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Gewitty

Any Linux Users out there?

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The question arises from a discussion on another topic thread recently. I'm doing a bit of research to discover how many geocachers users Linux rather than Windows.

 

Most of the GPS manufacturers make software and firmware available for Windows users, but very few offer support to Linux converts. The rationale seems to be that there are so few Linux users out there that it's not worth their while to offer Linux versions of their apps. But times are changing and Linux is becoming a significant force in the market.

 

Given the techno-savvy nature of geocachers, it occurred to me that this particular demographic might just have a higher than normal percentage of Linux users.

 

So, if you are a Linux user, maybe you could just reply with a quick post and also state which flavour you use.

 

I would have done this easier as a poll, but this forum doesn't seem to support them, so I'll have to do the sums by hand!

 

Regards,

Dave

 

Colorado Ubuntu 9.10 user. Hang in there!

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I have been following this thread for a long time, hoping and waiting for a ¨user friendly¨ Linux GUI interface for geocaching. In the meantime I have converted from Ubuntu to Puppy Linux as my primary Linux OS. I suppose that will complicate things a bit if and when easy to use apps arrive for Ubuntu users and then have to be reformatted to Puppy - something I do not know how to do. Presently I use Puppy for everything except geocaching and then I have to revert to Windows.

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So, if you are a Linux user, maybe you could just reply with a quick post and also state which flavour you use.

I use an older version of Ubuntu (why upgrade if the old version works?), with Windows XP under VMware only for a few essential apps like GSAK and MapSource.

 

So really, I'm not using Linux for caching. I decided it was just too much trouble to find a 100% Linux solution.

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So, if you are a Linux user, maybe you could just reply with a quick post and also state which flavour you use.

 

CentOS 5.4 but if you wrote a 'good' GSAK clone for MacOS I'd be even happier.

Edited by vds

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updating my prior post...

I discovered ott_ocm's OCM and love it (because I was lazy and didn't read this entire thread, I didn't see his reply about it :))

Switched to Ubuntu Lucid in the last few days, too. Yay for seperate $home partitions.

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I finally got around to browsing the forums and was delighted to find a thread that didn't assume everyone runs Windows (or a Mac). I realize that many of these posts are a coupla years old; do many folks today still need to run a Windows box (real or virtual) or Wine just to handle their geocaching needs? If so, could you give me some idea what those needs are? I get the impression there's a whole world of features that everyone but me knows about and uses.

 

I run Kubuntu, recently upgraded to the latest version 10.04LTS Lucid Lynx (well, I run Debian stable on servers but that's not where I do my geocaching-related stuff).

 

I have a Garmin Colorado 400t which is the only GPSr I've used so far for hiking/caching; I also own a TomTom ONE XLS for road navigation. As an aside, I only recently learned that my Colorado can do road routing, but it's not nearly as good at it as the TomTom, nor does it offer me any choices for adjusting the route, as far as I can tell.

 

What works for me: I connect the Colorado to a USB port and it mounts as a removable disk under /media/GARMIN/. I download GPX files from geocaching.com and place them in /media/GARMIN/Garmin/GPX/. I unmount and off I go. Upon my return, I fire up Viking and open my master file that already has various map layers and records of all my past tracks and waypoints. I connect the GPSr and append the file /media/GARMIN/Garmin/GPX/Current/Current.gpx, which appears as a "track and waypoint layer" (after this I can unmount the GPSr if I wish). As the name implies, this shows me all recent tracks and waypoints, which I can view on various maps as well as drag-and-drop into my organized list of travels. I then delete the Current.gpx layer and save my master file.

 

Besides saving a record of my tracks and waypoints, I also use Viking to generate waypoints (for example, many geocache descriptions give coordinates for parking but don't include them as a waypoint in the GPX file, so I have to create it myself), which I can export as a GPX file and place into /media/GARMIN/Garmin/GPX/ like any other.

 

Viking doesn't really have much concept of geocaches, as distinct from waypoints, and ignores all the extra descriptive information in a geocache's GPX file, but then all I really want for my own records is the location.

 

I understand I could use Open Cache Manager or GeoToad to "manage" my geocaches, and no doubt I will once I figure out what that means, specifically.

 

Oh, wait, there is one thing I can't do. Thanks to the manufacturers' contempt for non-Windows users, I do need to find a Windows box in order to update the maps and software on the GPSr itself--this is true for both the TomTom and the Garmin.

 

So what am I missing? What do you all do with geocache information that requires apps that run only on Windows?

 

And one more question: is it generally true of all GPSr's that, when plugged into a USB port, they appear as a removable disk, so I can transfer files in both directions to (a) load cache data and waypoints into the device and (B) fetch tracks from the device? I'm specifically wondering whether this is true of the DeLorme PN series, but any info would help.

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I finally got around to browsing the forums and was delighted to find a thread that didn't assume everyone runs Windows (or a Mac). I realize that many of these posts are a coupla years old; do many folks today still need to run a Windows box (real or virtual) or Wine just to handle their geocaching needs? If so, could you give me some idea what those needs are? I get the impression there's a whole world of features that everyone but me knows about and uses.

 

I run Kubuntu, recently upgraded to the latest version 10.04LTS Lucid Lynx (well, I run Debian stable on servers but that's not where I do my geocaching-related stuff).

 

I have a Garmin Colorado 400t which is the only GPSr I've used so far for hiking/caching; I also own a TomTom ONE XLS for road navigation. As an aside, I only recently learned that my Colorado can do road routing, but it's not nearly as good at it as the TomTom, nor does it offer me any choices for adjusting the route, as far as I can tell.

 

What works for me: I connect the Colorado to a USB port and it mounts as a removable disk under /media/GARMIN/. I download GPX files from geocaching.com and place them in /media/GARMIN/Garmin/GPX/. I unmount and off I go. Upon my return, I fire up Viking and open my master file that already has various map layers and records of all my past tracks and waypoints. I connect the GPSr and append the file /media/GARMIN/Garmin/GPX/Current/Current.gpx, which appears as a "track and waypoint layer" (after this I can unmount the GPSr if I wish). As the name implies, this shows me all recent tracks and waypoints, which I can view on various maps as well as drag-and-drop into my organized list of travels. I then delete the Current.gpx layer and save my master file.

 

Besides saving a record of my tracks and waypoints, I also use Viking to generate waypoints (for example, many geocache descriptions give coordinates for parking but don't include them as a waypoint in the GPX file, so I have to create it myself), which I can export as a GPX file and place into /media/GARMIN/Garmin/GPX/ like any other.

 

Viking doesn't really have much concept of geocaches, as distinct from waypoints, and ignores all the extra descriptive information in a geocache's GPX file, but then all I really want for my own records is the location.

 

I understand I could use Open Cache Manager or GeoToad to "manage" my geocaches, and no doubt I will once I figure out what that means, specifically.

 

Oh, wait, there is one thing I can't do. Thanks to the manufacturers' contempt for non-Windows users, I do need to find a Windows box in order to update the maps and software on the GPSr itself--this is true for both the TomTom and the Garmin.

 

So what am I missing? What do you all do with geocache information that requires apps that run only on Windows?

 

And one more question: is it generally true of all GPSr's that, when plugged into a USB port, they appear as a removable disk, so I can transfer files in both directions to (a) load cache data and waypoints into the device and (:( fetch tracks from the device? I'm specifically wondering whether this is true of the DeLorme PN series, but any info would help.

 

OCM linux/GSAK windows is about organizing your caches, i.e keeping track of what's found, planning where I'd like to go to do more caches, filtering out caches that have recent DNF's, organizing my final locations for solved puzzles, etc. Geotoad helps build Pocket Queries, and actually complements OCM.

 

QLandkarte GT actually handles the sending maps to the GPS part well on a linux machine, I highly recommend it. The only thing I ever need to boot into Windows now for is firmware updates.

 

As for GPS appearing as removable drives, no that's not true. Newer GPS generally do, older ones like my Garmin eTrex don't. However, GPSBabel takes care of sending caches to these kinds of machines.

Edited by ocm_ott

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As for GPS appearing as removable drives, no that's not true. Newer GPS generally do, older ones like my Garmin eTrex don't.

Are you sure about that?

 

My 60Cx of a similar vintage will show up as a removable drive, but only after I put it into USB Mass Storage mode (under Setup / Interface).

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As for GPS appearing as removable drives, no that's not true. Newer GPS generally do, older ones like my Garmin eTrex don't.

Are you sure about that?

 

My 60Cx of a similar vintage will show up as a removable drive, but only after I put it into USB Mass Storage mode (under Setup / Interface).

 

My in-laws eTrex Vista HCx has the mass storage mode, my eTrex Venture HC doesn't. It's hit and miss with the older units, but even in Mass Storage mode none of them use GPX files.

