Re: GNURadio is disappointing [was: Greeting and a question]

I changed the subject to better match the tone of the email.

On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:12 AM, Sanjay S.
[email protected] wrote:

price. I don’t want to mention them here to deviate the concern.
Its the community of people driving Ettus products into market. The

The boards when purchased from Ettus R. it was under terms and
conditions as free open source schematics for motherboard and free open
source schematics and pcb files.

Its time now for the community of people interested in building free open
source platform including both software and Hardware to come out with an
complete open source low cost solution.

S—

I need to borrow your soapbox.

This e-mail infuriates me. If you thought you bought a motherboard
from Ettus under the terms that you were getting schematics and PCB
files and blah blah blah, fine. If you didn’t get them, point to the
line item on the receipt or the clause in the contract and take it up
with Ettus.

Next - the general tone of GNU Radio seems to be biased towards Ettus
only due to the fact that he, Josh and a whole slew of other people
worked damned hard to not only develop their hardware, but make sure
it was compatible with GNU Radio.

Let me repeat that.

Matt, Josh, and the rest of the people at Ettus R. did damn near
ALL the legwork - software and hardware - to make it compatible with
GNU Radio so you can buy something, plug it in and make it work.
Moreover, they field support questions on an open forum for free. To
dismiss this fact is grossly inappropriate.

On that note, I have put together a simple list of things for people
to do if they feel they want to get out of this Ettus R.
totalitarian dictatorship that is GNU Radio:

1) Create your own RF front end boards
2) Create your own digital/baseband board
3) Write all the software for board in step (2) to control all the

boards you create in step (1)
4) Write all the host side software to interface software written
in step (3) with GNU Radio
5) Contribute all previous work to GNU Radio
6) Stop complaining*

*NOTE: Steps 1-5 are optional.

I am a massive proponent of making some 100% fully open SDR hardware
that serves the low cost/cheap and
easily-modifiable-for-my-specific-purpose market.

Like I said in my original e-mail, stop asking and stop the rhetoric.
If you want to dethrone Ettus from the monopoly he has on the GNU
Radio hardware scene, you just need to do something. GNU Radio is
open source. Make your board and contribute your patches.

In other words, do some work if you don’t like the current state of
things. This community is driven by the people on this list. If you
don’t like something about it, you need to have the drive to change
it. Demonizing Ettus R. is childish. If anything, look at
their past and draw inspiration from it.

I look forward to seeing your patches in GNU Radio.

Thanks for the soapbox.

Brian

Hi all,

To be specific to concern

  1. Create your own RF front end boards

putting mixer and LO is a handy breadboard work… tryout some good
examples from Analog Devices and TI. To get additional gains put LNA or
PA
in series. Learn basic hardware designs.

  1. Create your own digital/baseband board

Check out many thesis work who have developed demonstrating platforms.
Adding to commercial front, check SP601/605 from Avnet. Check for the
prices
for sure!. Also check Spartan 3A 1800 DSP from Xilinx.

  1. Write all the software for board in step (2) to control all the
    boards you create in step (1)

Not required. All the development boards are platform specific and the
board developer supports BSP(Board support package). If you are building
your board, you need to develop your own BSP. All the development board
comes with BSP. A mere DMA transfers between PC and board is a 4 weeks
of
development activity.

  1. Write all the host side software to interface software written
    in step (3) with GNU Radio

Platform independent drivers already address the issue.

  1. Contribute all previous work to GNU Radio

No one says its personal development after posting at open source
community developers

  1. Stop complaining*

No one complains unless there is deviation against addressed.

The capability and contribution you are talking about cannot be patchy
work.
Patchy work is needed to fix design bugs. Open source community would be
interested to have proper solution rather patches.

S–

On 01/20/2011 02:10 PM, Sanjay S. wrote:

  1. Write all the software for board in step (2) to control all the
    boards you create in step (1)

Not required. All the development boards are platform specific and
the board developer supports BSP(Board support package). If you are
building your board, you need to develop your own BSP. All the
development board comes with BSP. A mere DMA transfers between PC and
board is a 4 weeks of development activity.
So, respectfully, you’re full of crap, Sanjay. No “BSP” is going to
automatically know how to do all the functions we want to do:

o Interface with whatever RF hardware is developed above
o Do the required DDC and CIC Decimation, and whatever else *this

specific application requires*.
o Send data over the host-interface, in the required formats, using
the required protocols

There’s no magic “FPGA Fairy” that somehow intuits exactly what you want
your application to do, and do it for you,
whether you use an off-the-shelf FPGA card, or roll your own.

