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[aprssig] Re: Xastir. Please (with spots on) read ALL of this, before replying.

Curt, WE7U archer at eskimo.com
Wed Nov 30 16:51:31 UTC 2005

On Wed, 30 Nov 2005, Dave Baxter wrote:

> OK on you originally authoring the readme.win32 file, nice job,
> very detailed, and up to a point (Step 5) it works well..  But,
> things have obviously changed with the way Xastir is distributed
> etc...

Possible.  I've seen stuff from others that say it all still
applies, but I'm not in a position to say one way or the other since
I don't use it regularly myself.  It's for Windows after all.  Since
I've written it I get updates from the advanced users that try it
and tell me what needs changing, then I update things and all is
well again.

> Your own instructions call out using the ./bootstrap.sh method, so
> if that calls "heavy development" stuff, why does the script not
> check for the existence of such stuff, and go get it if it's not
> present?

Because the earlier instructions specifically state which Cygwin
packages to install.  If you've installed all of them, then
everything should proceed further that what you got to.  I suspect
that Cygwin is not installing everything you told it to.  I've had
that happen on occasion.

> Yes, I was following your Readme.win32 instructions.  All OK up to
> step 5, then the errors listed.  If you read the post, I had made
> that clear.

Sorry, yesterday was a busy day.  I can't keep track of all the
details and didn't have time to go back and re-read your previous
posts before answering each one.

> No doubt when you wrote that file, that was the way to do it.
> It's obviously different now, so the instructions need modifying.
> But why the manual install in any case...

Because that's what I had the time to do initially.  The other
installs that Wes and Bill did were probably based on my work.  I
had no desire to go back and redo it.  Even less now.  I'm getting
beat up because I spend a few weeks on it initially in order to help
a few Windows users get in on the action the rest of us were
enjoying.  Some of the Unix/Linux users were upset that I was doing
this at the time but I did it anyway.

> I was writing batch file installs way back in the dark days of Dos
> and Win3.11, and managing to detect the presence (or not) of
> needed files, paths, drives, hardware etc with the IF function.
> Then branching to run other utilities as needed to either make the
> paths folders etc, or go and get the missing utilities, asking for
> disk's etc, or logging on to an administrative server as needed.

Me too.  Been at this since LED's for output and binary input using
toggle switches.

> I had a poke about the Cygwin help, and it would seem that Bash
> has much the same, if not better functionality in that respect, so
> why not use it?

Yea, Bash is better.  I personally can't stand SH scripts and try
not to use them if I can help it, preferring Perl instead.  Doing it
in Perl would be a much better option.  If I had any inclination to
do it.

> What I object to, is badly written
> software, for no reason other than the programmer was a bit lazy
> and certain assumptions were made, I know, I've made that mistake
> myself in the past.  In that respect, script files are as much a
> "program" as any other source.  Sorry, but I also create software
> professionally, so I think I know a bit about making the stuff in
> a way that either works, and works well, or stops with a
> meaningfull explanation to the user, and not totaling their
> system....

I create software professionally as well.  Most of Xastir is not
badly written software BTW. There are some pieces of it I'd rewrite
if I had more time (some written by me, some by others), but it is
very functional as-is.  Working code is better than pretty code any

> You quote some 195 fulltime and 200 to 300 other users you noticed
> monitoring the 'net stream.  OK, so how many downloads of Xastir
> have there been, and what percentage of those does the above
> figure you mentioned represent?  A tiny fraction I guess.  OK, so
> not everyone will have a net connection, but I still bet there are
> many less "Users" than people who have downloaded it, tried to run
> it, spat their dummy out, given up & gone back to Ui-View, even
> with it's "Frozen" status.

You can get some idea of file downloads off the "status" link from
the main SourceForge page.  What you can't get from there is a
record of the CVS downloads, 'cuz that's done differently.  A lot of
our users update via CVS, including Windows users.

> You also say in one post that you have the best free mapping in
> the world in the "US of A"..  Very US-centric again.

I make no excuses for that.  I am a world traveler though, I've been
to Canada!  (It's about 1.5 hour drive up I-5 from here).

> Much of the world, the UK in particular, has no "Free" mapping to
> speak of, due to government copyright restrictions.

I fully realize that.  Xastir supports MANY map and image formats as
you probably already know, so that you can use whatever you have
available in your country, or perhaps make your own maps.

> I also have the Puppy-Linux Live CD, but as I and others have
> found, it's a very cut down distro.  I also have SuSE 9, as a
> conventional install, and as a "Live" CD.  Both take forever to
> get going, and run at a snails pace.

Yes.  I noticed when I went to SuSE 9 that things got slower.  I've
heard that was fixed on later version of 9.x and probably on 10.x.
I'll have to try soon.  I'm running 9.0 and 9.1 currently.

> My gripe, and that of others (I have a steady stream now of
> directly delivered mail from several others on this SIG, with
> comments such as "Way to go Dave, tell it how it is", thanks for
> that.)

Yea, getting that here too.

> is why is the install of Xastir still stuck in the dark
> ages?

Perhaps because I have no interest in running on Windows myself, and
no time/energy to devote to the Windows install?  The installs for
the other OS'es are pretty much the standard Unix method and very
easy to accomplish:

    make install (as root)

Perhaps if someone with an interest in supporting the Windows
platform came forward, the install for Windows could be streamlined.

> I (we) have no problem with continuous development, but for Pete's
> sake, nail the goal posts to the ground for 5 minutes, make a
> proper install of just the binaries and whatever needed to link to
> the flavour of Unix/Linux/Cygwin/Windows/Mac or whatever OS the
> user has.  Give the user the option of loading the sources, to
> keep to the GPL, but they should not be needed just to do an
> install.

We attempt to put out what we call "stable" releases every 2 to 3
months, development snapshots every 2 weeks or so.  At the point of
the "stable" releases, anyone with an interest in supporting a
particular OS is able to (and encouraged to) create a binary package
for their system and release it to the world.  Those with packages
to distribute can get a link added to the "Binary Downloads" page
and they're off and running.  As it is there would be far too many
binary packages the Xastir developers themselves would have to
create for all the supported systems.  That's why we encourage
others to take this on.

Myself, I still prefer installing from source, as that way you know
the binary will match your system.  Many of the users have made this
step as well, and enjoy keeping up with the latest developments via
CVS.  This means long file downloads just to keep up are history.

> As to the Xastir SIG.
> http://listserv.tamu.edu/cgi/wa?SUBED1=xastir&A=1  I get warnings
> about content, then eventualy an Error 404.  Is that the right
> list?

Nope.  http://www.xastir.org  Links to the mailing lists are on the

Curt, WE7U.   APRS Client Comparisons: http://www.eskimo.com/~archer
"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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