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Re: Re: UO-2 Telemetry Decoder Software

tlangdon@atctraining.com.au (Tony Langdon) writes:

> I think it makes sense to develop for Windows because that's probably what
> most hams have.  I suspect Linux has a good following in the ham community
> as well ...

When Harold Price NK6K was still writing the digital column for QEX a while
back, several columns got at least partially devoted to talking about this
issue of operating system choice for the shack, directly or indirectly.  

In the midst of that, I sent him a thought-piece email that he ended up 
printing a chunk of, in which I suggested that worrying about what OS hams 
might have on their "main" computer wasn't very relevant for deciding what
platform to target for software we would run in the shack.  My hypothesis was
that hams would want to dedicate a separate machine for the shack, and there 
was no reason to cripple it with an appliance operating system.  Our hobby 
has a long history of hacking/tinkering, and we ought to foster that same 
behavior with regards to software.  Open source platforms are emminently 
hackable, and therefore, I believe, are a better match to our hobby efforts.

I took flak for saying that.  Some people thought I was elitist for assuming
more than one computer per household.  Some thought it was silly to learn more
than one operating system (I happen to agree with that, by the way... why would
anyone want to learn Windows? :-).  Some just seemed to be afraid of the idea 
of having sourcecode available... and that included both producers and 

I invested the energy to pontificate about Open Source ala AMSAT at the recent
Toronto and San Diego annual meetings, partly to address that fear factor.  
The feedback I've gotten previously has been mostly positive, but this 
discussion is the first time I've seen multiple people I didn't personally
know make it clear in an AMSAT forum that they have separate computers running
Linux dedicated to their ham radio activity.  That's cool!  :-)

> So ultimately, both platforms should be supported in the long term.

I'm confident both Windows and Linux are around for the long haul.  My own
personal frustration accumulated over years of trying to use and develop 
software for proprietary systems is a large part of why my "other big hobby"
these days is helping make Debian GNU/Linux (www.debian.org) happen.  If there
are capable software folks who want to start or keep writing software for 
Windows, more power to them!  That's what freedom is all about.  

But it won't be me.  Life is too short to waste it on secret-source software.

73 - Bdale, KB0G
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