Archives for May 2010

The (Software) Patent Absurdity

The idea of patents in early days was to support innovation. Today happens exactly the opposite. We have reached a point where patents prevent technical innovation. Patents are no longer used to protect innovations, they are mainly used to sue other companies, or to counter-sue if anyone sues you. We have seen this lately between Apple and HTC. While the pharmaceutical industry might be excluded due to their costly researches, Software patents are for sure more than doubtful. There exist companies who just buy (software) patents in order to sue others.

There are no more ways for professional (or hobby) developers to see if a programming technique he uses violates any software patent. Every week, several hundred software patents are granted in the US. Today, until now exist more than 200.000 software patents. More than 1.000.000 software patents are pending. This is ridiculous! STOP IT!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against patents, but we need a fundamental change in patent law in order to stop the software patent absurdity. Instead of suing each other, let’s go back to the roots and enforce and support innovation. The world does not need more lawyers, we need more engineers!

For more information visit the webpage Patent Absurdity. They recently have published a 30 minutes documentary, explaining why software patents have broken the system.

CW Skimmer, Win-Test & FT1000MP: my wish!

CW Skimmer wishThree years ago I added a Software Defined Radio (Softrock Clone) to the 455kHz intermediate frequency of my FT1000MP shortwave receiver. The idea was to use it as a spectrum scope in conjunction with CW Skimmer. Unfortunately the solution has one big disadvantage: I can’t use it with Win-Test my favorite Contest Software. In a detailed investigation I found out why CW Skimmer and Win-Test can not be used simultaneously with the same Radio. Now, about past 30 month later, the situation has improved. However there is still one little change necessary to finally be able to use CW Skimmer and Win-Test with (my) FT1000MP. Read in this article what has changed and what is still missing (my wish)!

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Ubuntu Hams

Ubuntu Ham Radio A couple of weeks ago I migrated one of my older machines to the new Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”. I must admit that Canonical did a tremendous job with their Linux Distribution. Ubuntu is definitely worth a look. It can be booted directly from CD and does not need any installation. It’s stable, fast, has an excellent User Interface and provides applications for all standard needs… and YES, it’s MUCH more secure than Windows! With it’s centralized Software Repository, there is no more need for keeping all your applications individually up to date. This service does everything, just with a single click. Awesome!

And – there is also a Amateur Radio community. Thanks to Martin, AA6E who recently made me aware on this. The PPA (Personal Package Archive) of the Ubuntu Amateur Radio Team takes care of a nice list of Linux Ham Radio applications, including for example the famous GNU Radio, a Software Defined Radio toolkit.

In case you haven’t checked out Ubuntu yet, go to the website and download a free copy, burn it on CD and take a testdrive!