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IPS and Amateur Satellite Software



> From: Dquagliana@aol.com
> Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 10:30:30 EDT
> Subject: [amsat-bb] IPS for IBM-PC? (Was: AO-40 Telemetry News.. IHU-Keps??)
> 	[...]
> Is there an IPS port for IBM-PCs (either Windows or Linux) ?
> 	[...]

If you will permit, might I ask why you are looking for a current IPS port?

It undoubtedly makes sense to have a modern (or at least readily accessible)
development platform for the AO-40 software.

On the other hand, my personal opinion is that it probably doesn't make
sense to launch another satellite with an IPS-based IHU.  At a very
minimum, I strongly suggest that a reasoned, thorough, public debate occur
on the requirements for and selection of a programming language for amateur
(or, perhaps, merely AMSAT funded/sponsored/endorsed/...) satellites.
I would like to think that this topic is at least as important as the
next IHU hardware platform for [AMSAT] amateur satellites.

At the non-negligible risk of confusing the issue, it might also be
appropriate to discuss whether AMSAT ought to take a position about
the relevance of open-source  on-board software to AMSAT-supported
satellites.

In other contexts, I have said that "it's all a personnel issue."  
The development and maintenance of on-board amateur satellite software
may also have a large personnel component.  The use of a widely known
language with readily available development platforms increases the pool
of potential software developers.  It probably also increases the quality
of the software, in the sense that software idioms are probably more
fully developed for a common language.  The widespread availability of the
source code for satellite software increases the chances of good code
reviews and the reuse of proven software.

[In hopes of avoiding the first 50 e-mails about the importance of
closed source to security let me state that I believe that any on-board
satellite software written today that has security that is dependent upon
protecting the source code is fundamentally flawed.  Obviously,
cryptographic keys need to be protected, but not source code.]

By the way, has the topic of appropriate languages for amateur or small
satellites been discussed in other venues, such as the small-satellite
conferences?

-tjs
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