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[Discuss-gnuradio] Announcing the GNU Radio Live DVD, call for testers

From: Johnathan Corgan
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] Announcing the GNU Radio Live DVD, call for testers
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 2013 02:38:36 -0700
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We've been using a bootable DVD for our private on-site training courses
when our clients are in environments that do not allow using the Ettus
Research LiveUSB drive.  This has been useful enough that we've decided
to make it publicly available as an ISO file download from the GNU Radio

This DVD allows you to test, explore, or demo GNU Radio applications on
your PC without making any changes to your local hard drive. It is based
on Ubuntu Linux Desktop 12.04.2 LTS 64-bit, which is a very stable
platform to host GNU Radio applications. This distribution is updated
with the latest packages from the Ubuntu repository at the time the ISO
file is created.

GNU Radio and 3rd-party libraries/applications have been installed using
the PyBOMBS build system.  Right now there are only a few:

* GNU Radio 3.7.0git, commit v3.7.0-102-g631dd648, and dependencies
* Ettus Research UHD 3.5.3, commit g95e6bfea, and dependencies
* gr-osmosdr v0.1.0-8-ge97339c1, and dependencies
* gqrx v2.2.0-1-gd2c92a21, and dependencies

In addition to the standard applications which come with Ubuntu Desktop,
some additional packages have been installed which are useful in the
context of working with SDR:

* Scientific Python (python-scipy)
* python-matplotlib
* GNU Octave 3.2
* GNU Plot 4.4.3
* Emacs 23

Our plan right now is to ensure this basic functionality is working,
based on user feedback, then to add other PyBOMBS-defined recipes and
application packages as requested and update the ISO image every few weeks.

This is an alternative to the Ettus Research LiveUSB.  That product
provides a much faster USB 3.0-based system, with persistence, and can
be used as a regular development environment. It comes with a newer
release of Ubuntu Linux and a large variety of 3rd-party application
code that uses GNU Radio.  It's what we we usually work with when
teaching our standard GNU Radio courses. However, the LiveDVD is great
for use in restricted environments where USB drives are not allowed, or
to just have something to boot from to try something out with a
different PC.

There are a few things to note about using this LiveDVD image.  First,
system performance will be highly dependent on the speed of your
computer's DVD drive.  Boot times are typically a couple minutes to get
to the main screen.  Execution of commands or applications the first
time are slow, but as these get cached in RAM, they become as fast as a
normal hard drive based system.

With read-only media, of course, there is no persistence.  The Ubuntu
LiveDVD system uses RAM to hold filesystem writes to give the appearance
of a read-write drive, but any changes are lost upon reboot.  You can
access the local hard drive of a system through the file manager and use
that to store anything you want to save.

Finally, this DVD is not an installer for Ubuntu and does not have the
ability to transfer its contents to the local hard drive.

The ISO image is available via HTTP (2.5 GB) and via BitTorrent.  The
GNU Radio server's CloudFlare CDN will *not* cache the direct downloads,
so please use a BitTorrent client whenever possible and access the
following link (beware of line wrap):


The direct link is at the same URL but with the extension renamed from
'torrent' to 'iso'.

(We're still deciding the best way to make this large file available, so
these URLs may change in the future.)

You will need to burn a DVD with this image using a disc writing tool,
and may also need to configure your system BIOS to be able to boot from
a CD instead of a hard drive.  Details of how to do those are easily
found through Google.

The DVD will boot directly to a plain vanilla desktop, and from there
you can open a terminal to execute commands.  More documentation will
follow on the gnuradio.org wiki.

Feedback is most welcome.

Johnathan Corgan, Corgan Labs
SDR Training and Development Services
Visit us at GRCON13 Oct. 1-4 http://ow.ly/ntmpL

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