SmartSDR Source

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Hi All, 

As I play with the API I got to thinking about whether or not Flex would release the source to SmartSDR.

I realize this is their flagship product on the Amateur side and perhaps there is technology buried in the source they would choose not to release but I thought I would at least ask the question because you can actually get the PowerSDR source.

In my particular case I have some things I'd like to do and I'm faced with either recreating most of what SmartSDR does (which is a lot of work) and adding my own features or trying to come up with a hack that works outside of SmartSDR and perhaps accomplishes my goal.  Both of these options are not optimal.

For me it would be worth a fee to get a compilable, working SmartSDR source that I could build upon for my interests.  I also would be willing to entertain some licensing requirements as well.

I could see options like the following:

1) Released only to Flex series 6000 confirmed owners with the understanding that Flex will not support modified code.

2) Released only to Flex series 6000 confirmed owners on a fee basis with a similar understanding about supporting modified code.

3) Released as above perhaps with delicate Flex technology provided only in DLL form.

I can think of other ways it would be acceptable as well.  Any one have any thoughts?
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Mark - WS7M

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Posted 4 years ago

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Mike va3mw

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I think that the best you may see is API access. Flex has too much invested that I highly doubt they will release their Intellectual Proberty. Just my 2 cents.
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Mark - WS7M

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Michael, Probably right but I figure the only dumb question is the one that is not asked.   

Merry Christmas! 
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Burt Fisher

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I had a high school student how big is a 3 inch by 5 inch card
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Mark - WS7M

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Still not actually a dumb question Burt.  Many paper cutters actually have stack up tolerances which results in the 3x5 card not actually being 3x5.  That is the target size, the real size is always still worthy of a question.

To this day I wonder why a 2x4 is not really 2 inches thick nor is it 4 inches wide.

However it is possible your highschool student could have rephrased the question better to something more like:

Is a 3x5 card exactly 3x5 or is it slightly bigger or smaller and if so which axes change the most often?
(Edited)
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k3Tim

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The 2x4 is an interesting example!  I recall some remodling in my parents home removing "real" 2x4 that measured actually at 2x4 although they were rough cut.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Burt, what did you tell him/her? That's not really a dumb question (remember? There is no such thing as a dumb question).

15 sq inches
96.7 sq cm
.1 sq foot

Dimensioned lumber is measured in full inches.
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Mark - WS7M

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Walt, I'm no carpenter and most of the stuff I build from wood should be used for firewood.  What I do know about wood is what the average home owner gets when you go to Home Depot.  You ask for a 2x4 and you get something that is like 1.78 by about 3.78 or so.  Plus it is warped like mad most of the time.

I'm no expert but in simple math that is not 2 inches nor 4 inches.  Maybe all these years I've been asking for the wrong type but seriously unless you have training or have run into it before it is one of the wonders of the building world to me that you go somewhere and ask for a 2x4 and you get something smaller.

I have done mechanical CAD design and have worked with devices and fixtures in the micron ranges.  When you call out 2.000 inches that is what you get with the stuff I do.  Well +/- whatever the shop can support but these days it is pretty darned tight.

Anyway I think your comment is great.  So the kid asked how big a 3x5 card was... The really interesting thing would be what did Burt tell him!

Merry Christmas Walt!  Here is hoping you have lots of cool new gear to play with today!
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Walt - KZ1F

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Sadly no Mark, no toys for me today. I did have to replace my development system a couple of months ago. I only knew the answer to the 2x4 question as I've built a bunch of furniture and bought undimentioned wood as its less expensive and I planed it myself. As for the quality of home depot lumber, I completely agree. I generally get lumber at a real lumber yard, Cherry, mahogany, quarter sawn whit oak. Last time I dealt with a micrometer was in 7th grade shop class. Oh yeah and paying for two tooth implants.

Merry Christmas. Mark!
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Mark - WS7M

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Ouch... My wife will be getting an implant most likely.  My ex-boss raves about them over the typical root-canal and crown.