Edited by ocm_ott

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eTrex is both a specific product name and the name of name of a family of products, so there's room for confusion. Certain (late) members of the eTrex line, like the X members of the 60/76 line, can be put into mass storage mode for reading tracks as GPX and writing maps and POI files. None of those products will read and write waypoints in GPX.

 

But this isn't Linux specific, so further dives into Garmin Trivial Pursuit should probably go into a new thread.

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My frustration with waypoint transfer tools under UNIX/Linux was the original motivation for GPSBabel. See: http://www.gpsbabel.org/people/robertlipe.html Mac and Windows came later.

 

I used Linux almost exclusively for my geocaching needs (minus the occasional map upload or printing of a big map) for about six years. I still visit it from time to time and keep GPSBabel running there, but it's not my primary platform these days.

 

Contrary to popular press, I'm actually seeing the GPSBabel traffic in Linux shrink over time. Fewer downloads, fewer contributions, fewer code changes.

 

I suspect that one reason you are seeing fewer downloads is that GPSBabel has gone mainstream. Magellan in including GPSBabel in its VantagePoint software. no doubt, many other GPS manufacturers doing the same.. They are effectively acting as your distributors.

 

IThe Magellan software has file import and export GUI front-ends to GPSBabel.

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My frustration with waypoint transfer tools under UNIX/Linux was the original motivation for GPSBabel. See: http://www.gpsbabel.org/people/robertlipe.html Mac and Windows came later.

 

I used Linux almost exclusively for my geocaching needs (minus the occasional map upload or printing of a big map) for about six years. I still visit it from time to time and keep GPSBabel running there, but it's not my primary platform these days.

 

Contrary to popular press, I'm actually seeing the GPSBabel traffic in Linux shrink over time. Fewer downloads, fewer contributions, fewer code changes.

 

I suspect that one reason you are seeing fewer downloads is that GPSBabel has gone mainstream. Magellan in including GPSBabel in its VantagePoint software. no doubt, many other GPS manufacturers doing the same.. They are effectively acting as your distributors.

 

IThe Magellan software has file import and export GUI front-ends to GPSBabel.

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Microsoft has spent truckload of money to trivialize linux. Their current tactic involves market share reports to "prove" that Linux is only installed on 2 or three percent.

 

The problem with this type of reasoning is that it only counts units (or copies) sold and in the case of Linux, commercial sales are only a tiny percentage of the installed base. There is no way to know exactly how many computers are running free Linux Distros. I've seen estimates ranging between 10 and 30 percent of computer as the percentage of linux systems.

 

So what we need to do to get better support from the GPS manufacturers, is to convince them that we are a significant market. After all, these guys make some excellent hardware, but they seriously are not software guys. We need to make our presence known.

 

Ig you use linux, and have a GPS by a company that is not Linux friendly, email their support people. POint out that they don't even have to pay anyone to provide linux support. All they have to minimally do is simply publish the communication protocols. Point out they are losing sales to their Linux friendly competition. Do this in your own twords. Do not copy and passte someone elses work, so they will see there are a bunch of us out here.

When the marketing people realixe they've been ignoring a large part of their customerbase, they might respond. If they dont, well, screw 'em andbuy products with good Linux support.

Edited by GClouse

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... buy products with good Linux support.

 

Other than open-source products, such as GPSBabel (which, despite Robert's indications of frustration, still seems to have excellent support for Linux; I suppose it's all relative), what products have good Linux support?

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I've been collecting info about this since I use a Magellan Triton 2000 and haven't gotten it to talk with my Debian system at home.

Here is what I've found so far.

 

The triton uses a variant of Windiws CE core, probably mobile Core 6.5. "Core " OS versions use the CE kernel and hardware support, but hide behind a custom GUI.

The Windows PC companion software, VantagePoint appears to be written in .Net with some native library usage. The usb device driver is called MUD.sys which adds two com ports in the device manager after the triton is plugged in.

 

looking at the files in the VantagePoint program directory, I discovered a log file that had been created by the previous firmware update. The log file implied that a common remote protocol, either RAPI or possibly RNDIS which connect the Windows desktop to a windows CE device as if it is a shared network drive.

 

Building on this info, my guess is that the Windows driver presents the gps as a networked drive and that the sound and image files for the recorder and camera are simply copied to and from the flash memory on the gps. Since it is Windows centric, I am currently assuming that way-point data on the on the gps is most likely a SQL Ce database format.

