Linux "alternative" to "Ham Radio Deluxe"?

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by KA5LQJ, Feb 11, 2008.

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  1. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well Julian - you have your experiences and the rest of us have ours. It's interesting how they differ. Those differences imply many things.

    I run Linux on about a dozen machines (between work, home and shack and server farm) and they ALL - by far - out perform Windows. Both for speed and stability. I have XP and Vista installed on a few other machines at work and they're passable. However, I can't leave Vista running overnight without lock ups - XP requires constant care and feeding of outside software to keep it healthy and any more it's getting trickier to get some hardware to play nice. I intentionally do as little as I have to with Vista - just to leave it as 'vanilla' as possible in hopes of it surviving longer.

    So, do my experiences prove Windows products to be dogs? I don't think so. There're WAY too many variables in my experience alone to lay all problems at the feet of the OS.

    I'd also point out that KDE isn't Linux - nor is it the only desktop environment available, by far. That's about like saying Windows is a dog cuz Photoshop isn't to your liking.

    Everything I want to do on Linux - I do. From image/sound/video editing to rig control - soundcard modes - servers - securety - guest/remote access etc, etc, etc. One place I am having a problem is in playing with mal-ware. Crap simply won't run for me on my *nix machines. Guess it's time for a Windows virtual instance.

    My Linux experiences seem to be of the more common variety - special when compared to yours. So I'd have to ask what's different for you? Could it be your laptop has either a design, implementation or other hardware flaw? Could there be some other configuration errors? Hardware/software mis-matches? I don't know - but that's one place I'd check.

    To categorically label Linux as 'second rate' from such an obviously limited exposure and experience - well, before I take your comments as unbiased review, I'd want to know where in Redmond you work <g>. See what I mean?
     
  2. G4ILO

    G4ILO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I kind of expected that some Linux fan would come back with an answer like that. So it's not Linux but some hardware quirk with my laptop? Well, perhaps it is or perhaps it isn't but that shouldn't have to be my problem because Windows just works on it. So it's KDE that's to blame for some of my problems and not Linux itself? Well why should I care? I want to use a graphical windowed environment not do all my work from a command line so as far as I am concerned Linux is the whole package including the GUI, whether it's strictly true or not.

    But you totally ignored my main argument which is also related to the topic of this thread which was that there are no Linux equivalents to the majority of good radio applications that people want to use.

    Whatever you want to do with a computer - I'm not just talking about ham radio here - you'll probably find a dozen possible applications for Windows whereas you might find one for Linux. You might have to pay for the Windows programs, but that's no bad thing because a program that someone earns a living from developing is one that is likely to keep on being developed. Too often I find, after much searching, something promising on Sourceforge only to find that it is version 0.2 and was last updated in 2005 or worse.

    I have recently decided to try my hand at PIC development. All the major development systems are Windows based and include Windows drivers for the programming boards. Of course, there are no drivers for Linux. Coincidentally, just before coming here to read your response, a Google on the board I just bought brought up a message in a Linux forum that said:

    "Hi I have EasyPIC5 development system from mikroE for PIC microcontrolers,
    it have no driver for linux. I need to write my own driver in order to get it to work on my laptop with Fedora OS. Where can i find some tutorials, or hints about this issue? Help me please. I'm desperate."

    The poor guy got no answer, either. Guess he either gave up or switched to Windows...
     
  3. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    I may well be an enthusiast - but don't toss me in with the 'fan-boy' crowd. I make my living working on MS products - I use FOSS on my own stuff because I want to and I like it and it's not the same as work. Special for Amateur Radio use - it fits so perfectly with the "Ham type" experimenter's and developer's mind-sets. However, even in Amateur Radio - some folks don't want to 'tinker'. That's why options and radio manufacturers exist.

    Clearly, you've made up your mind - that's cool. Choice is the point after all and you're fully capable of making your own.

