Thursday, August 05, 2010

usbsoftrock Ubuntu package, from the softrock40 group

Seeing the very lengthy instructions posted recently for how to install a set of SDR software for Ubuntu, I thought I'd make a (very small!) start on reducing that complexity.

This evening I've packaged the first piece of SDR-related software in that set of instructions, usbsoftrock version 1.0.1 , for Ubuntu Karmic, Lucid and Maverick. My initial "very unofficial" packages are (or will very soon be) available in my Ubuntu PPA for download and testing. As part of that process I created a (somewhat minimal) man page for usbsoftrock, so that lintian does not complain about the lack of such a page.

To use my PPA in Karmic, Lucid or Maverick, do:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jmarsden/ppa
sudo apt-get update

Then to install this packaged version of usbsoftrock, do:

sudo apt-get install usbsoftrock

and the correct version of the package for your release of Ubuntu (32bit or 64bit, Karmic 9.10, Lucid 10.04, or even Maverick 10.10 if you are running the Alpha version) will be installed for you. If I later update this package, you will automatically be made aware of the update, just as you are for other Ubuntu packages, and you will be able to automatically update it if you wish.

Graphically oriented Ubuntu users who prefer using Synaptic or a similar GUI package manager instead of the shell and apt-get can also add my PPA, and then use their package manager of choice to install usbsoftrock.

Note that this package is untested, because I do not possess any SDR hardware that would allow me to test it! Comments and feedback from those who *do* have such hardware are very welcome. Given sufficient interest, as time allows I will probably package up more SDR-related software for Ubuntu and Debian. Eventually such a set of SDR-related software packages could be added to the official Debian and Ubuntu software repositories, ready for easy installation by end users.

Questions arising:

(Q1) Is usbsoftrock usually used in daemon mode (with the -d option), or in command mode? Since it comes without any init scripts, I am assuming command mode is the usual approach, for now.

(Q2) The COPYING file in the source tarball is GPL-3, but the copyright statements in several of the included source files are "GPL-2 or later". Is there a reason for this? Could it be corrected so the two are consistent? This could help official acceptance into Ubuntu or Debian in future.

(Q3) The two source files interactive.c and interactive.h seem to lack any licence/copyright statement. If these could be added in the same manner as the other files are handled, that could also help official acceptance into Ubuntu or Debian in future.

(Q4) Is there an "official" online place from which the source tarball can be downloaded *without* needing to be a member of this Yahoo Group, and where new releases would appear? This would allow a "watch file" to be created in the package to check for new versions as they are released, etc. There is an automated monitoring system in place for this, but as far as I know it can't work with the files inside a Yahoo group file area, since the monitoring system (obviously) is not a member of all Yahoo groups.

(Q5) Currently my package allows access to the USB device(s) by any user in the 'admin' group. This probably works adequately for Ubuntu, but would probably work rather less well for Debian. Is there any standardization of a "hamradio" or similar group for these kinds of permissions which I should be using?

Lastly, if anyone else is packaging SDR-related software for Ubuntu or Debian, please let me know, so we can collaborate and avoid duplicating our efforts.