 

Based on this info, accessing this Windows Mobile based GPS is probably just a matter of finding open source driver dupport for rndis and rapi to connect the gps as a remote drive and using an OBDC driver to read, write and update the database on the GPS.

 

On the Linux side of things

 

Plugging the triton into my linux box resulted in devfs creating device fields for three endpoint devices. two of which respond with abinary data when read with the cat command.

 

After a bit of searching on the internet, I found kernel drivers for for rndis and rapi, but binary versions are not included for my distro. I also found source code for kernel drivers supporting Garmin and Navman GPSrs but I don't know which models are supported. There is also dome driver support for some Windows mobile devices, and several linux projects geared toward providing basic access to PPC and WM handhelds..

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... buy products with good Linux support.

 

Other than open-source products, such as GPSBabel (which, despite Robert's indications of frustration, still seems to have excellent support for Linux; I suppose it's all relative), what products have good Linux support?

 

Newer units like my Colorado 300 and Delorme PN-60 (unsure about Magellan units) have made things a lot easier for non-win users. When you plug them-in, they mount as a flash drive and you can drag and drop GPX files right onto the device.

 

Both the PN-60 and the Colorado also treat maps as files. Just drop a .img file into the /Garmin directory and it shows up. Similarly, Topo 9 comes with "pre-cut" map DVD's for the Delorme where you can also drag and drop the maps you want into the /maps folder on the machine.

 

However, to do firmware updates or to get imagery from Delorme Map Library or Garmin's Birds Eye will require you to use a VM or dual boot setup.

Edited by ocm_ott

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EDIT: forget the msg below. In part my problem stems from funky usb connector to the PN-60, it is hard for me to get a good connection. Even then, it only works in SD card reading mode, and then only on my Mac book pro. It looks like I am doomed to format one of my laptops as a windblows machine. How sad!!

END EDIT

 

I recently bought a PN-60 and have spend quite a few hours trying to make it work with ubuntu and first virtualbox and then vmware workstation.

 

My Zumo 550 is readily recognized by Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. But the PN-60 remains invisible. :anicute:

If anyone has some bright ideas on what's funky with the PN-60 and Ubuntu, please give a shout.

 

... buy products with good Linux support.

 

Newer units like my Colorado 300 and Delorme PN-60 (unsure about Magellan units) have made things a lot easier for non-win users. When you plug them-in, they mount as a flash drive and you can drag and drop GPX files right onto the device.

 

Both the PN-60 and the Colorado also treat maps as files. Just drop a .img file into the /Garmin directory and it shows up. Similarly, Topo 9 comes with "pre-cut" map DVD's for the Delorme where you can also drag and drop the maps you want into the /maps folder on the machine.

 

However, to do firmware updates or to get imagery from Delorme Map Library or Garmin's Birds Eye will require you to use a VM or dual boot setup.

Edited by motomixon

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It looks like I am doomed to format one of my laptops as a windblows machine. How sad!!

If you have 1G ram or more consider running XP in VirtualBox. I found this the least unpleasant option to live with windblows.

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I use Ubuntu and have been able to do everything I need to do except update the maps. I have experimented with QLandkarte, and I thought I was transferring map files to my Dakota via USB, but I never could find them on the GPS. So I'm apparently doing something wrong. I've also played around with Merkaator, but haven't had a lot of success with it either. I'm hoping someone can come up with an easy-to-use GPS mapping program for Linux.

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I use Ubuntu and have been able to do everything I need to do except update the maps. I have experimented with QLandkarte, and I thought I was transferring map files to my Dakota via USB, but I never could find them on the GPS. So I'm apparently doing something wrong. I've also played around with Merkaator, but haven't had a lot of success with it either. I'm hoping someone can come up with an easy-to-use GPS mapping program for Linux.

 

One of the best mapping applications that I've come across is Quo from a company called Mapyx (www.mapyx.com) The Quo application is extremely powerful and uses both OS and Open Source maps, as well as offering the ability for users to scan and calibrate their own maps. There is a plug-in which supports the import of Geocaching files, as well as numerous other facilities, such as route and track plotting, import/export, etc. The complete range of OS maps (1:25000 Explorer and 1:50000 Landranger) are available for purchase as 'tiles', which are only £1.89+VAT and £0.92+VAT each, so you only need to buy tiles for the immediate area you are interested in.

