19 Jul 2006 lloydwood   » (Journeyer)

Last week, as a guest lecturer at the International Space University summer session in Strasbourg, I ran a three-hour workshop introducing students to satellite constellations. That workshop made heavy use of SaVi in the slides and exercises.

Despite my fears, SaVi itself worked smoothly. Geomview and Cygwin on the classroom's available Windows PCs were more problematic, and had to be quickly restarted a couple of times. (Geomview currently has pipe communication problems on non-glibc systems. Cygwin's X server is very fussy about file permissions when starting, and fails hard at any opportunity. The latter was a surprise.)

Setting everything up for the tight deadline of the workshop encouraged more work on SaVi -- some minor bugs fixed, new simulation scripts, and, finally, prompted a SaVi user manual so that the students would have something to read. But that's just minor work and the icing on the cake after a few years of development; the major work had already been done.

It's good to know that the software I've been maintaining is good enough to throw at new users and have them use it successfully in only a few minutes - and good to finally use my own project as part of the daily job! I've now released SaVi 1.3, including all the work done in France.

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