Certainly, a BSP can help with basic functionality, and provide
libraries to make it easier to integrate your application, whatever
that application may be, but the BSP doesn’t construct that
application all by itself. Some work, quite significant, is required
to construct your own application.

  1. Write all the host side software to interface software written
    in step (3) with GNU Radio

Platform independent drivers already address the issue.
Right. Because Xilinx/Altera/Digilent/whoever has already written
drivers to interface to Gnu Radio, but they’re
selfishly withholding that information from public view? How
churlish of them.

  1. Contribute all previous work to GNU Radio

No one says its personal development after posting at open source
community developers

  1. Stop complaining*

No one complains unless there is deviation against addressed.

I have no idea what you’re talking about.


Marcus L.
Principal Investigator
Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium
http://www.sbrac.org

Hi Tom & Matt,

Begin forwarded message:

From: “Marcus D. Leech” [email protected]

So, respectfully, you’re full of crap, Sanjay. No “BSP” is going to
automatically know how to do all the functions we want to do:

Someone ought to moderate this list. I for one find Marcus annoying. He
mentioned that he’s employed part time by Ettus R… He should be
told to tone down. It just takes a few guys like Marcus to put people
off.

If there are people on the list that don’t like Ettus R. or the
way Gnu Radio is running, take them off the list. At least it will keep
things focussed in the right direction.

As for people like Marcus, they should be told to behave politely to
other members on the list.

Elvis D.

Its not about talking high. Its community of people trying hard to press
Ettus R. products. Putting people down is not the motto of
GNURadio.

Regrading putting off from the list: Discussion is on for open source
platform. This is GNURadio platform. Here discussions are open for Ettus
Research products and any other hardware product which can be used with
GNURadio.

Is GNURadio also owned by Ettus R. ?.

Regarding your concern on keeping things focused;
Things on GNURadio are not focused. That’s the concern. When.open source
platform is the focus then everyone has the freedom to discuss open
platform
solution rather than promoting specific products for commercial needs.
Regrading your comment
"people on the list that don’t like Ettus R. or the way Gnu Radio
is
running, take them off the list "
Is that only Ettus R. based products needs to be discussed ?. I
suggest you reconsider your statement.

On Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 08:20:43AM +0530, Sanjay S. wrote:

Things on GNURadio are not focused. That’s the concern. When.open source
platform is the focus then everyone has the freedom to discuss open platform
solution rather than promoting specific products for commercial needs.

I think this unfair in several ways.
I’m not repeating what Brian said, he’s right and there’s enough
redundancy here already.

But all these open hardware threads seem to neglect that there’s a
powerful software tool out there for real-time signal processing, and
a lot is happening at that end. GNU Radio is much more than the USRPs;
in fact, it’s not even the USRPs.
I’m not quite sure what your email is trying to say. What I read is that
GNU Radio’s not going anywhere and that it’s merely a tool to promote
the selling of USRPs.

Fact is, a lot of interesting things are going on. Stream tags were
introduced in the ‘next’ branch, and ignored (or rather: blanked out by
discussions on the price of USRPs), a feature which many had requested
in the past. Quite a lot of signal processing has been added since
version 3.2.2. So saying GNU Radio is disappointing is a bit unfair to
those who actually maintain it, and disconcerting to those who (want to)
use it.

Talking of which: Who actually does use GNU Radio? I can’t see a whole
lot of active projects going on, not on this list or on CGRAN.

However, I’m beginning to turn this into a general rant. I wonder if
it’s possible to turn this list back into a place where we can discuss
the interesting parts of GNU Radio and GPP-based signal processing.

And with all the drawbacks and bugs that GNU Radio has, there’s nothing
comparable in the open source domain. So if GNU Radio really sucks,
then how about a proper discussion on what’s wrong. And not about which
HF-frontend costs how much.

Bye,
MB


Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Communications Engineering Lab (CEL)

Dipl.-Ing. Martin B.
Research Associate

Kaiserstraße 12
Building 05.01
76131 Karlsruhe

Phone: +49 721 608-43790
Fax: +49 721 608-46071
www.cel.kit.edu

KIT – University of the State of Baden-Württemberg and
National Laboratory of the Helmholtz Association

On 01/21/2011 04:19 AM, Martin B. wrote:

Talking of which: Who actually does use GNU Radio? I can’t see a whole
lot of active projects going on, not on this list or on CGRAN.

