Andy KB1OIQ’s Ham Radio Apps Update

ARRL Centennial Challenge Coin Art FINAL

IMHO, one of the things I enjoyed most about the ARRL Centennial Convention in 2014 were the Amateur Radio related forums I attended on a ton of different topics.

One of the forums I attended was Andy’s KB1OIQ’s presentation on his remastered version of Amateur Radio applications running on Ubuntu Linux.

There are a bunch of these remixes like ShackBox floating around but I really enjoyed his presentation and his dedication to his project. Back then I downloaded and ran the version available at that time. It seems that his work continues to be popular since the current SourceForge page shows that he’s had almost 700 downloads just this week.

Tux

TUX

Andy now has both a 32-bit and 64-bit version which contain a host of Ham Radio software like Fldigi, NBEMS, Gpredict and many more. Andy’s version 19 matches up with the Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS release.

As with Andy’s past versions, the GUI desktop is customized with menus for Amateur Radio use. Andy has gone through great pains to make the distribution lightweight so that it will also run on older computer hardware.

Interested? Hop over to Sourceforge and grab Andy’s latest download!

LINUX In The Ham Shack!

LINUX In The Ham ShackHey Gang! Do any of you listen to Podcasts? What about Podcasts related to Ham Radio and LINUX? Speaking of Podcasts, LINUX in the Ham Shack is a site on exactly that topic.

When you have a chance, check out the LINUX in the Ham Shack Web site. Russ K5TUX (and Richard KB5JBV now on hiatus) host an awesome site and their shows (Podcasts) cover many subjects, and yes, believe it or not, once in a while they even talk about LINUX and how it’s related to Ham Radio! Only kidding of course.

Episode #102 focused on QSSTV. Go check it out!

Oracle Virtual Box and KB1IOQ’s Ubuntu Remix For Ham Radio Ops

Andys DistroSince I have plenty of time on my hands now, I have taken up experimenting with various LINUX distros again using the very cool Oracle Virtual Box software. If you are not familiar with this stuff, simply put it’s like running an operating system within an operating system. In this case, I have installed Oracle’s VIRTUAL BOX software under UBUNTU.

Once Virtual Box is up you can install any O/S in it (that I have run across to date). That is, as long as you have enough hardware on your system to run it effectively. I recently found out about KB1OIQ – Andy’s Ham Radio Linux CD. So, naturally I had to give it a go.  The installation under Virtual BOX was typical and ran flawlessly unlike some distros (such as Fedora release 18). Andy explains the basic hardware requirements for installation on his SourceForge page  As the case with other distros, you can create a LIVE CD and run his software that way without disturbing the current OS located on your system.

In summary, if you like to experiment with different distros of LINUX you may want to try out Andy’s software. As long as you know how to burn a .iso file to CD then the LIVE CD is the least invasive way to give it a go.

Please comment if you decide to try out Andy’s distro and more specifically what you liked about it!

GNOME 3 Project and LINUX in the Ham Shack

GNOME - 10 Years Of Freedom

Hey I got a chance to jump on USTREAM Tuesday  night and watch Russ and Richard do their thing over at LINUX in the Ham Shack. Yup they were live!

It was interesting to go behind the scenes to see what went on  during the breaks. Those are the spots where podcast listeners only hear the cool music that Russ provides.   The making of episode 35  took the better part of 2 hours to produce. Once again, Richard and Russ did an outstanding job of providing information to us information junkies and open source crazies.

Although Linux In The Ham Shack Episode 35 did not directly discuss LINUX or Ham Radio apps , the guys did conduct a very interesting phone interview with Stormy Peters the Executive Director of the GNOME (pronounced GA-NOME) Desktop Project.

Stormy  was very informative and talked a bit about her position and responsibilities as Executive Director and provided insight into how the not- for-profit organization operates its levers behind the curtain. I was unaware of the fact that about 40% of the GNOME developers are paid staff while the balance are volunteer,  open source crazies like you and I.

