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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Basic analog USRP2 transmitter

From: Marcus D. Leech
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Basic analog USRP2 transmitter
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 2010 20:01:52 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100907 Fedora/3.0.7-1.fc12 Thunderbird/3.0.7

On 11/07/2010 06:59 PM, alexander levedahl wrote:
Looking through those instructions I realized why Microsoft makes so much money, when you install programs on a windows machine the OS does it for you, whereas with linux it requires knowing what a tarball is, what cloning a repository means, what a git viewer is, what this sentence means "It will show you all of the branching and merging, diffs, etc.", comprehending "./bootstrap", and whether or not you need to run that command, comprehending "./configure", comprehending "make", knowing what to do if when you try and run "sudo" that fails, and how to give an account sudo privelege, comprehending "git clean -d -x -f", comprehending "yum install qt4-devel qwt-devel qwtplot3d-qt4-devel PyQt4-devel", knowing what bootstrap, configure, make means.  When I clicked on the "Fedora installation instructions" page it gets even worse:

yum install gnuradio usrp
Some one who doesn't know that installing stuff for USRP does not install it for USRP2 will run this and then become confused.

$ yum groupinstall "Engineering and Scientific" "Development Tools"
$ yum install fftw-devel cppunit-devel wxPython-devel libusb-devel \
guile boost-devel alsa-lib-devel numpy gsl-devel python-devel pygsl \
python-cheetah python-lxml PyOpenGL
$ yum install PyQt4-devel qwt-devel qwtplot3d-qt4-devel (The pkg names depend on the version of Fedora. These work for 12)


And then there is a set of instructions on what to do for the USRP but not the USRP2, for someone NOT familiar with linux, they will get lost at this point.  But lets say that we have USRP,

The version of sdcc packaged for Fedora 11 (2.9.0) does not work with GNU Radio 3.2. It is possible to use the version packaged for Fedora 10 (2.8.0) available for i386 and x86_64. Alternatively sdcc 2.9.0 can be compiled from source available here.

On earlier versions of Fedora you have to download the _Small Device C Compiler, build and install yourself.

will drive anyone NOT FAMILIAR with linux nuts.  Windows comes with a couple of different versions and does its best to not make the above problems apparent, such that if I have software that was designed for windows '98, it won't fail for windows '98 version 1.1, and will still work on XP and possibly Vista and 7.

Based on the linux commands I saw, if one mistake gets made, everything will get screwed up and, unless that user has a high degree of familiarity with linux, this problem will sit there and never be resolved.


Apples to oranges comparison.  Linux distributions have "installers" for 100s and 100s of
  of different pre-configured, ready-to-go applications, just like Windows does.  Those installers
  take care of any pre-requisites required, typically.  There are pre-packaged versions of Gnu Radio
  available for Fedora, including GRC.  Those pre-packaged versions are somewhat out-of-date
  with respect to the current development (actually, sometimes *really* out-of-date).  On Fedora,
  Using the "System->Administration->Add/Remove Software" function allows you to select
  from hundreds and hundreds of categorized software and install it over the net, generally
  utterly seamlessly.  Try going in there and typing a search term, like "gnuradio" or
  "plotting", or "scientific" or "engineering", or "radio", or "algebra", or "simulation", or
  "electronics".   Some of what you find there likely also has versions for Windows.

It's up to the maintainers of Linux-distribution-specific "packages" as to what and when they
  "package" tools like Gnu Radio.  On Fedora 12, for example, the version of GRC they package
  is horribly out-of-date.  The Gnu Radio project can't "force" Fedora, Ubuntu, or any other
  Linux distribution project to update their packages--it's not up to us, it's not done by us, it's
  outside of the Gnu Radio projects immediately responsibility.

Gnu Radio is an on-going development platform whose intended audience is engineering and
  science folks want to "do stuff" with software defined radio.  It's still very much a moving target,
  and as such, some amount of "pain" involving building from sources is to be expected.

It is the case that the pre-packaged-for-particular-Linux-distribution instances of Gnu Radio
  are "born obsolete", since Gnu Radio is an evolving, dynamic thing.  Most of us here on the
  list are involved, in one way or another, with the development of that "ongoing dynamic thing",
  so it's natural that we'd suggest that people "install from GIT source".

It's rather awkward to in one breath complain that the version of Gnu Radio that has been
  'packaged' for your Linux variant isn't up-to-date, and then complain when we suggest methods
  of becoming up-to-date.  It's simply not practical or possible for the "pre-packaged" Gnu Radio
  environments that are available for various Linux distributions to be up-to-the-minute with
  respect to the development process.  Fact of life.

The exact same thing happens with commercial software in the Microsoft world, except that the
  "public" doesn't get to see the "internal machinations"--they only get to see the packaged, slick,
  "end results", which are typically released at a fairly slow pace (although that's not always true).
  In the open source world, the "public" gets "visibility" into the development process, and if they
  want to benefit from incremental functional improvements that haven't yet been slickly packaged,
  then there is necessarily some pain involved in getting what amounts to early-access to those
  functional improvements, prior to "slick" packaging.

P.S. You might be able to avoid a lot of these problems if you wrote a tutorial on how to write a python script that does this instead of an infinite number of tutorials on how to write a python script that transmits 350Hz and 440Hz tones over speakers and a grc diagram that transmits the same tones over the air.

I'm trying to parse that sentence, and coming up blank.  Want to try again?  :-)

Principal Investigator
Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium

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