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The Carnegie Observatories Virtual Machine


With the larger number of machine architectures, operating systems, and versions thereof, installing all the software on this site can be daunting. We have attempted to bundle most of it up into a virtual machine (VM). This allows you to run our software without having to install it in your native OS, but rather under a virtual OS. Preliminary tests show that running pipelines under VMs introduce minimal overhead.

Installing the VM

  1. Download/install VirtualBox using the installer most appropriate for your OS.VirtualBoxImportApplicance.png
  2. Download the Carnegie Observatories VM appliance (size: 7GBytes, MD5SUM:  6a147a33399b7f07c8b4f633661bf76c)
  3. On most systems, you can simply double-click the downloaded .ova file and that will launch VirtualBox and install our VM. If not:
    1. Launch VirtualBox. 
    2. Select File -> Import Appliance...  from the menu.
    3. In the window that opens, click on the small folder icon next to the textbox (see picture)
    4. Select the downloaded .ova file
  4. You will be presented with a new window, showing multiple settings for your VM. The only option you might want to override is the location of the virtual disk. This will be on order of 16 GBytes and you may want to save it somewhere other than your home folder (the default). 

Using the VM

Once the VM is imported into VirtualBox, it will show up in the list of VMs on the left. Select OBSVM, then click the start button (green right-pointing arrow).

You will see the usual CentOS boot screen, followed by a login screen. Use the obsuser account. The password is the same as the Visitor WIFI on our Santa Barbara Street campus. If you don't know what that is, contact us.

There is a README file on the desktop that has information on what software is installed. Generally speaking, the login shell has a start-up script (.tcshrc) that will initialize the environment. You should be able to run software right away.

Getting Your Data Into the VM

The drawback of using a VM, rather than installing natively on your computer, is that it only comes with a few GBytes of free virtual disk space. What you really want is to have the VM mount your local disks so that you can access your data directly as a mounted filesystem. Luckily, this is relatively painless in newer versions of VirtualBox.

  1. VM_SharedFolders.pngBefore you spin up your VM, select it and click the settings button (yellow gear at top).
  2. In the window that pops up, select "Shared Folders" on the top button bar.
  3. The list should be empty below "Machine Folders". Click on the folder with plus sign icon on the right.
  4. Under "Folder Path", select "Other..." and then browse to the root of the folders you wish to share with the VM
  5. Under "Folder name", give it a name (this will determine the mount point in the VM). Something short is probably best.
  6. Click the "Auto-mount" option. Then click OK in this window, the click OK in the settings window.
  7. Spin up your VM and loing as obsuser. You should see the shared folder on your desktop with a name like "sm_{name}" where {name} is the one you chose in step 5.

Note that these steps will need to be repeated if you download a newer version of the VM in the future.

Software Installed in the VM:

  1. Carnegie Python Distribution (CarPy) version 2018-Apr-24. This includes:
    1. MIKE Pipeline
    2. MagE Pipeline
    3. DPE Pipeline
    4. Miscellaneous python-based algorithms
  2. COSMOS2 and COSMOS3 reduction pipelines
  3. Maskgen v2.14 mask design software