I use Gnu Radio for a number of things in the “science radio” space. I
have a small suite of
tools I call “SIDsuite” with a Gnu Radio application at the core–this
tool is used for
monitor Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances, and uses the sound-card for
input. I run
SIDsuite 24x7, and the data ends up at the Stanford Solar Dynamics lab
SID database.

I have my own IRA (Integrated Radio Astronomy) application, that uses a
Gnu Radio
flow-graph as a “service” underneath it. Several people use IRA at
their small-scale
observatories.

I built another science radio application for a client, again using Gnu
Radio in the “core”.


Principal Investigator
Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium
http://www.sbrac.org

Hi Martin,

On Fri, 21 Jan 2011 10:19:37 +0100, Martin B. [email protected]
wrote:

And with all the drawbacks and bugs that GNU Radio has, there’s nothing
comparable in the open source domain. So if GNU Radio really sucks,
then how about a proper discussion on what’s wrong. And not about which
HF-frontend costs how much.

Here’s my top three wish list. GNU Radio needs:

  1. A properly designed digital receiver chain of some cool standard
    (e.g. DMB, DVB…)
    demonstrating the modularity and usability of GNU Radio.
  2. Usable, clean graphical sinks (a la Simulink) - fftsink is a quick
    hack.
  3. Documentation (for the average Joe, the source is not enough…).

Jens

Hi there people,
I’d like to put my point here.
I’m a Computer Scientist and Ham radio operator that is entering in this
SDR world. I own a USRP with RFX900, WBX, dbxrx, tvrx, basicrx and
basictx.

ps: I don’t make my monthly budget with anything related with SDR.

I already gave some talks and workshops on free software and open
spectrum
in a SDR radio world paradigm, and I always say: USRP is the most
important and significant hardware made in the first decade of the
2000’s,
and the Gnuradio is the most important software by the GNU project (I
already said that to Stallman), no doubt!
The USRP together with Gnuradio give us the opportunity to play with the
spectrum in a way never possible before. They allow us to be free in the
area of (social) communications.
I’m currently doing FM RDS, AM, SSB and also receiving DRM (Digital
Radio
Mondiale) only using free software! With a software called spark I can
transmit DRM using the USRP. With OpenBTS free cellphone network are
able
to exist.

I’m learning how to use USRP and Gnuradio for about three years, and I’m
more excited now then when I started playing with it.

For the Gnuradio and USRP developers: be sure you all are ahead of your
time!
; )

Kind regards,
Rafael D.

On 1/21/11 4:19 AM, Martin B. wrote:

Talking of which: Who actually does use GNU Radio? I can’t see a whole
lot of active projects going on, not on this list or on CGRAN.

I’m currently implementing my third spacecraft groundstation using
GnuRadio. It’s due to go into operation late this year. The
improvements in GnuRadio & GRC between 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 have
been significant, and made each one easier.

I’m also in the process of planning how to use GnuRadio
(plus USRP2 & WBX) to bench-test new modems for the
TDRSS spacecraft groundstations.

@(^.^)@ Ed

I’ve been using GNU Radio + USRP as general RF test equipment, and GNU
Radio by itself as a simulation environment for learning about SDR. I’m
interested in the ongoing discussion of alternate RF hardware platforms
for use with GNU Radio. While I’m quite happy with my USRP hardware, I
can see plenty of room in the SDR user base for hardware with different
feature sets and price points.


Mark J. Blair, NF6X [email protected]
Web page: http://www.nf6x.net/
GnuPG public key available from my web page.

Hi Martin/all,

There is need for open source platform for GNURadio. I request people of
concern to understand my view. Am not at all against GNURadio.Its in
fact
GNURadio gave birth to open source platform. But what i see is there is
a
split as of date against software and hardware. In order to cut down the
gap, GNURadio community should enforce people working around to maintain
the
eco ssytem being built to support open source platforms. Its a vision to
be
realized rather being bound to commercial fronts. There are many
organizations and people who could donate funds to GNURadio for
building a
world class open source platform for all the Students/Researchers.

I would wish all community members actively participate and proceed to
do
needful.

Respect you all in your time and concerns…

S–

I’m a graduate student at Virginia Tech, and I assure you that GNU
Radio is used heavily in our labs. As I write this, there are
probably 3-4 groups in my vicinity hacking on GNU Radio projects.

People posting projects on CGRAN or posting to the listserve is
probably not an accurate reflection of the amount of work going into
GNU Radio, or being done around GNU Radio, at any particular time.

