Re: How to Install GPIB driver NI-488.2 on Ubuntu 8.04

Hey glenton,

I should mention that I don't work for NI (anymore).  I can't even be considered a NI customer as I don't own or use any of their hardware or software.  But since I used to work there I just happen to know a bit more than the average customer and help out when I can.

Now about the open source gpib drivers and Python.  I've never used it, but their front page says they provide a Python interface.  My next step was to download the source from their page and run:

find . -name "*.py"
./language/python/gpibtest.py
./language/python/setup.py
./language/python/Gpib.py

So there you have it.  I see several Python files and I'm guessing it shouldn't be too hard to figure out how to use them.  You mentioned you installed from the deb package in your distribution.  I'm sure you can list the files it installed to see if there are any Python files.

As far as your questions about why you are having difficulties in general.  NI doesn't claim to support "Linux".  They support a couple Linux distributions and only specific versions of those distributions.  And they have to do it that way because the open source nature of Linux means that each distribution can be different and that things change often.  If you pick an old Linux distribution like RHEL 5 (or CentOS 5 if you don't want to pay), the NI drivers should work fine.

Now you specifically asked about lagging behind Linux kernel development.  That is part of the problem, but the real issue is that the NI drivers are not GPL Licensed, and aren't in the upstream kernel.  If they were open source anyone could fix them and it would be much easier to not lag behind (This is why the open source GPIB driver actually works).  But more importantly the reason your USB devices doesn't work with the NI drivers on kernels 2.6.25+ is simply because of a license conflict (they are not GPL licensed).  So if I were a NI customer I would use the open source GPIB driver and/or the open source DAQ drivers (COMEDI) since they would allow me to be confident that things are more likely to keep working on a larger variety of distributions and kernels.  If the open source drivers are lacking a feature you need ask I would ask for the feature on the projects mailing list.  You can also talk to your local NI sales rep and explain your Linux requirements.

--

Shawn

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