Terminal Setup

The Terminal is the user-facing Agent in Autopilot.

It provides a GUI used to control task operation on a set of Pilots, as well as a few calibration and maintenance routines.

We have found that locally compiling Qt4 and PySide increases stability, but using precompiled binaries shouldn’t be qualitatively different.


The terminal requires:

  • libzmq - the zeromq messaging library
  • Qt4 - the GUI library

and the Python packages:

  • tables>=3.4.2
  • numpy>=1.12.1
  • pyzmq>=17.1.2
  • pandas>=0.19.2
  • npyscreen
  • scipy
  • tornado
  • inputs
  • pyqtgraph - must be installed after Qt + pyside
brew install hdf5 zmq pip install tables numpy pyzmq pandas npyscreen scipy tornado inputs

Scripted Terminal Setup

  1. The resetup_terminal.sh> script automates the manual presetup below. It..
    • Downloads, compiles, and installs Qt4
    • Downloads, compiled, and installs PySide
  2. The setup_terminal.sh script sets two configuration options
    • BASE_DIR: The base directory used by Autopilot to store data, configuration, etc.
    • MSGPORT: The port used by the Terminal to send and receive messages.

    It then creates the basic directory structure used by the Terminal and creates a launch script (ie. <BASE_DIR>/launch_terminal.sh).

The Terminal does not run as a systemd service, and must be launched each time it is used (typically from /usr/autopilot/launch_terminal.sh)

Manual Terminal Presetup

Both of these steps take an enormous amount of time, so plan to start the compilation and go get a cup of coffee.

Compiling & Installing Qt4 - Linux

  1. Download Qt4.8.7

  2. Unzip with the -a flag:

    unzip -a ./<qt archive>.zip
  3. Optionally, to speed compilation, building the examples and demos can be disabled by commenting the following lines in projects.pro:

    #       SUBDIRS += examples
    } else:isEqual(PROJECT, demos) {
    #       SUBDIRS += demos
  4. Configure, make and install as usual. Use ./configure -h to see all configuration options.:

    ./configure \
        -debug \
        -opensource \
        -optimized-qmake \
        -separate-debug-info \
        -no-webkit \
    make -j10
    sudo -H make install

Installing Qt4 - MacOS

MacOS’s g++ is pretty whacky, it’s easier to install from the Mac Package (with debug libs):

Compiling & Installing PySide - Linux + macOS

  1. Clone the PySide repository:

    git clone https://github.com/PySide/pyside-setup.git
  2. macOS - Manually specify the location of the Qt includes in the setup.py file (see this github issue). At line ~609 replace:

    cmake_cmd.append('-DALTERNATIVE_QT_INCLUDE_DIR=' + self.qtinfo.headers_dir)


cmake_cmd.append('-DALTERNATIVE_QT_INCLUDE_DIR=/Library/Frameworks/' )
  1. Run the setup.py script to build the wheel and then install. Note that macOS doesn’t support the --standalone flag, so it must be removed.:

    cd pyside-setup
    python setup.py bdist_wheel --qmake=</location/of/qt4/qmake> --standalone
    sudo -H pip install dist/<name-of-pyside-wheel>.whl