Software updates ETAs

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Answered
Happy new year to all. I hope 2018 brings happiness and health to all of you.

On January 24th, 2018 we will reach 6 months since the availability of Version 2.0 of SmartSDR. Yep, it's been half a year.
I understand we do not get a road map anymore and that FRS is busy working on the new hardware but software upgrades are beneficial to all and therefore my inquiry.

My questions is, can FRS (Gerald) put forth any type of statement about what is in store for us in the realm of SmartSDR updates? Are we looking at 1, maybe 2 updates a year? Maybe quarterly releases?

I am not asking for specifics dates or content (I would love to get those but I understand the new policy). I just want to know what, if any and approximately when, (no commitments) if ever, we will be getting something (anything).
Are any of the things on the works noise reduction, improvements on TX or GUI related?
Maybe something completely different = Mind Blown stuff?
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes

Posted 2 years ago

  • 1
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9198 Posts
  • 3558 Reply Likes
Official Response
The current version of SmartSDR under development, v2.1 has been delayed because it is the initial version that will support the new 6400 and 6600 radios along with the PGXL amplifier.  Normally there wouldn't be this length of time between minor releases.  As Steve has indicated before, our objective is to provide software releases more frequently in the future.  

As far as what is planned, we have some really cool ideas for new features that will benefit all FLEX-6000s, but at the moment, since we are TOTALLY focused on getting SmartSDR v2.1 released, we have not committed any particular feature to a particular 2.x release.  Until we can scope the feature and are at a point that we have a high confidence level that it will be successful, we are not going to discuss them publicly so that expectations are managed appropriately.

To date, we have only committed publicly to the MultiClient Access feature for SmartSDR v2 which will allow multiple SmartSDR clients being operated by different people (or the same person) access to the same radio hardware.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
Thanks Tim for the quick reply. Can't wait for the "really cool ideas" :)
Photo of Harold Rosee

Harold Rosee

  • 156 Posts
  • 34 Reply Likes
I am not complaining, just giving my opinion. I was in the software business for over 30 years before I retired.  We always published all the changes/enhancement for several releases in advance.  Our customer would not stand for anything less.

I love my 6500 but I am amazed at the lack of information on future changes.  It leaves one thinking FRS has no idea what they are going to do next or they are not sure they can accomplish what they set out to do so they want to be able to pull changes that don't work.

I am still on the Version 1.11 and was really looking forward to seeing some exciting things in Version 2 and it just hasn't happened.  Very disappointing. 

I am sure a lot of loyal flex users will jump all over my post but a software defined radio without new software in 6 months points to something being really wrong.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
I think you expressed you opinion in a very educated manner and it would be counterproductive for the "loyalists" to say anything derogatory. Many long time customers of Flex, myself included, echo your sentiments, mostly in other fora.
I remember with fondness the times when even us, the users of the forum, spent time throwing out ideas here, sharing our vision of what it [SmartSDR] could be.
That enthusiasm has slowly eroded and it is now limited to hoping for a few of the many old requests (i. e. Squelch) or just anticipation of the new hardware for the its buyers.
It is too bad, there are very bright individuals with wonderful ideas, who have stopped posting altogether.
I really hope your guess about frs not really knowing what or how to do the next great thing in software is wrong for all of our sakes.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1568 Posts
  • 772 Reply Likes
The FRS "style" to release information only when approaching General Availability (GA - and I did like the "Gerald Approved" suggestion too!)  is simple what it is.

My personal experiences (I've signed a couple Non-Disclosure Agreements with FRS for projects over the years) is they very much DO know what they are doing.

They do listen to suggestions, working to incorporate both the state of the art and their new extensions of the art.

The FRS test process is aggressive, fast moving and focused.  

They don't excel at the fine art of making the "small, reassuring noises" along the way.  

Just as if you were out at friends being promised a gourmet home cooked meal, the host both overtly gives indications that good stuff is happening and just the process has its signals - that you smell something nice cooking and hear (hopefully good) kitchen noises - that you are reassured something nice is being cooked up.

