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Author Topic: Deep Impact Dead - Yet Another Flexradio Promise Lost  (Read 18662 times)
K9IUQ
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« on: September 22, 2011, 06:26:02 PM »

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« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 06:47:05 PM by K9IUQ » Logged
K0OD
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2011, 08:23:10 PM »

  Stan claims:   
Quote
"Such important News"

Important news? Has Deep Impact ever been discussed here? Or in Flex ads? Most readers surely wonder what the heck Stan, and very few others, are riled about. Likely, many Flex owners haven't heard of Deep Impact either.

For those who are interested, that subject is fleshed out on the FlexEdge Support Group, with Flex CEO Gerald Youngblood and other employees participating:
http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2011-September/thread.html#9799
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2011, 03:42:22 AM »

"Deep Impact" (formerly called "new architecture") was supposedly the next major software for Flex Radios where they would rewrite from the ground up and make it cross platform instead of being tied to Windows only.  As I predicted in another thread with Ambassador Brian, Flex will never abandon PowerSDR and start over again.  My prediction was true.

"Deep Impact" was never a serious project at Flex Radio.  It never went beyond some musings of Frank Brickle and Bob N4HY.  Flex did not want to piss off Mac and Linux users who saw hope in the possibility of "Deep Impact" being cross platform and not tied to Windows like PowerSDR is now.  So they kept quietly telling these guys that "Deep Impact" was coming soon, and coming soon, and coming soon - until many years later some of the Flex Faithful have wised up a bit and realized there is no "Deep Impact".  It has been confirmed now.  If you now search in Flex's Knowledge Center, all references to "Deep Impact" have been removed.   Cheesy

Flex feels that they have advanced beyond appealing only to the bleeding edge first adopters and the Ham radio "techies" and now are selling to the appliance operator.   It has been interesting to watch Flex Radio change over the years.  Kind of sad too.

http://mail.flex-radio.biz/pipermail/flexedge_flex-radio.biz/2011-September/009817.html

It is not surprising that the Flexies are not interested in posting this embarrassing news.  I don't know how many times I have heard a Flexie say that all of Flex Radio's problems will be solved by "Deep Impact".  They were just deluding themselves as I told them time and time again.  Roll Eyes

Gene

« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 03:52:45 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
KE5JPP
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2011, 03:45:08 AM »


Important news? Has Deep Impact ever been discussed here? Or in Flex ads?

It most certainly has been discussed here and it even had its own Flex Knowledge Center article until Flex recently removed it.  It also has been recently removed from Flex's FAQ page too.

Here is one example:

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,66754.0.html

Here is the deleted FAQ (copied from the Internet Archive http://web.archive.org/web/20101216125109/http://flex-radio.com/Products.aspx?topic=faq):

---------------------------
FlexRadio "Deep Impact" Questions

Q1: What is FlexRadio "Deep Impact"?
A: FlexRadio "Deep Impact" or DI is the development name used by FlexRadio Systems to describe the next major version of software used to control FlexRadio Systems software defined radios. The official name for the FlexRadio software package has not yet been chosen.  You will also hear the software development effort collectively referred to as "the new architecture" too.

Q2: How will "Deep Impact" be different from FlexRadio PowerSDR?
A: "Deep Impact" will differ in many ways from the previous versions of FlexRadio PowerSDR. Since the software is still in the initial development stages, only very broad statements can be made about it at this time.  "Deep Impact" is being designed so that the different functions of a SDR will be more modular in nature rather than being integrated into one monolithic program as it is today withe PowerSDR. Another main design goal is to make the software cross-platform and operating system (OS) independent so that it is no longer a Windows only program.  The software should run on Linux and OS X as well baring any other restrictions.

As more of the design goals and objectives are defined, a more detailed description of "Deep Impact" will be made available.

Q3: Will "Deep Impact" replace FlexRadio PowerSDR?
A: No, not really in the short term.  Using "Deep Impact" for operating FlexRadio transceivers will essentially do the same thing as FlexRadio PowerSDR, but it is how those functions are implemented that will change.  "Deep Impact" is not an upgrade of FlexRadio PowerSDR per se, but an entirely new program.  FlexRadio PowerSDR is a tightly integrated application where the console controls are intermixed with DSP and other radio functions.  "Deep Impact" is designed to make software and hardware independent modules for greater flexibility, interoperability and future growth.

There are a lot of very bright people working on "Deep Impact" and once operationally functional, it will probably supersede FlexRadio PowerSDR in features and performance.  This is not to say that FlexRadio PowerSDR will not be available.  For those who want a less complex and Windows only software solution, FlexRadio PowerSDR will be available.  The amount of future bug fixes and enhancements for PowerSDR and who will be responsible for them will probably be determined at a later date.  At this time there are no time frames associated for the delivery of "Deep Impact", so FlexRadio PowerSDR will be the primary SDR software for the foreseeable future.

