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Voice Codecs, NDAs and Open Source


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Are VATSIM too scared to upset the members using legacy clients for possible fear of losing them?. I've seen the opposite in where we've lost members due the the issues mentioned in this thread.

 

Saying that VATSIM is "scared" is putting it the wrong way. It's not that they're scared to upset the users, it's that they don't want to upset users. It's a good thing to try to avoid upsetting users. You may be inclined to argue that we're upsetting them by NOT providing better voice architecture, and you're right, of course. However, we can have our cake and eat it too ... we can provide new voice architecture and phase it in gradually so that we aren't forcing the entire user base to switch at the same time.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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i prefer the AVC method simply because we've done that before and it gives the network time to wean folks off the old software (once newer software is widely available).

 

How do you figure that? The AVC method requires that everyone (not just legacy software users) switch at the same time.

 

You may be referring to the fact that the AVC method means users can keep using the legacy clients for some period of time, but that is true of the dual-stream method as well. The dual stream method has the added advantage of not requiring the entire user base to switch to the new voice architecture at the same exact moment.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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AVC worked separately from the client, ideally a similar voice client would do the same so wouldnt require touching the pilot client itself.

 

Yeah, I remember ... I was around in those days. But the AVC route still requires a hard cut-over date where *everyone* (not just legacy client users) must switch to the new voice system at the same exact time. There is no weaning-off period where the old voice software slowly goes away. There is a weaning-off period for the old clients, but that is true whether we use the AVC method or not. The way your previous post was worded, it sounded like you were suggesting that the AVC method provides a weaning-off period that is unique to that method, which is not the case.

 

I've recently been chatting with another dev who knows voice codec programming a lot better than I do, and he's saying we might be able to do conversion on the server from the old codec to the new, which would provide the best of both worlds. We had discussed that option in the past and I thought we had to rule it out but I can't think of the reason why now ... so maybe that'll be the way forward.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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It's nice to see that legacy users (I use FSInn) are being considered here. I thank you for that. What I hope is also considered, and what I don't see a lot of discussion about, is that legacy flightsim platform users (I use both FS2004 and FSX) are kept under consideration as well. Any client/codec changes need to make sure that FS2002, FS2004, FSX, xPlane, and P3D are supported across the board. I have significantly more dollars tied up in FS2004 than FSX, personally know of several virtual pilots still using FS2002, and, like them, would hate to see all my hard-earned expenditures just "thrown away". I know, I know, I saw the Star Trek movie where Spock dies...the good of the many outweigh the good of the one, but hopefully that will not have to be the case.

 

I don't understand how all this "codec" and "Voice room" stuff works, though. All I know is that I have very clear reception and have had absolutely no one tell me I was unreadable or garbled when using FSInn. I don't think I have experienced any of the "latency" that is being discussed either, but maybe I just don't know any better.

 

Any way, the "rational" side of this discussion seems to be heading in the right direction, so I'll just watch and wait...

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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Any client/codec changes need to make sure that FS2002, FS2004, FSX, xPlane, and P3D are supported across the board.

 

None of the voice architecture updates can happen until swift is released, because vPilot only supports P3D and FSX. I don't believe that the swift team has plans to support FS2002, but I could be wrong about that. [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming that's correct, then FS2002 will no longer be supported on VATSIM after we phase out the old clients. We can't keep supporting abandoned clients forever because they hold us back in terms of technical progress. We have to make a decision by looking at the numbers ... what percentage of VATSIM users still use FS2002 *and* fly regularly on the network? FS2002 was released more than 15 years ago ...

 

All I know is that I have very clear reception and have had absolutely no one tell me I was unreadable or garbled when using FSInn. I don't think I have experienced any of the "latency" that is being discussed either, but maybe I just don't know any better.

 

You have experienced the latency, since it's built-in. It could be that it hasn't negatively affected you enough to realize it. But if you fly in busy events regularly, and you notice pilots stepping on each other trying to check in on a busy frequency, that's due to the latency. It is *very* frustrating for pilots and even more so for the busy controller.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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We should be able to build WebRTC-based voice servers, with legacy conversion on the server side between the old voice codec and the new one. That would also let us build web-based clients, running directly in the browser. It's also possible to use WebRTC standalone, so existing clients could use the standalone WebRTC library to connect to the voice servers.

