What does RTS2 stands for? What is its history? And future?

It stands for Remote Telescope System 2. As name suggest, there was Remote Telescope System, which was later renamed to RTS1. It was writen in Python, which was discovered as pretty stupid idea, as project at the Mathematical and Physical Faculty of Prague Charles Univerzity for telescope BART.

RTS2 was firstly written in pure C as my diploma thesis. After I finish degree, it was (almost completly) rewritten to C++. Rewrites enabled me to realize ideas I gather during writing C code - primary objectiv was selector and executor separation, but there were more issues (memory leaks...).

The main author (Petr Kubanek) is currently working on network extension, so the RTS2 telescopes will collaborate on new discoveries. Please write him for details (there is a paper presented in Astronomische Nachrichten on the issue, but most probably you will have to pay for it - I can send you personal copy for free).

Does it run? Where?

Yes, currently it runs on those telescopes:

And future plans: 1 x RT in Spain (Astrobiology), 1.23m at CAHA, new Bootes system at New Zealand. Plus there is plan to finally make from it a network - work in progress.

Can I use it?

Yes, you can use the software, as long as you agree with it's licence (GNU licence - see COPYING).

How do I start it/restart it/stop the beast to allow me do some work on telescope?

To start RTS2 - as root issue:

/etc/init.d/rts2 start

That in my case leads to:

omega:/home/petr# /etc/init.d/rts2 start
Starting RTS2 centrald daemon:rts2-centrald.
Starting RTS2 deamons: rts2-camd-dummy(C0) rts2-camd-dummy(C1) rts2-focusd-dummy(F1) rts2-teld-dummy(T0) rts2-phot-dummy(PHOT) rts2-mirror-dummy(M0).
Starting RTS2 services: rts2-imgproc(IMGP) rts2-grbd(GRBD) rts2-executor(EXEC) rts2-selector(SEL).

To stop it:

/etc/init.d/rts2 stop

To restart it:

/etc/init.d/rts2 restart

I cannot access database. What is wrong?

Most probably you are getting somethink like:

user@host:~$ rts2-nightreport -f 2008-07-05
2008-07-07T13:58:31.473 app 1 Rts2AppDb::init Cannot connect to DB 'stars2' : Could not connect to database stars2 in line 470.

This means that user does not have rights to connect to the database. You must create user with

dbsuperuser@host:~$ createuser {user}

followed by adding user to "observers" group:

dbsuperuser@host:~$ psql {dbname}
Welcome to psql 8.3.3, the PostgreSQL interactive terminal.

Type: \copyright for distribution terms
\h for help with SQL commands
\? for help with psql commands
\g or terminate with semicolon to execute query
\q to quit

{dbname}=# alter group observers add user {user};

Please note that you have to run all the commands as database superuser. Please consult PostgreSQL manual for details.

I would like to run GRBD on host which gets hole in firewall and can accept GCN connections.

For that to work, you need to establish RTS2 connection between GRBD on machine which can accept GCN connections (let's call it GRBH), and RTS2 master server (let's call it CS).

Starting on CS, you will need:

Then on GRBH, you will need to: