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Author Topic: The state of Linux apps for Ham Radio  (Read 1302 times)
AC0H
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« on: October 07, 2004, 11:56:11 AM »

In one word, PITIFUL!
I run three different distro's and am not "newb" by any stretch of the imagination. I can literally find a good or better replacement for all my Winders apps with the exception of the stuff I do with Ham Radio.

Examples,

Xastir vs UI-View for APRS - Not even in the same neighborhood.

Any of the PSK31 programs vs Simple ole Digipan - Digipan wins. You'd be lucky to find a program on the Linux side thats been updated or bug fixed in the last 3 years.

Logging. Linux programs get a little closer but don't have the functionality of their MS counterparts.

Contesting. Debian Ham is a knock off of CT which is itself getting long in the tooth. Linux has nothing that can touch N3FJP, Writelog, N1MM, etc....

Linux is catching up on the business and home desktop compared to MS Windows in speed, stability, user-friendliness, applications, etc..., It's fallen way behind for Ham Radio apps.

The only reason I keep a windows drive installed is for the Ham Radio apps that Linux can't or won't do as well.
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KF3EH
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Posts: 35




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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2004, 02:06:44 AM »

Well, I'll be the first to admit, I've never used anything else for APRS other than Xastir, but I find it to be a pretty good program, and the guys doing the development are pretty responsive on their list.

For general logging, I like the Xlog program - haven't looked into anything specific for Contesting yet, but am seriously considering writing my own PHP/MySQL logging program.

For PSK31, supposedly the KDE app is quite nice, but again, I have not tried it as of yet.

The biggest downfall to most Linux ham apps is the author writes it for his own uses, not thinking about what the others will like.  I'm a devoted linux user, and so far, I haven't had to use Windows for anything yet, but I'm sure that time is coming.
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VE7NGR
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2004, 07:31:29 PM »

I've been playing around with gMFSK for PSK31. I haven't transmitted with it yet, just monitoring (transmitting will have to wait until I add SSB to my K2). It's not Digipan, but it's not bad.

Logging - I'm currently using Logger32 (using Win4Lin so I don't have to dual-boot). I haven't found much that I like for Linux (some of the more promising ones I can't get to compile).

I am thinking about writing my own logging program for Linux when I have the time (that might be a little while though). If I do, I'll certainly release it as open source.

What about propogation prediction? Any good software available?
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AC0H
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2004, 06:33:59 AM »

"I haven't found much that I like for Linux (some of the more promising ones I can't get to compile)."

My point exactly.
I tried ten ways from Sunday to get Kpsk to compile on three different distro's. No chance. It seems the package depends on an older version of Berkely db than currently ships with any distro.

I will not be "downgrading" the db package just to run Kpsk. This is the exact problem I'm talking about. If your a software developer isn't it your responsibility to keep up with the dependencies for your package?

I did install gpsk31 and the crap that came out of the sound card wasn't anywhere near a properly modulated psk signal. No combination of soundcard/program settings produced an acceptable psk signal. Digipan works right first time, everytime.

I have seen a few interesting ideas in the logging area. One involves using a web interface(PHP??) and the MySQL database. I can't rememeber the name of the package right off the top of my head.
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AB2RC
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2004, 10:01:06 AM »

APRS the only application I have ever used was xastir, so no comment there. It works and does what it is supposed to do.

For psk31, try gmfsk, works great, supports MFSK, RTTY, THROB, PSK31, PSK63, MT63 and Feldhell. gmfsk also has hamlib support, and interfaces with xlog. The last update to gmfsk was mid July of 2004, a far cry from several years ago.... If you really want to use it, Digipan for windows will work under wine.

For logging, xlog works with hamlib and gmfsk (as mentioned above). TLF works fairly well for contesting, but currently has no vhf support. If you want a networked logger, try LiHaLo - it requires an apache server, PHP and a postgresql database.

I usually use jlog http://www.jlog.org, for logging, it is java based and works on multiple platforms, has a nice interface to the fcc and qrz databases, and supports serial communications with multiple radios. The only drawback to jlog is that while it is free, it is not open source, so not able to tweak the source myself, but the developer is open to suggestions


--
Alex / AB2RC
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VE7NGR
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2004, 04:11:34 PM »

"If your a software developer isn't it your responsibility to keep up with the dependencies for your package?"

When you're dealing with software that someone has written in their spare time, and made available for free out of the goodness of their heart, it's hard to say that they have any responsibility at all.

"I did install gpsk31 and the crap that came out of the sound card"

I hadn't tried gpsk31, so I just downloaded, compiled and installed it. Yep - that's pretty nasty alright. It does, BTW, print errors to stderr the whole time it is transmitting, so I think there may be some incompatibility with something on my computer.

Have you tried gMFSK? It works quite well.

