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There is a question on the main page that I do not think fits our site, but no one has voted to close.

What is everyone's opinion on this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ OP was clever enough to have the word vhdl in his question. Without I would have voted to close. \$\endgroup\$ – Federico Russo Jul 6 '11 at 13:30
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I think it's a software question, he's looking for an application for his platform.

However, I think it fits.

But, only because he's framing the question around electronics (DSPs and VHDL in the question).

Similar questions someone might ask:

  • "Is there a linux version of MPLAB?"
  • "What's the best C compiler for MSP430?"
  • "Is there a working OSX host side driver for TI's TUSB3410 USB-to-RS232 chip" - which is essentially what I'm asking here
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    \$\begingroup\$ MPLAB, C compilers, and drivers for USB-to-RS232 chips are all more closely related to electronics than Matlab is. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Oct 26 '10 at 1:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not think VHDL or DSP mean electronics offhand. I think they both fall under programming in a general sense, I think we should fall under helping with hardware specific questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Oct 26 '10 at 3:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Woah there! "Physical computing" is one of our top three topics. Programming in VHDL and for DSP is very much in our domain, and not really in the domain of the Trilogy sites, which are more about general purpose computing. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Oct 26 '10 at 3:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may misunderstand me reemrevnivek. I meant questions related to doing things and interfacing with hardware and such. I did not mean to imply we should axe them all together. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Oct 26 '10 at 3:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk I think we should be helping with "Chip Hacking" questions, if it's about DSP or VHDL it fits \$\endgroup\$ – Toby Jaffey Oct 26 '10 at 6:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ my issue is that it is not about chip hacking, it is about finding a free piece of software that is comparable to another, but if that is how you guys feel I will leave it be. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Oct 26 '10 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ DSP I think is more of a Stack Overflow topic. stackoverflow.com/tags/dsp Or maybe if area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/1691/… gets off the ground \$\endgroup\$ – endolith Oct 27 '10 at 14:58
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I was surprised to see it as well, and almost recommended that it be moved to Superuser.

However, the question involved DSP and VHDL, which are definitely good topics for this site. While we're not about software, we use software, and these topics are pretty exclusive to our site. There might be a tool which I'm unaware of designed for just our audience, which would be foreign to other sites.

If he had asked about a replacement for MATLAB in general, then no, this would not be a permissible question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In response to a deleted comment, SO has 'DSP', 'Verilog', 'electronics', 'robot', and 'embedded' tags. The existence of a tag does not make it the place to ask questions about that topic. Also, SO is not the place for this question if it were to be moved, SU is. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Oct 26 '10 at 3:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am just not sure I agree that we should be answering questions about comparable software suites. If I am alone in this I am fine with what the community wants. I am worried Reemrevnivek that we are getting too large a scope for ER. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Oct 26 '10 at 3:29
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I recently posted a (question) relating to electronics software and had it closed as off-topic. I think that is taking an overly-narrow view of what constitutes an electronics (or electrical engineering.)

If this site is supposed to be purely academic and theoretical, then I would agree that tools are off-topic. If, however, it is intended to cover the actual practice of electrical engineering then the selection, installation, and use of electronics-related software is highly relevant. If the question is about software that is specific to EE, or about using more general software in an EE-specific way, why wouldn't the question belong on an EE-oriented site?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I must have missed that question originally, but agree it is inappropriate. The first sentence makes it clear this is a problem running some app (ADS, whatever that is) on some particular flavor of Linux. How does this have anything to do with electronics? Surely there is a support forum for this software!? \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Jul 5 '11 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ ADS is Agilent's software for RF (and high-speed digital) circuit analysis. \$\endgroup\$ – Eric Anderson Jul 6 '11 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, that's what it is. If you had explained that it might have helped. Expecting everyone know some obscure (in the broad scheme of things) package is not a good idea. It probably would have still been off topic, but as the question was written it seemed like another "Why won't WordBarf 0.1 install on my wonderful machine?", and was rightly closed. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Jul 6 '11 at 22:35

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