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Show Notes #117

Episode #117 Audio (Listen now!):

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2 comments to Show Notes #117

  • Bob VE3SRE

    In show #117 in the discussion on “QScope” (yes I’m behind on LHS podcasts) there was some discussion on whether QScope is “open source” or not.

    I prefer to use the term “free software” as Richard Stallman defined it back in 1991 because the issues are much clearer.

    In looking at whether software is “free” or not the question becomes whether or not you have all four of the “four freedoms”, along with access to the source code so that you can exercise your freedoms.

    These four freedoms being the freedom to run the software as you wish for any purpose, the freedom to study the source code and adapt it to your needs, the freedom to distribute exact copies of the software along with the freedom to release your own modified version of the software.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

    I might stress that the word “free” has nothing at all to do with money. It’s “free as in freedom” and not “free as in free beer”. You can indeed charge for free software if you want to, but most of the time people don’t charge for free software. Frequently of course free software projects ask for donations and I try to donate to projects that I like or use.

    This confusion over the use of the word “free” is mainly confusing for us English language speakers. We use the same word to express two different ideas.

    For example in French or Spanish the term “libre” is used to describe “freedom”, while the word “gratis” is used to describe “without charge”.

    So if you will, it’s “Software Libre”.

    The “Open Source Definition” is longer and a bit more loosey goosey.

    http://opensource.org/osd

    The two “camps” come at issues from different angles. Those in the free software camp tend to say that software should be free for ethical reasons. Those in the open source camp tend to say that software should be open source because distributed development is the most efficient and cost effective way to develop software.

    They’re both right IMHO, but personally I lean more towards the ethical side of things being more important.

    Where things get a little bit more complicated, is when you are doing your computing tasks on somebody elses computer, like for example a web server.

    The person who owns the web server may be running free software and is exercising their four freedoms. But, you may not have your four freedoms. You don’t necessarily know what is being done with your data.

    To address this sort of issue, the Free Software Foundation has established the “GNU Affero General Public License” to bring software freedom to network server software.

    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.html

    So for QScope to be “free as in freedom” it would need to be under the AGPL.

    73 from Toronto

    Bob

    P.S. Was great Russ to meet you at Dayton last spring!

  • Adrian

    Hi,
    You were wondering about QRadioPredict and Flightgear. Well, I can provide a partial answer. A specific branch of Flightgear is designed to provide a real-time radio propagation simulation.
    So if you have an aircraft or object somewhere in the Flightgear world, and a VHF-UHF radio station close by, Flightgear can provide you with signal information and type of propagation almost real-time. So you can simulate VOR stations, ATC communications, ILS signals, as well as general radio.
    Details on this page:
    http://wiki.flightgear.org/Radio_propagation

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