LabVIEW on Linux and Mac OS
Some time ago, I worked on an application that was required to run on a Windows, Linux, and Mac operating system (OS). Consequently, I also had to work in the corresponding LabVIEW development environments regularly. From my point of view, this was quite interesting since I only had worked with LabVIEW on Windows up to that point.
The development of LabVIEW was inspired by the graphical interface of Apple’s Macintosh. Therefore, it may be obvious to assume that LabVIEW is still used on Mac OS. But how straightforward is it actually to use LabVIEW in Mac OS, compared to Windows? And how about LabVIEW on Linux? Let’s take a look at it.
Starting with Linux
Linux - Availability and compatibility
As you may know, there is a huge family of Linux distributions including Debian, openSUSE, Red Hat, Slackware, and Ubuntu. So, the first question you may ask is which Linux distribution and LabVIEW versions are compatible with each other.
NI published some information in this regard. In general, OpenSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Scientific Linux are mentioned as compatible Linux distributions. However, this also depends on which versions of LabVIEW and the Linux distributions you want to use:
Furthermore, you need to take into account the bitness. From July 2016 on, there is only support for 64-bit versions of LabVIEW and Linux distributions. When taking a look at the download page for LabVIEW, you will see that you can still download and install 32-bit versions of the LabVIEW Runtime environment for earlier releases, like LabVIEW 2015.
For LabVIEW 2016 and 2017, there are also 32-bit versions available for the Full and Professional development systems. But from LabVIEW 2018 onwards, there are only 64-bit versions available.
Also, note that the Base Development System is not available for Linux and that you can only get the Full or Professional Development Systems for commercial and academic use. However, the LabVIEW Community editions 2020 SP1 and 2021 are available for Linux distributions.
Linux - Installation
NI provides a general description of how to install LabVIEW on Linux. Nevertheless, I would like to show you how I managed to install LabVIEW on Linux.
Suppose you use CentOS 7 as a Linux distribution and you'd like to install LabVIEW 2021 Professional (also assuming that you have a valid license). The following steps present one possible way to do that:
First, log in to the NI website, browse to the download section, and download the iso file.
Second, browse to the location where the iso file was saved to (in this case, the “Downloads” folder), right-click on the iso file, and click on “Open With Disk Image Mounter” to mount it.
The mounted iso file will then be visible on the desktop.
Third, double-click on the mounted iso file, browse to the Linux iso file, and mount that one as well.
Now, two mounted iso files will be visible on the desktop.
Fourth, open the terminal and browse into the Linux iso file (in this case: 2021LVLinPro, located in the “run/media” directory of user “vitech”).
The Linux iso file contains an installation script called ”INSTALL”. You can see it by listing the content of the Linux iso file in the terminal or by opening the Linux iso file in the file browser.
Fifth, run the “INSTALL” script as root by using e.g. the “sudo” command.
Subsequently, you are asked to agree with the terms of the NI Software License Agreement and to indicate the components to be installed, like the LABVIEW Run-Time Engine or NI LabVIEW 2021 VI Analyzer Toolkit. If everything works out fine, LabVIEW is then successfully installed.
Note that, after the installation on Linux, LabVIEW does not ask for an activation code or serial number and you directly have full functionality. If you have a valid license, your NI.com account has been associated with an active-SSP serial number. This means that NI already verified your access to LabVIEW for Linux and Mac OS before downloading the software.
Linux - General Impression
When you compare LabVIEW 2021 on Linux with LabVIEW 2021 on Windows, you can see some slight differences. For example, the Linux version has a quite classic style whereas the Windows version looks new and up-to-date. In addition, both versions also have different lists of font styles that can be used by default.