3. Open the View dropdown menu and switch to Repositories.

Illustration 6: Switch the View to Repositories

Any Package selected may activate other packages automatically. These are dependencies (non-optional, can not be deactivated) or recommendations (these may be de-selected if necessary) of the
selection.

4. In the next view, the TrackMen Repositories will be listed on the left and the available packages inside on right. Choose net-tracking on the left.

5. Choose the Package trk-remote from the list on the right by checking the box in front of it.

Illustration 7: select trk-remote in the trk-tracking repository

6. Other software may be installed from here, so e.g. the desired tracking system can be chosen from the list. Do not try installing tracking systems or similar without having the appropriate license and support from TrackMen. The software may interfere with your intended application and fill the system with unnecessary
options.

7. Click Accept. A popup window will inform about the changes. Confirm with Continue.

8. Click Install in the Installation Settings window.

3 Activating Remote Access

For proper configuration of a tracking software, a number of files and settings are needed which will usually be done by TrackMen support, unless the user is experienced with the setup already.

For employing the software for the first time, a proper introduction and checkup should be performed by TrackMen support as well.

To enable the remote access, please follow these steps:

3.1 Setting up the network

By default, the network is configured to use DHCP. If this should be changed, please:

1. Click the Network symbol in the task bar.

2. Select Edit Connections.

Illustration 8: Right-click the network symbol and select Edit Connections...

3. In the upcoming Network Connections window, select the Ethernet connection
eth0.

4. Click the gear symbol in the bottom of the window to edit.

Illustration 9: Select eth0 and then the gear symbol

5. Switch to the IPv4 Settings tab.

6. Select Manual in the Method dropdown menu.

Illustration 10: Switch to the IPv4 Settings tab, switch Method to Manual

If it is not possible for the tracking engine to access the internet, due to network restrictions or remote locations, installing software can be done using USB flash drives and remote access can be created by accessing the machine via local area network from any other computer with internet access, using Nomachine or a VNC Viewer.

7. Click the first line in the Addresses section to enter an appropriate IP and Netmask. Remember that the address space must be chosen, so a tracking engine is able to communicate with a graphics engine.

8. The Gateway and DNS Server should be set in order to be able to access the internet and thus enable online repositories and remote support.

9. Click Save and close the connection editing windows.

Illustration 11: Click the Addresses mask and enter the desired IP Address, Netmask, Gateway and DNS-Server, then Save

10. To apply the changes, click the network symbol again to bring up the context menu.

11. Find the entry eth0 and click Disconnect right below that. Network connection will be interrupted, including any remote access, of course.

12. Then click the entry eth0 itself to reconnect. Note: the IP address in the task bar, next to the network symbol will be updated only after a short time period, not in real-time.

Illustration 12: Disconnect and reconnect the Connection to apply

3.2 Activating Remote Access

If the installation of the trk-remote package has been performed already, remote access can be granted right away. If it has not yet been installed or needs to be upgraded, please refer to section Software Installation.

3.2.1 Manual Permission

To grant remote access for TrackMen support, open the Tracking menu in the task bar and navigate to Tools and then Remote Access. The system will register on a server in TrackMen office and open a channel for remote access via Nomachine.

Illustration 13: Grant remote access

4 Software Installation

The TrackMen OS has dedicated online repositories from which it can automatically install and update respective software. This is being done using the Software Manager. To use it please follow the below steps, describing the example of installing the remote software package.

4.1 Checking Repositories

1. Open the Menu and find the Software Manager in the System section.

Illustration 14: Open the Software Manager

2. The root (“admin”) password will be requested. Enter the Password: tmgmbh51105k

Illustration 15: Root password is tmgmbh51105k

3. Wait for the Software Manager (“YaST2”) to load. Then open the Configuration menu and click Repositories...

Illustration 16: Go to the Repositories Configuration

4. In the repository configuration window, find the three Network Repositories

  • Network Tracking Repository

  • Network Porting Repository

  • Network openSUSE Repository

And check both Enabled and Automatically Refresh in the Properties section below the window.

Illustration 17: Enable the three TrackMen repositories

5. Click OK to apply and wait for the System Manager to update.

If no internet is available to the workstation, USB repositories may be activated instead, using a removable flash drive with the data on it. In that case, please refer to section 4.3 Installing Software from a USB drive.

4.2 Installing or Updating Software

6. Back in the main window, click the Repositories tab below the menu bar. (If it should no be visible, open the View dropdown menu and select it from there)

7. Select the Network Tracking Repository in the left List.

8. In the right list, select the desired package, for example trk-remote for TrackMen support remote access, and click the checkbox until it shows:

  • A check mark, if it has not been previously installed

  • A green arrow to update the package to the latest version

9. Click Accept to apply and confirm the installation summary to install.

Illustration 18: Switch to the Respositories tab and check the checkboxes for the packages which should be installed

After the installation of the software is finished, a reboot should be done!

