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OS Agnostic Client

Norm - W7CK
Norm - W7CK Member ✭✭
edited June 2020 in SmartSDR for Windows
I believe its been a while since this topic has come up.  I just thought I'd bring it back to the surface to see if there has been any changes in philosophy.  I'd love to see the client able to be compied and run across multiple platforms.  While the Windows 10 release is really a much better product than anything they have done in the past, I feel far less comfort in my ability to guard my personal information than ever before.  This makes me wish I could move to some flavor of Linux and ditch the Washington based conglomerate forever.  If I could get general releases of the client software from FRS that would run on Linux, I'd sure be a happy camper.

Does anyone know why FRS has tied their client software to tightly to the Windows OS?   Would it have really been that much more difficult to produce an OS Independent Client?

My first thought when Maestro was announced as running Windows, was that FRS had locked in to running their client on the Windows OS forever.  Now that I've had time to think about it a bit further, I don't think that really locked them into anything.  If they wanted to, an OS agnostic client could be developed and placed upon the Maestro just as easily as on any other Windows, Linux, or OS-X driven device.

I then though that many other developers were using the SDI Waveform API and possibly working on clients that would work on other platforms.  The problem with this as I see it is that they will always be way behind the most recent software release from FRS.  So, independently developed client software for cross platform functionality is really rather a poor solution.  They'd constantly be re-engineering the software and an added expense and substantial delay in time. It would be much better coming directly from FRS!

I'm not a software developer.  My intent is not to bash previous corporate decisions.  I'm just curious about the likelihood of FRS producing an OS Agnostic Client in the future.  Is the development overhead really that much grater than developing for only the Windows environment? 

Once again, I'm not a software developer.  I have no idea whats so ever as to how hard this would be to do but isn't relying on calls to forms like .net (just to name one) which are maintained and developed by MS somewhat a moving target!  I would think writing your own code and not have to deal with arbitrary changes made by the OS developer a huge step forward in stability, security, independence and general public acceptance of a product that is cross-platform-independent.

Once again, I'm not trying to stir up trouble, I'd just like to know if this is something that is extremely difficult, or is it something that is within the prospects of future FRS development.

Norm - W7CK

Answers

  • George KF2T
    George KF2T Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2019
    Nice post, Norm.


    I doubt we will see a non-Windows client from FRS anytime soon. The good news is that the server is OS agnostic. A 6000 Series can support clients on any OS (within reason) with no loss in capabilities. Of course, a new set of server capabilities would need the any client updated.


    There are very nice third party clients for Mac and iOS, plus more on the way. Several folks are working on other platforms. I'm pretty sure FRS has been instrumental in supplying them updated information and API help, so that features can be supported as fully as possible. I'd expect this to blossom more fully once SSDR matures somewhere in the 2.x range.
  • Neal_K3NC
    Neal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited April 2016
    Dot Net actually is pretty OS agnostic. You can run in it tablets, laptops, desk machines and since they just bought Xamarin they own the technology to run it on IOS, Android and who knows what else. They did a great thing by buying Xamarin and they giving free licenses for anyone to use (its now part of the community-release of Visual Studio 2015.

    Before everyone gets excited, however, I think Xamarin is based on the older Dot Net Forms graphical interface and SmartSDR is utilizing the modern WPF (which allows usage of the GPU on the graphics card in the drawing). The other stuff is the same however.

    While I kinda agree with you on OS agnostic, the 'one code base, multiple platforms' paradigm just isn't quite here yet. They did the right thing however as if choosing one system was the constraint, no one would have guessed it wouldn't be WIndows.
  • Andrew Holman2
    edited May 2017
    I thought about writing one in Javascript/NodeJS that would work across Windows, Linux and Mac. The problem is re-writing a lot of the code that is already out there into a new language which takes time. I even thought about making one that was web based, but only uses a local connection to the radio. There is an Objective-C library but it doesn't have everything, there is the library that Flex put out, but it's windows only.  Time, energy, love of wanting to keep playing on my flex has kept more progress on it.  I would be all in on a group of people doing some development on a cross platform project. 
  • James Whiteway
    edited May 2017
    Walt has created a cross platform/OS agnostic version of SSDR and Flexlib api. When and if he decides to release it for sale, it should fulfill a lot of users desires for using an OS other than Windows. Mark is working on another that is a Windows and iOS client as well. So, they are definitely out there.
      Neal, I think that Xamrain will eventually (sooner than later) support WPF forms. One reason being Microsoft wants to get away from Winforms at some point. (personally, I don't care that much for XAML that is used with WPF, but, that's what is needed to get the most out of Windows)
    james
    WD5GWY

  • Neal_K3NC
    Neal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited April 2016
    John Melton, [email protected], is a Java Grand Master and has written quite a few Java-based sdr programa. I don't think any of it is Flex-6000 based but I suspect it would not be a huge jump to get itr working with the 6000s.
  • Andrew Holman2
    edited April 2016
    Who is Walt for us new people? And that would be great. I would love to see a community project for Flex to build a really solid set of tools for the ham radio community.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    James et al, it is XPSSDR and XPSLib. I believe there is one thing I've changed on XPSLib in the last year. The RIA I am finishing up the preview version now. The preview version will be free. Andrew, this is not a community project. The preview version will have enough functionality to entice people to subscribe to it. James, no, I don't think it ever will. There was an informed post on their website on that issue about a year ago. The source for XPSLib and XPSSDR are closed. The xps suite of software is specifically flex6000 aware.
  • DrTeeth
    DrTeeth Member ✭✭
    edited December 2018
    @ Norm. "While the Windows 10 release is really a much better product than anything they have done in the past..."

