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Thread: Best desktop for a scada system?

  1. #1

    Default Best desktop for a scada system?

    Im setting up some scada systems using this program SCADA/HMI - Industrial control, SCADA, HMI, Linux, Modbus, OPC - AggreGate SCADA/HMI
    Some of the people who will be using it are computer illetarate. Basically what I want is a normal user login where it opens up 1 window maximized, and has the shutdown/restart/logout buttons somewhere. And maybe 1 more launcher for the viewer program just incase the program needs to be restarted.
    I looked at kde but form my experience from runing kubuntu it is a little crash prone.
    I checked out TWM but im still learning how to configure it. Is there a way to auto start programs in TWM?

    On a side question I would like to ask how reliable is the upgrade procces for Open Suse to a newer distro? I know with Ubuntu its best just to do a clean install.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    On 2012-02-15 20:36, compiz wrote:

    > On a side question I would like to ask how reliable is the upgrade
    > procces for Open Suse to a newer distro?


    Make a full backup first, just in case.

    > I know with Ubuntu its best
    > just to do a clean install.


    Many people say the same here. I don't, my system has been upgraded in
    steps from version 6.x or 5.x, no permanent problems.

    Two procedures:

    Code:
    http://en.opensuse.org/SDB:System_upgrade
    http://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Offline_upgrade
    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" at Telcontar)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    I'm not sure that crashes and choice of Desktop should be that critical an issue, particularly on openSUSE when it's not that difficult to change Desktop environments.

    A brief scan of your chosen SCADA system doesn't reveal too much technologically, but from the little they are willing to reveal my guess is that the client apps are Java standalone apps which again is not particularly Desktop related.

    I'd speculate that your decision might depend on how much control of the machine you're granting your Users... If very little to none at all, then the choice of Desktop is likely zero so maybe select the most lightweight available like LXDE? But, if your Users might need to do a little self-Admistration of their machines, then KDE probably provides at least some features that might be familiar to Windows Users.

    I also agree that <usually> upgrading should not be a major issue as long as you're not one of the first people to upgrade. You might also consider SLES which doesn't have as rapid an upgrade cycle as openSUSE.

    IMO,
    TS

  4. #4

    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsu2 View Post
    I'm not sure that crashes and choice of Desktop should be that critical an issue, particularly on openSUSE when it's not that difficult to change Desktop environments.

    A brief scan of your chosen SCADA system doesn't reveal too much technologically, but from the little they are willing to reveal my guess is that the client apps are Java standalone apps which again is not particularly Desktop related.

    I'd speculate that your decision might depend on how much control of the machine you're granting your Users... If very little to none at all, then the choice of Desktop is likely zero so maybe select the most lightweight available like LXDE? But, if your Users might need to do a little self-Admistration of their machines, then KDE probably provides at least some features that might be familiar to Windows Users.

    IMO,
    TS
    Yes its java. But I was talking about when plasma crashes. I been runing kubuntu for a while, its not uncommon for plasma to crash once every couple of days in kubuntu.
    That is why I was asking about TWM and if open suse payes more attention to kde so plasma doesnt crash. I would like to just use one desktop. But if not, I was planing on installing KDE for using when logging in with an administrator account. Its just easier to use KDE than use the command line all the time. If KDE lacks the stability I was going to use TWM for the nomral user running the scada software. I wanted to keep everything pretty locked down because what happens is people start web browsing and playing with settings and then their scada system breaks. Windows is even worse because it catches viruses when people web brows on it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    On 02/15/2012 08:36 PM, compiz wrote:
    > Im setting up some scada systems using this program 'SCADA/HMI -
    > Industrial control . . . Some of the people who will be using it are
    > computer illetarate . . . its not uncommon for plasma to crash once
    > every couple of days in kubuntu ... web browsing and playing with settings


    just a thought (while looking at that part "industrial ... computer
    illiterate ... crash ... kubuntu") i'd say it might be wise, time
    saving, equipment saving and less expense to _not_ use any of the fast
    moving, proving grounds versions of consumer (desktop) level Linux, like
    kubuntu, ubuntu, fedora or even openSUSE..

    frankly they all are out on the leading edge of technology, and far too
    often are not what is needed for an *industrial* enterprise setting..

    besides, most have a pretty short support (with security patches and bug
    fixes)--for example, openSUSE has an 18 month window of support

    an industrial control system should not crash, ever!

    looking at "web browsing and playing with settings" i'll also propose:
    an industrial control system turned over to computer illiterate
    operators must not offer opportunities to browse the internet, play with
    operating systems settings or crash _anything_..

    i'd recommend you use a more proven, stable, reliable (less 'leading
    edge') and most importantly *ENTERPRISE* level system like those offered
    by SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) or Server (SLES), Red Hat, IBM's
    AIX and a few other similar (non-Windows) systems..

    from all of those vendors you should be able to provide the professional
    help you need to set it up in a "kiosk mode" system so that the
    illiterate can't crash or self infect any part of it..

    and, very importantly, offer you a system stable _today_ and supported
    with patches and fixes for *years* to come..

    the SLED/SLES folks have their own forum over at http://forums.suse.com/
    the ID and password you use here is good there also..