Another intersting point that Stormy made was that the GNOME  GTK (GNOME Tool Kit) is widely used to develop variations of the standard GNOME Desktop release and is placed on netbooks, cell phones and scientific (medical) instruments.

Stormy also provided some insight into the coming release of GNOME 3. BTW you can download and install the shell now but the official release date will be around Q3 of this year.

The GNOME project has no direct control over when a new release of GNOME desktop will be integrated into OS’es but you will most likely see it bundled in the next release of UBUNTU.

So if you have not taken the opportunity to check out LINUX in the Ham Shack, take a spin over to the site. Russ is constantly making improvements to the site and just like like fine wine, the site continues to improve with age.

LINUX In The Ham Shack? You Bet!

linux in the ham shack

LINUX and Ham Software Podcasts

Even though I am a veteran ‘NIX Systems Engineer, I still enjoy messing around with LINUX and have been doing just that since the days when rolling your own kernel” was required. Mixing LINUX and Ham Radio applications together is a place where I like to go to get my hands dirty (like that 55 Chevy I owned a  lifetime ago).

Recently, I re-introduced myself to the awesome Linux In The Ham Shack Web site and their outstanding podcasts. Russ k5tux and Richard kb5jbv run LHS (among a number of other sites). How they manage all those sites and find time to create the LHS podcasts is beyond me! I have enough trouble trying to post something new to the blog on a monthly basis. I know, I know,  “yeah… you can say that again!”

Richard’s Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) drawl and colorful expressions are a gas to listen to. Richard provides comic relief during the podcasts and Russ is the straight man who takes much fun poking (or is that cow poking) from Richard in stride.

Among the banter and Richard’s unusual expressions (at least they are unique up here in NEW YAWK), the guys do an outstanding job introducing newbies to LINUX. The reason I enjoy listening to their podcasts so much and reading over their show notes is the introduction I receive about the wide array of LINUX variants (varmints as I call them) and numerous Ham Radio apps that are discussed in detail.

Since I am way past the point of basics, I listen up to see what Russ and Richard are going to introduce in each espisode.  Recently, through one of their podcasts, I found out about Shackbox written by F0FAK. Shackbox is a work in progress but the quantity of working Ham Radio apps the author has packed into the  “AIR” release is truly amazing. How much  packing you ask? Well as I remember, the “LIVECD” can only be burned to a DVD because it is about 2.4 Gb in size. I will cover some of the Shackbox details in a future post.

Like other live CD’s or should I say live DVD’s, the contents can optionally be installed on your hard drive. If you want to go that route (which is what I’d recommend), the disk partitioner packed with Shackbox offers an option to co-exist with your Windoze installation. Use caution here and proceed at your own risk!

In any event, if you are interested in LINUX and Ham Radio applications,  a visit over to LINUX in the Ham Shack will provide a wealth of information for both the LINUX newbie as well as the verteran interested in the happenings of the open source community.

LINUX Journal Meets Amateur Radio

It all began with a simple blog post, trying to gage the level of interest in articles about Open Source Software supporting the Amateur Radio community.

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal‘s Reader Advisory Board and the Emergency Coordinator for ARES/RACES in Prince William County, Virginia

Read All About It Here!

Amateur Radio – The Original Open Source Project!

Hey, there is a very popular magazine among the open source crowd wich has dedicated its Janualy 2010 issue to amateur radio software. When you think about it, it does seem a bit strange that the majority of software for amateurs is written for the plug and play folks.

I know, I can hear you say that the answer to that riddle is simple. Windows is the most popular (widely used at least) operating system in the world. Writing software for Windows gets you the most exposure and it’s easy. Unlike LINUX , you don’t have to be concerned with drivers and there are no library dependencies to struggle with.

Open Source Amateur Radio Software

Linux Journal Dedicated To Ham Radio

While Windows is the most convenient to install with its Wizards and Cartoons (graphics), doesn’t it kind of fly in the face of the roots of our hobby?

