Week 1 Progress

Time for a quick progress report. The pit is already taking shape: Perhaps there is a record for the quickest ‘pit build ever? Alas, I suspect that the mechanical bit, the actual body, is the easy part!

After 4 trips to the DIY Shop, the main frame of the cockpit is complete! Both the port and starboard ribs are in place and the runners are in place too.The port cockpit inner top side is fitted and drying as we speak. Some rework was needed to make the side fit: in the original design the inner curve was too tight for the hardboard to follow, even when pre-bent and it kept jumping off.

Assuming the wood supplies hold out, the next seven days should see the fitting of the remaining inner skin, the cutting and screwing in of the internal panels, the fitting of the seat and initial marking for the perspex panels themselves. In slower time, the design of the front nose cabin section will begin. This section can house the two PC’s. Slow time can’t be too slow though: the front windshield design relies on a completed cabinet!

Tomorrow should also see the fitting of the dowels to make the sides properly removeable. If this works okay, things can continue with the outer skin. Presently the sides are held in place with large woodscrews to stop them moving during construction.

Roy Coates has kindly agreed to take some detailed shots from the interior of his own ‘pit, so this will help enormously.

Ideally, I’d like to get everything done with just one Hagstrom controller, so things will be a bit tight on the number of switches: I’m wondering if the Hagstrom supports common anode design so that I can flick PC1 and PC2 common keys with a SELect switch.

Judging from the strength of the sides, I would have said that the general construction has worked really well: MDF ribs with Pine and MDF Runners. In general, it’s just glue holding it all together: screws are only used in critical locations.

Day 4 and 5 Progress

Okay, I got around to getting some wood bought. The door in the port side is cut and I’ve just about completed the stringers: see the gallery for shots!

The pit is now turned around ready for me to start the starboard side on Friday afternoon. I’m hoping that the starboard side will be much faster to build now that I’ve done the head scratching once already!

I’ve made some progress on the electronics: I’ve examined the Farnell, RS and Maplin sites for switches etc. RS and Farnell have huge ranges, Interestingly, too large to really browse: Must get hard copy of RS catalogue!

Maplin has a small product range, but this makes it easy to flick through. It looks like the switches alone for this project will come out to about £150. Ouch!

Roy Coates very kindly agreed to give me the details for his panel layouts, so I’m hoping to get some work done on the layout over the weekend.

I’m also planning on buying a stick and rudder: until I get these there are critical measurements in the pit that I don’t know.

Much shopping still to do! Computer rooom is slowly being tidied up: I’ve got no room for anything now! Skipping old stuff. Is January too early for a spring clean?

Bruce Perens on MyDoom

Bruce Perens has published the following article, Is reproduced here on TurboTas in full, from the version on NewsForge.

January 26, 2004, a new virus became rampant. I have reports that the virus payload has two purposes: to send an email spam for a mail-order “Viagra” vendor, and to perform a denial-of-service attack on SCO’s web site.Denial-of-service attacks via virus have been a common trick of email spammers. They were first used to take out some of the anti-spam blacklist sites. Several of those sites had their (non-spam-related) business so heavily disrupted that they closed the doors of their anti-spam projects rather than be attacked again.

The Open Source developers are a target of spammers. We are the creators of most high-profile anti-spam technology. For example, SpamAssassin started out as, and remains today, an Open Source project. The predominant mail delivery programs of the Internet are Open Source projects such as Sendmail and Postfix, and thus most efforts to spam-proof those programs are Open Source as well. This is important, because it gives spammers a reason to defame us.

SCO also has a reason to defame us, as part of their stock-kiting scheme. We have assembled ample evidence that they have lied under oath in court. Such a company would not balk at attacking their own site in order to paint their opponents in a bad light.

Thus, it is likely that this virus has been assembled for the purpose of defaming the Linux developers by spammers, SCO, or others. Your behavior will influence whether or not it succeeds in this mission.

Thus, I urge all persons who have sympathy for Free Software, Open Source, and Linux:

  • Do not cheer on attacks on the SCO site. By doing so, you falsely implicate our community in the attacks, in the eyes of outsiders who read your words. Our community believes in freedom of speech, not silencing our opponent’s speech through net attacks. We will defeat SCO using the truth, not by gagging them.
  • Publicly deplore the attacks as an attempt to defame us, and not an effort of our community. Show others this notice.
  • Continue to fight SCO, using all legal means at your disposal. Show others the analysis of SCO’s ongoing fraud at Groklaw.net and elsewhere, and explain to them your own experience as a participant in the Free Software community.
  • Continue the visible presence of Free Software as a force for good in the world by producing excellent original software for everyone’s free use and deploying it wherever possible. Promote these projects to the press and public as you carry them out. Do what you can for other public-good projects such as schools and non-profit organizations. FreeGeek.org is an excellent example of how to carry this out.
  • Show others by example that our side always takes the high road. When they see a low-road sort of action like denial-of-service, spam, or stock fraud, they’ll know who to blame.

