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  • Why noone cares about FE X

    So... With the fair amount of sofware frontends popping up and dying every month, any observer must ask, why has no frontend replaced CF or RR as the dominant frontend? Here's my take on what a software product has to overcome in order to break into the hearts and minds of the mp3car forum members:

    1 - Most forum members aren't developers, they are integrators.

    Integrators take part A and part Y and combine them in innovative ways that turn out to be really cool. Most forum members start out with the idea that they want a carpc. They read, they build, rebuild and adapt to the different technologies.

    New and innovative frontend software likely has only a handful (or less) users, and so information about how they members get that particular peice of software to work with X device is limited.

    2a - Most members who are developers will have more fun doing their own software

    If you are a software guy, then you've probably been developing your own one-off frontend that does what you need. Working with other people that you don't know and don't neccessarily agree with their coding style isn't very fun. That's, after all, what you do in your real job. Time to do something your way!

    New frontends have 1 developer. They may pick up another dedicated soul or two, but it's rare. This leads to slower development and eventually to #4.

    2b - Many developers start as integrators

    it seems like many developers start out this hobby as integrators. They build the ultimate system, and they soon reach the limitations of the current software (which is likely CF or RR). They then choose to simply add a plugin or two instead of reinvent the wheel that they are currently running very well and have come to love.

    3 - Most forum members are *gasp* windows users.

    While there are obvious benefits to running windows in the car (ie,make specific tuner software), forum members are comfortable with the OS that they grew up with. Furthermore, products like LinuxICE while faster and more integrated than a windows based system, has a scary penguin as a mascot. Who knows anything about penguins? Probably noone. They are creatures of mystery. Most people haven't even seen a real penguin and the penguins you see in movies (ie, in Madagascar) are meddlesome and conspiring creatures just waiting to highjack your jeep and leave you alone on the African grasslands to be eaten by lions or the occasional zebra (heaven forbid a liger attack you).

    To make barriers more persistent, Linux users, while few, are very particular about their distro. Some prefer ubuntu, some prefer fedora, some like compiling their lives away using gentoo (OCD people usually fall into the gentoo pit-of-despair as well).

    4 - CF/RR has the-kitchen-sink plugin.

    Sure, LinuxICE may have the manipulate-time-and-space plugin, and nGhost may be able to solve world hunger, it's still missing the-kitchen-sink. Yep, because of the plethera of plugins available to-do-just-about-anything, up and coming frontends have a hard time convincing anyone to use your interesting-but-lacking frontend.

    Conclusion:

    If you are thinking about writing a frontend to replace CF/RR, think again. Those pieces of software came in early and grabbed hearts and minds and you can do nothing about it.

    So now on to the Q/A section:

    Q: So kev/tripzero/whoever-the-crap-you-are, what doest this mean for LinuxICE?

    A: It means that LinuxICE will probably stay a super niche within a niche. In time, we may see OEMs ship with LinuxICE or LinuxICE-based preloads which may help get people used to thinking of their carpc sytem as less of a computer and more of a tool to make driving awesome.

    Q: But the frontend I'm going to write can do X way better than CF/RR. You mean to tell me that nobody will care about that?

    A: Correct. While people may see it as interesting, and many people will try, most likely they will find that feature X isn't as important as the-kitchen-sink and will go back to CF/RR.

    Q: So what's your point? I'm still going to write this software and you can't stop me!

    A: Good. I'm not saying that you will have 0 users and no fun. It's lots of fun learning and innovating, just don't expect anyone to care. Who knows, in a few years, your frontend will also have the-kitchen-sink and look and run faster/better than CF/RR. Then you may persuade the masses that your FE is the bestest!

    Q: I hear LinuxICE3 will blow away CF3 and RR. You still think it won't get a bazillion forum members to start using and developing for it?

    A: : LinuxICE3 will be a prettier, faster, stabler a more integrated system than LinuxICE2 ever dreamed of being. But you must remember, the penguin is a dangerous creature. If you aren't afraid of it, you obviously haven't been chased down by one running in excess of 60mph and if you have, you probably aren't alive to tell about it.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  • #2
    Wait... are you validating the fact that you're dropping your work on nghost and moving to writing RR plugins?

    Technically the reason that I don't care about FE X is that in my native mothertongue [a rare dialect of klingon], fex is an explicit act that one does with one's fathersister and is generally considered the only crime for which the death penalty is appropriate.

    Remember Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson?
    Fex is like that, but more

    Gary (-;
    OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
    OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
    mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

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    • #3
      OK, a serious response. I was talking in IRC about this, but I'll cement some ideas here:

      If you want people to *actually try* LinuxICE where they had previously been using RR, how about a completely non-invasive boot CD that can mount their windows partitions that RR uses. Read their configs, music, etc, from that disk

      For example, a music player that "just works". Presents the same music, playlists, etc, when you boot the disk that RR already did, but in some way better. Implement a poor man's itunes genius using pandora and their current music. *something*.