    I was trying to show some of the apparent misconceptions behind your statements. Not so much to change your mind - only you can do that - but to put in perspective for others that may read all this.

    Blaming Linux for a KDE problem is parallel to replacing a car because the battery is bad. Why not try a different battery before you replace the starter or buy a new car?

    Maybe a radio analogy instead: So, you've got a bad key click in your signal - better get a new door on the shack! Ehhh, weak - but you get the idea.
    Idea is if you have a problem - only way to fix it is by addressing the actual cause of that problem. Or you can toss the baby out with the water anyway - that does work too, to a degree.

    Remember - Linux is not a replacement for Windows. It's an alternative - a very different alternative. As you shared - KDE came on your distro and was installed by default. However, KDE is not Linux - no matter how it was installed. No more so than notepad is Windows, even though it was installed with Windows. In fact KDE is only one of MANY desktop environments available - likely even on that same distro you already have. That's just one type of barrier some Windows users have to deal with when exposed to alternatives - the understanding of what's where and how it fits together. Since there are no popular GUI alternatives for Windows, they don't expect one on Linux and making that separation is a bit of a stretch for some. Doesn't change the facts though.

    If you're not finding a WIDE variety of Linux apps for similar functions on windows - you're not looking very hard. That's OK too, you don't have to if you don't want to. But - they are out there. Some folks don't want to search 'em out, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. That's where the commercial guys come in and make a living.

    And the poor sod looking for help writing a driver? Did he contact the hardware manufacturer? That's how it's done in the Windows world - works for Linux too. You want a service manual for your John Deere combine - you don't go to the local baker and ask for it (unless you've a very broadly experienced baker). Now, if I wanted information on a Fedora specific problem - say their anaconda installer - you bet, hit up the Fedora folks, they'd be glad to help. Half the battle is knowing who has what you're looking for. (Again, where the commercial boys make good dosh!) And that can be a bit of a challenge - because there is no one 'entity' - person or company - behind all that's included on any distro. Unless, again, you buy that support. (Even then, they're just doing the 'leg' work with to the actual developers)

    And to your comment on this thread's 'main point' - that was answered several pages back. But to summarize:
    Ham Apps for Linux do exist - more every day and existing ones developing - but they are not the same things as on Windows, it's a different platform. Linux does things differently - so no. You will not likely ever find an HRD analogue for Linux.

    BUT, everything you can do in HRD, can be done on Linux - just differently and it looks different. It's not one monolithic package, but a variety and constantly evolving collection of programs. (HRD is apparently starting to adopt that idea as well, to some degree). There are a few things I do on Linux that I can't do on windows - maybe cuz I haven't looked or figured out how. Doesn't mean they can't be done though. What I got works - why fix it? (yea, that's another one that goes both ways too, eh?)

    73!
     
  4. WD8OQX

    WD8OQX Ham Member QRZ Page

    One of the reasons that there are (seems to be) so little to no software for hams (& other apps for that matter) under linux is that a lot of coders just REFUSE to port it over. MOSTLY because they have been brainwashed by REDMOND (as some here seem to be) that M$ is the GREAT OZ of OS's & there is no other that people WANT to use or HAVE to use. (that all powerful M$ ONLY mindset)

    We've all gotten so used to the way that M$ does things that most can't seem to break away from that. Shoot, I've found as a net admin, that if one little thing changed, even cosmetically, people are lost & in a state of panic, calling the IT dept. FOR WHAT?!?!?! --- SHEESH.....

    I read that KDE is now available for M$ as are other open source stuff. Which brings up the OTHER side of all this that the open source crowd (which linux is a part of) is more than willing to share there stuff. If people start using it under M$ will they still bitch about the (so called differences) of linux? As in I can't do this or I can to that but not on the other? (I just, at least, hope this stops all the BS pointed out in the paragraph above THIS one)

    BTW: this seems to apply to any OTHER OS as well. Even the MAC crowd has this, & as much as I hate mac, I STILL think that there software ought to be ported BOTH WAYS as well.

