[aprssig] Rant - Cross platform portability

Steve Huston huston at astro.princeton.edu
Mon Sep 18 06:10:15 CDT 2006

On 9/17/06 9:56 PM, Tyler Allison wrote:
> I'll thank you not to spit on my work.

I don't think Gregg is trying to put anyone down here.  Jim has a very
valid argument, that developing software takes time.  And you've
apparently worked on projects in your free time as well; this is
commendable.  However, what is the "point" of doing development such as
that?  In some cases, the author of the project has a need they want to
fill, so they write something for their own use.  Sometimes they release
that software, either as free, open source, or shareware, for others to
use and benefit from also.

But if you're writing something, not just for yourself, but with the
knowledge that many will want to use it, or because you know it fills a
void that many have expressed, would it not make sense to write it in
such a way that the most people can benefit?  Take logging software for
example.  I've seen quite a few programs that run on Windows only (our
club religiously uses one such program).  There's others that run on
Linux, Mac OS, or both; and a few of those run on Windows as well.  A
fact is a fact, and the fact is that there's more Windows desktops out
there than anything else, so if you're writing for the largest user base
you're going to write for Windows.  But if the problem you've seen is
that the software out there doesn't fit your needs, and you're starting
from scratch, why not include the others as well?  For some projects
it's admittedly simpler than others - Gregg mentioned finding PSK
libraries that are platform agnostic difficult, while something that
logs QSOs might not require specialized libraries - but if you're trying
to write a program to make a certain group happy, because there's a void
that needs filling, why not make even more happy and make it cross

In some cases, it's logistical; you don't have access to other compute
platforms, so you've no way to test it, or compile it.  But I think the
point Gregg was going for is that it's better to try if you can, rather
than just think, "Well, most people use $FOO anyway, why bother writing
for something else," or, "I only run $myOS, so why include these others."

Steve Huston - W2SRH - Unix Sysadmin, Dept. of Astrophysical Sciences
  Princeton University  |    ICBM Address: 40.346525   -74.651285
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    (609) 258-7375      | headlong into mystery."  -Rush, 'Cygnus X-1'

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