 

Best of all is the fact that the Quo application is completely free.

 

The only downside is that currently the program only runs under Windows. However, I got around that by using VirtualBox in Ubuntu and installing Quo in XP running on a virtual machine.

 

Highly recommended and well worth a try.

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GNU/Linux user here. I use QTLandkarte GT to upload and download caches, tracks etc. to/from my Garmin eTrex Legend HCx. It works quite well. I also used it with my netbook on the train in "live log" mode which is quite good.

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I use Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, and Ubuntu Server, all depending on where I am and what I'm doing. I've also used Gentoo in the past. Glad to see a decent amount of fellow *nix users on here.

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I'm an occasional user of Ubuntu and Suse linux. I load it usually to see how far it has advanced but like most it's not a viable alternative due to lack of support for things like Mapsource, Base Camp etc. The many distributions don't help of course as most are aware. Here's hoping for more support in the future though. Thanks for the topic OP.

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I'm an occasional user of Ubuntu and Suse linux. I load it usually to see how far it has advanced but like most it's not a viable alternative due to lack of support for things like Mapsource, Base Camp etc. The many distributions don't help of course as most are aware. Here's hoping for more support in the future though. Thanks for the topic OP.

 

Actually, the problem is the other way around. It's not that Ubuntu and Suse don't support Mapsource and Base Camp, but that Mapsource and Suse don't support Linux!

 

If some of the application developers out there took the trouble to check the statistics on just how many Linux users there are now, they might just realise that they're missing out on a very large market sector.

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I'm an occasional user of Ubuntu and Suse linux. I load it usually to see how far it has advanced but like most it's not a viable alternative due to lack of support for things like Mapsource, Base Camp etc. The many distributions don't help of course as most are aware. Here's hoping for more support in the future though. Thanks for the topic OP.

 

Actually, the problem is the other way around. It's not that Ubuntu and Suse don't support Mapsource and Base Camp, but that Mapsource and Suse don't support Linux!

 

If some of the application developers out there took the trouble to check the statistics on just how many Linux users there are now, they might just realise that they're missing out on a very large market sector.

 

I should have been more clear in my "accusation" lol. I'm aware of where the lack of support lies but thanks in case anyone doesn't know how the software industry works.

 

Linux has came a long way considering its open source and driven mostly by volunteers. I sometimes have Ubuntu installed on my desktop so visitors can get a taste of it, that and I enjoy seeing their reactions also.

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I know how the software industry works. I just checked the usage stats from GPSBabel. I currently have 29x as many Mac users as Linux users. This number isn't just upgrade checkins, it's born out with tip amounts and support load.

 

I'm a 25+ year UNIX dude that has no axe to grind. (I used to be a sr. kernel engineer at a well-known UNIX vendor and I can't imagine running a web server on anything other than LAMP these days.) But in this market space, the critical mass really isn't there. Rounded to integers, the market share of Win/Mac/Linux for GPSBabel is 85/13/0. If you were managing a group's development dollar, where would you spend it? Can you really consider this corner of the market "very large"?

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I know how the software industry works. I just checked the usage stats from GPSBabel. I currently have 29x as many Mac users as Linux users. This number isn't just upgrade checkins, it's born out with tip amounts and support load.

 

I'm a 25+ year UNIX dude that has no axe to grind. (I used to be a sr. kernel engineer at a well-known UNIX vendor and I can't imagine running a web server on anything other than LAMP these days.) But in this market space, the critical mass really isn't there. Rounded to integers, the market share of Win/Mac/Linux for GPSBabel is 85/13/0. If you were managing a group's development dollar, where would you spend it? Can you really consider this corner of the market "very large"?

 

The stats you quote seem to be taken from figures collected regarding which OS's actually use GPSBabel currently. If that's the case then they can't be used to assess the size of the potential market amongst Linux users. If GPSBabel don't offer a Linux version, but do offer Win and Mac options, then it naturally follows that there will be very few Linux users appearing in the usage and support stats.

 

To accurately gauge the potential market, you need to know how many installed Linux systems there are are globally and that's difficult to pin down. Current estimates put the figure between two and four percent of the total, say around 21 million users. Not an insignificant figure, especially if you then factor in the demographics. Linux users tend to adopt, own and use more gadgets than those on other OS's, so products like GPSBabel will be in higher demand amongst them.

 

Add to that the fact that Linux usage is growing at 2/3 times the rate of the other platforms and you might just conclude that it's a market worth targeting.

