Wednesday, November 03, 2010

KComm updated

Today I released a new version of my logging and data communications program for Elecraft transceivers, KComm, on my website. The program is developed in Lazarus / Free Pascal and is released under the GPL.

Apart from numerous bug fixes and small improvements I have made in the months since the last release, the new version 1.9 allows the receive and transmit sound devices to be selected separately. This is something that is becoming increasingly necessary, though users will have to play "guess the device number" as I don't know how to find out the names of the sound devices in Free Pascal in order to display them in a list box. The program also supports the K3 "TB" command which allows it to get the text decoded by the K3 DSP in CW, PSK or RTTY modes and display it on the screen just the same as if you were using a sound card program.

Although I have given up developing ham radio programs in general, I am continuing to update and maintain KComm as it is the only one of my programs that I continue to use regularly. However this will be the last version for which I will be able to provide a compiled Linux binary. The screen of the old Linux laptop that I used to compile it has almost failed so I will not in future have a computer on which I can do this.


Steve GW7AAV said...

Have you thought of running Linux as a virtual machine on your main PC. I have most flavours of Windows and Ubuntu Linux running as virtual machines using Virtual Box on my Windows 7 machine. I have some even more obscure stuff running as virtual machines on a Win 98 PC including about a dozen different versions of DOS.

Fenris said...

This works fairly well as long as the virtual OS is not doing anything fancy with graphical content. You will also need a lot of RAM and plenty of disk space for the system image.

I personally prefer to run Windows in a box under Linux, but better still would be having all my OSes running under a lightweight hypervisor.

Probably need to wait for more powerful hardware still!



Unknown said...

Yes I could do that, or even partition the hard drive and run it separately, but faffing about with computers long ago lost its interest for me and as I don't personally want to use Linux in the shack right at the moment the easier option for me is to hope that one of the Linux users of KComm compiles it themselves and sends a copy to me so I can make it available for other people.

Fenris said...

It depends what you want that Linux version to run on, if you're trying to provide an easily installable package then you can simply provide a tarball and let them do the make, configure and make install stages. That way the libraries on a given system are used during the build process, if you simply provide a binary it may not work on everyone's system.

But probably the better way is to provide the tarball and then packagers can download it and create an appropriate package for the distro they use, and add it to the repos for others to install via their package managers.

For instance, Fedora has an amateur radio package group, so it could end up in there.

Unknown said...

That would be true if it were written in GNU C like most traditional Linux software. But it is written in Lazarus / Free Pascal and make, configure and make install can't be used. You have to build it using the Lazarus IDE which comes with the necessary Pascal libraries, and even Lazarus isn't an option in many Linux package managers.

The situation is similar to the WSPR and WSJT packages which use a combination of Fortran and Python, or Fldigi which uses all sorts of obscure libraries. Compiling them was beyond the abilities of ordinary mortals and the packaged version, if it existed, was several versions out of date so the developers had to provide precompiled binaries just to avoid all the frustrated emails from people trying to build it.

Fenris said...

Fair enough, I had not gone and looked at what is available, I also hadn't realised that you were coding using a Delphi clone.

There are some RPMs about for Lazarus, I'm not sure how much of the IDE they give you.

You could always rewrite it in Java ;-)

Unknown said...

Me, I'm a simple soul and some (most!) of the comments already made pass way above my understanding, but, if the problem is a failing laptop screen, wouldn't it be easier to just plug in an external monitor for the time necessary to do the compiling?

73 de Richard F5VJD