Author Archives: Stig Atle steffensen

Testing CentOS 7 as desktop \ developer OS.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to give CentOS 7 a try as my main OS,
the reason why – is because it’s the closest you get to redhat without paying,
and I’ve been running everything from Debian to Arch, gentoo and others, but now I wanted a rock solid OS that feels predictable,
CentOS feels like the natural choice for that kind of system.

What worried me a bit was outdated software, that has been a issue before with other OS’es,
but after I checked aroud a bit I found out about elrepo,
which is a repository that you can add to CentOS so that you get better hardware support and drivers.

The ELRepo Project focuses on hardware related packages to enhance your experience with Enterprise Linux.
This includes file system drivers, graphics drivers, network drivers, sound drivers, web cam and video drivers.

The first big problem I ran into when I installed CentOS 7 was the kernel,
the netboot \ install DVD did not work as it should on my hardware, but the live-DVD did boot up and install.
The problem I had was that the hardware did not get detected properly,
and after I installed the OS trough live-DVD I decided to upgrade the kernel,
this again caused hardware issues, the usb froze and keyboard \ mouse stopped working,
so that I could not enter my full disk encryption pass phrase at start-up.

So I decided to install it again – fresh install with the live DVD, then I installed the kernel through this guide.
Getting the latest kernel fixed the issue I had with usb locking up, letting me log in and use it.

The next problem I had was to get the Nvidia drivers up and running, but after some trail and error I ended up using this guide.

When it comes to games I mostly run games via steam, that works as expected.
I also run Steam for windows through PlayOnLinux , so to get that to work on CentOS 7 I just grabbed the latest standalone package and run it there.
Then I chose to install ‘steam’ in the games list, accepting the defaults, then I go to it’s properties and make it run ‘wine staging’ instead of the default one.
Steam with wine on CentOS 7 runs like a charm.

I have a big list of games that I’ve tested here:
https://stigatle.no/index.php/2016/08/02/steam-games-for-windows-that-works-with-wine-on-linux/

I also buy games on Gog , since I like DRM free copies of games that I actually own.
They list each games dependencies – all tough they are listed with the names they have in Ubuntu, so some times you
have to jump through a couple of hoops to get the right ones installed in CentOS 7.

The trickiest problem I had with my games there was the ‘ libcurl-gnutls.so.4 ‘ dependency,
but in the end you could do the following to make it work:

cd /usr/lib
sudo ln -s libcurl.so.4 libcurl-gnutls.so.4

Also with QT Creator I had issues with libGL.so \ libGL.so.1 ,
the solution works the same way as the libcurl fix:

yum install mesa-libGL-devel mesa-libGLU-devel
cd /usr/lib
ln -s libGL.so.1 libGL.so

There are many repositories you can add that enhances your CentOS experience, you can look at them here:
https://wiki.centos.org/AdditionalResources/Repositories

Now I can say that everything I need works, nvidia, steam, all my games, all development tools, 3D tools –
everything I need, and it feels solid.

My render exporter \ integration project

The current renderer I’m writing a exporter for
(and later a proper integration) into blender is Pbrt.

The reason why I chose this renderer is because I have the book and I really like the renderer, and having a proper exporter \ integration of this renderer in blender is something a lot of people might find useful, especially if they have the book and want to really test the renderer.

And as you might know – many of the render engines on the market today started as Pbrt source code.

As you can see on my site I used to work with 3dsmax, but I’ve always had my eye on Blender,
and recent events with 3dsmax\Autodesk made me switch over full time to Blender.
I have been developing Luxmax (3dsmax integration of LuxRender for 3dsmax) for many years, but now I feel
that blender is where the future is, it is the best open source 3d application that exists today, and it will continue to be that,
so investing time into it is not something I’ll regret in any way.
And the best part of ditching 3dsmax is that you can get rid of windows at the same time, I now exclusively use Debian.

One other important reason why I do this is that I want to get more into the render engines as well, I want to be able to add to it, implement new things, learn new stuff, and that’s why I choose pbrt , the book really completes it.

Luxrender already has a great plugin for blender, and later I will most likely join the development on that,
but for now (since I’m busy with work and family life) I need a project I can do in my own tempo, and I need to learn all the nuts and bolts in blender.
Switching from 16 years of 3dsmax to Blender was surprisingly easy, and developing for it is not hard either, I’m used to maxscript\c++ so I feel
right at home with Python and c\c++ in Blender.

I have not decided yet if this will be a open source script, fully free, or if  you should be able to buy it instead (or maybe try the ‘patreon‘ thing).
I will decide on that in a bit once it’s more feature complete, currently it’s in its infancy.

For now I have a simple test render with a basic shader:

My new project

I’ve been thinking about it for a long while, and now I’ve decided to invest all my free time into it.
I will integrate a renderer with Blender, first as a exporter for the file formats that the renderer uses, then
do a better integration later on when that is feature complete.

I have ditched windows completely, and with that 3dsmax. I still use 3dsmax at work every day,
but now I do not use it for anything at home. I invest all my time into blender now, that makes perfect sense to me.
I really enjoy blender, and after 16 years of 3dsmax it feels great to have a fully open source work flow.

Here is a sample of what’s to come:

How to chat on https://Diasporapod.no

Here is a quick guide on how to chat on https://diasporapod.no

The web interface for chat has been enabled as well, you follow the step below here,
then use the web interface to chat with users (on the right side of the screen you open the chat window).

Enable chat for a contact groups:
I recommend that you create a new group named ‘chat’, then click the speech bubble in top right for that group,
then you add the people you want to chat to to that group as well as the others you feel they fit in.
This enables you to control very specific who you enable chat with.

