How is making periodic reports to the Flex community going to be any less meaningless than the current meaningless announcments situation?
As far as I can tell, no one who actually works for Flex gives ANY sort of announcement about software futures now.
(BTW, Tim is now an official employee of Flex. Up until a week or so ago he was a contractor/volunteer. So if he says something now, it is really coming from Flex.)
What would FRS be reporting?
RC4 within 6 weeks
Well, we are on RC5 now. I have seen 6 new versions over the last couple of months since I am in the closed beta group so I am seeing steady progress with clear improvements with each version. The problem is, if you are not in the closed beta group you
cannot see those changes so you sit on the sidelines, frustrated, because you can see no progress. This is why I think that Flex needs to be a bit more open again with their development. Heck, if you have a piece of software that you think is good enough to be called a release-candidate, it is probably good enough to let everyone have a look. I think they throw the "release candidate" moniker around a bit too loosely but that is just me.
Or maybe this from 6th Oct 2008:
The "new architecture" is currently in development as we speak but will take
several more months before it is ready for beta testing. In fact, I have
just completed two days of meetings this week with the developers working on
the specific implementation plans. This is a major effort because it is a
ground up rewrite of the entire system. I ask everyone to be patient while
the developers do their magic.
Ah, a "Bob McGwier" quote. No, one doesn't want to pay too much attention to those.
I have known Bob for many years (about 25) and he is a brilliant guy. His problem is that he is pulled in too many directions at once and his promises are often squashed by his responsibilities. So you take Bob's schedule with a grain of salt.
Two big things happened in the last two years that changed Flex's software development:
1. They had a huge development for the CDRX-3200 that sucked up all their development resources.
2. They switched from an open-software, contributed-effort development, to an internal, paid development staff.
Unfortunately #1 above kept us from seeing the improvements from #2. Also, the internal architecture of PowerSDR is so ... uh ... convoluted (trying to be nice here) that whenever someone tries to add something to it, it breaks something else. This is also hampering development. That is why I want to see Flex making a real public commitment to the new architecture.
Still, I am seeing more and better feature releases of PowerSDR. Yeah, it has been a LOOOONG
time in coming but it appears that their new development effort is producing fruit.
I would suggest some form of Roadmap identifying the major milestones (and including those user enhancements to be incorporated at each step) but that requires a degree of trust and confidence in a company underserving of both.
I would agree with you (except for your comment about them being undeserving of trust and confidence). From a personal point of view, I have met them and I know that they are trying hard to get a good product out the door. It has been a real learning process for them too. They are finally getting it right and their new approach is finally producing results. Unfortunately their, "don't say anything about futures," policy is keeping most people from seeing that.
That having been said, I personally have no interest at all in their continued development effort on PowerSDR. IMHO it is a waste of resources that should be spent on their next generation software architecture, i.e. Deep Impact or whatever they are going to call it. But they sure are not giving ANY visibility into that development. <sigh>
73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL