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Author Topic: Switching from Windows to Linux  (Read 3182 times)

Posts: 13

« on: March 10, 2007, 12:46:21 PM »

Hi All,
I want to switch operating systems from Microsoft Windows to Linux, but still be able to use PSK31, SSTV, RRTY, some logging software and a radio control software, like Ham Radio Deluxe that I presently use but in Linux.

Can anyone tell me if they have had any experience of switching OS's and which one they found the easiest or any software I could use within Linux to use Windows based Software like HRD?

Many thanks in Advance

Posts: 28

« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2007, 03:21:26 AM »

Please also check:

(Knoppix-cd incl lots of hamsoftware)


database with all sorts of LINUX hamsoftware.


Posts: 107

« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2007, 12:24:31 AM »

I'm a long time Linux user.  Sun OS user before Linux came along and BSD UNIX before that.  Going back to the early 1980's before IBM sold their first "PC".  I use Linux and Solaris daily, all day long but for desktop use at home I've become a fan of Mac OS X.   Not surprising really as Apple's OS X is just BSD UNIX with a fancy user interface stuck on.  OS X can do anything Linux can.  Linux and Mac OX ship with much of the same software.

Linux is ideal for use with ham radio.  What other OS has a sound-card modem and AX25 built into the kernel? Every Linux system will run 2 meter packet networking straight out of the box with no added software.  But more importantly Linux and the other UNIX-like OSes are "open" you can look inside, modify them and study them.  To make an analogy with radios Linux is a kit that you assemble while Windows is like a commercial radio but with the case welded shut and no schematic  To me having a system that you can't tinker with is like owning a light bulb.  It is nice because now I can read after the sun goes down but as a hobby what's the point of running a light bulb?

If you want to actually work at the cutting edge in 2007 that would be "SDR" Software Defined Radio. then GNU Radio runs on Linux best. (see )

My own interest now is to some how combine a telephone PBX with ham radio.  Voice mail and trucked audio over radio.  Using Asterisk (see )

Linux will allow you to work with things like SDR and Asterisk.  Windows is like a light bulb

Posts: 625

« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2007, 08:16:06 AM »

The ham shack hack is a good starting point.

The problem with live CDs is that if your PC doesn't have much memory and the CD drive is old and slow, they will be very laggy.  Still I would start with the live CD to get your feet wet.

Then I would consider Ubuntu if you have a fairly capable PC.  It is based on Debian, which has a good repository.  Do a full hard disk install.

I am using Damn Small Linux in a hard disk install on a very old 233MMX pentium 1 with 128M of memory.  This works fairly well for PSK.

I'm sure there are other distributions that are good as well.

I would also make the following recommendations:

1) use a dedicated PC for your linux experiments.  If you dual boot with windows, you will always be afraid to screw up your windows partition.  With a dedicated PC you can just experiment and if you blow something away, you just reinstall and do something different.

2) Try to pick a distribution suitable to your PC.  This can be tough if you go down to pentium I's with 128M of memory.  I would say any of the single CD distros with live CD installer would run well on a pentium II or III at 500MHZ with 256M memory or more.  Stay away from the distros with big DVDs unless you have a modern PC.

3) Look at the repository listings of your distribution candidates.  They need to have the ham radio apps available or you will be compiling source code.  While installing from source is not rocket science, it isn't something you want to do as a newbie.

Finally, on last suggestion.  If you are looking for a non-ham radio, windows replacement Linux distro, I would look at PCLinuxOS.  I have gone almost 100% to this for my home PC use to replace Windoze.

Have fun and most importantly experiment!  You will find Linux and the open source community to be very similar to ham radio.  It's all about having fun!

Posts: 4

« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2007, 03:21:25 PM »

Do a google search on fldigi. Dave has packaged this great program with a Puppy Linux live (very small ~ 80Mbyte) cd iso image. This will get you up and running. I boot and run this from a 256Mbyte usb thumb drive. It works great when you use many machines.