      Use winelib or something to be able to load some specific RR plugins. Which ones? I dunno. Perhaps find out which plugins people out there actually use [poll on the RR forum!]. Either implement new ones of those yourself, or load the ones they already have from disk.

      Present the same set of buttons on the front UI as their config/theme/whatever does. For that matter, load their themes if you can. Despite the fact that Win7/Vista/XP/95 all behaved nothing at all like that which had come before, there was just enough familiarity to make people stick with it.

      [c.f. the "ribbon" in new versions of office, which has actually caused friends of mine to switch to OOo, because OOo was more familiar than the ribbon].

      Obviously I'm biased, but put better OBDII metrics up on screen than they previously did. If their car has teh internets, bust out obdgpslogger and automatically rebuild the kml files every five seconds and reload it in google earth.


      Of course, all this is from someone who's an armchair economist at best, and someone who gives all his work away for free at worst.

      Gary (-;
      OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
      OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
      mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

      Comment


      • #4
        Why do we want to know about what this guy likes and doesn't like?





        And Kev, why do you keep starting these threads?
        Are you that desperate to get people to take an interst in LinuxICE, it's getting old now.

        Comment


        • #5
          Tidder

          Try RevFE
          The best resurrected frontend I've ever used, period.


          I Wish I could ban people

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          • #6
            Seems like a valid thing to wonder about, to me. And if it drums up support for his own project, then that also seems pretty reasonable.

            Maybe some RR/CF users will step forward and say "I use RR, not because I like it, but because it's less bad than FEX because FEX doesn't have XYZ features".

            Gary (-;
            OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
            OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
            mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Enforcer View Post
              And Kev, why do you keep starting these threads?
              Are you that desperate to get people to take an interst in LinuxICE, it's getting old now.
              Hmm... I thought my analysis on the forum member dynamic and the barriers to innovation applied to not only my experience, but to any current and future software developers. This was in no way a cry to get people to notice or try LinuxICE. I only use LinuxICE as an example of some barriers that I have personally encountered. I tried to make the post informative and even threw in some comical elements to make it fun to read.

              Furthermore, I'm in no hurry to gain more users for LinuxICE. I have way too many bugs to fix already and far more new code to write. LinuxICE2 has been downloaded more than 700 times during the development process alone. that's hundreds if not thousands gigabytes of data pushed between the torrent, the LinuxICE server (consisting of 3 separate repositories), and the mirrors.

              I guess I'm not busy enough if I'm responding to posts like yours which are obvious ploys to arouse a response.

              Enforcer, you are more than welcome to try LinuxICE 2 when it's released if you so chose. Otherwise, don't mistake a informative analysis as a "desperate" advertisement to get people to use LinuxICE. Aside from me slipping in the word "LinuxICE" a few times, this has nothing to do with it and everything to do with software and software development.
              Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
              Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
              Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

              Comment


              • #8
                Is there a PPC/Mac binary for LinuxICE?
                I could go and load XXX megs of developer tools, and try compiling it, and then try 10 more times to make it compile.

                If I successfully have it running, will it be better than the FE that I use now?

                or just another different FE that doesn't have the-kitchen-sink ?
                MacMini in an Alfa? - Why not!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                  informative analysis as a "desperate" advertisement to get people to use LinuxICE. Aside from me slipping in the word "LinuxICE" a few times, this has nothing to do with it and everything to do with software and software development.
                  <man is in denial>

                  BUT..let me go see what this "LinuxICE is about. (guess it worked)
                  ****************************************
                  OLD SYSTEM (DEAD)
                  Intel D945GCLF2 Dual Core ATOM
                  Lilliput 7" 629GL 2008 LED Backlight
                  BU-353 USB GPS Receiver / iGuidance / IGO8
                  M2-ATX Power Supply
                  RideRunner Front End / Various Skins
                  Windows XP SP3

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kev000 View Post

                    I guess I'm not busy enough if I'm responding to posts like yours which are obvious ploys to arouse a response.

                    Enforcer, you are more than welcome to try LinuxICE 2 when it's released if you so chose. Otherwise, don't mistake a informative analysis as a "desperate" advertisement to get people to use LinuxICE. Aside from me slipping in the word "LinuxICE" a few times, this has nothing to do with it and everything to do with software and software development.
                    And you starting this thread was not to get a response?

                    When I have a free machine I will try LinuxICE (x), thanks.