    I've had to deal with many "brands" of OS's over the years so I've seen many different ways of doing things & for me anyway, I feel LINUX is on the right track!!! - I also got my fill of all the PROPRIETARY crap way back in the early DOS days. Don't need it now!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  5. K4AVL

    K4AVL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been using Linux for 8 years, but until this month I only used Ham Radio Deluxe (and tried payware MixW) & freeware hamscope (all windows apps) for radio. Trying to cut loose now.
    Fldigi is really nice, and is written by W1HKJ, he even answered personally one of my posts on an email list.
    http://www.w1hkj.com/Fldigi.html
    The newest version (may not be in your distro yet) has a window that decodes several QSO's on PSK at once, like HRD does in the superbrowser, but in text mode.
    For pictures, there is QSSTV, and also you can use MFSK-16 within fldigi to send pictures in narrow band mode, very nice.
    Some good apps have come along, like NBEMS (narrow band emergency messaging system) for Linux, PSKMail (narrow band alternative to winlink), Qtel (linux Echolink client), IRLP (a linux alternative to Echolink for radio only (no internet-only users)), and some live distros like EMCPup which you can boot on a computer without touching the hard drive (to test it out):
    http://www.w1hkj.com/emcpup.html

    A lot of the older Linux ham apps seem to be becoming abandonware, but there is still quite a bit being maintained and some you may not hear about so often, it's definitely worth checking out.
     
  6. KA5LQJ

    KA5LQJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Suits my needs".........

    Gentlemen,

    I have my legitimate reasons for wanting to not support the Evil Troll King of Redmond, WA. and despite his retirement, continue to plague the World with unstable, buggy, virus-prone software. I'm not even going to get into his business ethics. :rolleyes: :mad:

    Mostly what I will be using a Linux distro for is gathering pictures and music to make audio/video screen-savers for my own personal use.....taking pictures of mountains, valleys, streams, fields, rock out-crops, birds, fish, animals, weather, space photos, stars, galaxies, etc., putting music to them and when I want to just relax, bring one up on-screen, watch, listen, and lay back in the recliner. :D It's cheaper than a pain-killer, but just as addictive, LOL! Despite the arthritis meds, those screen-savers seems to work better in the Winter, when it's cold, damp, and low pressure systems abound. I did have some in both WIN 2000 Pro and Linux that worked before the motherboard blew, LOL!

    Now, I will use it for ham radio and I'll have to figure out what programs will work for my needs as far as digital, logging, look-up, and a spreadsheet for my radio scanner monitoring.

    I do have a legal, licensed copy of WIN 2K Pro that I could use if necessary, but would rather not as it requires anti-viri, spybot, malware, etc programs that co$t $$$$$$, IF you want to be able to remove that sort of stuff. The "Free" stuff doesn't always do that, you HAVE to buy the professional version. :p :(

    I'm really looking =forward to getting the computer working, hooking it up to the Icom 706MkII-G and getting on all 'phases' of ham radio. ;)

    I won't wish everyone a good, All Hallow's Eve (aka. Holloween), as I don't believe in pagan, Druid, festivals of the Dead. However, I will wish everyone a great weekend, LOL! This weekend, I'll be 'tied-up' watching the races from Texas Motor Speedway. GO Tony Smoke Stewart! Ha, ha, ha.

    Respectfully submitted,
    73,

    Don/KA5LQJ
     
  7. KE7VZW

    KE7VZW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Windows is still a superior desktop experience. XP is solid anyway, Vista is garbage.
    I use Windows for non-critical and daily default interface that is expendable as long as document/critical documents apps have auto-save turned on. I use XP for my recording studio (again, auto-save in cubase),XP for Ham Radio interface, etc. Expendable. I can wait while the codebloat and registry randomly churns and grinds as I simply highlight a directory folder on a 2.4ghZ machine.

