- To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (Roberto Delbianco)
- Subject: Re: XMS
- From: email@example.com (Bruce Perens)
- Date: Tue, 25 Apr 95 12:04 PDT
- 6: 31 -0700
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Roberto Delbianco)
BP> Attention Ham Radio Operators: For information on "Linux for Hams",
BP> the World Wide Web page http://www.rahul.net/perens/LinuxForHams
> ... And for those who don't agree WWW? :-))
> Is there any site - or Newsgroup, or mailserver - showing the same infos?
Here's a version of what you'd read if you called up the WWW server.
The project is taking a lot longer than I expected, and is still about
a month from release. You can see why if you look at the progress report
at the end of this list.
What Is Linux for Hams?
Linux for Hams is a full-featured Linux system with special additions
for Amateur Radio. The system includes all of the sophisticated
software that one would expect on one of today's engineering
workstations, along with software for packet radio communication,
electronic design, printed-circuit manufacture, a database of FCC rules
and license exams, a code-practice program, and other Amateur Radio
The general-purpose software includes software for connecting to the
Internet, compilers for the C and C++ languages, a full-featured
typesetting system, a symbolic mathematics program, CD-ROM authoring
tools, and many other programs. Unlike other Amateur Radio software
collections, Linux for Hams is an integrated system. The programs are
already compiled, and configured to work together with the rest of the
Linux for Hams is being built by Bruce Perens AB6YM, with the help of
several volunteers. Of course, it builds on the work of the thousands
of volunteers who helped create Linux and the other programs it
The system will be available for free if you download it using FTP. A
low-cost CD will be available, but I really don't want to talk about that
on a mailing list that goes over Amateur Radio links.
Programs included in Linux for Hams
The Linux System
The Linux system upon which Linux for Hams is based is the
Debian Linux Distribution, version 0.93 . This system is currently
in Beta-test. Debian is a very configurable system because its programs are
contained in self-installing packages. The user can choose which
packages to install to the hard disk, can command a package to remove
itself later on, etc. For example, you won't have to install the typesetting
tools if you don't have a printer.
The Window System
The window system included with Linux for Hams is The X Window System.
The version we're using is XFree version 3.1.1, which is based on
X11R6 . Many VGA, SVGA, and accellerated video cards are supported.
Use of the window
system is not required for most programs - Linux also provides a non-windowed
interface with virtual terminals, multiple independent terminal
interfaces that the user can can switch between to run many programs at once.
The packet-radio communications software is currently based on the Linux
kernel AX.25 implementation by Alan Cox GW4PTS. The software supports raw
AX.25, and TCP/IP over AX.25 . The Linux networking software can provide
gateways beteen packet radio and a local Ethernet LAN or the Internet.
Firewall software is provided for protecting packet radio from outsiders
or keeping packet operators off of your company's LAN.
The packet BBS is based on the Unix BBS software contributed by Bob Arasmith
N0ARY's BBS currently supports 2000 users on the large workstation
that Bob developed it on. The BBS is being re-written to be more efficient
on small systems with little memory.
Electronic and Printed Circuit Design
Linux for Hams includes the Spice circuit-similation program, a
schematic-entry system for use with Spice from Caltech, a
printed-circuit drafting program pcb-1.1, Octave, a Mathcad-like
symbolic math program that can be used for tasks such as antenna design, and
several other tools.
The callsign database from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission
is included. If you have e-mail connectivity to the Internet, you can get
automatic callbook updates every day (since FCC is now uploading the new
licenses to their FTP server daily). You'll have data on new licenses
on the evening of the same day that they were granted!
I've not done anything about a logging program yet. I could use some help
on this, since I'm not a contest operator (I'm too busy building Linux for
FCC Rules and Exams
A copy of (U.S. FCC) Part 97 and the U.S. Amateur exam question pools is
ARRL File Server Files
ARRL has granted permission for me to distribute the files from their
Info Server (as QRZ does now). I'd like to integrate them into the online
A code program written by Alan Cox GW4PTS is included. I'm looking at some
other programs as well.
I am pursuing acquiring the license to a sattelite tracking program.
I'd like to have the computer do rotator control.
I'd like to have a script automaticaly update the Keplerian
elements from the list sent out on the W1AW Internet mailing list.
The Microsat telemetry program is included.
I don't have any of the radios that are capable of computer control, so I'm
going to need someone's help on this.