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Besides using Linux as part of my my job I do run Linux at home. Mainly Redhat, Centos, and Suse. Some non-Linux and arguably non-Linux; Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Irix, HP-UX.

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If GPSBabel don't offer a Linux version, but do offer Win and Mac options, then it naturally follows that there will be very few Linux users appearing in the usage and support stats.
GPSBabel was initially developed on Linux and a version has always been available. I didn't make up the numbers.

 

Current estimates put the figure between two and four percent of the total

So if you're a product manager and responsible for paying for the development, would you really justify the development costs that, if you got 100% of that market, would be between two and four percent of the total?

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Rounded to integers, the market share of Win/Mac/Linux for GPSBabel is 85/13/0.

 

Unfortunately, measuring linux usage of any package is a real challenge. I am the manager of a number of successful open source packages, and my paying customers frequently ask me "how many people use it?". Well, it's extremely hard to count. Almost every non MS system out there has open source packaging systems that hide the true count from the developers. It's a very good thing to make it pre-packaged and available on demand, but it completely removes the ability to accurately gauge how many users you have. EG, the most successful of the software that I deliver is now part of pretty much every OS stack out there except windows. OSX, Solaris, every Linux distribution, etc re-packages my source code and distributes it. This makes it absolutely impossible to count my users. And really, I don't care too much. (It's my customers that care.)

 

So what does this mean in terms of gpsbabel? It has the exact same issue: it's pre-packaged with every linux OS out there. That means counting the linux usage is pretty much impossible. Although some systems, like debian, does have some useful tools to help you see rising and falling trends of a package:

 

http://qa.debian.org/popcon.php?package=gpsbabel

 

but is only measuring a percentage of their actual users themselves. Still, however, it's interesting to see the usage in gpsbabel steadily climb!

 

Now... You might think that paying contributions are a useful way to judge, but I disagree with that. There are different classes of users out there and linux users fall into their own camp. Linux users are:

 

1) end-users that are used to getting things for free and don't have the desire to pay for stuff.

2) developers that contribute freely with their own code and don't feel it's fair to pay for stuff when they're helping 'the cause' as well.

3) end-users that might pay but because of the above "apt-get install gpsbabel" have *no idea* that they're even being asked to contribute "a tip".

 

Now, I'm not condoning the above three viewpoints. I'm just stating that it's unfortunately an apples and oranges comparison to a large extent.

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If GPSBabel don't offer a Linux version, but do offer Win and Mac options, then it naturally follows that there will be very few Linux users appearing in the usage and support stats.
GPSBabel was initially developed on Linux and a version has always been available. I didn't make up the numbers.

 

Current estimates put the figure between two and four percent of the total

So if you're a product manager and responsible for paying for the development, would you really justify the development costs that, if you got 100% of that market, would be between two and four percent of the total?

 

I really wasn't inferring that you made up any numbers. Nor was I looking for an argument. Just trying to make the point that application developers should pay more attention to the Linux market than many of them do now. MS isn't going to be around forever and is already showing signs of fatigue; so a superior OS, such as Linux, is bound to emerge as a serious contender before long.

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So what does this mean in terms of gpsbabel? It has the exact same issue: it's pre-packaged with every linux OS out there. That means counting the linux usage is pretty much impossible. Although some systems, like debian, does have some useful tools to help you see rising and falling trends of a package:

 

http://qa.debian.org...ackage=gpsbabel

 

but is only measuring a percentage of their actual users themselves. Still, however, it's interesting to see the usage in gpsbabel steadily climb!

 

Almost 1500 installs in five years, of which 270 use the package? Am I really reading that correctly?

 

Now... You might think that paying contributions are a useful way to judge, but I disagree with that. There are different classes of users out there and linux users fall into their own camp. Linux users are:

 

1) end-users that are used to getting things for free and don't have the desire to pay for stuff.

2) developers that contribute freely with their own code and don't feel it's fair to pay for stuff when they're helping 'the cause' ™ as well.

3) end-users that might pay but because of the above "apt-get install gpsbabel" have *no idea* that they're even being asked to contribute "a tip".

 

Now, I'm not condoning the above three viewpoints. I'm just stating that it's unfortunately an apples and oranges comparison to a large extent.

