Finally got my question answered

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  • Updated 5 months ago
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  • (Edited)
I finally got an answer to my question about when versions of Windows Flex tests new releases of SSDR. I had to open a ticket to get the answer from Tim Ellison:

In part Tim says:

We start depreciating support for specific versions of Windows based on
the life cycle determined by Microsoft.  There are two milestones in the operating system life cycle that are important.  The first is Mainstream support which includes bug fixes and Extended support that includes only security patches.


When an operating system reaches Mainstream Support end of life (EOL), we no longer do any active testing with that version and if we discover a software defect that is related to the operating system, it will not be fixed.  

Windows XP, Win7, Vista and Win 8.1 have all reached Mainstream Support EOL.

As I suspected new releases of SSDR are not actively tested with Windows 7 or 8.1 and apparently any bugs related to those will not be fixed

As a Windows 8.1 user I'm a bit concerned that SSDR is not being actively tested for my version of Windows and  bugs may not be fixed

I think that the SSDR documentation should point this out and state clearly what version of Windows SSDR is currently being actively tested on. Otherwise new users of SSDR with older versions of Windows will not be aware that they are in reality purchasing software that has not been actively tested for their operating system and bug fixes may be very limited







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Pat N6PAT

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Posted 5 months ago

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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Everyone has to make a personal choice what OS you want to run. From a commercial viewpoint, however, Flex is making the correct choice. Microsoft is not  supporting nor fixing bugs associated with those releases so Flex can only follow suit. That does not mean that alpha team members are not using a wide variety of versions of Windows, however, so its very likely that 8.1 has someone in the loop flexing it (sri!)
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N5LB - Lionel B

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I don't see how a company could make a viable business case for long term backward compatibility, especially now that MS is pushing out frequent minor and major updates.  It must be a daily exercise to chase down the latest MS updates versus the latest SDR. We're all quasi beta testers for MS OS's. MS is forcing the OS upgrades on users- their business case.
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Pat N6PAT

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That's fine but don't you think that when they stop most (or all) support for a version of Windows that they tell everyone? Would you knowingly pay for a new release of SSDR  if you knew that support for it on your version of Windows is not there?
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Pat, If I bought a version 3 and find out Win 7 will not run SSDR correctly I may ask for a money return till I can upgrade to say Win 10. But I have to first determin that the problem isn't something I overlooked.

How ever being that ssdr runs so nicely on Win 7 I have nothing to complain about.

If and when others report that SSDR is running on their Win version just fine, that tells me all is good to go. If I am about the only one having an issue then I need to find out what's going on on my end, not a Flex problem for say.
(Edited)
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Chris

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I don't think they need to tell anyone. You're choosing to run an operating system that is no longer supported. You should know that some software may have issues with your OS. They need to draw the line somewhere. Would you expect them to make an announcement that they don't support Windows 3.11?

I'm running into this exact scenario at work where one of our users refuses to give up his windows XP. It's holding the entire organization back due to incompatibilities with our new storage. At some point you need to realize that if Microsoft isn't developing for your OS, why would anyone else?
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KF4HR

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And another wedge to force people to upgrade to newer (and improved?) version of Windows.  Lovely.   

It's a pipe dream but I sure wish MS would come out with a stripped down industrial version of Windows, and just leave it alone.
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Pat N6PAT

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Knowing this (finally) has convinced me to not buy any newer releases of SSDR while I'm still using Windows 8.1. It would not be very wise to pay for new software that is not actively being tested for my version of Windows and, more importantly, bug fixes may not be available.
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Burch - K4QXX

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Not that I am Windows 10 fan but you can download it for free to update your Windows 8.1 machine.  Even though Microsoft said the free updates were over, it still works.  I just updated a Windows 7 machine to Windows 10 a couple of weeks ago. 
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Bill -VA3WTB

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This is the beauty of all this, we don't have to upgrade, If Pat does not want to upgrade that is perfecty fine, Pat has to make choices for his shack himself.

I have no intentions of going to Win 10 till I have some kind of problem with Win 7. things are just running to smoothly.
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Andrew Russell

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KH4FR,
That's what is inside the Maestro.
Andrew VK5CV
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Remember the Maestro is running an embedded OS version that is fairly different than the OS versions we have available for our PC's.  Embedded OS versions are different enough and have longer life cycles, that you often can find them in mainstream use many years after their desktop & server analogues have been retired.