Q4: When will "Deep Impact"  become available?
A: Some of the initial "new architecture" components should start becoming available in 2010 for limited alpha testing within the internal development team.  A functional product prototype is not expected before mid 2010 or later.  These estimated delivery dates are subject to change.

Q5: How will "Deep Impact" be developed and in what environment?
A: The primary development environment will be in Linux and Windows using free open source development tools whenever applicable.  Having the software cross platform compatible is a primary development goal of the new architecture.  The software will be delivered first on Windows. Once released then the decision will be made to provide a Linux and/or OS X operating systems centric solution.

Q6: Why are you shifting all of the development to Linux rater than Windows?
A: In actuality, most of what makes up FlexRadio PowerSDR today at the DSP level was developed under Linux and ported to Windows.  The FlexRadio PowerSDR console is the only actual Windows component.  The Linux development environment is more conducive to developing the type of software required to run a software defined radio.  In addition, not all operating systems are the same.  Some have native capabilities that make implementing software features such as developing distributed systems easier and much more efficient.

Q7: I am a Windows user and have no interest in using Linux. How will this affect me?
A: It will not affect you adversely. You will NOT have to setup a Linux machine to run "Deep Impact" software unless you choose to do so and if a Linux version is available.  Windows holds a majority market share of the PC operating system market.  It would be a grave mistake of FlexRadio Systems to make a business decision that would force the majority of our customers to use a more complex solution in order to operate your transceiver.  We are into simplifying things for the user rather than making them more complicated.
---------------------------------
Gene
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 04:12:19 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
AB2KT
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2011, 09:57:01 AM »

"Deep Impact" was never a serious project at Flex Radio.  It never went beyond some musings of Frank Brickle and Bob N4HY.

This is a little misleading. About Deep Impact as a Flex project I have nothing to say. However, the Virtual Radio design, on which Deep Impact might have been based, did indeed progress considerably further as the Virtual Radio Kernel, vrk. The first prototype was distributed in December 2008.

My subsequent work in this area has been paid for and is proprietary, so I'm not really in a position to discuss the matter any further.

73
Frank
AB2KT
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 05:51:21 AM »

"Deep Impact" was never a serious project at Flex Radio.  It never went beyond some musings of Frank Brickle and Bob N4HY.

This is a little misleading. About Deep Impact as a Flex project I have nothing to say. However, the Virtual Radio design, on which Deep Impact might have been based, did indeed progress considerably further as the Virtual Radio Kernel, vrk. The first prototype was distributed in December 2008.

My subsequent work in this area has been paid for and is proprietary, so I'm not really in a position to discuss the matter any further.

73
Frank
AB2KT

I am glad to hear that your work with Erlang and your Virtual Radio Kernel has paid off.   It was widely believed by the Flexies that "Deep Impact" was to be based on your Erlang work.   Too bad Flex Radio did not embrace those ideas as a basis for "Deep Impact" because they might have made some kind of progress by now. 

It is sounding like "Deep Impact" was a name given to something that Flex might do some day in the future and it had no real code written for it.   Now that Flex feels it has become mainstream, they can dispose of the "Deep Impact" ruse and just concentrate on the appliance operator, Windows using, masses.

Gene
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2011, 09:24:10 AM »

"Deep Impact" was never a serious project at Flex Radio.  It never went beyond some musings of Frank Brickle and Bob N4HY.

This is a little misleading. About Deep Impact as a Flex project I have nothing to say. However, the Virtual Radio design, on which Deep Impact might have been based, did indeed progress considerably further as the Virtual Radio Kernel, vrk. The first prototype was distributed in December 2008.

My subsequent work in this area has been paid for and is proprietary, so I'm not really in a position to discuss the matter any further.

73
Frank
AB2KT

For the curious: http://www.hamsdr.com/data/GlobalFileUploads/1__FSM-talk.pdf
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M6GOM
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2011, 12:51:40 PM »

Gene and Stan, if you're such a clever asses, why don't you write a cross platform application for the Flex Radio yourself instead of taking cheap shots?
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W4HIJ
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2011, 02:04:24 PM »

Gene and Stan, if you're such a clever asses, why don't you write a cross platform application for the Flex Radio yourself instead of taking cheap shots?
Well clever would be a major stretch but you darn sure got the other part right!!! Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
Michael, W4HIJ
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2011, 02:50:14 PM »

Gene and Stan, if you're such a clever asses, why don't you write a cross platform application for the Flex Radio yourself instead of taking cheap shots?

Why would I want to write anything for Flex Radio?  I no longer own one.  I could not stand dealing with all the problems.

M6GOM, why are you getting so emotional over this?  You sound like a female around her time of the month.   Roll Eyes

Gene
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W6RMK
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2011, 10:04:59 PM »

The comments on FlexEdge capture it nicely.. Flex is no longer in the "experimenter" business, they're in the "provide a box" business.  For a whole raft of reasons.