If you'd like to see a program included in Linux for Hams, please write
me at Perens@Rahul.net . I'm expecially interested in hearing from
volunteers who will help do some of the work in exchange for a free CD-ROM
Free CD-ROM Subscription for Volunteers
Most of the software in Linux for Hams is free software, contributed by its
author for anyone to use. I would like to compensate those authors for their
work. If you are the author of a significant piece of software included in
Linux for Hams, please e-mail to Perens@Rahul.net .
You may be be able to get a free CD-ROM subscription to Linux for Hams.
Bruce Perens AB6YM reserves the right to decide who gets free subscriptions,
what is included in a free subscription, and for how long those subscriptions
More input handling written for the user-friendly TNC configuration program.
I have some on-line help and some of the dialog boxes of the user-friendly
TNC configuration program written. So far, it puts up a list of the configured
TNCs and lets you select which to edit, and then it puts up a list of the
parameters you can edit and lets you select which one to change. It doesn't
actually change them yet, but it handles requests for on-line help, various
menu functions, etc.
Worked on the front-end of the TNC auto-configuration program. It knows
how to read in the configuration file and put up dialogue boxes, menus,
etc. There's a lot of user-interaction and a bit of file-editing
yet to be written.
The back-end of the TNC auto-configuration program works. It reads the
configuration file at boot-time and successfully configures my TNCs.
Finally got to designing the TNC auto-configuration program, and wrote
part of it.
Yeah! The FCC has put their callsign database on their FTP server, and I
no longer have to pay NTIS thousands of dollars for the callbook. Thus, it
will be on the CD-ROM.
Fixed more bugs in the "man" program. It appears to be working now.
Packaging the "man" program, and working on bugs in "ncurses".
Installed the new release of the "man" program. This closes out several
existing bugs in the online manual system.
More updating packages and closing out bug reports.
Updating packages and closing out bug reports.
Updated the groff, pcb, and acs packages to repair reported bugs.
Updated the AX.25 kernel and user packages to repair two bugs.
Packaged the files from the ARRL infoserver into the distribution.
Uploaded ax.25 kernel source to the Debian distribution. Now working on
autoconfiguring the TNCs.
There seems to be a kernel problem for 386 and very slow 486 systems with
floppy-disk installs. I'm still investigating this. Also, there have been
some bootdisk failures that I think I can fix.
Debugging "ncurses", so that "dselect", the all-important user-friendly
installation tool will work. Also, spent some time supporting two early
testers, including one whoo had extremely bad hardware that he seems to have
isolated to the disk controller. It's really difficult to help someone cope
with bad hardware via e-mail.
Finished working on the floppy-tape driver. It seems the most difficult part
of Linux for Hams has been Linux, so far. Back to the Perl book for this
Debugging the floppy-tape driver (QIC-117 tape drives like Colorado, etc.).
It appears to not know about kernels above 0.95 . It also doesn't know about
Read about 100 pages of the Perl book so that I could write better scripts.
Perl is not my first choice of language, but it is standard on Debian systems
and I haven't built a Python (a somewhat nicer language, though with its own
Did more work on the AX.25 installation script. It now patches the kernel
automaticaly and leads the user through kernel configuration and building
correctly. Now I have to make it configure the TNCs in response to user
Finished configuring Debian 0.93R5, except for the X server, which is still
not configured automaticaly.
Built a CD-writable with Debian 0.93R5 today.
Did a "cold" install (that means I wiped out my old system) from
the CD-writable, and everything
seems to install fine except for a small non-fatal bug in "dpkg", and an
installation script failure in "wu-ftpd" and "cvs". I've reported those bugs
to the Debian developers responsible for those programs.
Wrote and tested
part of the AX.25 installation script. This version will install
AX.25 in the kernel source, and lead the user through configuring and
building the kernel. Unfortunately, AX.25 isn't a module yet (Alan Cox
is working on that) and thus if you have your own custom kernel, you need
to build AX.25 into it. I'll provide a pre-configured kernel, of course,
for those who don't need the performance increment of a custom kernel.
Upgraded to Linux kernel version 1.2.1 . No problems with my AX.25 operation,
though two people on the net have reported problems with their own 1.2
kernels and the KISS interfaces. I guess I did something right.
Spent the weekend skiing in Lake Tahoe with my wife.
Sent my 2400 MHz comment off to FCC. The only comments I got from anybody
I sent it to were "well done". I suspect that not many people have the
patience to plow through pages of legalese and comment upon it.