4.3 Installing Software from a USB drive

If no internet connection is available or desired, the repositories can also be provided by a USB drive. To create and use a respective USB drive, please follow these steps:

4.3.1 Downloading and readying repositories

1. Use the link below to access the repositories folder on the TrackMen FTP server.

If a browser struggles to open the link, it can also be entered in FileZilla in the Server field.

2. Download the three folders distrib, porting and tracking.

Illustration 19: Download the Repositories from the TrackMen FTP server

3. The USB stick is required to have a certain setup. Format it to FAT32 filesystem and rename it TRACKING (Windows: right-click in the Explorer and select Format...)

Illustration 20-1: Right-Click the USB drive in the file browser

Illustration 20-2: Format it to FAT32 and rename it TRACKING

4. Create a folder on the stick called opensuse153.

5. Copy the three folders distrib, porting and tracking into that folder.

Illustration 21: Copy the downloaded repository folders into a dedicated folder named “opensuse153”

6. Insert the USB drive into the TrackMen workstation.

7. Proceed to section 4.1 Checking Repositories and follow the instructions for software installation, but in step 4, check the USB repositories

  • USB Tracking Repository

  • USB Porting Repository

  • USB openSUSE Repository

Instead of the Network selections.

Illustration 22: In the Software Repository Configuration (see section 4.1), enable the USB repositories

After the installation of the software is finished, a reboot should be done!

5 Using the Operating System

Chapters 1 to 4 enables beginning the calibration of the tracking system. Furthermore it enables the Pixotope staff to log in and do support or a system check. This chapter gives more information about using the operating system.

5.1 UI Components

Every TrackMen OS has common components that will be installed with the OS.

Illustration 23: The Task bar, System Log and the AppManager

5.1.1 Task Bar

Tracking Menu: on the left side of the taskbar, the Tracking Menu provides quick access to to all tracking software as well as the calibration software and tools.

AppManager: The colorful camera symbol on the right side of the Task Bar opens the AppManager.

Network settings: The IP address of the machine is displayed on the right side of the task bar. When changing the machine’s IP address it takes a moment until the IP address in the Task Bar is updated. Check chapter 3.1 on how to change the IP.

Host Name: On the right side of the IP address the machine’s host name is displayed. It can be changed by typing “hostname” in the Menu and opening this tool. This name will be visible for remote Support from Pixotope so it makes sense to give the machine a name that makes it easy to identify. When changing it a relog is necessary.

5.1.2 System Log

The system log prints core system activities from system applications and services in a chronological order. It can be helpful in case something is not working as expected. It is also where where data will be displayed when a parameter dump is activated in the tracking system.

The system log does not need to be observed permanently. It is mostly a tool when setting up a system and for error diagnostics.

5.1.3 AppManager

The AppManager shows applications which are running by displaying them in green. The applications can be restarted and stopped with the respective buttons. When rightclicking on the AppManager symbol in the Task bar you can select “Show All Apps” to have it display running as well as non-running apps. The latter are shown in red.

The AppManager can be considered a quick access tool in situations where frequent switching between programs is necessary.

5.1.4 File Manager

The standard working directory of the tracking and calibration software is dependent of the used software:

/home/tracking/VioTrackR/

/home/tracking/GhosTrack/

/home/tracking/TalenTrack/.

These folders contain the configuration files for the Chief, the Worker, the calibration software as well as the reconstructions.

The lens files are stored in the folder /home/tracking/lenses/ with the exception of TalenTrack where they are stored in /home/tracking/TalenTrack/.

5.2 Network Settings

Please check section 3.1 on how to set up the network connection.

5.2.1 ZeroConf connection

For Pixotope Vision, Marker and GhosTrack additionally to the network connection that connects the machine to other computers and/or the internet, a network connection with the name “ZeroConf” is automatically created. This connection is for the sensor camera. It will be listed after installing the tracking software and performing a reboot. If the sensor camera is not detected, it should be checked whether the correct eth port is set in the Ethernet tab of the Network Connections settings.

When plugging or unplugging an ethernet cable to an ethernet port of the computer, the system log will display messages that include which port was used. It is usually named eth0, eth1, …

Illustration 24: The ZeroConf connection has to be assigned to the ethernet port of the sensor camera

If the ZeroConf connection is not listed, it can be manually created. The following things have to be edited in that Network Connection:

  1. In the General tab the Firewall zone has to be set to “trusted”

  2. In the IPv4 Settings the Method has to be set to “Local-Link Only”

  3. The ethernet port that is connected to the sensor camera has to be selected under Device (Illustration 24)

5.3 Updating Software

Please check chapter 4 on this page about how to install the software for the first time.