AB2RC: I haven't been able to get XLog to compile (using Fedora Core 2) - I'm still working on it. It looks ok, though rather short on features compared to what's available for Windows.
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ON4AXV
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2004, 03:29:15 PM »

LiHaLo (LInux HAmLOgbook) uses MySQL , not Postgresql.
It is made in my free time and I'm not a professional programmer.
My job has nothing to do with pc's.
Learned everything by "try and error" and reading/learning a lot.
Isn't that what Ham Radio is all about ? Learning new stuff ?

Every Linux App. is  Open Source : so YOU CAN make things better!
(No way you can do that with windows-apps. You can't tweak the Apps. to your needs, because you don't get the source !!)
You can sit and wait for others to do it, and complain ~ and be a Homer Simpson look-alike. Are you can start studying and try to make things better then they are right now.

And yes : it takes a little bit more time before things work in linux compared to windows. But is also takes a little more time before they stop working ......... .

73 de on4axv ~ Jan.
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KF3EH
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2004, 04:07:13 AM »

For any of you who are having problems getting something to compile in Linux, please, CONTACT ME!  I'm VERY experienced at compiling and debugging compile problems, and would be pleased to help in any way I can.  I am a full time Linux user, and usually compile my entire system from source code, and am willing to help anyone who needs it.
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M0YOJ
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2004, 06:46:26 AM »

Well, sorry Jan, but thats not strictly, true, a lot of Linux stuff is developed under the GPL, but it doesn't have to at all, and there are windows apps that are open source too. It really depends on what the author(s) wants to do.

Nice work on LiHalo by the way, i ended up using jLog, I can't remember why, but it did something that was better suited to me.  Nice idea though, especially from the point of view that you could get to it from anywhere if you so wished....

But generally i agree, the ham stuff isn't really being focussed on enough, compared with windows side...
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AC0H
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2004, 06:56:31 AM »

<<"Every Linux App. is Open Source : so YOU CAN make things better!
(No way you can do that with windows-apps. You can't tweak the Apps. to your needs, because you don't get the source !!)
You can sit and wait for others to do it, and complain ~ and be a Homer Simpson look-alike. Are you can start studying and try to make things better then they are right now.">>

Whoa!

I have no problem with using open source software. All of my Linux systems run open source software. I was in the process of switching my former employer over to Open Office when they closed the business. I am of the opinion that the less money you spend on software the more money you have for hardware and infrastructure (I like Cisco).

I was just wondering out loud why the quality of the Windows "freeware" that I use is so much better than the quality of the "freeware" Linux software that I'd like to use.
 
Most all of the software I use on the Windows side is done by people in their free time and I run all of the current or testing versions. N1MM logger, the DX Lab suite, MMTTY and MMSSTV come to mind right off the top of my head. These are all very robust "freeware" projects with great support systems, user communities and responsive developers in place.

This is the thing that's missing on the Linux side.
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VE7NGR
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2004, 10:49:53 AM »

AC0H, the answer to your question is quite simple. Windows is the dominant OS for the home computing market.  The number of people who are hams AND have software development skills AND use Linux is probably fairly small, especially compared to those who use Windows. Give those applications time to develop, and they will improve. The rate of improvement should also accelerate as more people move to Linux.

I think one of the big advantages of Linux is that most of the free software is open source in some form or another, while very little of the free Windows software is open source. This allows other members of the community to contribute to existing software - and that's a good thing for the users.
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AB2RC
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2004, 04:43:26 AM »

"LiHaLo (LInux HAmLOgbook) uses MySQL , not Postgresql. "

Sorry, my mistake.
BTW, our local club is considering using it for our next field day.
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AC0H
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2004, 07:45:08 AM »

"AC0H, the answer to your question is quite simple. Windows is the dominant OS for the home computing market. The number of people who are hams AND have software development skills AND use Linux is probably fairly small, especially compared to those who use Windows. Give those applications time to develop, and they will improve. The rate of improvement should also accelerate as more people move to Linux."

Yes, I understand.
It's also a pretty safe bet that the majority of your dedicated Linux geeks with developement skills aren't Amateurs.

Seems like the dominant developement platform on Windows is Visual Basic, although I've got a few of apps that are written in C++, and the dominant development language on the Linux platform is C++.

Looks like I'm going to have to learn C++.
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KC9ETP
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2004, 03:25:00 AM »

For what it's worth.

 First, You don't need to downgrade the DBlibs to compile Kpsk. Multiple versions can be installed at the same time.

Second what does digipan have that you wish kpsk had? I'm still listed a a kpsk developer so I might be able to add it in. :-)

Oh yea, there is really no dominant development language in linux. The C++ programs are mostly for KDE.

Lastly there are quite a few Linux geeks who are amateurs. The two big names that jump into my mind are Allen Cox, GW4PTS (Former Linux Kernel maintainer, Wrote the AX25 stuff) and Bruce Perens, K6BP (Open source guru, former head of Debian)
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KB1JCY
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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2004, 02:52:28 PM »

C++ is not your only choice. You can create useful GUI apps with Python and a myriad of GUI toolkits. Python is rather easy to learn and program.

http://docs.python.org/tut/tut.html
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