I just got two crowns put on and what an ordeal.  First crown was made wrong, had to remake it.  Next one fits but feels strange.

I guess first crown at 59 is not too bad.  Hope to keep the rest of the teeth for a while longer.

Merry Christmas Walt.  I really enjoy your participation on this forum.  You are knowledgeable and detailed in your responses.  Wish I could be the same but my father told me years ago that I would be a "generalist" and his words are true.  I'm good at many things, I'm not great at any one thing.
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Burt Fisher

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Walt et.al. it was a dumb question. The problem with some teachers/parents is we do for children when they ought to make some effort
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Ray Andrews, K9DUR, Elmer

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Mark,

Remember that SmartSDR is in 2 parts:  the code in the radio and the client.  I see absolutely no chance whatsoever that Flex will ever release the code in the radio, and about the same chance that they will release the code for the client.

The API has all of the hooks into the radio to do anything you want to do.  After all, that is all that the client has to work with.

73, Ray, K9DUR
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Mark - WS7M

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Morning Ray!

Merry Christmas.  

I understand that and would not ever expect Flex to release the FPGA code.   However in the case of the Flex1500 and older radios they did release PowerSDR code.

I think that SmartSDR uses the very same API they have published and you are right in the API is everything one might want to do.  But carrying that forward into a finished product like SmartSDR is quite a bit of work.

Of course good things are never easy but in my case I like everything SmartSDR does.  I'd like to add a few features that I personally would use.  That is why the interest in the source is present for me.

If I had a compilable SmartSDR source so I could it run in the IDE and it came up just like it does now then I could start to add in the features I want without harming what already is good in SmartSDR.  That is my only goal.

But I think Micheal and yourself are right.  Flex has a lot invested in this product line and it is doubtful they'd release the source even to a registered owner.  But had to ask.
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James Whiteway

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FRS has said they would not release the source code for SSDR. Unlike PSDR, it is not based on open source code and not subject to open source rules.
Besides, the API allows you to create the exact same interface as SSDR, minus some of the third party (paid for) custom controls the use in SSDR. You can see those control dll's in SSDR's install subfolders.
Even the functions that the 3rd party dll's provide can be recreated using WPF. Just takes more time coding.
So, I seriously doubt we will ever see the source code to SSDR.
James
WD5GWY
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Walt - KZ1F

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I actually already asked that question and I (as others) have a legally binding agreement with them. I do not have the source.
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Mark - WS7M

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Thanks guys... Good to know.  I searched the forum before I asked and didn't see the question.

I do agree it can all be done via the API I guess at 59 I'm just not full of the coding energy I used to have but it seems if I want to do what I want to do I'll have to head down that road.

Merry Christmas to all.  Too bad there is not a Maestro under the tree....
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Walt - KZ1F

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Actually James and Mark, control development is almost a subfield in and of itself. There is no control that FRS users, or anyone else for that matter, that someone else can't write and/or improve upon. I know several people in the, competing GUI, development field who's full time job is writing nifty controls and enhancing others. There are only so many ways to light up a pixel or capture an external event.
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Walt, written many a "control" in my time.  I won't say I'm good at it but I understand the concepts.

I have to work in WPF in my job and I'm not very good at that either.  I'm good at device control.  I don't do UI very well although with 35 years experience I'm not horrible.

For work we use MVVM and I understand it and live with it but sometimes it drives me crazy how much work I have to go through to be pure MVVM for what I do.  Sometimes it would be so much easier to just throw in the code-behind but I'd get in trouble.  The times I would love code-behind are those times when I know it will never change, never be part of some critical event chain.  

