Hamlib is not a complete user application, rather, it is a software layer intended to make controlling various radios and other amateur radio station (shack) hardware much easier. Hamlib will allow authors of software such as logging programs, digital communications programs, or those wanting to develop the ultimate radio control software to concentrate on the user interface and the basic function of the program rather than radio control. Hamlib consists of several parts, the programming library, utility programs, and library interfaces to other programming languages.
Most recent amateur radio transceivers allow external control of their functions through a serial interface. Unfortunately, control commands are not always consistent across a manufacturer's product line and each manufacturer's product line differs greatly from its competitors.
Hamlib attempts to solve this problem by presenting a virtual radio to the programmer by providing an interface to actions such as setting a given Variable Frequency Oscillator's (VFO) frequency, setting the operating mode, querying the radio of its current status and settings, and giving the application a list of a given radio's capabilities. Unfortunately, what can be accomplished by Hamlib is limited by the radios themselves and some offer very limited capability.
Other devices, such as antenna rotators, can be placed into the Hamlib control scheme. Other recent developments include network interface servers and a USB interface capability. Language bindings are provided for C, C++, Perl, Python, Lua and TCL (more to come).
The front end library uses a number of back end libraries to translate from the front end to the various individual radio and rotator models. A back end library handles conversion of the front end variables to the format needed by the radio or rotator device it controls. The back end libraries are generally grouped by manufacturer and in some cases by a common control protocol.
Hamlib also provides an interface library for each of several common scripting languages such as Perl Python Lua and TCL These language bindings are generated through the use of SWIG a parser/generator for multiple language interfaces to a C library. A natively generated C++ language interface is also provided.
Besides the C and supplemental APIs, Hamlib also provides a pair of network daemons that provide a text command based API for controlling an attached radio or rotator through a TCP/IP network connection. The daemons then handle the interface to the Hamlib C API.
Development continues through the major version number 3.x series and beyond. While some API tweaks are planned, ABI compatibility with the prior 1.2.x releases remains a priority. Other goals include streamlining the build system (done), improving the SWIG generated language bindings (done), improving the overall documentation (this man page with more in progress), and other updates as warranted.
The Project is hosted by SourceForge.net at the Hamlib project page As GitHub has become a very popular project hosting site, Hamlib also has a dedicated GitHub project page GitHub also hosts the hamlib.org Web site and the Hamlib Wiki
Development discussion and most user support take place on the hamlib-developer mailing list While there are SourceForge.net discussion forums they are rarely used and not as closely read by the developers as the mailing list.
For source code management, the project uses Git a fast, distributed content tracker. Among its features is that every developer has the complete Hamlib development history available locally. For more information on using Git, see hamlib-git(7).
The LGPL allows the library to be used (linked) by programs regardless of their individual license. However, any contributions to the library source remain under copyleft which means that the library source code may not be used in violation of the terms of the LGPL.
The utility program source files are released under the GPL. Any direct use of these sources must be in a form that complies with the terms of the GPL. Concepts learned by studying these sources for the purpose of understanding the Hamlib API is not covered nor prohibited by the GPL, however, directly copying GPL sources into any work that is incompatible with the terms of the GPL is prohibited.
Then again, we have people who say Linux "L-eye-nux" and those who say "L-in-nux"...
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