Author Topic: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released  (Read 17265 times)

Offline Juan Conejero

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PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« on: 2018 December 16 07:48:11 »
I am happy to announce that PixInsight 1.8.6 has just been released. This is a very important release with many new features and performance improvements, with a strong focus on stability and compatibility, and a much increased potential for future development.

Installation packages are now available to all licensed users for Linux, macOS and Windows on our software distribution system:

https://pixinsight.com/dist/


New Licensing System

Version 1.8.6 of PixInsight requires a license reactivation for all commercial and trial users, on all platforms. Sorry in advance for this inconvenience.

As most of you know, the trial version 1.8.5 of PixInsight was hacked past May. While analyzing the hack, I discovered several weak points in our security system that I have tried to remove in version 1.8.6. We have now a much stronger encryption and a more sophisticated and secure license validation procedure.

Unfortunately, the new security system requires a completely different license file encryption, which means that all existing license files won't work with version 1.8.6 of PixInsight, and hence a license reactivation is unavoidable.

I have redesigned the license activation dialog to make things easier to everybody, including the possibility to request new license activation codes directly, without having to visit our website. I hope these changes will facilitate the transition to the new licensing system.

     

To reactivate your license, it is necessary that you can receive notification email messages sent by our server. Please make sure that the email address that you have associated with your license is valid, that your email client application does not reject our messages as spam, and that your email provider does not block our messages.

License files are now generated in more discrete and secure locations on all platforms:

- On Linux and FreeBSD, on a $HOME/.PixInsight hidden directory.

- On macOS, on $HOME/Library/PixInsight

- On Windows, on %UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Pleiades

Previously license files were generated directly on the user's home directory. For many years I have been receiving complaints about this because of obvious security and privacy concerns, which I have tried to address in this version.


New Features

Like all major PixInsight releases, PixInsight 1.8.6 also includes many new features. Let's have a look at some of the most important ones.


Astrometry Integration

Astrometry is now fully integrated in the PixInsight platform, including the PixInsight core application. When you open an image with valid astrometric metadata (consisting of a valid set of WCS keywords and optional image properties), the application will generate an astrometric solution automatically and will show celestial coordinates on the readout preview, which opens when you click on an image in readout mode.

     

You can configure these readouts to show equatorial, ecliptic and ICRS galactic coordinates, among other options. You have these options available in the readout menu.


Astrometry integration goes much deeper than simply showing coordinates on the screen. Astrometric solutions are now treated just as other ancillary data associated with images, such as ICC profiles or display functions for example, and hence are directly available to all running tools and scripts. All of this has been possible thanks to the contributions made by Andrés del Pozo to our C++/PCL development platform.


Integrated Ephemerides System

State-of-the-art ephemerides of the solar system are now available in all PixInsight distributions, with implementations in the C++ and JavaScript development frameworks. This includes the integration of fundamental ephemerides from JPL, IMCCE and other sources, and current IAU precession-nutation theories, among other fundamental resources. This initial 1.8.6 version of PixInsight includes JPL's DE/LE 438 planetary and lunar ephemerides, JPL ephemerides for the 343 most massive asteroids, and the IAU 2006/2000A precession-nutation theory.


Algorithms for Reduction of Positions

Rigorous implementations (at the sub-milliarcsecond level) of algorithms for reduction of positions of solar system bodies and stars are now available, with C++ and JavaScript implementations. This is a necessary step forward to open the PixInsight platform to astronomical applications beyond astrophotography, such as high-precision astrometry for example.


Interprocess Communication

Basically, the new interprocess communication (IPC) functionality means that there can be several instances of the PixInsight core application running simultaneously on the same machine (up to 255), and that all of them can send and receive messages and share data with each other. IPC is only available in the JavaScript runtime for now. Just to name a simple, yet extremely powerful application, you can be running a script on the first instance of PixInsight, which generates data such as disk files (for example, images acquired with a digital camera) that a second instance can load and process simultaneously. Interprocess communication also allows sending commands to a running PixInsight core application, which a script can listen, receive and execute. This means that PixInsight can now work as a server, for example through a remote SSH connection. The new IPC feature extends PixInsight's flexibility, applicability and processing force enormously, as will be demonstrated by upcoming new tools.