Finally got to work on the ham radio software again. Revised the AX.25
package to Alan Cox's latest software release (28), and merged in my own
modifications. Sent Alan the software I was satisfied with for him to merge
into his own distribution. Next, I'll do an auto-configuration script for the
AX.25 software, and then will get back to work on N0ARY's BBS.
Got floppy disks from ARRL containing their info server files. No permission
letter was enclosed, I'll have to nudge them about that.
Sent a draft of my second 2400 MHz comment off to NCPA's board, and also to
Chris Imlay (ARRL's lawyer) and Brad Wyatt (ARRL's Pacific Division director).
They have until early Friday to comment, and then it has to go in express
mail to make the March 20 comment deadline.
Took a few days off due to illness. I also spent an evening reading and
commenting on FCC's 2400 MHz First Report and Order and second NPRM.
Hopefully I'll be able to edit my comments and send them off to ARRL
this evening. I can e-mail you a copy of the FCC R&O if you'd like to look
at it. It's 150K in size.
Tried to re-write the pseudo-terminal portion of my AX.25 connection
daemon in a more object-oriented style and didn't get anywhere.
That generally means I need to think about it a bit longer.
The existing code works OK and
there's lots of other stuff to work on, so that's no problem.
Did another test-install on my auxillary disk at the request of the Perl
and Dpkg developers. The system installs withouut any internal errors in
Repaired the setserial package, which could overwrite a user configuration
file during an upgrade.
Repaired the procmail package, which wasn't installing its manual pages.
Got my Kantronics KPC-9612 9600 baud TNC connected to the system and
running TCP/IP. There is still no support for the dual-port feature, though
I think someone else has already done this and I just have to integrate it.
I just used MYXKDROP (which has the wrong name in the KPC-9612 manual) to
make the 9600 port 0 instead of 1.
If you're near El Cerrito, try me on 145.75 1200, or 433.43 9600. Both
are TCP/IP only at the moment, they won't respond to an AX.25 connect
request. That will change as soon as I have time to work on ax25-daemon.
I rebuilt the following software packages: groff, sendmail, pcb, samba.
Groff is upgraded to a new version. Sendmail, pcb, and samba got a bug fix.
Samba got a performance enhancement, as well. Hopefully I can get back to
the Amateur Radio programs now.
I installed the latest base system (Debian without the Ham stuff) on my
computer. There are a few problems, the worst of which is that the
user-friendly installation tool is still not done. PCB (the PC-board
drafting tool) is broken because the X window system was moved. I
should be able to fix that tomorrow. X is configured by hand for now,
although there's an automatic tool that does 95% of the work. I'd like
to get it to the point where most users could configure X without having
to edit the XConfig file.
A CERT (computer security) advisory was issued on "sendmail", an optional
mail-delivery-agent which I include in the distribution. This would not
be a concern to most people, because most will run "smail", not
"sendmail" as their mail delivery agent. However, those who ran
sendmail for its sophisticated features were prone to a bug that could
have allowed an unauthorized person to read every file on their system.
I upgraded to a new version with the security bug fixed, recompiled the
package, and contributed it back to the Debian distribution.
I learned how to work the CD-writable writer, and generated a working
prototype CD with data for my job (not Linux for Hams).
When I go to bulk CD mastering, the output of the CD-writer becomes the
"pre-master" used by the CD duplicator. Instant CDs are fun.
I can even make music ones.
I expect the first version of the system to be available for FTP in
less than a month. It'll probably be missing features, most likely the
BBS won't be ready. The CD-ROM is going to wait until the BBS has been
finished and has been tested by FTP users.
The MicroSat telemetry software is being added to the system.
Not listing it as a component was an oversight on my part.
Debian 0.93R4, the base system from which Linux for Hams is derived,
is being tested now. A public Beta test of Debian is expected next
week (March 4 or so). A critical part of Debian, the "dselect" program,
is still unfinished, and it'll no doubt take the Debian team member who
is working on that a few weeks to get it done.
"Dselect" is the user-friendly system installation tool. While it's possible
to install the system without it, it's not as nice as I'd like.
If you want to test the system early, sign on to the Debian-Announce mailing
list and test Debian. Some of the ham-radio features are already in that
ARRL says they are sending me a letter granting permission to include
the file-server files on the CD-ROM.
I'm still working on the TNC-daemon replacement for the N0ARY BBS.
Much work on the BBS has yet to be done.
Attention Ham Radio Operators: For information on "Linux for Hams", read
the World Wide Web page http://www.rahul.net/perens/LinuxForHams