Cheers,
Ben

On 01/21/2011 02:26 PM, Ben H. wrote:

I’m a graduate student at Virginia Tech, and I assure you that GNU
Radio is used heavily in our labs. As I write this, there are
probably 3-4 groups in my vicinity hacking on GNU Radio projects.

People posting projects on CGRAN or posting to the listserve is
probably not an accurate reflection of the amount of work going into
GNU Radio, or being done around GNU Radio, at any particular time.

Cheers,
Ben
This is an excellent point.

In the commercial space, people working on Gnu Radio related projects
are unlikely to want to talk
about those projects publically–at least until the product brochures
are ready :slight_smile:

Similarly for certain government uses of Gnu Radio.

Hopefully, with the advent of the Gnu Radio conference that Tom talked
about, some of the projects
that have been cooking over the last several years will get some
exposure. If I can attend that
conference, I certainly will, and I’ll attempt to get a presentation
or two together.


Marcus L.
Principal Investigator
Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium
http://www.sbrac.org

Your comment

“some of the projects that have been cooking over the last several
years
will get some exposure”

is not true. Don’t be so biased to under estimate work.

I would suggest to go to reputed institute to prove yourself rather
honking
your capability…!

                      If you thought you bought a motherboard

from Ettus under the terms that you were getting schematics and PCB
files and blah blah blah, fine. If you didn’t get them, point to the
line item on the receipt or the clause in the contract and take it up
with Ettus.

I don’t understand why people are complaining that the Ettus R.
board designs aren’t free. They are free. Matt publicly announced
that he intended to release them under the GPL. Right up to this
day, the schematics (in PDF) are trivially downloadable from
http://www.ettus.com by clicking “Download” on the homepage. Even the
schematics for their brand-new products like the N210.

Now I will admit that in the past, Matt and Ettus R. provided
not just PDF schematics (that you’d have to re-enter manually into a
schematics editor) but also netlists, “.sch” files, a BOM, etc. They
never published layout files for directly making your own boards.

I don’t know when or why the policy changed, and all that were left
were PDF schematics. “Printed” PDF schematics certainly don’t qualify
as the source code under the GPL (which defines source code as the
preferred format for making modifications). There was some discussion
on the list at the time of the National Instruments acquisition, in
which Matt basically said, sorry, was reorganizing the web site and
mislaid 'em. Does anyone know if they ever came back after that
point?

Being less of a trust-the-web kind of guy than some (after being
burned by various things disappearing on me), I saved a copy of the
original USRP1 schematics from its 2005 release:

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 11:45:10 -0800
From: Matt E. [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] USRP schematics and layouts

I have posted the USRP and daughterboard schematics and layouts on
http://www.ettus.com – just go to the download page.

If you are interested in making your own daughterboards, these will
serve as a
good reference. More docs will be forthcoming.

If you want a copy of those schematics, I’ve put a copy here:

http://www.toad.com/gnuradio/usrp-mboard-20050112_tar.gz
http://www.toad.com/gnuradio/basic-dboard-20050112_tar.gz
http://www.toad.com/gnuradio/parts-20050112_tar.gz

I’m sure that many tweaks to the boards have been made since then. If
you want to make serious use of these, you’d better compare them to
both the current published PDF schematics, and to a recent physical
board. At the time these were published, the USRP was new and it had
very few daughterboards.

By the way, the USRP board took well over a year to develop, and went
through several prototypes. Large parts of the free GPL’d GNU Radio
software were developed by Matt and Eric simultaneously while building
these prototypes. Before the USRP, you needed an expensive and
painful PCI oscilloscope board to use GNU Radio – and then you needed
an external tuner. That’s what we got the original GNU Radio FM-radio
and HDTV receivers working on. The USRP revolutionized ham SDR by
being half the price of the PCI board, allowing laptops instead of
only desktop computers to be used for the processing, and allowing
many cheap RF daughterboards to be made.

John G.

On 22.01.2011 11:18, John G. wrote:

I don’t understand why people are complaining that the Ettus R.
board designs aren’t free. They are free. Matt publicly announced
that he intended to release them under the GPL. Right up to this
day, the schematics (in PDF) are trivially downloadable from
http://www.ettus.com by clicking “Download” on the homepage. Even the
schematics for their brand-new products like the N210.

I also got the schematics for my TV set and my video recorder.
But that’s for service and repair. It’s not free hardware.
As far as I know the USRP designs are copyrighted and not under a free
hardware license. Correct?

