chirp, debian unstable, winxp, win7, and firefox

I use chirp to program a $20 Baofeng ham radio.  It is a native linux app but uses deprecated python-gtk2 libraries.  That was cool until debian unstable removed those libs.  Chirp no worky.

Debian is a purist distro, and is the “mother” for many other linuxen.  But it’s a bit of a sanctimonious jerk, and sets strict rules for itself and its users.  Hence removing deprecated libs.

There are a couple of ways around this that don’t involve jacking around with manual package installation on this laptop.

winders XP

>CHIRP runs on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10. Older versions of Windows are **not** supported

Distasteful, to be sure, but I could spin up an old virtual of xp or 7 and install chirp there.  Hopefully.   Both were running on virtualbox, which is (of course) now removed from Debian.  The preferred approach is with  qemu+kvm, running under the virt-manager shell.

I tried to spin them up;  both failed with “missing boot disk” errors, likely due to (virtual) HD controller differences between vbox and qemu.  I googled.  I cursed.  I installed and booted and installed and booted and F8.  I used the native virtualbox vmdk file format.  I converted to qcow.  No difference.

Fine.  I’ll reinstall one or the other.  I have licenses but no physical media and XP is a good deal smaller.

Got XP installed and running. The ancient IE won’t connect to HTTPS with the old cipher bitdepth anymore, and pretty much everything is forced to HTTPs.

Turns out the last Firefox for XP was 52.9.0esr, which is still online on http.  Installed that.

Then I could get to the chirp homepage, d/l, and install.  Won’t run;  “app is misconfigured and reinstalling might help!”  It doesn’t help.  Neither does installing as admin.

debian stretch

Debian 9 (“stretch”) still has the libs and will run chirp. I can run that in a virtual.  I started downloading the netinstall, which tends to use a bit less data.  This is important mainly because I have craptastic connectivity in this otherwise-terrific camping spot.

D/L the ~200MB will take hours.

Plenty  of time to mess with Win7 again.


I installed the Win7 virtual from the existing vmdk/qcow2 drives many times. This time I checked a “advanced configuration before installation” option and looked at them.   Hit next, and Win7 booted.  WTF?  I tried not to act too shocked so the virtual wouldn’t see me and crap the bed just to spite me.

Installed chirp and then played “round and round with Windows drivers” BS for the next few hours.

After about the 15th time the drivers loaded and the Baofeng could be seen.  I immediately made a snapshot of that configuration.  Didn’t want to fight that battle again.

Pulled down the channels from the radio, deleted the temporary stuff at the top, and loaded the three repeaters available for this zipcode.   Reloaded into the radio.

I disabled the Debian 9 D/L and will resume next time I am around wifi, just to have it around.