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[aprssig] Xastir install issues

Curt Mills archer at eskimo.com
Wed Nov 30 07:36:54 UTC 2005

On Tue, 29 Nov 2005, Bill Diaz wrote:

> Until XAstir can provide the same install functionality of operating systems
> in use by the majority of APRS users,

If we ever do that, somebody put me out of my misery...

Your typical Windows application these days installs new or upgraded
DLL's into the OS itself, often making the OS unstable.

As I understand it, Cygwin doesn't install itself INTO the operating
system directories at all.  It installs into a separate directory,
so it is easy to uninstall and won't affect your basic OS.

Same for Xastir, it installs into non-OS directories on every OS it
installs/runs on.  To uninstall it, just delete all of the files.

If anyone wishes to uninstall Xastir I can name the directory trees
that Xastir creates for itself off the top of my head.  You can then
delete those few trees and it is completely uninstalled.

As for Cygwin, I removed/reinstalled Cygwin quite a few times while
I was writing the README.win32 document initially.  Somebody correct
me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall it installing anything in any
place other than the place I told it to install, which in my case
was C:/cygwin

Now, Cygwin installs don't always go smoothly.  I've had some
download sites that don't work for me, so I've had to choose others.
Sometimes they hang up in the middle.  I just restart again,
sometimes choosing a different download site, and eventually it
works.  Hard to complain when it's free.  It's a large package.

Sometimes there are problems with Cygwin when first
downloaded/upgraded.  It's a very complicated product they have
there, and they make mistakes too.  They usually correct such
problems within a few days and a quick Cygwin updates fixes these
problems.  The later updates are much faster than the initial full

These are all Cygwin problems, not Xastir problems.  Keep them
separate.  For the most part Cygwin runs fine, and Xastir runs
exceptionally well.  Once you have a full development environment
going you can update Xastir at any time quickly and easily to the
latest version.  Cygwin updates are fast too.

> it should not be promoted as a
> replacement for other APRS applications.

I really wonder what would cause someone to write such a sentence.
We have in the neighborhood of 195 _continuous_ Xastir users (from
parsing the INET stream), with another 200-300 that are part-time
users.  With that many people running it and happy with it and it's
progress, why NOT promote it as a replacement for other APRS
applications?  Particularly if it might encourage people at some
point to try other Unix/Linux applications, and perhaps migrate to a
better OS someday, like MacOSX, Linux, or FreeBSD?

I've heard several users say that it's the best APRS application
ever developed.  No, I'm not saying I believe that myself, at least
not in the general sense, but Xastir has it's good points here and
there.  My feeling is that whatever works best for you is the best
APRS app ever written, for you.

> Give me an exectuable that will
> install Cygwin, and an executable, ready to run version of XAstir and I will
> install it immediately.  To my knowledge this is simply not possible today.

If you're happy running what you're running, why trash what other
people are happy running?  Why are you considering changing to
another app yourself?

I recall you have some ties to at least one commercial map company:
PMapServer7 which ties between Precision Mapping and UI-View.  Does
that slant your views toward the open-source programs?  Those of us
who choose to do free map/APRS programs and use free maps?

> What we need is some truth in XAstir advertising, similar to the drug
> commericals we see on TV, detailing all of the side affects. For example,
> "Side effects include severe heartburn due to the number of hours likely to
> be spent trying to install CygWin, and XAstir.  Other side effects may
> include a trashed computer, or loss of many hours which could have been
> spent operating an easy to install APRS application".  Until we get truth in
> adverstising, I think non-unix users should ignore all of the XAstir
> promotional hype.

Great.  Then lets get truth in advertising for Windows too.  I've
spent many a weekend, sometimes entire weeks, trying to reinstall
Windows and make it happy again here at the house.  The day I
finally turned my machine from a dual-boot (actually
multi-multi-boot) into a single-boot Linux system was the day I
stopped doing so much maintenance on my computer here at home.  It
just runs and runs, plus updates are a breeze.  I run SuSE Linux by
the way, in case anyone else wants to duplicate this feat.  My wife
is now also running a Linux box.  My kids are the only hold-out,
running a dual-boot Linux/Win98se box because they have games on
each OS.  When they start doing serious schoolwork on the box
they'll be using the Linux side of it.

> The bottom line for the typical, non-techinal Windows user:  If you want to
> learn about Linux, and have the time and resources required, by all means
> join the XAstir mailing list.  Expect to spend days, if not weeks getting
> XAstir up and running.  It is entirely possible you will NEVER get it
> running on your Windows machine.  If you do succeed, each time a new XAstir
> version comes out, you will need to re-compile it to get the new version
> executable.  Enjoy.

That's an incredibly biased opinion.  Did something happen somewhere
along the way to sour you to the open-source way of doing things?
To Linux/Unix?  Does viewing my .sig at the end of each message fuel
hatred for Xastir or Linux in general, or just make you rethink your
Windows position?  It's intended to be a slam at MS, not of each
Windows user.  Pisses some people off nevertheless.

Most people that have trouble ask on the Xastir list, receive help
within a few minutes or perhaps hours if they ask in the middle of
the night, and they're up and running shortly thereafter.  It's nice
that you have so much experience in the matter that you are willing
to share with everyone though.  I'm sure many will appreciate being
turned away before it was too late for them and they wasted all
their time.  ;-)

One of the Windows links on the Binary Download page is to a company
in Canada that is distributing Xastir on CD to their customers.  For
installing on Windows machines.  Must work for somebody, eh?  If a
commercial company can rely on it, I would think a hobbiest might be
able to as well.

This day has really cut into my development time.  Perhaps one of
these days I'll have to start unsubscribing to the less technical
lists and concentrate on coding and supporting the users with my
free time instead.  That's the fun stuff, and why I do what I do.

Curt, WE7U.				archer at eskimo dot com
  Lotto:  A tax on people who are bad at math. - unknown
Windows:  Microsoft's tax on computer illiterates. - WE7U.
The world DOES revolve around me:  I picked the coordinate system!"

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