Improved Robustness to Critical Errors

The Linux and macOS versions of the PixInsight core application (and the FreeBSD version when released) are now much more robust and tolerant to critical exceptions and synchronous signals, thanks to significant changes in the internal system exception handling routines. Basically, if a SIGSEGV, SIGBUS or SIGFPE signal (among others) is generated within Qt code, from a 3rd party library, or from an installed module, the PixInsight core application will be able to handle it 'graciously' without a fatal crash in almost all cases. Being a modular platform, this improvement is particularly important for PixInsight. Of course, this has limitations, and may fail when the code involved is left in an unstable state after the exception is thrown (these things happen). At the very least, the application should be able to let you exit in a controlled way in most of these situations.


Improved DynamicPSF Tool

For images with valid astrometric solutions, DynamicPSF now calculates equatorial coordinates for each star centroid automatically. In addition, a new goodness-of-fit estimator has been implemented, which is more accurate and robust than previous versions.


Of course, equatorial coordinates are accessible from the JavaScript runtime (as new read-only properties of the DynamicPSF object) and exported to text files in CSV format.


New RAW Module

The new RAW module for support of digital camera raw formats is based on LibRaw (latest stable 0.19.1 release). This replaces the old DSLR_RAW module, which was based on dcraw. The use of LibRaw ensures that we'll continue supporting virtually every digital camera in the market, including the latest models from Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc., in the foreseeable future by means of new PixInsight versions and updates.


X-Trans Support

The new RAW module and Debayer tool provide full support for X-Trans raw frames throughout the entire preprocessing pipeline. Images acquired with X-Trans sensors are now first-class citizens in PixInsight, from image calibration to drizzle integration.


New SubframeSelector Tool

The new SubframeSelector tool by Cameron Leger (revised, improved version) is now part of the official distribution. This tool, based on Mike Schuster's original work, is a high-performance data analysis tool and an essential element of any serious image preprocessing work in PixInsight.



LocalFuzzyHistogramHyperbolization

The latest version of the LocalFuzzyHistogramHyperbolization script by Frank Weidenbusch has been included in this release. This script is an excellent implementation of an advanced image processing algorithm for histogram manipulation, with outstanding and highly controllable results.


New Ephemerides Script

This script is an exhaustive test bed for the new integrated ephemerides system. This new script calculates positional ephemerides for the main planets plus the dwarf planet Pluto, the 343 most massive asteroids, and any star available through the online Simbad TAP service. It calculates geocentric or topocentric, spherical or rectangular, true, geometric, astrometric, proper, apparent or intermediate places, and presents the result as a plain text document that can be saved as a new file. The implemented algorithms are rigorous and generate positional data accurate at the sub-milliarcsecond level, only limited in practice by the quality of the underlying solar system theories and source star data.



Quick Search Boxes

New quick search boxes have been implemented in the Process Explorer and Object Explorer windows. These boxes are helpful to quickly locate a process or script by typing a few characters. Just click on the search box, start writing the name of a process or script you want to use, and the autocompletion feature will find it for you. Then press Enter to locate it on the process tree, and press Enter again to execute it.



New Core JavaScript Objects

The following core JavaScript objects have been created in this version: CoreApplication, MessageListener (IPC support), EphemerisFile, EphemerisHandle (solar system ephemerides), ObserverPosition, StarPosition, Position (reduction of positions of solar system bodies and stars). Most of these objects are the JavaScript counterparts of their corresponding C++ classes available in the PCL framework.