Back at the original question the observation that you may run into troubles installing new operating software on an obsolete OS platform is spot on.  Personally I ran into this issue around the transition from pre-release SmartSDR to general release, and have done a second upgrade of OS & hardware again when I found my system under-performing with all the additional software I wanted to run.

I have reconceptualized my shack PC from the "purchase & forget" model to mentally thinking of it like car tires - that I'll only get so much mileage out of set before I need to change them.  Making that change has helped me mentally manage my shack budget to anticipate upgrade expenses, even if I don't exactly know right at the moment what the upgrade will look like.


73

Steve
K9ZW
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Craig Williams

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Bill -VA3WTB

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I run on Win 7 and I have not had any problems that I know of.
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Pat N6PAT

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I have an issue with 2.4.9 which causes CW signals to almost disappear. That's why I went back to 2.3.9.

Now I see that opening a help desk ticket wouldn't have solved the problem because I use 8.1 and Tim says they will not fix those bugs.

Perhaps the problem will not exist in version 3 when that comes out but I will not know unless I pay $199 to get it first.  If the problem is still there or if v3  does not work well on 8.1 then I wasted $199.

This is exactly why I suggested a trial period for new releases. Now do you see the benefit in a trial period?
(Edited)
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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I can see both sides of this discussion (argument?). 

As has already been pointed out, for Flex to make a time limited version of SSDR would involve quite a number of man hours. However I don't think that is why Flex don't do it. I think the reason is much more simple, support, to support a time limited or crippled version could involve some horrendous overheads with support personnel. And a lot more backbiting about 'this doesn't work' or the 'software timed out when I was working Bouvet' and lots more.

Yes, I agree it world be nice to have a 'trial' version but for a relatively small company like Flex, it's a non-starter.

For those who are not sure if V3 has any advantages over V2 then keeping an eye on this community will soon tell you 99% of what is right or wrong with a new version.

In my opinion the biggest problem Flex face is with MS. As the reply from Tim Ellison points out, MS have basically stopped support for all versions of Windows prior to Windows 10. Flex have to ensure that their software runs on the latest version of whatever MS is currently supporting. Just as a bye the bye, just because MS have stopped support for ANY version of Windows does not mean that it will stop working, it will. 

In my former professional life where having reliable Windows computers that would run the software I needed far out weighed the need to upgrade to the latest version of Windows. I was still running XP Pro until 4 years ago and I rolled out Win7 64bit over a couple of months on to my computers. 

On my main computer, I can swap out the boot drive in a couple of minutes, I have two 'work' hard disks. One is a Windows 7 drive and the other is Windows 10. I keep regular backups of both drives and can recover from almost any disaster in minutes.

Funnily enough, I cannot install the last 1X version of SSDR on Windows 7 properly, it keeps bombing out on signed drivers for DAX. I have finally come to the conclusion that it is a motherboard problem. SSDR works fine and as I don't do digital modes at the moment, I'm not worried. Windows 10 is not a problem, SSDR 1X installs everything just fine. And when I get my 6600, then V2 will be installed on a clean Windows 10 drive.

So guys, I am sorry but if you want to be 100% certain that X version will run on your computer, then upgrade it to Windows 10, after all you can still get it for free so the argument that Flex are just another wedge driving you spend money with Microsoft just does not hold water.

It's time some of the naysayers on this community sold their Flex Radios and got on with life. The folks at Flex are doing a damn fine job and I for one, am deeply grateful that this company exists and gives me a new radio every few months, i.e. when to software is improved.

Stop niggling at the petty details and either put up or shut up.

What is really funny is that this argument is raging before you even know when SSDR V3 is going to be available.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to EVERYONE.

Tim

(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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What is really funny is that this argument is raging before you even know when SSDR V3 is going to be available.

That's not true. The issues exist with v2 as I have issues with 2.4.9 but according to Tim at Flex they will not fix the bugs because I use 8.1

That's why I went back to 2.3.9
(Edited)
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Johan / SE3X

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I have an old Mercedes as 2'nd car. Been in family since new, can't let it go. It's old, more than 20 years old. Mercedes runs a sort of service offerings, fixed prices, for their cars.  I thought it was time to give it a proper service on a Mercedes garage after many years since it was done last by my late father. It's been sitting almost unused for the last 12 years.

They told me they didn't have any service scheme for it and certinly no fixed price for service.  Told me that I had to move on and accept it was an old "version". 

Maybe it's time for many to retier those old Windows versions and accept that the world we are living in is moving on. Either we like it or not.

