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Author Topic: An exercise in futility  (Read 15111 times)
G4PNX
Member

Posts: 16




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« on: June 30, 2011, 07:19:42 AM »

Congratulations go to Flex Radio Systems today 30 June 2011.

The number of Enhancement Requests in the Submitted and Plan to Implement categories reaches a staggering 600 requests dating back to 8th March 2006 (No 83).

The response was 'many of these kind of per band, per mode, etc functionalities will be built into the next generation console'.

The Jam Tomorrow Factory has been working overtime ever since.

G4PNX
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WB6RQN
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Posts: 484




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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2011, 08:28:35 AM »

Congratulations go to Flex Radio Systems today 30 June 2011.

The number of Enhancement Requests in the Submitted and Plan to Implement categories reaches a staggering 600 requests dating back to 8th March 2006 (No 83).

The response was 'many of these kind of per band, per mode, etc functionalities will be built into the next generation console'.

The Jam Tomorrow Factory has been working overtime ever since.

G4PNX

Forgive me but I don't understand what you wrote. Are you complaining about how many enhancement requests is on the books for Flex? Hey, we are all waiting for our favorite "improvement". I know there are three or four key things that I want to see.

I think that a lot are not possible using the current software architecture, i.e. PowerSDR. It is going to take a new design to make it possible to do many of the things I want.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
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G4PNX
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2011, 08:57:32 AM »

New Architecture (first announced in Dec 2006), V2.0, Deep Impact...call it what you like.

It will probably be called something else next year...and the year after...and the year after, etc etc.

FRS has squandered the significant lead they had and will pay a very heavy price for it over the next couple of years when Japan gets its act together.

G4PNX

functionalities will be built into the next generation console'.

G4PNX


I thought that is what they said about version 2.0?

Stan K9IUQ

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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2011, 09:29:20 AM »

Re: New Architecture (first announced in Dec 2006), V2.0, Deep Impact...

DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

Gene

[My New Sig]
--------------------------------
A few months ago while using my Flex-5000a I was in a QSO with another Ham who was also using his Flex-5000a.  He was running approximately 800 watts out on 40meters.  While transmitting he opened the transmit equalizer dialog box.  He had been just a few minutes earlier extolling the virtues of the Flex-5000a and PowerSDR in general to a crowd of guys listening.  He wanted to demonstrate how nice it was to have a built-in transmit equalizer. In mid sentence either his PowerSDR or Windows locked up and all I heard was a stuttering "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." for like 30 seconds.  I seriously thought the poor guy was having a stroke or seizure!  No kidding.  On my spectrum display I could see that he suddenly was splattering at least 20 kHz up and down the band causing interference to all those around us with his 800 watts of "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ...".  After about 5 minutes, he came back on the air to explain what had happened.  He finally had to resort to pulling the power to stop the stuttering loop that the computer had gone into.

It was the funniest and most pitiful thing that I have ever heard live on the air.  I can still hear and laugh about the half a minute of wide band, 800 watt "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." noises today.  I felt bad for him as he said it was one of the most embarrassing moments in his 40+ years of Hamming.
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K0OD
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Posts: 2521




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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2011, 10:43:00 AM »

Enhancement requests to the SDR-1000. Flex5000A, Flex-5000C, Flex-1500, Flex-3000, the VU5K vhf/uhf converter. 2nd receiver, the tuner, the built-in monitor scope, band scope, customizable  filters, rare modes, diversity, out-of the-box FMT features, etc

Flex isn't one radio; it's a line of products. Flex offers features that can't be enhanced on other radios because they don't exist on other radios.

One FMT fan is lobbying to have the F5K provide readout to a tenth of a Hertz. I'd like to have calibrated QRPp ability. No one even thinks of requesting such features on other radios.

 

« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 10:51:57 AM by K0OD » Logged
WB6RQN
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Posts: 484




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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2011, 12:00:46 PM »

And people ask for these improvements because Flex listens and puts them in. No, not everything is going to get in but something is. I have even had Flex install a feature that I requested.

