> I've noticed something weird: more and more people in our area are > using Linux for amateur radio, but people are running NOS under > Linux! But Linux already *has* an excellent implentation of TCP/IP > and KERNEL level support for KISS tnc's and PI cards. For amateur > radio TCP/IP, it works great (for run of the mill AX.25 and BBS > support, it needs some polishing.) John Paul and tcp-group, It's mostly a packaging and ease-of-use problem. Currently, you have to get a Linux distribution, you have to get Alan's stuff, you have to re-build the kernel and figure out how to configure it, and then you have to get the clients and servers that you need (which is non-trivial if you want a BBS). To address this problem, I have been creating a turn-key Linux distribution for Radio Amateurs and others who can legally use packet radio. My goal is for a ham to put a CD in his computer, answer a few questions about his operation, and then have the CD automaticaly install a complete Linux system with packet radio interfaces already configured, applications ready to use, and with all documentation online. I'm not done. I'll tell you about my progress. 1. I joined the Debian GNU/Linux project about 10 months ago, and have been working with it ever since. The Debian project is building a freely redistributable Linux system, sharing the work among (currently) 50 people around the world. I went with Debian rather than Slackware or some other distribution for two reasons: First, I like their distribution terms: everything must be freely redistributable, all source must be included. Everything may be put on a CD-ROM and sold by a third party without having to pay anything back to the Debian group or GNU. Commercial use is explicitly allowed. Second, with the Debian project, I could play a direct role as a developer and make sure that the system facilities were amicable to packet radio. For example, I made sure that programs such as "ifconfig" and "route" have ax.25 configured into them, and you won't have to install special ham radio versions of those programs. After too much delay, we're about to start a public beta test of Debian 0.93 , which is a full-featured and robust system. Features include the X Window System, a World Wide Web _server_ and client, a DOS emulator (windows coming soon, no kidding!), and about 1000 other programs. 2. I've been re-writing Alan's AX.25 user-mode utilities to add missing functionality. I added facilities to "axattach" so that it could run an arbitrary configuration script with parameter substitution once it attached the interface. I added the capability to "axl" to run any arbitrary program (such as login) using a pseudo-tty when someone makes an ax.25 connect. I flushed all of the KA9Q code from "listen" (it's fine code but had bad re-distribution terms), and re-wrote it in C++ (for reasons I can discuss in another message) with improvements. I'm about to send this stuff back to Alan for distribution. 3. Once I'm finished with "listen", I'll work on the configure-time script to set up the packet system in response to user questions. The rest of Debian is already self-configuring - they have a very clean package installation system. After that, I'll work on adding whatever other Amateur programs I can find that can be freely used and distributed. The IPIP gateway (already compiled but not yet tested), BBS programs, satellite trackers, code practice, etc. The end result will be an inexpensive standard Linux system for packet radio that will be a good base for development for 5 to 10 years after that. Also, those who prefer other Linux distributions or BSD will be able to easily port the software to them. I need help with this project. If you'd like to package and pre-configure existing programs (ham radio or not) for the Debian system, please send mail to Bruce@Pixar.com about joining the Debian developers list. If you want to discuss the Amateur Radio facilities, send mail to debian-hams-request@Pixar.com with the word "subscribe" in the message body. If you want to get general announcements about the Debian system (like when the release is happening), send mail to debian-announce-request@Pixar.com with the word "subscribe" in the message body. Thanks Bruce Perens AB6YM -- <a href="http://www.rahul.net/perens>Bruce Perens AB6YM</a> Voice phone: 510-215-3502 Internet: Bruce@Pixar.com Amateur Radio TCP/IP: Bruce@ab6ym.ampr.org Amateur Radio BBS network: ab6ym@n0ary.#nocal.ca.usa.noam
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