GNU Radio is a huge project in both the in-tree code as well as the growing number of out-of-tree projects. We have two main issues with the installation and use of GNU Radio that follow from this:
- Lots of dependencies with different projects, and each may have different levels of difficult to install on various systems.
- Lots of out-of-tree projects that can do incredible stuff but are difficult to know about, find, and install.
PyBOMBS is a new GNU Radio package manager that helps solve both problems. For the past year of so, Marcus Leech has provided the brilliant 'build-gnuradio' script, which went a long way to solving problem 1. It was, however, and not to demean it's impact, just a shell script designed for apt-get (Debian, Ubuntu) and yum (Red Hat, Fedora) Linux systems only. It could be fragile and required a lot of upkeep from Marcus. It also did little to solve the second problem of providing access to the OOT projects.
CGRAN is an attempt to solve the second problem. I still support the idea of CGRAN as an archive and a site to promote the existence of different OOT projects. But users would still have to search through the archive to find projects and then figure out how to install them. The other problem is that various projects would be out of date with GNU Radio versions, which isn't always clear.
PyBOMBS addresses both problem, and we are slowly trying to move everyone over to using it. For one thing, Marcus has declared his intent to stop working on build-gnuradio, and secondly, there's a strong, developing community of OOT projects that we want to help support. And while supporting and providing easy access to OOT project, we also provide some guarantee that a project that is included as a PyBOMBS recipe is built against and works with the version of GNU Radio that PyBOMBS installs.
That's the main intent of PyBOMBS, and we encourage people to use it and submit new recipes for their OOT projects. You can find out more information about how to use it on the PyBOMBS Redmine development page.
I also leave you with a link to Ben Hilburn's really nice peice on PyBOMBS and why he's excited about it for the GNU Radio community.