                    It's just that you have now started a number of 'Front End discussion' threads, all coming at it from a slightly different angle, it just seems a cry for attention to me for some reason.


                    Let me say something on the Front End situation.

                    To say Road Runner and Centrafuse 'came in early and grabbed hearts and minds' is a little misleading. When I first came to the forum neither of these two were available (and I wasn't even here at the beginning).

                    What I saw was Media Engine as being the DeFacto FE and rumours of another which escapes me for the moment which had almost died out.

                    Oh and there was a large button skin for winamp.

                    Then came along Coyote who started MediaCar, a breath of fresh air with a new Front End which seemed to offer more than Media Engine (Never really got along with that, sorry Phat B and <name to be inserted>)

                    At this time we had a few more front ends all which started got the basics but never really moved on, until CentarFuse. Then Coyote disappeared (rumoured to have gone comercial but I have not seen the comercial product??)

                    Then Guino came along and wrote a MediaCar clone, but it was more than a clone, yes it used the same skins, but it became so much more and was the first (IMO) to really have a viable plugin structure.

                    Then came attempts at both RoadRunner and Centrafuse clones (never eally understood that part).

                    And just recently we have had a rush of about two or three new FE's

                    Also of course there have been Linux and apple based FE's but being a 'MS fanboy' I have kind of missed on them.

                    What I am trying to say there is always room for a new frontend, but it has to not only offer something that the current leaders don't, but they really have offer what these do.

                    And one thing that is really important is a good plugin structure (maybe I am biased) with good plugin examples to work from.


                    Although personally, if I was to do a Front End I wouldn't do a front end per se. I would just do a skinning engine with a very good plugin setup. That way it should be fast, light and users would only have install the bits they wanted.

                    Anyway enough of my ramble.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      i like kev, he brings a different flavor to the table. No doubt he has innovative ideas as well, and definitely the motivation to get it done right.
                      I do agree some stuff he has done seem a bit like advertising his product, but if you don't like it, you don't have to read it. Advertising never hurts, especially if it attract more developers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well hopefully this comment will carry some weight as another FE developer working to overcome similar obstacles.

                        To say this didn't carry any subliminal advertising for linuxICE would certainly be untrue. However, i do find quite a few of his points to be correct, just the interpretation to be a little off. The average user does not like change for the sake of change, being told that one FE is better then another even by a developer that knows what they are talking about carries very little weight. People want palpable features!!! Just another FE capable of playing music or accepting plugins doesn't draw users the same way modern bluetooth, nextGen speech recognition or well integrated navigation do.

                        The sad fact here is that this FE may be a well designed very scalable FE or it may be a terrible architecture that just happens to have a few new features (Sorry but RR's getting singled out there). All we as FE developers can do is design the best FE possible, so that when the icing on the cake is added (the real innovation), and people find something they like, its not just slightly better icing but an all around better cake.
                        openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
                        - Always Recruiting Developers -
                        Like what you see? Donations are always welcome

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                        • #13
                          Just do what my old telco did - design a plug&play system - ie, a telco management system in to which you plug any new & yet to be invented & built device or RFC etc, and the management system recognises it, manages it etc - ie, Plug & Play!
                          Simple!

                          They started the project 3 times, each time and $50m later blaming the contractors for failing to get it to work.
                          (I merely did a simple cost benefit analysis that proved I could have saved them $150m.)

                          But if you want to do the same for UFEs, I'll gladly Project Manage it for you. And I guarantee the vendors/contractors will complete their parts.

                          Personally prefer cross-assemblers....

                          (Onya Kev! I think most share your wit.)

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                          • #14
                            Well I will try to respond in a way that isnt upsetting... Although, I truly did lol with post #2. Everyone loves klingon!


                            Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                            1 - Most forum members aren't developers, they are integrators.

                            Integrators take part A and part Y and combine them in innovative ways that turn out to be really cool. Most forum members start out with the idea that they want a carpc. They read, they build, rebuild and adapt to the different technologies.

                            New and innovative frontend software likely has only a handful (or less) users, and so information about how they members get that particular peice of software to work with X device is limited.
                            I would agree that people here are mostly integrators, and most of them around here (or that even know what a CarPC is) probably have a basic programming language under their belt, just choose not to use it. Most of us here, including myself try out new programs all the time even without the intent of using them, just wanting to see what they are about. If it blows me away, then it might stay, otherwise it just goes where all software dies in windows, a deep dark chasm of the registry just waiting to be corrupted.


                            Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                            2a - Most members who are developers will have more fun doing their own software

                            If you are a software guy, then you've probably been developing your own one-off frontend that does what you need. Working with other people that you don't know and don't neccessarily agree with their coding style isn't very fun. That's, after all, what you do in your real job. Time to do something your way!