Ever ask Yaesu for an improvement to a radio you already purchased?

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
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W6RMK
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Posts: 649




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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2011, 12:10:40 PM »

Perhaps it's the "plan to implement" aspect...

I don't think anyone would gripe about "request for enhancement" list being long.

It's the "sure, we'll do that, real soon now" aspect that probably gets some fraction of folks perturbed. 

I figure that there's some percentage of buyers who buy on the basis of optimistic assumption that their particular "gotta have" feature will materialize in some moderately short time (say <1 yr).  After all, if the gotta have isn't available anywhere else, you figure that buying the hardware now will help the mfr move forward (essentially, it's a form of "investing in the future").

Eventually, though, they realize that "plan to implement" or "plan to provide" is always "next year".

Hey, Flex are rookies at the whole ham software/ham hardware business.  They've got plenty of optimism, and not a lot of realism.  They are getting better at not promising the future.  And, to be fair to them, there's nobody else in the market that is any better: just how many mass market (say >1000 units sold) user modifiable SDRs are there?   The USRP is probably the only other one with that kind of volume, and it's selling into a totally different market.
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N9RO
Member

Posts: 124


WWW

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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2011, 01:21:27 PM »

If we EVER see a new architecture I believe it will be when Flex begins charging us all for new software.  See http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2010-May/003912.html
Can you spell $$$?

73, Tim
N9RO
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Real techies don't use knobs.
G4PNX
Member

Posts: 16




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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2011, 01:47:39 PM »

To be able to sell their software it will need to be World Class. That requirement alone will preclude Flex Radio.

G4PNX

If we EVER see a new architecture I believe it will be when Flex begins charging us all for new software.  See http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2010-May/003912.html
Can you spell $$$?

73, Tim
N9RO
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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2011, 01:59:39 PM »

It is definitely in Flex's plans to go completely closed source and to start to charge money for the software.  It is just a matter of time.  Anyone who follows the Flex reflector will have seen this coming if they were paying attention.

Gene

[My New Sig]
--------------------------------
A few months ago while using my Flex-5000a I was in a QSO with another Ham who was also using his Flex-5000a.  He was running approximately 800 watts out on 40meters.  While transmitting he opened the transmit equalizer dialog box.  He had been just a few minutes earlier extolling the virtues of the Flex-5000a and PowerSDR in general to a crowd of guys listening.  He wanted to demonstrate how nice it was to have a built-in transmit equalizer. In mid sentence either his PowerSDR or Windows locked up and all I heard was a stuttering "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." for like 30 seconds.  I seriously thought the poor guy was having a stroke or seizure!  No kidding.  On my spectrum display I could see that he suddenly was splattering at least 20 kHz up and down the band causing interference to all those around us with his 800 watts of "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ...".  After about 5 minutes, he came back on the air to explain what had happened.  He finally had to resort to pulling the power to stop the stuttering loop that the computer had gone into.

It was the funniest and most pitiful thing that I have ever heard live on the air.  I can still hear and laugh about the half a minute of wide band, 800 watt "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." noises today.  I felt bad for him as he said it was one of the most embarrassing moments in his 40+ years of Hamming.
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W6RMK
Member

Posts: 649




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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2011, 07:28:40 PM »

Some aspects of going closed source would be challenging.  the DSP core of PSDR is GPL.  The existing PSDR is GPL. In order to do it right, Flex would have to do a clean room development, preferably in a totally different language, a'la Phoenix BIOS in the 80s, to avoid allegations of "contamination".  I just don't see that happening.

The other way in which you might get new software is if Flex were to publish decent documentation for their hardware interfaces, so that someone else might create software that could run on the Flex platform.  This too, is quite challenging.  I do not know (not being privy to Flex's software development processes), but I'm going to bet that the interfaces are mostly defined by code that talks to them, and documented by tribal knowledge on the part of the person who wrote the code. 

A few years ago, I made a start at reverse engineering the interface between PSDR and the micro inside the F5K, but it's a tough row to hoe.