Remember that your actions count. You are ambassadors of our community.

Many Thanks

The master version of this notice is at http://perens.com/Articles/SCO/DOS/. Please check that location for a more recent version. You may re-publish this material. You may excerpt it, reformat it and translate it as necessary for your presentation. You may not edit it to deliberately misrepresent my opinion.

Day 3 Progress

Build day 3 and the pit is now starting to take shape: the day was taken up with cutting, sanding and fitting ribs for the left hand side of the fuselage. As the finished pit will not be that strong, I’ve decided to use a feature from the original design and include a door.

Although this does aid entry and egress it also makes the construction significantly more complex and build time will be longer.

As I’ve run out of wood, the right Fuselage side will have to wait. Also, I can’t do much more until the front cabinet design is finalised: the fuselage sides need to have the correct taper at the front and I can’t get this without the cabinet.

The front cabinet in the example build houses two PC’s but I want mine to hold perhaps 4 (3 visual and 1 gauge), so the cab needs to be big enough for 4 small desktops.

Probably a visit to the timber yard is next, then bring the right side up to the build state of the left, then cut the doors. If I can catch up on the right side and cut the doors by the weekend, I’ll be really happy!

On the misc side I’ve started some WIKI pages on the main site to start thinking about what I need to do. Hardly project management 😉

TurboTas 2004

Day 2 Progress

Okay, build day 2 began with a visit to my local DIY centre where, for the princly sum of £70, I procured enough wood for the first part of the build, the center console and side panel shells.

In common with other designs, the pit needs to be dismantleable: This is mainly due to being somewhat larger than a doorway!

To fit this requirement the pit will split into 4 main pieces: The front ‘nose’ will be a cabinet to hold the PC’s that run the sim. Next is the main pit that forms a 61cm wide section with the center console, the seat and the back. The other two major parts will be the sides: these semi-cylinders attach to the sides of the pit to enclose it and give more panelspace for dials, stick and throttle.

There are some smaller ancillary parts: a canopy, the front screen and the rear headrest, but these will follow much later in the build.

The rest of day two was used laying out the floor, measuring and cutting MDF and then building the centre console The gallery has all the piccies.

Day 1 Progress

Using the previously mentioned pit as an example, and with the help of my two residential carers, I sat myself on the proposed SimPit seat (Ex WAB) and we began measuring me.

Sounds daft I know, but when presented with a blank sheet of paper and you are designing an aircraft cockpit, it rapidly becomes really important that you can see out the windscreen and that you can reach the pedals and switches!

The effort here cannot be understated and halfway through the helpers got fed up and went back to their other assigned tasks.

Design Stage 2 instead then: IO mechanism. Its unfortunate that the market leader here is so expensive. No-one argues that EPIC controllers are the best way to go.

Unfortunately, there is no way that my budget would stretch to this so another solution was needed. Also to add weight against the EPIC, it’s not clear how many sims support it so we need something a bit more generic. Enter the Hagstrom.

Hagstrom Electronics sell a Keyboard controller card which sits between the real keyboard and the PS2 connector on the PC. The device supports up to 72 switches and can play macros and switch/on switch/off events. The card costs about $120 plus shipping, so the cost per switched input is pretty low.

Now that the design is very much a generic cockpit for a single seater craft, such as a fighter for example, I have discarded the idea of buying hideously expensive switches.

Instead, my local electronics online catalogue is the ideal place for a whole bunch of generic toggle switches which won’t cost an arm and a leg.

TurboTas 2004

Sim Pit Build Announcement

I’ve been ooing and ahhhing for years now at the excellent quality of some of the home built Sim cockpits out there. Clearly there are people dedicating serious time and money to their sim experiences.

It’s always been an ambition to do a similar project and for the last couple of months I’ve been hoarding pictures of the A380: My idea being that It’would be a really good ‘pit to build if I should eventually get around to it.

The trouble is that not only are scale/detail pictures hard to come but also the pit is full of (expensive) LCD Panels.

Work is a bit slow at the moment, so in the last couple of weeks I started looking in earnest again at the ‘pit build idea.

After discarding the A380 idea as technically difficult, very expensive, not to mention too big for the only available room in the house, I looked for something smaller.

Next on the ‘hit list’ was Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne. This was, I think, an inspired idea, but it too quickly fell by the wayside: Hard to build due to compound curves and inability to run generic games with it (fully enclosed cockpit with portholes). Also Scaled were unable to assist with cockpit layout etc.

I’ve always been worried about the cost of such an endeavour, particulary when reading about the exploits of builders trying to find exact matches for particular knobs and dials etc. Coupled with this: the infamous EPIC cards cost quite literally an arm and a leg.

With this in mind I found an excellent picture reference of a generic build and not only is it a good design but also it makes use of a far cheaper IO mechanism than EPIC.

Finally then, this design has inspired me to have a go.

Expect more news soon on this topic!