In my example I’ve enabled it for the whole group named ‘following’.

How to chat with a desktop \ mobile xmpp client:
After doing this you need to set up a xmpp client,
you find such clients on Linux \ Windows \ Android etc.
In this example I use ‘Pidgin’, you can download and install it from here: https://pidgin.im/

After installation you need to configure your user account and server setup.
Click ‘Accounts -> Manage accounts’ after starting pidgin.

Set up your username and password for https://diasporapod.no
And set up the server setting like it’s shown in the pictures.

When this has been done – enable your account and you will see contacts being online.
Feel free to add me and test with that, I will reply as soon as I can.

 

 

Status of LuxMax

Some of you readers might already know I’m the main developer of LuxMax.
The current status is very positive, I’ve released several stable versions now and added  a lot of new shaders.

The biggest improvement is stability, now you can leave the renders for days without any memory leak or such.
Also the new shaders lets you play around and create much more advanced materials then before.
This is my main focus right now – add all missing shadres \ textures \ features.

The development of LuxMax happens here:
http://www.luxrender.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=33

Here is a test render I did this weekend, showing some of the new shaders and the DOF.

Technical test renders

I collected some of my old renders that I’ve done during the development
of a render plugin I actively developed for many years.
They are test renders of specific features that I implemented.

These where made during the development of Luxrender 3dsmax plugin.

Metal \ Glass IOR

test_lux_glass_gold_render

Metal \ Glass \ Glossy material

test_render_some_stuffMetal \ Glass \ Glossy material

test_render
DOF (depth of field test) and again – glass and glossy (I love that)

abstract_by_stig_atle

Testing of DOF and metal \ glass shaders, and ‘Matte’ shader

glass_env_ior_dof_clean_render

Showing the difference between light ‘architectural’ glass and regular glass with IOR (arch glass on the right).  lux_ior_works_again

Shader test, metal \ carpaint and translucent shader test.lux07_mat_test
Again a extreme DOF test.
luxout_2
Here I implemented UV mapping (flipped up side down for test).
luxout

Showing that you can load ‘metal data’ and render physically correct metal (nk data).nxdata_clean_render

Diaspora

diasporapodno

I’m one of those people who always complains about social media and how they own your data and such.
So I decided to do something about it (besides complain), so now I’ve set up a Diaspora pod that anyone who wants can use.

Diaspora is social media, but you own the data, there are no ads, no tracking etc, you are free to register as anyone you want.
The servers are distributed, meaning there are not ‘1’ server, but many servers who talks together sharing statuses.
You have very fine control over who gets to see what, no hidden ‘security’ features that are hard to find.You can also easily download all your data and delete your account if you want.

The url is : https://diasporapod.no

Customizing blender by compiling from source

There is one small issue in blender that I’ve really disliked, and that is the rounded corners on every GUI item.
I absolutely hate rounded corners, I like it straight and flat.
So today I hunted it down in the source code and fixed it, that’s the beauty of open source – fix it yourself.

You can see the difference in the screen shot here :

remove-round-cornersLeft side is the rounded corners, right side is the GUI with my fix.

The patch has been submitted:
https://developer.blender.org/D2178

How to find the multipitch route in Åmli at Trogfjell.

11 pitches, 6- grade at the crux, note that several pitches are relatively short in length, that’s why there is 11 pitches, and you can easily walk down the trail from the top when done climbing.

I’ve been climbing a lot at ‘Trogfjell’ in Åmli in South Norway, I heard about the route from a climbing buddy some years ago, I found no info about it, and others have asked me recently as well about it, so I decided to write a bit about it and show where to find the start of the route.

First you simply drive to Åmli ‘city’ center, if you come from south (Kristiansand \ Arendal) then you drive through the city center and drive across the bridge over the river, there is really just 1 bridge there, so you cannot miss it.

When you are over the bridge, go to the right about 50 meters, park by the museum there (white building with parking lot). When you have parked there you’ll see a big sign straight across the road which says ‘Trogfjell’..

That is where the trail starts.

Pack up your gear and head up the trail, follow the path until you reach 3 small open cabins, when you see those you will have to walk straight towards the mountain, there is really no obvious trail there, so just try and find the best path through the brush.

You will then reach a steep incline with boulders, and you’ll see the bottom of the mountain as a clearing, that’s where the route starts.

Sorry for being a bit vague, but there is honestly no obvious way of finding it.

I have marked a map with P for parking, and ‘C’ for cabin (more like a open shelter type thing).

Map location on this link:
https://www.google.no/maps/@58.7719769,8.481732,1549m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

åmli trogfjell path

There is really just 1 bolted route there, its something around 6- at the hardest, its not steep, but at some places it’s really not much to hold on to, bolts are frequent, and some pitches are really short, so it’s a very good place to go if you are trying your first multi-pitch route.

The way down is also easy, because you can just walk the trail back down (walk to the left when you reach the top..)

Here is a view from the mountain, that helps a lot to understand where it is located.
(P = Towards parking, C = cabin)
frommountain

Blender – wireframe on shaded

There is one thing I really missed when switching from 3dsmax to blender, and that was wire-frame on shaded view-port mode.

This is one feature I used in 3dsmax all the time, for blender you can get the same by installing this script:
http://www.pasteall.org/57345/python

If you are new to installing scripts, then create a file, for example ‘wireshaded.py’, then copy the text and paste it in there, make sure the indentation is correct, then go to blender’s settings\addons window, select .’install from file’, then point to your script file, enable the listed addon, then click ‘save user settings’.
installwireshaded
You can then toggle the wire-frame on shaded mode by going to the object menu, then select ‘Toggle Wire’.

Here is a screenshot of it when it’s enabled:

wireshaded