[aprssig] Rant - Cross platform portability

Dave Baxter dave at emv.co.uk
Tue Sep 19 04:11:24 CDT 2006

> I would point out the LimeWire is a java app and its 
> distribution to 'clueless end-users' is both enormous and 
> quite successful.

It also is not "real time" critical as DSP code would be, and does not
need any specific hardware IO, like to control a rig etc.  It's purely
web based.  Of course, if we start to see 10/100 network ports on
radio's (as much "High End" test RF equipment from the likes of Agilent
and R&S is beginning to sport) that would make things a lot easier to do
with Java.

LimeWire is also responsible for most of the viri and Trojan infections
I get to exterminate on a too regular basis for friends and family!

My gripe with the "Open Source" and or "Cross Platform" brigade, is that
they do not document very well what is "exactly" needed.  If it's that
critical, for Pete's sake, please include it in the distribution, not
just provide a weblink or comment that refers to a (often long dead) FTP
site, resulting in something that can take hours to find and download
all it's bits and pieces, only then to find that some critical part is
missing, or is the wrong version etc.  (Been there, done that, got the T
shirt etc etc.....)

The end result is total frustration for the luckless user, who will
probably spit their dummy out, and never darken your door again, even if
you did build a better world beating mouse trap...

Then as others have mentioned, Sun's (and no doubt other vendors)
continuing move to update etc.  For example, since one Sun JRE update a
year back, I can no longer communicate with one of my print servers at
home (a HP Jet Direct box) with the main PC, I need to go and dig out an
old W9x laptop when I need to do that, As it has an older version of
whatever Java MS supply with IE6.  For whatever reason, I cannot "roll
back" the JRE to a version that does work.  (Win2k, IE6)

If you like Linux, use Linux app's.  If you use (note I did not say
"like") Windows, use native Windows app's.  Mac?  Use Mac stuff...  Etc

Instead of true cross platform, why not just compile and link the same
source for whatever platform is the target?  Yes there will be odd
differences, and conditional compilation statements etc, but that can
and is being done in many walks of life, not least in the
microcontroller world where that sort of thing is accepted practice..

Lastly, again as has already been mentioned.  Most (not all) Ham
software creators, do it as a hobby, NOT as a source of revenue (as
someone said, "to scratch an itch") so as many provide the fruits of
their labours for free, you cannot really call the tune, except perhaps
for critical bug's and major flaws.  I include myself in that respect,
I've only written one thing of note (a WWConverse client) and I think
that has a user base still in single figures, but it works, and one day
I'll fix a known problem, when I get to learn just "why does it do
that?"......   There is just not enough time of a day....

Cheers.   Keep coding...

Dave G0WBX.

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