In that case, all the people logged in with "new" clients would have good audio, those with "old" clients would have bad audio, and those with "new" clients would receive bad audio from those with "old" clients.

 

I was going to try to put together something like this, but VATSIM has this NDA that you have to sign first, before getting access to source code and docomeentation. It's been 10 weeks since I reached out to the board about signing the NDA and getting access, I still haven't heard anything from them...

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AVC worked separately from the client, ideally a similar voice client would do the same so wouldnt require touching the pilot client itself.

 

both options sound good, as long as we avoid returning to the days when we had to launch a dozen programs to connect to the network lol

 

A bigger issue is that in those days the voice client wasn't part of the pilot client. You can't run two products using the same protocol and port at the same time expecting them both to work.

Norman

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I was going to try to put together something like this, but VATSIM has this NDA that you have to sign first, before getting access to source code and docomeentation. It's been 10 weeks since I reached out to the board about signing the NDA and getting access, I still haven't heard anything from them...

 

Who did you email?

Norman

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A bigger issue is that in those days the voice client wasn't part of the pilot client. You can't run two products using the same protocol and port at the same time expecting them both to work.

 

We could always put the new voice client on a different port so that it could run side-by-side with FSInn or SB.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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We could always put the new voice client on a different port so that it could run side-by-side with FSInn or SB.

And ASRC

I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume the plan would for some magic to occur to map these back and forth at the server so that old can hear new can hear old Ross?

Norman

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We could always put the new voice client on a different port so that it could run side-by-side with FSInn or SB.

And ASRC

I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume the plan would for some magic to occur to map these back and forth at the server so that old can hear new can hear old Ross?

 

Yeah, that's one of the scenarios we've discussed earlier in the thread.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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We should be able to build WebRTC-based voice servers, with legacy conversion on the server side between the old voice codec and the new one. That would also let us build web-based clients, running directly in the browser. It's also possible to use WebRTC standalone, so existing clients could use the standalone WebRTC library to connect to the voice servers.

In that case, all the people logged in with "new" clients would have good audio, those with "old" clients would have bad audio, and those with "new" clients would receive bad audio from those with "old" clients.

 

I was going to try to put together something like this, but VATSIM has this NDA that you have to sign first, before getting access to source code and docomeentation. It's been 10 weeks since I reached out to the board about signing the NDA and getting access, I still haven't heard anything from them...

 

This one is on me. I sent out a bunch of NDA's the first week of February and missed your name on the list. You will receive your NDA this weekend and will be able to sign it online and return it.

 

This is not going to look good on my annual review!!

Richard Jenkins

richard(a)vatsim.net

"It's all fun and games until the cops show up."

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In other words, how do we ensure the integrity (for lack of a better term) of the network in the wild west of open source?

 

Sorry if this old or any other inconvenience. But reading this, and it is exactly the type of mistake people coming from closed source environments deal with initially in open source.

 

I hope you realize the amount of server code that is available in the 'wild west' and that, aware of that fact, the world still works.

 

The best way I can explain this to you is just to ask for read access, and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ure you, that if I have any changes I'll emailed them to you. If you write those changes, shame on you.

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-Snip-

 

Hi Pedro,

 

It might interest you to know that VATSIM is currently taking an approach to, in future, open-sourcing the majority of modules running the network's architecture.

 

Please don't quote me on this, but as I understand it, we're looking at allowing read-only access to the majority of modules that will run the network. It's also looking that the technical team and VATGOV5 will be those behind approving and providing quality-[Mod - Happy Thoughts]urance on any changes, before they are pushed live to the network.

 

This is the method we're looking at taking, so that changes are both approved and fully operational, before they're sent out to be be played with by the general membership.

Kind Regards,

Kieran Cross,

 

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In other words, how do we ensure the integrity (for lack of a better term) of the network in the wild west of open source?

 

Sorry if this old or any other inconvenience. But reading this, and it is exactly the type of mistake people coming from closed source environments deal with initially in open source.

 

I hope you realize the amount of server code that is available in the 'wild west' and that, aware of that fact, the world still works.

 

The best way I can explain this to you is just to ask for read access, and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ure you, that if I have any changes I'll emailed them to you. If you write those changes, shame on you.

 

Good job quoting me out of context.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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