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New Computer--Mac or Win 7?

Aug 16th 2011, 14:12


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
A member asks:

I need a new computer.Do I buy a mac or microsoft system? I have been told that the majority of programs for ham radio are written in microsoft? Is this true?

Yes, most of the ham radio programs are written for Windows. However, many of the old programs are no longer compatible with x64 bit Windows 7

Very few hams write software for both systems—most hams write software as a hobby—supporting multiple systems turns it into a job.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer.
Aug 16th 2011, 19:32


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi Zack. My answer would be none of the above. I use an IBM T42 laptop with Aptosid GNU/Linux installed for Amateur radio . It is actually set up as a dual boot system, WonXP PRO (sp2), and Aptosid. Aptosid is based on Debian SID, which means that you get the latest versions of software, but there are also occasional problems. I recommend Simply Mepis to new linux users. I cannot recommend Windows 7, as far too many programs that work fine in XP will not run at all or are crippled in win7. Many software authors have refused to re-write their software for vista/win7.

My advice is to find an IBM/LEVONO laptop, install WinXP, and Simply Mepis. You will have saved a considerable amount of money, and will be able to run some very good Amateur radio software.
Aug 18th 2011, 18:59


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
While it doesn't apply directly to amateur radio, here at work we have seen various application incompatibilities with Win7. Do your homework! Research the software you plan to use to be sure it will be compatible.

If you look at a Mac or even are thinking about Linux, do the same--do your research! Make sure that any system will do what you want.

BTW, cross-platform apps are out there. W1HKJ's software is one such example. You will note that such programs generally start on Linux and then use portable libraries to run on Mac and Windows. It seems to be much more rare (perhaps difficult?) to port from Windows to Linux or Mac to Linux. Just my observation.

Personally, I run a mixture of Debian Stable, Testing, and Unstable depending on the task at hand along with Mythbuntu 10.04 for my DVR and a VirtualBox installation of Xubuntu 10.10 for building Win32 binaries of Hamlib. A person's toolbox often needs more than one OS for handling various tasks.

73, de Nate >>

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