Grant: GNU Radio Usability Enhancements

Date: March 2022
Amount: $263,011

GNU Radio is a free, open-source software-development toolkit that provides signal processing blocks to implement software radios. GNU Radio is always striving to be accessible to anyone across the globe, regardless of which operating system they are using and how much experience they have with wireless communications and digital signal processing. Historically, Windows operating system users have not had adequate support, despite it being the operating system used by nearly all K-12 students. Increasingly, macOS is becoming the platform of choice for both students and individuals. GNU Radio wants to be more intuitive and make it easier to install third-party modules known as out-of-tree modules (OOTs).

The GNU Radio project has identified a number of improvements to GNU Radio that it hopes will make GNU Radio easier to use, more accesible, and easier to maintain. These improvements are broken down into the following categories:

  • Installation of GNU Radio and out-of-tree modules (OOTs)
  • Documentation
  • Ongoing software maintenance and support
  • GNU Radio Companion (GRC)

The projects were carefully chosen to extend and advance work already underway, but hindered by lack of specialist experience. This grant from ARDC will allow GNU Radio to hire experts specialized in each area. We believe the specific GUI projects this ARDC grant would fund will also give the new GRC the final push that it needs to become the interface that ships with GNU Radio and provides users a much-improved experience. For each improvement category described above, one or more mentors (who will be volunteers from the GNU Radio leadership or core developers) will guide the work. These mentors will help the contractors stay aligned to the goals and offer feedback at periodic intervals. This grant will unlock the considerable existing capabilities to a large population in a timely manner and bring new people into the community.

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