Where is the challenge in plug and pray (play) guys? Does the functionality of “plug and play” have some hidden symbiotic relationship with the term appliance operator? Just joking guys.

Wait! I am not suggesting that time should be dedicated (wasted) rewriting complex software for the hell of it. But it sure would be nice to see more ham radio software available (along with the source code) for the open source platform.

As the article goes on to say, amateur radio really was the “first open source project”. I’d agree with that as the author, David A. Lane KG4GIY explains it.

In any event, if you have an interest in amateur radio software and the open source operating environment, take a look at the article. There are links to other LINUX resources on the Linux Journal site. Perhaps you will pick up a copy of the January 2010 issue of Linux Journal.

David A Lane KG4GIY has been licensed as an Amateur Radio operator since 2000 and has been working with Linux since 1995. David steps in as Linux Journal’s guest editor for this special issue. During the day, he is an Infrastructure Architect. During an emergency, he is an Emergency Coordinator for Prince William County ARES. And on weekends, he makes pasta!

Your Comments Please:

What is your opinion of open source software and the LINUX operating system?

Do you use LINUX in your shack?

If so, what applications do you run?

Why Linux/OSS for Amateur Radio?

Fight The Power! AA6E recently posted a very nice article about LINUX Open Source Software and Ham Radio on his blog.  I appreciate this more than others. Here’s why!

The Power of LINUX and OSS

FIGHT THE POWER!

During my long journey as an IT Engineer, there were many under-the-radar “Skunk Works style projects” where I implemented OSS on LINUX.  However,  I was considered a corporate  techno-anarchist of sorts because LINUX and OSS fell outside the scope of the corporate mind-set ( not that there was ever much of that anyway).

Here’s a subset of AA6E’s first paragragh. Take a minute to read it and then follow the link to the remainder of the article.

How to explain to a non-computer-geek ham what Open Source Software and Linux are all about? OSS and Linux are important to software users the same way a good repair manual and schematics are important to hams. Not every ham knows what to do with schematics, but those who are inclined to open up, understand, repair, and modify their equipment certainly do.

Before you jump off, there’s two ideas I want to mention. Of course,  it assumes you are interested in digging the old P4 out of the closet and loading the very best KERNEL of all time.

One choice is to download and burn yourself a copy of CENTOS.  CENTOS is what we in the trade call whitebox Redhat. In a nutshell, CENTOS is an exact replica of Redhat with a huge advantage. Since it’s been totally recompiled and is freely distributed, you don’t need a subscription to get the O/S and package updates. What’s the drawback then?

Keep in mind though that CENTOS is not an O/S for those who want nothing more that another plug an play environment like the one you are probably using right now. There is some work involved to make certain things work (like plug-ins inside of Firefox).

Hence, the second recommendation for the experimenter in you. UBUNTU is also a 100% free and open source operating system. There are variants for normal desktop use (for hams) and an educational and children’s version as well.

What??? UBUNTU? Where does that come from?

Ubuntu is an African concept of ‘humanity towards others’. It is ‘the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’.

While I have not been digging around on the UBUNTU site lately, I have experimented with it in the past.  Since I am the ultimate techno-nerd, I gravitate toward choice number one.

As I recall, you can submit a request for your very own copy of the O/S on the Website and  receive it for free – nada – zilch ! Yep – no strings.  Of course you can also download and burn yourself  a copy. For the plug and play oriented crowd this O/S will bring you closer to the wonderful world of Windoze.

I always ask for comments guys!  Some are very generous while others are the meek of the earth. For god sakes… if you have something to say about LINUX or OSS, go for it!  Use a fake name if you want. It’s all for the betterment of the Ham community at large.

If you can’t say too much enter “like” or “dislike” in the comment field (believe me, I have thick German skin and a skull to match! You would have to go a great distance to offend my poor writing skills or lack of subject matter!).

Read AA6E’s full article here…

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