My perception of the personalities of the user base isn't important. But to point #3, the the vendors seem to do everything they can to isolate the user from the actual developer. I've seen no support from the distro vendors into my project, only a few legal threats and ill-defined help requests. (The one that comes to mind was "We upgraded docbook and now Java is dumping core when building your doc. Can you fix that?") Most of the vendors don't even ship a sensibly configured build, I have to keep a page up with the USB configuration information - which is seemingly different for every version of each distro - before it'll work for most users. So I'm really not feeling any love for being included with the OS.

 

Perhaps the distros do such a super job isolating the customers/users from the developers that they're just invisible to me. I'm skeptical as I also have experience with another project much larger than GPSBabel, too, that's not distributed by the OS vendors. The breakdown of the three main OSes (esp. when this one is actually several different OSes) is not really radically different.

 

The market share is tiny which means the mindshare of professional development groups - especially hardware companies - is small. If you're a product manager at Garmin or TomTom or Magellan or whatever, you have to ask how many more units you could move if you "supported" Linux and then you look at the cost of actually doing that. In this intersection of niche markets, nobody has thought it's made sense. The best that that's happened is the trend of GPSes showing up as mass storage devices that you copy GPX to and from instead of using proprietary comm protocols. That at least opens the doors to other developers that are more motivated to cater to that tiny number of users.

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Almost 1500 installs in five years, of which 270 use the package? Am I really reading that correctly?

 

Well, you need to read it in terms of trend (it's going up) and percentage (.29% of debian users are active geocachers). It's an opt-in program (I believe; I actually don't use debian and am not an expert) so you can't read the raw numbers as "I only have 270 users". The best you can do is draw conclusions from the percentages within the people that opted-in.

 

Note that 0 people installed the documentation, which is probably where the "help support me" file is.

 

3) end-users that might pay but because of the above "apt-get install gpsbabel" have *no idea* that they're even being asked to contribute "a tip".

 

But to point #3, the the vendors seem to do everything they can to isolate the user from the actual developer.

 

What irks me even more is how the *packagers* often don't even submit bug reports upstream. The number of times I've gone patch-trolling looking for patches being applied that I've never seen... And I *always* find one.

 

But yes, developers are far removed from the end-users. If it makes you feel better, it's actually very similar in the commercial world. See dilbert for references :-)

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So what does this mean in terms of gpsbabel? It has the exact same issue: it's pre-packaged with every linux OS out there. That means counting the linux usage is pretty much impossible. Although some systems, like debian, does have some useful tools to help you see rising and falling trends of a package:

 

http://qa.debian.org...ackage=gpsbabel

 

but is only measuring a percentage of their actual users themselves. Still, however, it's interesting to see the usage in gpsbabel steadily climb!

 

Almost 1500 installs in five years, of which 270 use the package? Am I really reading that correctly?

 

1) The tracking is opt-in, probably only a certain percentage of users use it (goes back to the whole "metrics are a ****" thing)

2) Unless that includes Ubuntu statistics it isn't too meaningful. Not many people run straight Debian these days.

 

Unrelated: As to your personally collected statistics, will an Ubuntu install give you any statistics? I'm guessing not likely, the Ubuntu packagers wouldn't be too happy with a package that "phones home" in the background, and I know gpsbabel never prompted me to collect usage statistics back when I used it. (See my post a while ago - my Oregon's native GPX support has largely rended gpsbabel unnecessary for me.) Also, for support, people will often go to ubuntuforums first rather than upstream to ensure that "distro-specific" bugs don't bother upstream. In fact I think this is general Ubuntu guidance - report bugs through Ubuntu's system (in case it's distro-specific breakage) and then package maintainers might kick things upstream if they can't fix it.

 

As to a drop in commits to gpsbabel from users - Well, you have a fairly mature and robust project, and modern GPS receivers reducing the need for gpsbabel due to supporting more standard formats natively. The drop in contributions may just be due to a drop in needs for fixes/new functionality now that the project is very mature.

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I've been using Linux (currently Suse 11.3) exclusively for about 2 years now. I have mapsource installed with wine and use the openmtb and TOPO maps without a problem.

Edited by bricklady

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I see this thread was started about 2yrs ago but I just started using Linux a couple of months ago, so I thought I would chime in as a latecomer. I recently installed Ubuntu 9.10 and then upgraded to 10.04. I am starting to use OCM, GeoQO and GC Statistic. I haven't used GSAK much, other than as a GUI for gpsbabbel but so far I like OCM better. I just like the layout a little more. I haven't messed with GeoQO a lot yet either, other than making a cache density plot for my city. It is going to be fun trying out all the stuff it can do. The cache density application is awesome, it is one of the coolest tools I have seen for caching so far. Its great that you guys have made it possible for cachers to live without Winders. My GPSr is an old timer, so I don't need to worry about firmware upgrades.