Open the Software Manager and navigate to the Network Tracking Repository or USB Repository respectively. The list on the right displays available packages. Installed packages are marked with a check mark. Behind the version number any newer version available is listed in parentheses. One left-click on the check mark will set the program to update the package. This will be indicated by a green upwards arrow and listed in the Installation Summary tab.

Illustration 25: Available new software versions are shown in parentheses

When clicking on a package, further information about it are displayed in the tabs below. Amongst others, there is the tab ”Versions”. The version to be used can be selected from this list manually.

Illustration 26: Switching to a previously installed package version is possible in the Software Manager

5.4 Autostart

When booting the computer the operating system will automatically start the programs that are listed in the Autostart folder. The path of this folder is /home/tracking/autostart/.

5.4.1 Automatic Start of Tracking

If the tracking programs shall start at boot, the Chief and the Worker have to be put individually into the Autostart folder from the Tracking menu in the task bar. Additionally the Worker has to be delayed, because after a reboot of the computer the sensor camera reboots and establishes a new network connection to the computer. If not delayed, this will result in the Worker program starting and not having an image source available. This can be solved by clicking on Restart image source in the Settings or by delaying the program start for as long as it takes the Sensor camera to boot and establish a connection.

  1. Open the File Manager and navigate to the Autostart folder.

  2. Drag-and-drop the Chief and the Worker buttons individually into the Autostart folder from the Tracking menu in the task bar (Illustration 27).

  3. Rightclick on the VioTrackWorkerR.desktop in the Autostart folder.

  4. Open the file with Mousepad.

  5. Change the fourth line to: “Exec=app start VioTrackWorkerR pre_loop_delay=25”. This will add a delay of 25 seconds before the Worker is being started automatically for the first time after the system boot. The amount of seconds depend on how long the sensor camera takes to boot and connect to the computer. It usually varies between 15 and 25 seconds.

  6. Save the file.

  7. Reboot to test if the amount of seconds is suitable.

Illustration 27: For automatic start on system boot, drag the Chief’s and the Worker’s buttons into the Autostart folder

Illustration 28: Line four is adding a delay at the first program start

5.4.2 Automatic Remote Access Permission

The Remote Access link from the Tracking menu in the task bar can also be drag-and-dropped into this folder. Remote access will then automatically start when the operating system is booting. This will only work while an internet connection is already established. Therefore a start delay has to be set:

  1. Open the File Manager from the Menu and navigate to the Autostart folder.

  2. Drag-and-drop the Remote Access button from the Tracking menu in the task bar into this folder.

  3. Rightclick on the RemoteAccess.desktop in the Autostart folder.

  4. Open the file with Mousepad.

  5. Change the fourth line to: “Exec=app start RemoteAccess pre_run_delay=20”. This will add a delay of 20 seconds before the program is being started automatically for the first time after the system boot. The amount of seconds depend on how long it takes the machine to connect to your network.

  6. Save the file.

Illustration 29: Line four is adding a delay at the first program start

Putting the Remote Access into Autostart can be convenient in case remote support has to reboot the machine. It can of course be revoked by deleting the file from the Autostart folder after a remote session.

5.5 Remote Connection

Every TrackMen operating system is by default running as the user “tracking”. When being asked for login credentials use “tracking” as user and “tmg51105k” as its password.

5.5.1 NoMachine

The TrackMen OS has the remote access software “NoMachine” preinstalled. It can be found in the Menu under Internet. It allows controlling another computer in the local network remotely.

When opening it, it shows machines that can be connected to. If a computer is not shown click on Add and type its IP address into the Host field. Leave Port and Protocol as is. For a remote connection with NoMachine both computers must have the software installed.

NoMachine also allows transferring files (not folder structures) by simply dragging-and-dropping the file from a folder to the NoMachine window or vice versa. They will be stored on the Desktop of the remote computer.

Illustration 30: NoMachine can connect to other computers which have the program installed

5.5.2 VNC

A VNC Viewer comes also preinstalled with the operating system. It can be accessed in the menu under Internet. When connecting to the tracking computer with a VNC Viewer the VNC Server should be running. It is also accessible in the menu under Internet or in the AppManager.

5.5.3 Third Party Software

There are some third party programs which are included in the “Network openSUSE.org Repository”. They can be installed after this Repository has been enabled in the Software Manager in the Repositories window, opened from the Configuration menu. Two examples of programs that can be useful are Anydesk and Zoom. They can be found by typing the name into the Search field.

Illustration 31: Enabled Network openSUSE.org Repository

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