    **on the other hand the project Evergreen is an effort to provide
    patches/fixes to openSUSE versions which have exceeded their end of life
    (read about it here http://tinyurl.com/4aflkpy) currently versions 11.1
    and 11.2 are receiving some level of support....but, i'm not sure how
    easy it would be to today install either of those systems..

    however, just a few days ago we learned that there may be a movement to
    place 11.4 under the Evergreen umbrella--and in my personal opinion if
    you elect to not go with a longer life, professionally supported,
    enterprise version you would be much better off installing openSUSE 11.4
    than 12.1 (i have not, and most of the 'helpers' here have moved to
    12.1, yet...*three* months old, it has just not yet ripened into the
    stable, dependable, trouble free system i want.)

    ymmv

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    Read what Distro Watch writes: http://tinyurl.com/SUSEonDW

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    On 2012-02-15 23:56, compiz wrote:

    > That is why I was asking about TWM and if open suse payes more
    > attention to kde so plasma doesnt crash.


    Don't rely on that.

    > But if not, I was planing on installing KDE for using when
    > logging in with an administrator account.


    Root? never do that.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" at Telcontar)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    I would say that a better choice for SCADA are more advanced Linux distributions like Arch Linux, Debian, Gentoo. Setup and configuration of those distributions may take you more time if being done the first time, but you have full control over the system. For example in Arch Linux you can build your system up from scratch deciding about every additional program to be installed or not. As a result, you may get stable, efficient OS suiting your needs without not needed programs and services that might crash the system or introduce additional security holes. Arch is in continouos development and there is no such thing as upgrade to a newer version - there are no distinctive versions - you just upgrade particular packages and, from time to time, critical components of the system. Debian on the other hand is known for its policy of putting only stable and well-tested packages in the repositories, so the chances are it will be reliable and stable as well.

    Use of those distributions will require you to gain some more knowledge about Linux, but I guess it will be valuable for you as software engineer to know as much as possible about the chosen platform.

    If SCADA is to be accessible from the internet, consider distributions like BSD, which as far as I know have proven to be very safe and secure. Programs designed for Linux should also run under BSD.

    If you are short on time, choose one of the commercial distributions offering tech support to assist you with the process of configuration, just like DenverD has written.

    I won't recommend any particular graphical environment as I'm not an expert here, but KDE is not a good choice here, and lighter and simpler GE are usually more stable and you don't need anything as big as KDE or Gnome to provide minimal functionality described in your post. Also, avoid logging as root to the whole desktop environment. Use the terminal instead and launch particular GUI programs that way if you REALLY need to do it.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    compiz wrote:
    > Im setting up some scada systems using this program 'SCADA/HMI -
    > Industrial control, SCADA, HMI, Linux, Modbus, OPC - AggreGate
    > SCADA/HMI' (http://aggregate.tibbo.com/scada_hmi/)
    > Some of the people who will be using it are computer illetarate.
    > Basically what I want is a normal user login where it opens up 1 window
    > maximized, and has the shutdown/restart/logout buttons somewhere. And
    > maybe 1 more launcher for the viewer program just incase the program
    > needs to be restarted.


    I'd say you would do better asking the SCADA supplier what they
    recommend as the best way to configure it.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    Ok I think I decided to go with centos. Its a little old but it work. TWM is part of the x desktop so you can get it for almost any distro. I tried it a little. It is ugly compared to todays standards, but supposedly it will never crash. It has no menu for launching anything except the terminal. I think this will work since people who dont know what they are doing wont be able to use the terminal to open a web browser.

    One more question. Linux should be fine being on the internet with ssh and maybe vnc enabled right? (i have to stick to vnc)

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    Default Re: Best desktop for a scada system?

    Quote Originally Posted by compiz View Post
    One more question. Linux should be fine being on the internet with ssh and maybe vnc enabled right? (i have to stick to vnc)
    Personally, I feel "out of the box" VNC security generally sucks, the password limitations in particular make it dangerous to use considering today's requirements. Still, YMMV and it depends on the environment. If the machine has zero exposure to the Internet, then it's OK although I also think its general lack of support for acceleration can make it slow in some situations.

    But, if you want to discuss this topic further I'd recommend you post a new topic and/or search what is already in the Forums.

    TS

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