TurboTas 2004

Linux Code Red…… The Salt Lake City Weekly Story

Probably the best summary piece I’ve read on the SCO story and it comes not only from a non-IT magazine, but from a business magazine in Utah, great….

Here are the first few lines, please head on over to Salt Lake City Weekly to read the full article.

It’s taken more than a decade, millions of man hours and an international movement bent on software sovereignty to poise Linux as the fastest-growing player in information technology. Now, on the cusp of punching through proprietary software’s kung-fu grip on the market, a fuming little Utah County company threatens to stomp Linux dead in its tracks.

“I’ve been pounding the table here for a year or so saying there’s no free lunch, and there is going to be a day of reckoning for every company that thinks they are going to try and sell a free model.” That’s Darl McBride, president and CEO of the SCO Group, a perennial loser at selling UNIX and, until recently, Linux operating systems.

Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that SCO posted hundreds of millions in losses from 1994 to 2002.

But ever since determining it owns the “ark and the covenant to the enterprise software industry,” says McBride, SCO’s bad fortune is on the upswing.

The article is great, it goes on to quite a few pages and gives an excellent and seemingly unbiased timeline.

TurboTas 2004.

SCO Drinking Song…

Yep, it had to happen. SCO are out and singing the SCO drinking song again , sue sue sue sue, sue sue sue sue (have you learned the words yet?).

Considering the recent Novell moves, it’s not at all surprising that SCO have in fact sued Novell over their copyright filings.

On the one hand, SCO really had to take this step regardless of whether it was smart or not: If any of the other cases had gone to court with the copyright claims ove Novell unresolved, the cases would have been tossed out.

I think this means that on the SCO timeline, this issue really must get resolved before the RedHat, IBM (and end users?) cases get to the courthouse.

The Filing by SCO reads:

Novell has improperly filed copyright registrations in the United States Copyright Office for UNIX technology covered by SCO’s copyrights.

Novell has made false and misleading public claims that it, and not SCO, owns the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights.

Novell has made false statements with the intent to cause customers and potential customers to not do business with SCO.

Novell has attempted, in bad faith, to block SCO’s ability to enforce its copyrights.

Novell’s false and misleading representations that it owns the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights has caused SCO irreparable harm to its copyrights, its business, and its reputation.

The lawsuit, filed in Utah State court, in Salt Lake City, requests preliminary and permanent injunctive relief as well as damages. The injunction would require Novell to assign to SCO all copyrights that Novell has wrongfully registered, prevent Novell from representing any ownership interest in those copyrights, and require Novell to retract or withdraw all representations it has made regarding its purported ownership of those copyrights.

“‘SCO takes this action today given Novell’s recent and repeated announcements regarding their claimed ownership of the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights. SCO has received many questions about Novell’s actions from potential customers, investors and the press. Although SCO owns the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights, Novell’s efforts to claim ownership of these copyrights has forced this action,’ said Mark Heise, partner, Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP. ‘We encourage the public and commercial Linux users to read the Asset Purchase Agreement from 1995 (including Attachment E found at www.sco.com/novell) and Amendment 2 so they can see for themselves that SCO owns the copyrights to UNIX and UnixWare.'”

“The lawsuit seeks damages in an amount to be proven at trial for Novell’s alleged slander of SCO’s title to the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights. In addition, the lawsuit seeks punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial for Novell’s malicious and willful conduct.”

The general community is now rubbing their hans a bit here: This is yet another legal front on which SCO are going to have to fight. It’s generally accepted now that they are doomed to be nothing but a litigation company: No new products will come out of the Utah company.

Indeed, to support this, look how old System 5 is anyway: No major changes since 1988 (Yes, 1988!). Look how far Linux has come in it’s first 10 years and it’s easy to see why it’s all over for Unix as an OS.

All the major Hardware vendors traditionally relying un sub-licenses of Unix now offer Linux options. All. Not some. You do the math.

Who Suffers at the final death of SCO?

I was just musing and laughing out load at the recent revelations from Novell and it occurred to me that there is no-one that actually cares about SCO’s impending doom.

Then I began to think again. SCO’s lawyers of course will win whatever happens. Those vultures only stand to win out of this. They’s had the balls to stand up and cheat/lie/steal etc for SCO so some other company is bound to want a peice of them 😉

No thinks I, There is someone that stands to suffer. It’s that well known company, the Yankee Group.

It occurrs to me that the more wild that Laura DiDio gets in her support for SCO, the more embarrassed the Yankee group stand to be when it’s all show to have been a share price scam.

After all, Yankee Group proclaim themselves “a global leader in communications and networking research and consulting”. How could one of their analysts possibly have got this so badly wrong?

This the biggest computing sector legal wrangle ever, and Yankee are siding with the cowboys {smirk}. Surely they will drop the daft Didio soon or they are going to crash and burn badly?

I’m not underestimating here: Didio has been more or less the only respectable voice that SCO could find to support them, so they have quoted her every opportunity they could.

What say you chaps?