[Top] [All Lists]

[WriteLog] USB support yes LPT and Com support no

To: <writelog@contesting.com>
Subject: [WriteLog] USB support yes LPT and Com support no
From: w5xd@writelog.com (W. Wright, W5XD)
Date: Sun, 1 Sep 2002 00:13:18 -0000
> The other thing that is being repeated by MS is they want to move
> EVERYTHING to USB and get away from not only LPT support but also from
> Com ports.   We need to plan on only having USB in most every hardware
> manufacturers PC's in the future and adapt our software to this. 
> 73 Dave K4JRB
> _______________________________________________

I would like to add that there is a subtle difference important to
contesters between the future of LPT ports and the future of COM ports
in Windows. You can buy USB to LPT port adapters and you can buy
USB to COM port adapters, and it is likely they will continue to be
available for the foreseeable future.

The difference between these that is important to contesters is 
that all the usual functions contesters expect through COM ports--
rig control and CW output--are close enough to the main stream use
of COM ports that the drivers supplied by the manufacturers of
the adapters work just fine for ham use. The same cannot be said
of LPT ports--antenna relay outputs, L/R radio selection, and
even the way CW is output on LPT ports by ham software 
require driver functions that are just not close enough to the
main stream use of LPT ports (printers just don't look like 
antenna relays!) for the manufacturer's driver to do any good
for us. And don't overlook the fact that if you wanted to solve
this problem of the missing drivers, that the problem is 
plural--adding the desired functionality to the USB to LPT
adapter is a different software exercise for each and every
manufacturer. I speculate that it is possible for such drivers
to be written--the hardware design of the adapters probably does
not prevent ham use of LPT ports on USB, but device driver 
writing is a very specialized skill, and it also requires 
extremely detailed documentation of the behavior of the device.
Its just not a good bet that these prerequisites will be met
for LPT devices.

It is true that the built-in LPT ports on most current machines
all behave to the old PC/AT standards from IBM of the 1980's and
there are some widely used methods for getting ham software to
work under current Windows operating systems for those LPT ports.
My decision to not participate in those methods is because they
have to defeat the security built into the operating system in
order to work. But XP has that security built into for a very
good reason--Microsoft is trying to make their products more
stable and reliable. If a user of WriteLog wants to make that
choice, WriteLog will notice the LPT ports are accessible and 
use them like in the old Windows 95/98 days. But WriteLog simply
is not going to be shipped with such functionality built in.
I hate saying "no" to customers, but this is a point on which
I will choose to live with the flak and carry on.

Wayne, W5XD

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>