Updated Support Libraries

The Linux and Windows versions of the PixInsight core application have been built with the latest Qt 5.12.0 LTS release (long-term support release). The macOS version still uses Qt 5.11.3 because of some regressions in Qt 5.12.0 for macOS, which we hope to overcome during the next months.

This version also includes the latest versions of third-party support libraries including the LittleCMS engine, cURL, LibTIFF, JPEGLib, CFITSIO, etc.


Updated Operating System Support

Version 1.8.6 of PixInsight supports out-of-the-box the latest Linux distributions, such as Fedora 29 and Ubuntu 18. The macOS version supports Mac OS X 10.11, macOS 10.12, 10.13 and 10.14 Mojave (Mac OS X 10.10 no longer supported). The Windows version has been tested on Windows 10 Creators Update.


Bug Fixes

Long-standing, severe interface issues on macOS have been fixed. The new macOS version of PixInsight allows you to work normally with icons and drag/drop items, just as on Linux and Windows. Finally, all confirmed bugs, compatibility and performance issues have been fixed on all platforms.


Known Issues

* No FreeBSD version for now. Sadly, once more I have been unable to build this version on FreeBSD. The only problem is Qt, and specifically the QtWebEngine module, which cannot be built on this platform. Of course, I keep trying, and I hope to be able to release a 1.8.6 version for FreeBSD in the coming months. Unfortunately, the only Qt 5 version that worked on FreeBSD, Qt 5.9, has been replaced with newer but completely useless 5.10 and 5.11 versions in the ports collection.

* Documentation. Most of the documentation I wrote for complex tools such as StarAlignment, ImageIntegration, DynamicPSF, etc, no longer corresponds to the current development state of these tools. There are other tools, such as LocalNormalization and DrizzleIntegration, that really need good documentation to be used properly. Finally, we have no reference documentation for the core JavaScript runtime. This is a huge amount of work that must be done, and in almost all cases this is my sole responsibility. I'll try to work to improve this as I can.


Acknowledgments

This release would not be possible without the help and support of a group of friend users and developers, who not only have helped me in testing and evaluating this new version, but have been supporting my work on PixInsight, in some cases for many years. I want to make special mention of the following people (in alphabetical order): Enzo De Bernardini, Warren Keller, Klaus Kretzschmar, Cameron Leger, Harry Page, Vicent Peris, Rob Pfile, Andres del Pozo, Bob Rieger, Niall J. Saunders, Mike Schuster, Mark Shelley, Mike Smythers, Rick Stevenson, Thomas Stibor, Alejandro Tombolini, Georg Viehoever, and Frank Weidenbusch.

Also a big thanks to Peter Polakovic and Rumen Bogdanovski, the core developers of the INDIGO initiative, for their invaluable help with the ongoing implementation of INDIGO support in our INDIClient module, developed by Klaus Kretzschmar. INDIGO is a crucial element in the future of astronomical instrumentation; for sure we'll see great new development projects in PixInsight around INDIGO in the coming months thanks to this collaboration.


In Memoriam

Finally, I cannot end this announcement letter without a very special mention to Sander Pool, who passed away on January of this year. A highly respected member of the astronomy community, a great supporter of PixInsight since the beginning, a great friend of all of us here and on many public forums, a bright person, always ready to help. We miss you, friend.

======

As any new version of PixInsight, this one has been made to increase your enjoyment of astronomy. So please enjoy it!

Happy Holidays and a wonderful new year 2019 to everybody!
Juan Conejero
PixInsight Development Team
http://pixinsight.com/

Offline Geoff

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #1 on: 2018 December 16 11:57:02 »
This looks wonderful Juan.
Thanks for a great program and thanks for all your hard work.
Geoff
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Offline nemo129

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #2 on: 2018 December 16 13:05:09 »
The license reactivation routine does not seem to be working, see attached. The Pixinsight site is also very, very slowly.

