Last month I wrote an article titled "Community Training Initiative", in it I laid out my early ideas for a no-cost/low-cost LabVIEW Training platform.
I had a few actions and you all have to bear in mind I do have to earn a living too!
CAVEAT: Nothing is signed yet and no-one is under any obligation, it's all voluntary, so any help and guidance is appreciated.
Firstly I have some excellent co-conspirators now. So "I" is now "We". From outside NI I have Derrick Bommarito, Enrique Noé Arias, Georgios Tsalavoutis, Kabul Maharjan and David Crawford. We have a Discord channel made up, DM me if you want to join, the more the merrier. On the NI front we have Nancy Henson who is VERY enthusiastic!, but I also had a meeting at GDevCon NA with various NI heavy hitters and they too were enthusiastic and offered great advice on pushing this project forward within NI.
Next Nancy has come up with a great tagline for our efforts, expect to see this everywhere!
"Anyone can learn LabVIEW Anywhere 😊"
I've even kept the smile emoji from her text.
As I mentioned before, Enrique and I had a great meeting with the NI representatives at GDevCon NA and it went better than I had hoped. The discussion focussed on how to get it done, not should it be done. This was a massive plus for the project. Licensing didn't seem to be an issue, barring some edge cases. So for now we can scratch this action as complete (until it raises its ugly head again). We also got another action from this meeting, it was suggested that the whole scheme would be easier to sell to the various stake-holders with a work-flow video, showing how the whole process will work.
Licensing Action: Need NI to confirm LabVIEW Community Edition is OK for Training.
Concept Action: Make a workflow video, showing how the whole process will work
NI have kindly provided some Hands-On material, it's a bit TestStand heavy, but it starts a precedent and that's important. It also gives us a good template to work from. Thanks NI!
Material Action: See if we can free up and modify existing training material, see if anyone else want's their training material as part of this.
We've been working on feasibility for running VISA through the Raspberry Pi Pico and it appears it has already been done to some extent. Although I think using it through a network adapter is a better fit for Virtual Machines. We can also load FreeRTOS onto the Pico and program it in C. FreeRTOS gives us tasks, queues and a TCP stack, this will allow the C-code to be similar in structure to the LabVIEW emulator. This will aid understanding of the source-code for future updates. It has to be C, because we want to access both cores of the CPU on the Pico.
HW Action: TCP VISA Instrument hosted on a Pico
We have successfully got a Virtual Machine loaded up with OpenSUSE and LabVIEW 2022 Community Edition that will run the Emulator and example code. As a Distro it comes in at about 5.4Gb, so larger than I would like, but manageable. The size of these distros means that someone will have to pay to host it. I'm in discussions with GCentral as they seem to be the ideal fit here. I guess we could set up another organisation if that doesn't work out, but it's all been positive so far. They also have NI on their board and that is actually a really good thing for this initiative, as we will be distributing LabVIEW.
We have also been shown how we could show the materials/examples in the project window with a modified project file, nice work Mr Nattinger.