[aprssig] OT: RE: New Open Source APRS Client Project

Dave Baxter Dave at emv.co.uk
Wed Jun 11 08:01:35 CDT 2008

Hi Greg, and others...

The problem with Java, is there are (again) so many different
implementations, something you write and works fine on one platform, if
you recompile, or send to another RTE, often burps and dies, or at best
does something subtly different.   There is also more than enough
problems with Java in web environments, where to use it to the full, we
often had to open up the security of a PC for something built with Java
to run.  Not a problem on a closed LAN, but for anyone directly
connected to the web, could be a problem.

Having said that, I do run an EchoLink proxy, and that is a .JAR file,
and will run just fine on any JRE I've tried, Windows or Linux, and
seems very stable.  But, that is a compiled .JAR file, the source is

My recent experience with a Java driven mobile phone is less than
pleasurable too, though that's more to do with the programming
philosophy, than the environment it's running, even if that is slow to
respond to user input.

Also, the cost of any significant development tools, that let you crunch
the final code down to something near native for the target is
prohibitive to most "Amateur" users.

Many of the "Free" versions (of any programming language) are often
limited in some way, usually lack of networking or other needed IO
functions for example, after all, we want to communicate with the world
outside the box.  It's also not that easy to learn, unless you already
rot your brain with C++...

I admit I don't like VB, but I have to use it for work, alongside Delphi
and C/C++, but it's easy to find, is free, and generally works (so long
as you plug the holes as you go) on Windows PC's at least.   We gave up
on Java, it was too wayward for our use, even the execution times were
variable, how the heck are you to get accurate timing, if the RTE keeps
doing it's own thing?  That and the vendors didn't seem to know much
about it.   That and the time it took to compile a few hundred lines of
code, was daft...   Mind you, the Code::Blocks system is not exactly
quick to compile stuff either, but that's more a limitation of the
external compilers, than the C::B environment.

Sadly, Linux just hasn't the penetration (yet?) in the Ham fraternity
outside of some experienced user groups, such as the Xastir crowd.

Many individual ham types use re-cycled or X Work PC's, and they more
often than not come with a working (or easily fixable) install of
Windows of one flavour or another.   Contrary to belief, Windowz is not
that difficult to get stable and secure, more than good enough for our
use at least, and there are hundreds of free tools to use, if you don't
know, or cant remember the Administrator password!  (Interestingly, most
of them based on a bootable Linux CD!)

And my main gripe, common with many modern programming languages, is why
is the resulting object code such bloatware?   When it is supposedly
"optimised" for the target in some way.

That is second only to my other one, about Open Source documentation, in
common with much Linux stuff.  What documentation there is, is often way
out of date.  Mind you, that is often the case with much stuff in the
Windowz world too it has to be said...

Use what you are familiar and happy with, Fortran or Cobol.  Machine
code even if needed ;-)

Sorry, Rant over, going for a walk now to avoid the fallout!

Cheers All.

Dave G0WBX.

Experience of/with:
Machine code/Assembler: 1802, 6502, 6800, Z80, 8008(4004!) 804x, x86,
DG-Nova 3&4 series, PIC's etc.
(plus others I've long forgotten!.)
Basic (too many flavours to list, micro based, DOS, Windows etc)
ANSI C (The K&R stuff) C++, (PC and micro' based, maintaining other
peoples code.)
Delphi (1,2,3,7  Still supporting some D1 stuff, they just keep using
it, 'cos it works...)
(Indy and ICS Networking tools, with Delphi.  Can be fun!)
(If I could find a working copy of Kylix, I'd have Object Pascal on
Fortran (77 & 95, once had to hack my way into an uncommented F77
program to fix an intermittent Div/0 error caused by an enforced
hardware change, the original computer caught fire!)
some Java (not a pleasant experience sadly, too slow and clunky in IDE
VB5/6 (I have to, not because I want to..)
VBA (Alt+F11 from within any MS Office product, and they think Word
macro's are dangerous!).
Plus various odd scripting languages.  Anyone remember "Skeleton"?
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