Frequently asked questions

But feel free to contact us if you have any other question.

First of all… why another standard?

Yes, there are other standards and initiatives for astronomy software development. Some of them well established, accepted by the industry, nevertheless Windows only, locked to .Net technologies and without any clear strategy towards IoT and distributed computing. And another with opposite approach. Easy to port to Unix based systems, fully distributed, but not enough standardised in many aspects, quite inefficient for large amount of data and published under license avoiding real commercial use in many situations and thus wider industry acceptance.

That’s why we begun development of INDIGO framework with the goal to take the best from the both worlds – community driven, open to everybody, portable, distributed, efficient, easy to use for developers and invisible for end-users. Why version 2.0 at the very beginning? It can use legacy INDI wire protocol version 1.7 as a fall down option and thus INDIGO protocol version started on 2.0. And unlike in INDI, INDIGO wire protocol version is coupled with the rest of framework.

What are design requirements and limitations?

This is a current list of requirements taken into consideration:

  1. No GPL code used to allow commercial use under application stores licenses.
  2. ANSI C for portability and to allow simple wrapping into .Net, Java, GO, Objective-C or Swift.
  3. Layered architecture to allow both direct linking of the drivers into applications or distributed use.
  4. Scalability from mobile devices and embedded computers to desktops.
  5. Atomic approach to device drivers. E.g. if camera has imaging and guiding chip, driver should expose two independent simple devices instead of one complex. It is much easier and transparent for client.
  6. Hot-plug support for USB devices. If device is connected/disconnected while driver is running, its properties should appear/disappear on the bus.

Can INDIGO client or application use INDI driver?

Yes, INDIGO wire protocol adapter has the ability to fall down to legacy INDI wire protocol version 1.7 to maintain backward compatibility with INDI drivers. In this mode also property and item names are mapped to INDI standard corresponding to version 1.2.

If you want use linked driver option or to use different wire protocol, you have to use INDIGO driver.

Can INDI client or application use INDIGO driver?

Yes, if client or application will initiate communication over INDI wire protocol, INDIGO driver will simulate behavior of INDI driver with common base set of properties.

Can INDIGO client or application use ASCOM driver?

Partially, INDIGO client or application can use INDI Server for Windows as ASCOM-to-INDI bridge out-of-the-box, but probably much more efficient ASCOM driver wrapper for direct linking will come soon.

Can ASCOM client or application use INDIGO driver?

INDIGO-to-ASCOM camera and wheel bridges are ready for beta testing, bridges for focuser, mount etc. are under development.

Why use INDIGO instead of ASCOM, what makes it better?

They are two fundamentally different approaches to the same problem.

First, INDIGO is multi platform, ASCOM is Windows only.

Second, with ASCOM all your devices need to be connected to a single Windows host and all the user applications should run on this very PC, so no remote operation unless you use some sort of screen sharing. On the other hand INDIGO is distributed and all devices can be connected to different hosts running different operating systems. For example you can have a camera connected to a Mac computer running MacOSX, guiding camera connected to Raspberry Pi running Raspbian and PC connected to the telescope mount and you can control all three from a single place thousands of miles from the observatory from your Mac, Windows, Linux PC or even your smart phone or your tablet. However you can use INDIGO on a single host the same way as ASCOM.

What platforms are supported?

Currently Linux and MacOSX (however it should work on all POSIX (unix) comaptible operating systems. Windows support is in our TODO list.