Now I will admit that in the past, Matt and Ettus R. provided
not just PDF schematics (that you’d have to re-enter manually into a
schematics editor) but also netlists, “.sch” files, a BOM, etc. They
never published layout files for directly making your own boards.

It’s a reputable business, for sure. But if it’s not under an open
license, it’s not open hardware, but commercial hardware.
Imagine GNU software only available as printed books.
To be GPL compatible you have to deliver the source in electronic
form that can compile, not as PDF printed sources. The raw source
of hardware are EDA files.

I don’t know when or why the policy changed, and all that were left
were PDF schematics. “Printed” PDF schematics certainly don’t qualify
as the source code under the GPL (which defines source code as the
preferred format for making modifications). There was some discussion

I got no answer to the question if USRP is open hardware or not.
On the website they declared it as open hardware, but from the
copyright,
the missing EDA files I doubt it. It seems to be more a commercial
hardware with schematics published (as many other commercial hardware).

on the list at the time of the National Instruments acquisition, in

I think Gnuradio should not depend too much on such a big company.
That’s why I would prefer open and public-domain hardware.

Being less of a trust-the-web kind of guy than some (after being
burned by various things disappearing on me), I saved a copy of the
original USRP1 schematics from its 2005 release:

I found EDA files also here:

http://www.olifantasia.com/drupal2/en/node/12

But is it really public domain source?

an external tuner. That’s what we got the original GNU Radio FM-radio
and HDTV receivers working on. The USRP revolutionized ham SDR by
being half the price of the PCI board, allowing laptops instead of
only desktop computers to be used for the processing, and allowing
many cheap RF daughterboards to be made.

I agree, this type of hardware in combination with Gnuradio software
is really revolutionary. I hope that it will be a completely open
standard
in future. If not, we would have to develop alternatives.

On 21.01.2011 10:19, Martin B. wrote:

But all these open hardware threads seem to neglect that there’s a
powerful software tool out there for real-time signal processing, and
a lot is happening at that end. GNU Radio is much more than the USRPs;
in fact, it’s not even the USRPs.
I’m not quite sure what your email is trying to say. What I read is that
GNU Radio’s not going anywhere and that it’s merely a tool to promote
the selling of USRPs.

Isn’t it boring to do “real-time signal processing” without hardware?

For offline simulation there are tools like GNU Octave, Scilab or Matlab
with more communications, modulation, signal analysis and graphical
capabilities.
These are more than sufficient for simulations and theoretical studies.
I know, Gnuradio is also a nice signal processing software by itself,
but the real advantage of Gnuradio is the real-time processing
with hardware sources and sinks. For offline analysis, there are
toolboxes
for TF spectral analysis etc.:
http://tftb.nongnu.org/
http://tfd.sourceforge.net/
or signal processing:
http://octave.sourceforge.net/communications/overview.html
http://octave.sourceforge.net/informationtheory/overview.html
http://octave.sourceforge.net/signal/overview.html
In Gnuradio I’m missing all these analytical capabilities.
Just for generating modulated signals you don’t need Gnuradio.
Gnuradio is relevant when you’re operating on continuous streams.

I’m not against pure software development.
But please respect the opinion that people also want hardware for
real-time signal processing. Somebody who asks for hardware is not
interested in answers that software is much more beautiful.

comparable in the open source domain. So if GNU Radio really sucks,
then how about a proper discussion on what’s wrong. And not about which
HF-frontend costs how much.

The hardware question is very important for people that are not
financially supported by the tax-payer like in your institution.

Hi Tom,

I understand your concern. I agree with you.

What about the people who sport so actively promoting Ettus R.
products. I know they are paid by Ettus R… But it doesn’t mean
they
play spoil sport in building open source hardware platform.

If GNURadio community feels am being misleading, then i myself will get
down
from the post. Also, if you have the authority to do so, please remove
me
from the list. Thanks for concern and wish all the best.

I had one query for you regarding your statement

" there are a lot of people working on GNU Radio projects that are not
discussing them publicly."

If GNURadio projects are not discussed in open forum, then where open
source
developers should discuss ?

Then now let me take the stake as Ettus R. paid Employee and say
"Yikes! am not in this forum atleast "

S–

Thanks for pointing me… Can you please dig down mails from Ettus paid
employee mails for making same statements and remov ethem as well from
the
list… That would be fair…

Also, wish all the best again.

Am working with set of organizations and would bring all the people’s
knowledge on common platform to build a great solution.

All are welcome the the new project.

S–

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