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Re: gpredict

On Jan 29, 2008, at 2:49 PM, Bruce Bostwick wrote:

> My $.02:  Ham radio is one of the few fields in which I have actually
> been forced to consider dedicating a Windows machine to the hobby
> because only XP seems to be suitable for most ham-related tasks.  But,
> IMHO, that's not because Windows is necessarily a *better platform*
> than any of the others for it .. it's simply due to the fact that
> there are a large number of people writing software for ham
> applications who write code only for WIndows and refuse to port to any
> other platform.  (Rather notably, ARRL has been pretty cold to Mac
> owners in its own software offerings, and while I've heard a few
> rumors that that's in the process of changing, I haven't seen a lot of
> evidence of it in terms of actual code "on the ground", so to speak.)

With virtualization where it's at these days, it really doesn't matter  
much.  I launch Windows on the Mac for any (dumb) software that  
requires it, and that's not often... but it's there if I need it.    
Can do the same on the Linux boxes, but most of those are doing server  
jobs around here, and I don't use them as desktops very often... with  
one old laptop being the exception -- it still has a Windows/Ubuntu  
dual-boot, but it's feeling rather lonely these days, since I can  
launch Windows on the Mac, Linux on the Mac, etc.

Another area besides ham radio where Windows has an edge on things is  
the realm of programming microcontrollers.  While there finally ARE  
tools for Mac and Linux, they're still relatively painful if you're  
just trying to dump a quick timer into a PIC and get on with building  
whatever it was you were building.  gnupic and others have come a long  
way and are slowly (like all application software) working their way  
toward making that software fully free and the commercial stuff  
obsolete... it just takes time and effort by a few "someones"... then  
it slowly gets done whenever someone has an itch to scratch and wants  
to do it.

> Due to some extremely unpleasant experiences I've had with various
> versions of Windows in the past, many of which would obviously be
> repeated if I were to start using either XP or Vista at home, I'm
> extremely hesitant to bring home yet another machine to run Windows on
> just for a few ham apps.  I've found equivalents that are compatible
> with Mac OS for a few such tasks, and it's pretty clear that most of
> what I'd have the most compelling desire to do that can't be done in
> Mac OS can be done in Linux rather than Windows, but it's been made

And pretty much anything you can do in Linux you can compile or  
someone can port to the Mac natively... if you haven't seen or played  
with Fink, check it out... the majority of the Debian Linux packages  
(arguably the most ham packages ever collected in a single distro, and  
tons of bright hams working on them) can be downloaded and run from  
binaries that are already built and in a similar repository structure  
as on Debian, right into you Mac.  Very nice.

> very clear to me that ham radio is very much an exclusive Windows-only
> club at least in some ways.  The reason "XP absolutely aces linux for
> the ease of use and ease of installation of the programs [you] need"
> is because there are a lot of people out there writing ham apps only
> for XP and so far none of those have been ported to other programs ..
> as soon as a critical mass of that user base migrates away from XP,
> that statement will no longer be true ..

Porting things written for Windows to other OS's is hell.  Porting  
things written for just about any Unix to other Unix-like OS's and  
even over to Windows is far easier.  The tools are just "better" for  

A wonderful example of cross-platform code that works great on all  
platforms is RoverLog for us VHF contesting nuts... TCL/TK is out for  
every platform under the Sun (and even FOR the Sun... Microsystems,  
that is) Solaris OS... and with that framework underneath, RoverLog  
works on everything.

It'd be grand if more coders thought like that vs. firing up Visual  
Studio and writing only for Windows.   Agreed.  I don't think people  
do it on purpose though, it's just "what they know".  Ham software  
HOWEVER it's made is better than no ham software!!  (GRIN)

Nate Duehr, WY0X

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