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I've been running Linux on my personal machines since the early 90s, when it came on images you burned to floppies. IIRC, the first kernel I used was 0.98, and there wasn't even a distribution yet, just a kernel and some GNU utilities. I have earned my living working as a Linux system administrator (although I am currently unemployed).

 

Linux has sure come a long way since then. The internet pretty much runs on Linux now.

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Linux has sure come a long way since then. The internet pretty much runs on Linux now.

 

Except Groundspeak, maybe. And some others :ph34r:

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I've been using Ubuntu since 2003. I still use Microsoft because I'm in a support role and have to support it. There are things MS will do that Linux won't, and vice versa. My personal preference is Ubuntu with either VirtualBox or VMware with a Microsoft virtual machine for when I need it. Since I use the Android phone app and the GC.com website for my hunting, a Linux laptop works great.

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I've been running Linux on my personal machines since the early 90s, when it came on images you burned to floppies. IIRC, the first kernel I used was 0.98, and there wasn't even a distribution yet, just a kernel and some GNU utilities. I have earned my living working as a Linux system administrator (although I am currently unemployed).

 

Linux has sure come a long way since then. The internet pretty much runs on Linux now.

 

Groundspeak decided to go with Microsoft-IIS for some reason.

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I triple boot Windows 7, openSUSE (KDE), and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and I mainly use the Windows Partition for geocaching for the same reasons as everyone else.

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michaelnel, you should be surprised.

 

IIS only runs on Windows, exposes low level kernel functions allowing arbitrary privilege upgrades due to the "Close integration" between IIS and Windows. The Microsoft security model, designed to protect Microsoft's profits, can best be described as "preemptive perimeter with post-active repair as a second line of defense.

 

Apache, the most popular Open Source web server, runs on Windows, Linux, Unix, BSD MVS, OSVS, in short, everything from routers to mainframes. Apache doesn't patch into the kernel on Linux, and takes advantage of the pervasive security model in Linux.

 

The only real advantage of IIS is a plethora of bland minimally customizable prebuilt binaries that can be purchased.

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The question arises from a discussion on another topic thread recently. I'm doing a bit of research to discover how many geocachers users Linux rather than Windows.

 

Most of the GPS manufacturers make software and firmware available for Windows users, but very few offer support to Linux converts. The rationale seems to be that there are so few Linux users out there that it's not worth their while to offer Linux versions of their apps. But times are changing and Linux is becoming a significant force in the market.

 

Given the techno-savvy nature of geocachers, it occurred to me that this particular demographic might just have a higher than normal percentage of Linux users.

 

So, if you are a Linux user, maybe you could just reply with a quick post and also state which flavour you use.

 

I would have done this easier as a poll, but this forum doesn't seem to support them, so I'll have to do the sums by hand!

 

Regards,

Dave

 

Old thread, but I'll play.

 

All our home machines run Linux; either Ubuntu or Kubuntu. As a Linux/UNIX systems administrator, oddly enough all my (1300) "work machines" run either UNIX or Linux. Except for my work laptop, which runs XP (go figure).

 

Still looking for a manufacturer who supports at least a browser plug-in for Linux before I make my next GPSr purchase. Or am I tilting at windmills, here? :blink:

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michaelnel, you should be surprised.

 

I'm not surprised because if other evidence of poor decision making on gs's part.

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Still looking for a manufacturer who supports at least a browser plug-in for Linux before I make my next GPSr purchase. Or am I tilting at windmills, here? :blink:

 

You're beyond tilting at windmills. There is zero business reason for them. It would be nice, but changing what you do as a consumer expecting that miracle seems silly to me. You'd wait forever.

 

Given the open source nature of the Linux browsers, there should be nothing stopping a developer from doing cool stuff, assuming said developer (1) has an itch to scratch (2) the time and inclination to work the issue and (3) the skill set. My assessment is nobody really cares enough in the open source community.

 

Re: the previous comments about GS and MS products, I use Firefox exclusively and I'm not aware of me being stopped from using GS features as a result on WinXP, Win7, Mac, Linux, or Android.

 

[...Linux user since April 1992 so I've used almost all of the major distros since almost Linux day-one...]

Edited by vds

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