Posts: 189

« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2007, 09:11:40 AM »

What flavor or linux do u recomend

Posts: 107

« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2007, 09:58:16 AM »

Most new users would be best served by "Ubuntu" See

In it's favor is ease of use, and stable predictable release schedulle.
Also there is a live CD version so you can see it before you install it

I've use Fedora Core both at work and at home but mostly only because I started with Red Hat back when it first came out.  It seemed so much nicer than the Slackware I'd been using before.  Fedora is a bit more complete than Ubuntu but that does not matter much, you can ad whatever you want later.

Posts: 29


« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2007, 08:58:16 AM »

Any answer you'd get is likely to be one based on a limited, personal experience. There's no practical way for anyone to have experienced the vast multitude of distributions available. With that - there really is no 'best', 'right' or 'wrong' choice. Each distro will have it's strong points and weaknesses. The goal is to not let the weaknesses become problems.

What I usually suggest to folks is pick one where you can find some accessible help. What are the locals using? Having a reachable 'guru' (elmer?) to help out with some of the fiddly bits can easily make what might present as a 'problem' an achievement. If there is no local help, what's available online or via other channels?

For that reason, a lot of us here in BFE use RedHat/Fedora or derivatives. There're whole libraries of information not only in the local book stores, but online that deal with RH type distros. For a long time, it was *the* distro of choice in North America.

One of the underpinning paradigms behind linux existing is to provide choice. You get to choose. If you discover you choose a less than ideal option - choose again. It's a paradigm many converts from Closed Source realms seem to get a tad hung up on now and then. Yes! You can change your mind! Easily!

Posts: 13

« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2007, 11:47:23 AM »

Well Thanks to everyone who has replied.

I have made the switch to Ubuntu, firstly dual booting with windows xp and now I've just completely re-formatted my hard drive and installed Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)

I found the forums a real mind of information, no matter how stupid of question you asked, and I asked a few hi,

I had tried a few distro's in the past, Mandrake and fedora, but I found Ubuntu so user friendly and so quick, I am still using windows but within Ubuntu, with VirtualBox but only to run Dreamweaver and Photoshop as they wont run under wine.

For all my digi modes I use QSSTV and MMSSTV (under wine) and Fldigi and my logging software is Xlog, I find this so much better than winlog32.

I am not going back to Microsoft never again for a full time OS when I can get better for free, especially now after seeing and using this new vista and comparing it to the Beryl add-on in Ubuntu, if thats the best Microsoft can do they should give up in my opinion! hi

Yet again thanks for all your replies,


Posts: 25

« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2007, 02:35:29 AM »

Well done... if you have any issues or queries, don't hesitate to email or PM me. I've been using Linux since '96, and Ubuntu since 2005.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned Wine. Wine is a Windows compatibility layer for Linux... in simple terms, a Windows Emulator (although technically, it's not).

I run Ham Radio Deluxe, PSK31, CWGet, FT817 Commander, G4FON and JLMC under Wine and they all work fine.

In Ubuntu, Wine can be found in the Add/Remove programs section in the Applications menu.

To install Windows programs, find them using WineFile and they will run and install fine.

Posts: 207

« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2007, 12:25:18 PM »

"I run Ham Radio Deluxe, PSK31, CWGet, FT817 Commander, G4FON and JLMC under Wine and they all work fine."

Could you possible explain how to best set up HRD to run under Wine?  I've tried this many times without success.  HRD will open, connect to my rig, DX cluster activates, etc. but as soon as I touch my mouse HRD will crash.  I figure I'm missing some "DLL" equivalent or something but being a new linux user (Kubuntu) I do not know where to start.  I've posted in the HRD forum with no success.

I would really appreciate it.



Posts: 15

« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2007, 06:31:21 PM »

Although I use Fedora for many things, like I am now, I think Debian and Ubuntu are the best distributions for ham radio because of the wide variety of software for ham radio and other such interesting software as xplanet. There is also programs listed under "electronics" in both the Debian and Ubuntu distributions that are highly applicable to ham radio.

I have written an article on a computer dedicated to ham radio which is on my Web site (pardon the shameless plug!)
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