The Peanut Gallery that developed out of publishing Road Maps was shameful of the conduct of those customers (and a fair number of non-customers of "troll hobbyists"). If all of the dinner guests I just described crowded into the kitchen each demanding their own seasons or even changing the dishes being cooked, the chef would get pretty cross and push them back out.  Far too often in the Road Map days folks crossed the line between "guest" and "pest," not to mention the trolls.

Not that FRS is perfect, but how they handle information dissemination is perfectly their call alone.

When we suggest our personal experiences dealing with other products we are doing the novel work that FRS is delivering a disservice.  

Perhaps we should be thinking our radios, and soon amplifiers are as much of an intensive "skunkworks" type development program than an open source program which should be laid out for our entertainment?  I use "entertainment" purposefully as must of the road map noise floor neither was done professionally by posters nor had been thought through professionally.  

"It don't mean a thing if it don't have offspring" is the old song lyric adjusted to say that if an idea doesn't have a realizable benefit - an actionable legacy - that it is bust bandwidth waste and noise.

Even recently we see community posters who rather than politely make suggestions with out obviously having given the practicalities a pinch of thought.  They don't qualify their demands couching them as suggestions or conditional (like when the economics allow could the radios have/do XYZ?)  A couple recent posts would have double to trebled a Flex-6000 purchase cost for barely measurable improvements well below being noticeable by users.  (When the economics were presented the demanding thread author did state what he really meant should have reflected  "someday if economics allowed" but that isn't where he started from and since he was intending to take up FRS's time perhaps he should have done at least a Google search on the economics involved?)

I'm personally keen on the new products, as what I've been able to get my hands on from other manufacturers simply hasn't been as much fun for me.  YMMV and everyone understands the ham who really feels engaged with certain gear.  I'm more a results person, and I'm having results & fun with a FRS setup.  For me that is more than enough.   

Again that doesn't mean all the other radios I own or I could potentially acquire are not going to give results or fun.  I haven't thrown away by home-brew and other branded gear.  

And both my stations also have a Collins S-Line setup for when that pursuit makes me happy and gets me on the air with vintage style.

But my stations are FRS-centric and my forward plans include FRS products as primary.

Catch you on the air & 73

Steve
K9ZW
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
So lets take your statement:

The FRS "style" to release information only when approaching General Availability (GA - and I did like the "Gerald Approved" suggestion too!)  is simple what it is.

Wouldn't you say that 2.1 is approaching GA? So.... were is the info? Lately we only get information after GA.

I could see that being the case in a radio based on fixed hardware and limited upgrade availability. But Flex radios are (or were supposed to be) different. We bought a "platform" that through upgrades gets new features. We used to know some of the things to expect out of the radio. We just don't know anymore. It is just based on pure faith. A faith that gets tested with delays and lack of info. 

Undoubtedly, there is a group of Alpha testers that get access to the information, and most are basing their statements on that information.... well, guess what, the rest of us users/owners of the radios base our statements on the information that WE have.

The Peanut Gallery that developed out of publishing Road Maps was shameful of the conduct of those customers (and a fair number of non-customers of "troll hobbyists").
I was a board member then and I don't share the qualifiers. It seems very easy to put the blame squarely in these "trolls", but the current "no info" policy is the decision of FRS based on the mistakes they made by anticipating a set of features on dates that they hugely missed. Blaming the policy on the trolls is childish and in my personal opinion not a great move by FRS. No point rehashing this whole argument.

And you stated is perfectly: "Not that FRS is perfect, but how they handle information dissemination is perfectly their call alone."

We were told 2.0 was a complete rework of the code to allow for more frequent upgrades. It has been 6 months since 2.0 release. I just can't qualify that as frequent, can you?.
Tim, navigating the gag order from FRS, stated as much as he could in this thread and I thanked him.

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.