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VStar conflicts with java used

VStar is a multi-platform variable star visualisation and analysis tool, developed under the CitizenSky project and the AAVSO. Its use is straightforward if java is installed. But you should be carefull what java you are using…

I tried to use VStar in two different machines running Ubuntu 10.10 64bit and Fedora 14 32bit and the first impression was that everything was set. The visualization of the data and the phase plot (epoch folding) were working but the analysis tool DCDFT (date-compensated discrete Fourier transform) was not! After some discussion with the author of the program David Benn it was found that IcedTea (a java environment) was used to run the program which “is not fully 1.6 compliant, possibly in terms of some of the Swing libraries“. So, as only the Oracle Java has been really tested, it is strongly advised to install this version in order to run the program without any issues.

Installing Oracle’s Java is simple, as there is a guide for this. A fast note of this is the following steps:

1. Download the Linux self-extracting file named jre_6u3_linux_i586.bin, or similar  (source page).

2. Make this file executable (type: chmod +x jre_6u3_linux_i586.bin).

3. Create, if it doesn’t exist, the directory /usr/java (type: mkdir /usr/java – for this we need to be root) if we want to install java in the whole system, else place it under the home directory.

4. Run the self-extracting binary (type: ./jre-6u3_linux_i586.bin). After accepting the license, the installation proceeds and finishes when “Done” is displayed.

5. We can verify the installation by checking if jre1.6.0… sub-directory is listed under the /java directory.

Then we can select VStar to open with this java environment and start digging into the light-curves!

WhereIsM13 and .jar files

WhereIsM13 is a great 3d visualization application of deep sky objects! You can see where these objects lie in our Galaxy along with their physical properties.

There are different download options according to the operating system.
For linux users download the .zip version which includes a .jar file that can be run by double clicking (well, not in my case…although I changed the properties so as to be executable). If not, then you can easilly run it by typing:

$ java -jar /path/to/file.jar

(there is no need for the file to be executable!).