    I really could not post any earlier as I was laughing so hard. You really cannot be serious.

    Win 10 is an OS that installs updates without consent - I had always manually installed my Win updates.

    Win 10 is an OS that sends data back to base and that cannot be turned off.

    Win 10 is an OS that has much reduced use configuration options than Win 7.

    I cannot think of ANYTHING that Win 10 does better than Win 7.

    I hated Win 10 so much that I deleted it from its own partition that I had used for paying with it. 

    As I do not wish to be banned from this forum, I shall stop right here, if you get my drift.

    Thanks for the good laugh though.



  • Neal_K3NC
    Neal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited December 2018
    i'm just guessing you didn't like Win 8.1 either? HI
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Not only does it install updates without permission. It comes dangerously close to installing itself without permission. IMHO, it is a shameless marketing ploy for people to say there are 250 million installed worldwide. I question how many of them were deliberately installed. Oh, to be sure, there were actually people on here that installed the beta of it.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    For those interested in the preview version, please email me via arrl, as this is probably the wrong forum to be discussing it.
  • Neal_K3NC
    Neal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited April 2016
    Even when MS creates the gold disk for production the software isn't far from beta quality anyway so I think we are all on the beta team.
  • DrTeeth
    DrTeeth Member ✭✭
    edited August 2016
    Spot on Neal. A particular annoyance with those versions concerns the disk clean feature. I use it from time to time and it took so much longer (several times so) to do its stuff than that on Win 7. If they could get the Win 7 interface on top of the Win 10 guts, and turn off the spyware-like features, they could be close to having a winner on their hands.
  • Peter K1PGV
    Peter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    /rolls eyes


    280 million as of last week, IIRC.. All clearly people who are ****, had no choice, want their security compromised, or asked to be beta testers. Yup, obviously.


    Given that Linux has never had more than two percent of the global desktop market and Windows has more than 90%, it was obviously **** for Flex to develop a Windows-only client. Who planned that, huh?


    (Wanna hear somethings funny? There are as many people running Windows Vista today as theire are running all versions of Liniux combined on desktop machines.)


    The OP's question was a legit and reasonable one. The ensuing tirade from Guy and Walt, not so much.


    Soooo very tiring. I suggest we try talking about Flex products and amateur radio and leave OS wars out of bounds. Please. Then again, I'm sure there's no reason you would want to honor my request. You certainly hanpvent so far. But the religious zealotry does undeniably increase the noise and sometimes starts to obscure the signal... At least for me.


    Peter

    K1PGV (SRI for the extra spaces between paragraphs. Latest rev of Chrome running on iOS)
  • Peter K1PGV
    Peter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    @Norm W7CK.... Cross OS development is harder, much harder, than being able to focus on a single platform. The tools aren't as well developed, and -- this is the worst thing -- the testing burden is multiplied significantly. Instead of just having to write your code and test it on one OS, you now have to just as thoroughly test on every OS you claim you support. There really is no code today that you write once and run everywhere. Instead, you write it once and wind up testing it everywhere, To make things worse, it's not like there's even a single flavor of Linux. Different Linux distros can differ... by a lot or a little. And then there are versions of each OS to test, Customer in the UK is having trouble on RHEL 7.2 .... Now the support, test and dev teams have to get a RHEL 7 system to repro the problem. Ugh. As a commercial concern, you ask: How many sales will I LOSE -- outright lose -- if I only write a solution that'll run on one OS, When that one OS encompasses 90% of the world's desktops... And maybe a good 75% or more of those in your specific target market segment... You figure you'll lose very few sales, Not enough to pay for the extra overhead of building testing, and don't forget supporting a product on multiple OS releases. Hope that helps, Peter K1PGV
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Peter, that's incredibly dated. The reality is people vote, users vote. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what the vendors want, what matters is what the users want. How's that saying go? You can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time. That 2% may actually still be valid in the commercial market. Legent Software, EMC, CA Technologies, all had products spanning multiple OSs and that is in the commercial space. Ham radio isn't in the commercial space. The 'not so much' is because it doesn't resonate with you.... There is nothing of what I said that remotely sounds like a tirade, your diatribe.,.."not so much". BTW, from my perspective, nothing of what I've been talking about has anything to do with FRS, products or services.
  • Norm - W7CK
    Norm - W7CK Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Guy, you should have quoted the entire sentence.  I was trying to say that while the OS is in general pretty good, it is in invasion of privacy and makes it darn near impossible to know if and how secure personal information is.  At this point, I am only using Windows for a small handful of ham radio related applications.  I'm trying to reeducate myself and run nearly everything else under Ubuntu.
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited March 2017
    Does anyone know why FRS has tied their client software to tightly to the Windows OS? 

    It was a business decision. Desktop OS market share and the real and significant expense to develop, test and document software products were the drivers.  By Windows having a vast majority of market share, creating our initial client software to run on Windows provides the greatest exposure to ham radio market for our radio products (our revenue generator) with the most efficient utilization of our resources, which are not limitless.


    Would it have really been that much more difficult to produce an OS Agnostic Client?

    Yes. It is more difficult, timely and costly to develop, document and test cross-platform apps using a single code base.
  • Norm - W7CK
    Norm - W7CK Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Thanks for the comment Tim.  Like I said, I'm not a developer so I really have no idea how hard it is to develop for cross platform.....

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