Flex is special and I'm very happy to be part of it. For good and for bad. If it's not for you, if you expect otherwise? Sell it and buy something else. A Flex will always be easy to move and there are plenty want to buy it.

I will keep our old Mercedes, it's family, eventhough I can't have it serviced as I would like. I will keep my 6700 and the Maestro, even if I don't like all about it and it's dependenscies to Windows.

Best of luck to you whatever your decision about Flex and Windows will be.

Johan

Ps. sorry for my English, not my native language. Just as with my Flex .. trying to do my best :)
(Edited)
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Reading Tim's note, I am not sure what the problem is. There are tons of people still using Win7 (and very few I have met using 8.x but they are out there). What it appears he is saying is that if you have a software defect that is unique to win7, 8, XP, NT, etc they will not fix it. Do you know whether you have a software defect specifically related to 8.1 as opposed to configuration problems (or install problems)? Just falling back to a previous release does not necessarily prove that its a software defect as the configuration changes when you install a new release.

Did Flex refuse to help diagnose your problem? Thats not how I read Tim's note but would be very interested to know!
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Pat N6PAT

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OK...I'm not going to keep this going forever. You're completely missing the point

I was not informed that the software I was buying was no longer being actively being tested for my version of Windows yet the SSDR user docs state that SSDR is designed to run on 8.1

I understand how software life cycles work. I've been designing systems for 35 years for Nissan, Kodak, B&L, the state of Alaska, Frontier Communications, Verizon, etc. etc,

What is concerning is that new releases of SSDR were released without informing users that support was being pulled from users of older versions of Windows. This should have been communicated at the time of the release so users could decide if they want pay the money and gamble that the release will work without any problems.

What's even more concerning is that I asked about 6 times if the release was tested on all versions of Windows that the software is designed to run on. No one would give me an answer. I had to finally open a ticket to get a simple answer. I think after buying the most expensive Flex radio @ $7K I should have at least been given an answer

Now I've explained this a number of times and will not explain it again

Have a Flexcellent day!
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Bill -VA3WTB

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The help desk was a good move, that free's up the staff to work on what they do instead of spending lost time on here. Sometimes when time permits they chime in.
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N9VC

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Well, I was not going to add to this conversation,
but here is my thought. I understand his statement
was CW signals disappear using version 2.49.
Not sure what that means. Does the radio go dead?
Or he can see them but not hear them?
I have to say I am using WIN 8.1 and have no such
anomaly as he says. I am running version 2.49. Not
sure what is different on my computer.
I would try another computer to see if it duplicates
the problem. Perhaps that has been done.
In closing, I would upgrade to WIN 10 in a heartbeat,
if that is what is needed to run my Flex.
Merry Christmas to all of you.

73, Jim N9VC

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
Pat, I really do not appreciate that you decided to partially repost my response to you when you started this thread by leaving out multiple paragraphs.  Since you did not include everything, I will.

We test SmartSDR with a variety of Windows operating systems.  Primarily we test on Windows 10 since it is the latest version and the one that comes on new PCs purchased.  Win8 and to a lesser degree Win7 are informally tested as part of our QC processes.  For Win8 and Win7, this is primarily done by our alpha team.  Windows XP and Vista are no longer supported.

We start depreciating support for specific versions of Windows based on the life cycle determined by Microsoft.  There are two milestones in the operating system life cycle that are important.  The first is Mainstream support which includes bug fixes and Extended support that includes only security patches.

When an operating system reaches Mainstream Support end of life (EOL), we no longer do any active testing with that version and if we discover a software defect that is related to the operating system, it will not be fixed.  

Windows XP, Win7, Vista and Win 8.1 have all reached Mainstream Support EOL. 

When an operating system reaches Extended Support EOL, we will not prevent you from installing our software on that operating system, but we will no longer provide any support for software issues that may occur.

Both XP and Vista have reached Extended Support EOL.  
Windows 7 will reach this milestone on 14-Jan-2020
Windows 8.1 will reach this milestone on 10-Jan-2023


And let me state unequivocally that we have not yet had a single defect in the SmartSDR for Windows software that was operating system specific.

Lastly, for those others that are not wanting to upgrade SmartSDR because you are running an OS less than Win10, let me remind you that the software that runs your radio is NOT Windows that runs on your PC.  It is the firmware INSIDE the radio.  All SmartSDR does is command and control of the radio, spectrum rendering, and some audio IO management to play audio from your PC speakers and input from a mic if so desired.
(Edited)

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