    However, there are always multiple ssh terminals that connect to the linux & unix machines, since that is what you use when you need stable, mission critical services like web servers, mail servers, dns, ntp, database, directory, radius, et al (times 1,000,000). If you have SLA's and uptime agreements, you know what to use.

    Windows is the client.
    UNIX-like / UNIX is the server.
    For now.

    Windows cannot hold a candle to linux or unix in the services/daemons dept., and I highly doubt ever will. GUI and happy user functions do not belong on servers. The premise is flawed. I have watched over a decade's worth of harried windows server admins tied to their pagers, hopelessly stopping and-restarting services 24x7. It's sad.

    Linux is behind in desktop experience but will eventually catch up, you watch. The Linux desktop/app experience is improving on an exponential scale.

    This message brought to you by the ubiquitous, stable and FREE web server software APACHE on LINUX. Which dominates the web server market share BTW.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  8. G4ILO

    G4ILO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm really not anti-Linux despite what I wrote earlier. I'm writing this on my office laptop that runs Linux (the one that XP feels quicker on running under VirtualBox) and my wife is quite happy with it on her laptop (especially once I figued out how to install the Flash plugin for Firefox) which was way too underpowered to run the Vista it was supplied with. But ham radio and electronics are a fairly specialist niche and if you aren't willing to make do with what happens to be available for Linux there is little choice but to go where the apps are - which means Windows.

    > Linux is behind in desktop experience but will eventually catch up, you watch.
    > The Linux desktop/app experience is improving on an exponential scale.

    I'm not going to hold my breath. I used to write for computer magazines and even freelance edited Linux Magazine in the UK for three months back in 2000 and people were saying that then. We're still waiting.

    The problem with Linux is that it is mostly being developed by volunteers who, not unreasonably, since they aren't being paid, want to work on what's interesting for them which may not be what makes Linux easier to use for ordinary people. The distro makers are not helping much. There is a big row going on at the moment that Canonical - the producer of Ubuntu - profits from sales of its distribution but isn't contributing anything back to Linux in general. There must be hundreds of different distros, most of which add nothing new and presumably serve only to inflate the egos of their creators.

    Say what you like about Bill Gates, he had a vision of where he wanted Microsoft to go and he ensured that it went there. Of course he could tell his programmers what to do because he was paying them a lot of money. I'm afraid that due to the lack of a commercial imperative free software will never catch up with commercial software.

    As for blaming the ham software developers for not porting their stuff over to Linux, well they are doing this for their own interest too and if they aren't interested in Linux why should they? I don't think it helps either, as I said before, that free software tools are mostly about 10 years behind those on Windows. Most ham programmers are self taught and GUI programming in C or C++ is beyond them. If there was a Visual Basic or even a Delphi for Linux then you might see more hams writing Linux software.

    Actually there is a Delphi for Linux, it's called Lazarus and it's what I'm currently using to write programs. And the great thing about it is that it can be used to create programs for both Windows and Linux. But it is not very well known even in the Linux community and is in the repositories of very few distros.
     
  9. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Julian, good stuff!

    You played much with any of the 'Widget' sets for Linux? I'm not a coder by any stretch. But, I think that's how the guys building Xastir are 'getting around' using C and not having to re-invent the GUI stuff. (OpenMotif/LessTif)

    And if you want to see what's 'coming' in *nix desktops, give Fedora 10 a go - in about 4 weeks when it's released. Or try the beta now (second or third beta?) http://fedoraproject.org/get-prerelease

    Man - finding screen shots that AREN'T just of the install isn't easy. This site has a 'few': http://www.lynucs.org/index.php?search_start=0&p=app&app_name=fedora
    check the dates on the calendars - some of those are OLD
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  10. KD8JOC

    KD8JOC QRZ Member QRZ Page

    Has anybody tried using WINE on top of their favorite distro to run the Windows programs mentioned in this post?
     
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