This is a blog post in support of thePicoScope 6424E Oscilloscope + Accessories . It is the eight and final blog post in a series exploring the equipment in order to generate the content for the final RoadTest review.
The operating system (O/S) I primarily use is Linux. Being retired, the requirement for me to work in the Microsoft Windows Operating system is greatly diminished. I rarely open the O/S. I was concerned when I applied for the RoadTest Review regarding testing in MS Windows. To create a comfort zone, one of my application objectives was to explore what is available in the Linux operating system for the PicoScope.
I did all but this blog post in MS Windows. Switching between the two O/S to conduct test would have been to much heavy lifting in terms of effort. My goal was not to focus on the comparison but rather give an assessment of the term "available" for Linux.
This blog post will provide:
- review of Linux setup
- Linux & MS Windows Software version comparisons
- sample the digital & analogue inputs
- what next
Review of linux setup
The PicoScope link for linux support is https://www.picotech.com/downloads/linux . A disclaimer is posted for those delving into the Linux O/S.
Now that that is out of the way, what does PicoScope offer in Linux. Four commands get the software positioned and installed.
sudo bash -c 'echo "deb https://labs.picotech.com/debian/ picoscope main" >/etc/apt/sources.list.d/picoscope.list'
wget -O - https://labs.picotech.com/debian/dists/picoscope/Release.gpg.key | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt update -y
sudo apt-get install picoscope
I confess, this installation is being done on a Ubuntu 20.04 load. The Pico website indicates PicoScope is officially supports on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS & openSUSE Leap 15.0. Hopefully the differences in O/S version doesn't impact the software.
Linux & MS Windows Software version comparisons
A quick look at the software version shows the two operating systems are pretty closely matched. When the software is initialising the familiar clicks of the scope hardware can be heard as the software negotiates to find the scope. It looks like the install was successful and we are ready to go.
Sample the digital & analogue inputs
Since I had the i2c setup still configured on the workbench I will start there. The Linux version is slightly different menu wise to get this configured. I couldn't find the menu option to remove the analogue display and just have the digital display.
I reproduced the i2c data stream. The trigger options don't appear to be as involved as the MS Windows version. It may have been easier in Linux since I had an understanding of what I was looking for on this O/S.
Let's take a look at the analogue scope view using the Arduino pulse example.
The image above is Linux and the image below is MS Windows.
First thing that I noticed was the ability to take a full screen shot is not in the Linux version. To get the screen shot I had to fire up another application. Notice the Linux version is missing the measurement box (gray). It is on the screen but was missed by the capture program. The Linux version doesn't spend a lot of time rounding out the menus like MS Windows. I was rather spoiled in MS Windows. Useful features like the capture and the remove analogue scope in the digital screen I used. Hopefully Linux will get those in the future.
The ability to take a measurement without much difficulty is present. If I hadn't seen the Windows version I would have never know what was missing. I suspect there will be more variances between the O/S releases if you dive deeper. The capture image and screen option I noticed because I used them a lot during the blog creation. Now that I don't appear to have them in Linux it is disappointing.
It appears the scope status in Linux changes from Running to Stopped, displayed in the lower left corner, more often. I haven't figured out what I am doing that causes this to happen. I don't recall in MS Windows having to look in the corner to see if the scope was running. It becomes deceiving when the waveform image is on the screen. You think it is taking measurement but it's is actually stopped.
I tried the persistence mode screen demonstrated in PicoScope 6424E Oscilloscope + Accessories: Not Satisfied . I took no notice of differences in behaviour and display.
I just discovered the Auto Setup button, the lighting bolt in the upper left corner. It does all the option configuration to get a signal for you. Neat! I see the icon is in the Windows version so I expect it does the same thing. It would allow me to avoid that whole trigger setup process, which is great.
The notes button in the lower left of the Linux screen is different than MS Windows. The feature enables you to save notes with the captures. The Linux version is clunky in comparison. I didn't use it much during the testing but I thought it would be great during development for making notes.
This is by no means an exhaustive comparison. I can use the scope in Linux which is a good thing. Once I get an application that does decent screen shots I just have to add that step.
This concludes the blog posts in support of the RoadTest Review. I'm going to let the nib of my pen cool for a few days and then review what I have written to create the official review document and post.