                            New frontends have 1 developer. They may pick up another dedicated soul or two, but it's rare. This leads to slower development and eventually to #4.

                            2b - Many developers start as integrators

                            it seems like many developers start out this hobby as integrators. They build the ultimate system, and they soon reach the limitations of the current software (which is likely CF or RR). They then choose to simply add a plugin or two instead of reinvent the wheel that they are currently running very well and have come to love.
                            I see no reason to reinvent the wheel. I write code for my stuff but I do NOT want to right code to do things that are perfectly ok as-is.

                            Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                            3 - Most forum members are *gasp* windows users.

                            While there are obvious benefits to running windows in the car (ie,make specific tuner software), forum members are comfortable with the OS that they grew up with.
                            Probably true. However I used an AT machine with a dot matrix until I built my own P4 in the early 2000's. I had to dosshell into it, and I do still use it to read/write 5.25" floppies, but it isnt going in the car. Plain and simple no matter how much you hate Microsoft, they have got it right. Microsoft should adopt Apple's slogan since it holds true more. It just works. And everything works with it. Nothing you can do in OSX or Linux or FreeBSD or whatever that would be in the slightest bit useful for the car, can you not do in Windows. And to expand that there are very few things that cannot be done on a windows machine that cant be done on other personal computers.

                            Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                            Furthermore, products like LinuxICE while faster and more integrated than a windows based system, has a scary penguin as a mascot.
                            May be true, minus the scary bit, but fundamentally you are missing one thing... It doesnt have what people want. If you had a replicator ala star trek that could make vehicles, would you:

                            a) replicate a formula 1 car that is extremely light, extremely fast, and extremely integrated
                            or
                            b) replicate a luxury coupe/sedan that is bloated, comfy, fast enough, modularized (whole point of a CAN system fyi) and has everything you can want and works everytime by turning the key instead of an hour of warming the tires and checking bits for dust

                            Most people including myself want something that just works, and well Windows does.

                            Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                            Who knows anything about penguins? Probably noone. They are creatures of mystery. Most people haven't even seen a real penguin and the penguins you see in movies (ie, in Madagascar) are meddlesome and conspiring creatures just waiting to highjack your jeep and leave you alone on the African grasslands to be eaten by lions or the occasional zebra (heaven forbid a liger attack you).
                            Penguins are mean critters, but I love them so... I've seen many real penguins yet never in the wild. They smell nasty though.

                            Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                            To make barriers more persistent, Linux users, while few, are very particular about their distro. Some prefer ubuntu, some prefer fedora, some like compiling their lives away using gentoo (OCD people usually fall into the gentoo pit-of-despair as well).
                            how very true

                            Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                            4 - CF/RR has the-kitchen-sink plugin.

                            Sure, LinuxICE may have the manipulate-time-and-space plugin, and nGhost may be able to solve world hunger, it's still missing the-kitchen-sink. Yep, because of the plethera of plugins available to-do-just-about-anything, up and coming frontends have a hard time convincing anyone to use your interesting-but-lacking frontend.
                            I dont use ANY plugins outside the standard install of RR. I think this is the typical installation. People want something that works, plain and simple.

                            Originally posted by kev000 View Post
                            <snip blah snip />

                            In other words:
                            "RR doesn't suck enough to make people stop using it, and linuxice runs on linux"

                            This has been bothering me for most of your posts. It is a great tact for arguing with idiots, but it doesnt work for those with connected brain cells. You say two things that are true and connect them with a verb in the wrong part of the sentence. This is used all the time and seriously, if you are every arguing with an art/history major it works wonders.

                            "RR doesnt suck enough to make people stop using it" is a fact. "Linuxice runs on linux" is a fact. Completely unrelated.

                            Similar to: "LinuxICE sucks enough that people dont want to adopt it as their primary frontend, and RoadRunner runs on Windows... and unicorn marrow."

                            If linuxice ran on unicorn marrow or if possible the blood of that annoying gecko on tv, yet still had the same feature set, I still dont think people would adopt it.
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                            • #15
                              WARNING! Do NOT pick on penguins!

                              Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
                              Penguins are mean critters, but I love them so... I've seen many real penguins yet never in the wild. They smell nasty though.
                              Well I've seen them in the wild. Trust me, I've never seen polar bears chase them.

                              But that could be their smell.
                              I have swum with them and they are no match for White Pointers, and whilst the great whites have a great sense of smell, compared to their breath I'd consider a penguin to be an ADM.

                              Just imparting the benefits of my experience.

                              And for what it's worth, whilst one of my current aims in life is to pat a Great White (and not from those stupid cages!), I have no such desire for a Penguin.


                              FYI: ADM = After Dinner Mint

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