Anyway WPF here I come for my own Flex control software.  I was being lazy and hoping to have a starting point.  But a key to area 51 would be fine too.  :-)
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Walt - KZ1F

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I barely know how to spell WPF. I left Windows desktop GUI programming right about the time they announced MFC. Prior to that it was, what was referred to as, the switch from hell:

while (havenotcrashedyet) {
   getMessage(...);
   translateMessage(...);
   dispatchMessage(...);
   }
The actual process was done via a, essentially, single switch() statement that would go on for pages.

if recollect serves.
(Edited)
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James Whiteway

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You're missing so much Walt ! :-)
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Walt - KZ1F

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No James, not in the slightest. I will say this though compared to mfc, and likely WPF, that level of API was assembler vs COBOL. The processing of a waterfall display was incredibly efficient, both for the GPU as well as CPU.
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Steve W6SDM

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You would stand a better chance of getting a gate key to Area 51.
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Mark - WS7M

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Now that is something I would really like!!!  Merry Christmas!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Flex wrote PoweSDR as part of the open/ sources community . Every other SDR competitor copied it and got the benefit of Flex's investment without any direct cost to them.


Clearly the open source business model was a competitive disadvantage for Flex


Hence when they developed the 6000 series they chose a more commercially viable closed source approach So far it seems to be working as none of their competitors are even close.


I have a lot of experience defending IP in the courts. It's extremely expensive to do so, the outcome is far from certain even when there seems to be obvious and outrageous violations and it can take a decade or more to wind it's way through the courts.


Bottom Line: Even though it might help the occasional user to share some code, the danger and ultimate competitive costs of it being stolen do not justify sharing.
(Edited)
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Lee, Elmer

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I disagree open source for PSDR was a competitive disadvantage.  Before PSDR there was no real SDR in ham radio, and open source encouraged hams across the face of the earth with relevant expertise to gather and use their genius to develop SDR and draw it out of the primordial soup.  The open source nature of PSDR acted as an intellectual force multiplier to bring forth what was needed to make a viable commercial product.   Certainly competitors to Flex arose and ripped off their software and hardware but none have been commercially viable except Anan (which is a hardware company) and that is only because the experimenter community (HPSDR and such) continues to develop for the platform.  In fact the Anan design was purloined from the original HPSDR hardware.  It is a business model based on experimental largess and in the long run is probably not sound.  More precisely put Anan provides a commercially produced version of HPSDR's design so users can implement the code the experimenters create.  It's a kind of saprophytic relationship.   PSDR therefore performed, and continues to perform a very different function in terms of SDR development than what SSDR performs.  The 6000 series is not a descendant of a steely eyed, mad scientist, hackomatic experiment.  It was designed from the ground up with a very different commercial concept in mind.  The 6000/SSDR series on the other hand in some respects outperforms PSDR in terms of pushing the performance boundary, because in a very cleaver way it allows the would be hacker access to the functionality of the radio while limiting the hackers ability to hose up the works.  The API's are the secret.

The radio is type accepted and not legally open for a hacker's manipulation.  The SDR-1000 was pretty much 100% kludge-able as everything was pretty much in software.  The SDR-1000 was basically a kind of MODEM and the "radio" was in software n the computer.   It was a true hobbyist radio.  To gain acceptance the 5K series required a kind of firmware buffer between the radio and PSDR to assure certain communication functions could not be expressed.  During its development there was all kind of whining and gnashing of teeth because of the firmware buffer.  I'm sure the 6K series has even more stringent acceptance standards, so I doubt Flex has much interest in goofing up their type acceptance so someone can play Harry the Hacker.  The API's were specifically developed to allow hams to experiment and customize to their hearts content without goofing up things like type acceptance.  I'm very impressed Flex came up with a way to allow folks to experiment, while maintaining the commercial integrity of the radio.

73  W9OY
(Edited)
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Ned K1NJ

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Well said.

     Ned,  K1NJ
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Walt - KZ1F

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There was an online event FRS held and I specifically asked Steve the question abt the IPness of the UI. The people on that call likely recall his answer. Nobody here is talking about the software running in the black box. Yes a compromise there would be catastrophic, we're not talking about that. The original design of XPSDR was virtually indistinguishable from the ssdr GUI. I drifted from that as my target audience seemed to lose interest.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
We have no intentions to providing any of the SmartSDR ecosystem source code as open source other than what has been released as part of the developer's API program.  This is a conscience business decision to keep the source closed.

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