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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2011, 05:10:04 AM »

Some aspects of going closed source would be challenging.  the DSP core of PSDR is GPL.  The existing PSDR is GPL. In order to do it right, Flex would have to do a clean room development, preferably in a totally different language, a'la Phoenix BIOS in the 80s, to avoid allegations of "contamination".  I just don't see that happening.

All it would take is for the DttSP authors to grant a different license to Flex.  There are only two authors, N4HY and AB2KT, according to the DttSP header files, so I am sure that it can be arranged.  They are both listed as being already on the Flex radio Team on Flex's website.  The same for PowerSDR as long as they get all people who contributed to agree.    I doubt that will happen with PowerSDR, but they can easily incorporate a non-GPL DttSP into their Deep Impact or whatever they are calling it now.

Gene
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 05:12:45 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
W6RMK
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Posts: 649




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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2011, 07:12:16 AM »

There have been other contributors to dttsp, although Frank and Bob are the main ones.  You'd have to go through the commit/SVN logs to find them all.   (and those logs might turn out to be unavailable).  There's also the possibility of other sticky intellectual property things.. say you have a discussion on a mailing list or forum about ways to implement something: multiple people contribute to the discussion, on the assumption that it is winding up as open source/GPL, and therefore do not seek explicit acknowledgement of their contribution, nor do they formally assign the rights.  After all, it's not like you are going to make money directly from it: you get your satisfaction from a)the discussion and b)the reputation from having a product out there.  True, the actual "typing of the characters" might be done by someone else, but your intellectual product is in there.

Now, someone closes the source and starts to make serious money.  A discussion contributor might have been fine with contributing to the general knowledge of mankind, but might not be so wild about contributing to a specific person's wealth.

I'm not sure it's so easy to de-GPL something, but you could be right.. I haven't given a lot of thought to how it might be done.

The other thing is that, even if they did just take the current thing and close it, it's unlikely anyone would go to the trouble of suing.  There would be fulminations and screeds on the forums, but that's about it.
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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2011, 09:11:00 AM »

There have been other contributors to dttsp, although Frank and Bob are the main ones.  You'd have to go through the commit/SVN logs to find them all.   (and those logs might turn out to be unavailable).  There's also the possibility of other sticky intellectual property things.. say you have a discussion on a mailing list or forum about ways to implement something: multiple people contribute to the discussion, on the assumption that it is winding up as open source/GPL, and therefore do not seek explicit acknowledgement of their contribution, nor do they formally assign the rights.  After all, it's not like you are going to make money directly from it: you get your satisfaction from a)the discussion and b)the reputation from having a product out there.  True, the actual "typing of the characters" might be done by someone else, but your intellectual product is in there.

Now, someone closes the source and starts to make serious money.  A discussion contributor might have been fine with contributing to the general knowledge of mankind, but might not be so wild about contributing to a specific person's wealth.

I'm not sure it's so easy to de-GPL something, but you could be right.. I haven't given a lot of thought to how it might be done.

The other thing is that, even if they did just take the current thing and close it, it's unlikely anyone would go to the trouble of suing.  There would be fulminations and screeds on the forums, but that's about it.

Looking through the DttSP code, the only copyrights are for N4HY and AB2KT.  There is not a mention or any comment about anyone else contributing or even making changes to the code.  It would only take N4HY and AB2KT to agree to different licensing terms than GPL.  Flex would then be free to develop the rest of their Deep Impact code around DttSP as the DSP engine without having to make it open source provided they don't use any other GPL code.  They could always use LGPL code if they wanted to.

Gene
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WB6RQN
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Posts: 484




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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2011, 12:48:19 PM »

It is definitely in Flex's plans to go completely closed source and to start to charge money for the software.
So you are now a Flex insider and know what they are definitely going to do? You are officially speaking for Flex now?

WRT new software, I can certainly see Flex taking the hardware-specific pieces closed. In fact, due to their purchase of driver code from third parties, that is effectively where they are now.

But even if they make some of the core pieces closed, if they publish an API we can still hope to be able to extend the next generation of Flex software with plug-in CODECs.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
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