NI-DAQmx for Linux Frequently Asked Questions

Publish Date: Aug 07, 2013 | 13 Ratings | 4.15 out of 5 |  PDF

Overview

NI-DAQmx driver software goes far beyond a basic DAQ driver to deliver increased productivity and performance and is one of the many reasons National Instruments continues to be the leader in virtual instrumentation and PC-based data acquisition on Linux. This document provides answers to the most commonly asked questions about NI-DAQmx for Linux.

Table of Contents

  1. What Linux distributions and version does NI-DAQmx for Linux support?
  2. What devices are supported by NI-DAQmx for Linux? How is this list different from support with NI-DAQmx for Windows?
  3. Are NI Modular Instruments also supported in Linux?
  4. What application development environments will be supported by the NI-DAQmx API for Linux?
  5. Are all NI-DAQmx for Windows features also available with NI-DAQmx Linux? Test Panels? VI Logger Lite? etc...
  6. How do I configure my hardware if Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) has not been ported to Linux?
  7. What will happen to NI-DAQmx Base support for Linux?
  8. Is NI-DAQmx for Linux "open-source" software?
  9. Where can I get more information on Linux and NI products?

1. What Linux distributions and version does NI-DAQmx for Linux support?

National Instruments supports commercially available, enterprise grade distributions of Linux. The current list of supported distributions is available on the ni.com/linux support page.

If you would like to use NI data acquisition devices with an unsupported Linux distribution, NI Measurement Hardware DDK is provided for creating custom drivers on any OS. You can use the provided driver components, examples, and documentation to create your driver. Additionally, you can work with open source development groups using the MHDDK, such as Comedi, to meet your driver requirements.

For additional questions about supported distributions, please refer to the ni.com/linux pages.

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2. What devices are supported by NI-DAQmx for Linux? How is this list different from support with NI-DAQmx for Windows?


NI-DAQmx for Windows supports more than 225 data acquisition, signal conditioning, and switch devices. NI-DAQmx for Linux will not support 100% of those devices, in its inaugural release. The first release of NI-DAQmx for Linux will support all PCIe, PCI, PXI, and SCXI devices supported by NI-DAQmx for Windows.

Products
NI-DAQmx for Linux
NI-DAQmx for Windows
M Series MIO Devices (PCIe/PCI/PXI)
*
*
S Series MIO Devices (PCI/PXI)
*
*
E Series MIO Devices (PCI/PXI)
*
*
B Series MIO Devices (PCI/PXI)
*
*
DSA Devices (PCI/PXI)
*
*
Digital I/O Devices (PCI/PXI)
*
*
Counter Timer Devices (PCI/PXI)
*
*
Analog Output Devices (PCI/PXI)
*
*
SCXI
*
*
SCC
*
*
USB DAQ Devices  
*
PCMCIA DAQ Devices  
*



National Instruments plans to add support for USB DAQ products on Linux. The current level of USB device support for Linux users will be maintained in NI-DAQmx Base.

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3. Are NI Modular Instruments also supported in Linux?


National Instruments provides Linux drivers for many Modular Instruments product families including:

  • Signal Generators (NI-FGEN)
  • Digitizers (NI-SCOPE)
  • Switching Products (Using NI-DAQmx API Only)
  • Digital Multimeters (NI-DMM)
  • DSA Instruments


In addition to NI Modular Instruments and data acquisition devices, National Instruments also offers support for LabVIEW, PXI hardware, VXI hardware, and GPIB instruments control devices. The best place to get up to date information about Linux support across National Instruments product lines is ni.com/linux.

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4. What application development environments will be supported by the NI-DAQmx API for Linux?


NI-DAQmx for Linux supports development using the NI-DAQmx for Linux API with LabVIEW 8.0 and standard C compilers, such as the popular gcc compiler installed with most Linux distributions.

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5. Are all NI-DAQmx for Windows features also available with NI-DAQmx Linux? Test Panels? VI Logger Lite? etc...