Offline sbenz

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #3 on: 2018 December 16 14:52:39 »
Looks like everyone is trying to download the new version.
I say patience...  ;)

Offline pfile

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #4 on: 2018 December 16 19:23:15 »
pixinsight.com seems to have been down for 5-6 hours this afternoon...? hopefully it's back for good now.

rob

Offline msmythers

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #5 on: 2018 December 16 19:49:40 »
Very slowwwwwwww :sad:


Mike

Offline rottielover

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #6 on: 2018 December 16 20:20:05 »
License activation not working.  Getting either Handshake errors, timeouts, etc.   :-\

Also having a lot of timeouts on the forums.

Offline Seldom

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #7 on: 2018 December 16 22:18:41 »
License activation not working at 23:14 MST 12/16 (6:14 UT 12/17).  Filed a request, waited an hour without a reply. Cut and pasted my username and password from my earlier installation.

Offline jimwaters

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #8 on: 2018 December 16 23:20:31 »
Same problem as the last 4 posts.  Requested an "Activation Code" 3 plus hours ago and still waiting.....

I reinstalled the previous release.

Offline miska

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #9 on: 2018 December 17 00:11:37 »
It takes more than one hour for the activation server to respond, so all my licenses expire before I can use them  >:(
I followed the instructions, and un-installed the old version before installing the new one, so right now, I don't have a working Pixinsight.
Trying to download the older version, but the server times out.
Happy times.

Edit: Just as I posted this, the server responded, and provided me with the license, that worked. Everything is in order now.

Offline Juan Conejero

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #10 on: 2018 December 17 01:29:02 »
Hi all,

I apologize for the issues we have had with our server during the past 8 hours. I didn't expect such a tremendously high network traffic concentrated in such a short time. We are having hundreds of simultaneous downloads without rest for extended periods, which has collapsed our server completely as a result of CPU overuse and memory exhaustion. This has never happened before in previous releases of PixInsight. So in the positive side, it seems PixInsight is quite popular :)

Seriously now, it has been my fault. The php scripts responsible for large file downloads were relatively simple and optimized for fast downloads under low pressure, which does the job under normal conditions, but we are not under normal conditions, obviously. I have modified these scripts and the changes are now working well. I have been working with the advanced support staff at Inmotion Hosting and they have helped me a lot in getting things back to a reasonable state, so the server should not become stuck again. It won't serve files at the speed of light but will work acceptably well while we are experiencing this high traffic. Great people and absolutely top-level support; I highly recommend IMH to anybody seeking for a serious hosting service.

So, again, I am sorry for the trouble. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
Juan Conejero
PixInsight Development Team
http://pixinsight.com/

Offline wacky

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #11 on: 2018 December 17 02:04:15 »
The update and license request works flawlessly here too :- )

THANKS!!!

Offline Juan Conejero

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #12 on: 2018 December 17 02:06:16 »
Glad to know! Thank you! ;)
Juan Conejero
PixInsight Development Team
http://pixinsight.com/

Offline Sedat

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #13 on: 2018 December 17 02:46:53 »
I'm unable to install it. I double click the PI-windows-x64-01.08.06.1447-20181215-c.exe file. In 1-2 seconds, a pop-up window appears and disappears in the blink of an eye. It is impossible to read the message.... Well, I filmed this process and when I checked it frame by frame I was able to grab the pop-up window. It reads " Preparing..." but then nothing happens!


FYI, I have uninstalled the 1.8.5 version and this is a Win 7 machine which never had any problems with the installation of the previous versions.

Sedat

Offline SdA

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Re: PixInsight 1.8.6 Ripley Released
« Reply #14 on: 2018 December 17 03:02:42 »
Yesterday afternoon I installed the update on two computers. Everything is perfect. Win 7 x64 and Win 8 x64.  :)  I have to do it now with Ubuntu 18 but I'm afraid  :sad:
« Last Edit: 2018 December 17 03:23:05 by SdA »