After all, the interface to all the radios after the SDR1K aren't published, although it can be reverse engineered from the PSDR source, so it's not like Flex is really producing an "open platform".  Some of this is for regulatory reasons (FCC doesn't like totally open platforms being sold in large quantities, I suspect.. not because it's necessarily illegal, but it makes them nervous, because it's new and different)  Some of it is because of business reasons (buying IP for a key piece of the puzzle). And some of it is because the fraction of the market that really wants open architectures, documentation, and so forth, is really, really tiny.  The vast majority (dare I say 99.9%) of flex buyers will never run anything other than the stock PSDR with the radio, and don't much care whether it's open source or not.  They load the executable and are happy.  This is perfectly fine.  (Do I care that a variety of appliances around my house run Linux and GPL code?   Not a whole lot. I wasn't planning on exercising my right to modify the software.  It's a box, it does its job, I've got other things to spend my time on.)
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2011, 05:30:13 AM »

The comments on FlexEdge capture it nicely.. Flex is no longer in the "experimenter" business, they're in the "provide a box" business.  For a whole raft of reasons.

After all, the interface to all the radios after the SDR1K aren't published, although it can be reverse engineered from the PSDR source, so it's not like Flex is really producing an "open platform".  Some of this is for regulatory reasons (FCC doesn't like totally open platforms being sold in large quantities, I suspect.. not because it's necessarily illegal, but it makes them nervous, because it's new and different)  Some of it is because of business reasons (buying IP for a key piece of the puzzle). And some of it is because the fraction of the market that really wants open architectures, documentation, and so forth, is really, really tiny.  The vast majority (dare I say 99.9%) of flex buyers will never run anything other than the stock PSDR with the radio, and don't much care whether it's open source or not.  They load the executable and are happy.  This is perfectly fine.  (Do I care that a variety of appliances around my house run Linux and GPL code?   Not a whole lot. I wasn't planning on exercising my right to modify the software.  It's a box, it does its job, I've got other things to spend my time on.)


For a lot of guys it wasn't the promise of an "open platform" or documented APIs that made "Deep Impact" sound promising, it was the promise of being able to use their Flex on OS X or Linux operating systems.  I suspect also that the majority of the users would have no interest in seeing or modifying the source code.  They would not care if "Deep Impact" was proprietary closed source code.  They just wanted something that runs on an OS other than Windows.

As I commented before, Flex is catering to the appliance operator now and to the Windows users.  I am sure they make up 99%+ of their business now.  This is why I said in a previous thread here on eHam that Flex will never dump PowerSDR.  They have too much invested in it.

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp

Gene
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 05:31:49 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
AB1KC
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2011, 11:48:31 AM »

Gene and Stanley,
I owe you two a big “thanks”!
The two of you are so vehement in your expression of hatred for Flex that I decided to buy one and see for myself what all the fuss was about. I might otherwise have never come to know this fine radio (a Flex 5000a). I mean doesn’t everybody have the experience of listening to that person who can just not bring themselves to shut up about something that has bothered them? I typically so detest that persona that I begin to wonder if I am in fact missing out on something I might like! In this case I was correct!
I had my own thoughts regarding Flex, mostly driven by the really WIDE audio I find so annoying and I never really thought of myself as a Flex owner. Now I am happy to own one and if I am an appliance operator in your book…. Who cares! I really like the thing; it is a great radio! Not perfect, not without flaws but a really nice radio. In fact thus far my very high expectations have been exceeded.
For the record, this is not my only radio. I am a Mac user when I can be. I am not fond of Microsoft but we have, by necessity, a truce and we play together as best we can. I do not believe that this radio will be the last radio I will own, hell if my current track record holds, I may not even own it in another two years, but I’ll bet it will work just fine in 2015 with whatever software is out there.
Again, I really feel I owe you for your constant, incessant whining here.
If you are truly so unhappy about Flex and their business model and practices  that you continue to find yourselves wanting to save the rest of us from ourselves, perhaps a solution would be to go to Wal-Mart (good deals I hear) and buy better fitting underwear! Something with some color to hide the %!#&….. Smiley
73,
Bruce
AB1KC
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AB1KC
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 02:15:36 PM »

I'm sorry Stanley, I didn't think I was attacking you! I'm thanking you...  Wink
Such thin skin....
If you'd prefer I'll ignore you in the future, It's just that I dont want to miss any more good tips.
73,
Bruce
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2011, 03:53:38 PM »

Not perfect, not without flaws but a really nice radio. In fact thus far my very high expectations have been exceeded


I am glad that you really like your Flex Radio.  To each his own, I say.  Some people are Flex masochists, obviously.  Some people are really into some strange things for sure.   Roll Eyes

Gene
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