NI-DAQmx for Windows includes a number of application level software programs which serve as measurement services to help with tasks including configuration-based DAQmx task creation (DAQ Assistant), data logging (VI Logger Lite), and hardware configuration (Measurement & Automation Explorer). Although the NI-DAQmx application programming interface (API) has been ported for use with supported Linux distributions, many of these measurement services and other driver features have not been.

Please refer to the table below for a comparison of software features in each of the drivers.

Application or Software Feature
NI-DAQmx for Linux
NI-DAQmx for Windows
Analog, Digital, and Counter Timer Test Panels
*
*
Single API for All Hardware and I/O Types
*
*
Scaling to Engineering Units
*
*
Channel Calibration
*
*
High-Speed Streaming to Disk
*
*
Programmatic and Text-Based Task Configuration
*
*
Test Panels
*
*
Optimized Multi-Threaded Performance
*
*
Support for LabVIEW
*
*
Support for C/C++
*
*
Support for C#, VB .NET, VB6  
*
Task Configuration from LabVIEW Project  
*
VI Logger Lite  
*
Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX)
-- System Configuration Managements
-- Device Routing Tables
-- Device Self Test
 
*
DAQ Assistant and Express VI  
*
Code Generation  
*
NI-DAQmx Simulated Devices  
*
Timed Loop Support  
*
Remote Connections to LabVIEW RT Systems  
*
NI-SWITCH and Switch Soft Front Panel  
*
(nilsdev) Linux software to recognize installed hardware
*
 
(nidaqmxconfig) Linux software to configure installed hardware
*
 


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6. How do I configure my hardware if Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) has not been ported to Linux?


With NI-DAQmx for Linux, National Instruments has introduced the NI-DAQmx Configuration Utility (daqmxconfig) to allow you to import and export your hardware configuration as text files which are easily modified and read manually using text editors and spreadsheet applications. These files are in an INI-style format and describe the hardware configuration including plug-in devices, SCXI, SCC, and TEDS.

In addition to the new configuration tool described above, here are a few suggested ways to complete tasks you may have used MAX for in the past.

Task or Feature Using NI-DAQmx for Linux
Test Panels Will ship as a separate program
Setting of digital/analog power up states Use the NI-DAQmx API
Channel Calibration using DAQ Assistant Use the NI-DAQmx API
PXI Chassis Identification Use the NI PXI Configuration (nipxiconfig) utility
Persistent Channels, Tasks, and Scales Use the programmatic save feature of the NI-DAQmx API


Read the "daqmxconfig" tutorial to learn more about configuring devices with NI-DAQmx for Linux.

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7. What will happen to NI-DAQmx Base support for Linux?


Because NI-DAQmx for Linux does not yet support all devices supported by NI-DAQmx for Windows, NI-DAQmx Base for Linux is currently the best solution for USB DAQ on supported Linux distributions.

NI-DAQmx Base also provides support for Mac OS X, RTX, and Pocket PC in addition to Windows and Linux. NI-DAQmx Base will continue to be our solution for non-Windows and non-Linux platforms. All released versions of the NI-DAQmx Base driver will continue to be available for download through our Support pages.

To help previous NI-DAQmx Base for Linux developers, National Instruments has created a code conversion utility to help LabVIEW for Linux customers upgrade their existing NI-DAQmx Base code to NI-DAQmx. The conversion process starts at the top-level VI and recursively traverses through all subVIs to replace NI-DAQmx Base VIs with corresponding NI-DAQmx VIs.

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8. Is NI-DAQmx for Linux "open-source" software?


NI-DAQmx for Linux is not "open-source" software as described under the GPL (GNU Public License). Customers installing and using NI-DAQmx for Linux accept the terms and conditions of the NI software license.

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9. Where can I get more information on Linux and NI products?


National Instruments provides Linux support for many product families including:

  • LabVIEW
  • Data Acquisition Devices
  • GPIB
  • Modular Instruments
  • PXI
  • VXI


The best place to get up to date information about Linux support across National Instruments product lines is ni.com/linux.


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