I recently updated instant-gnuradio, a project that uses Packer to create a VM with GNU Radio and many SDR-related applications pre-installed. I wanted to do that for quite a while, but GRCon20 was a good occasion, since we wanted to provide an easy to use environment to get started with SDR anyway.
I didn’t maintain the project in the last year, not even porting it to GNU Radio 3.8. This was mainly since the build relied on PyBombs, which was not maintained and broke every other day. (This is about to change btw, since we have two new very active maintainers. Yay!). But recently distribution packaging has improved quite a lot. The new build uses Josh’s PPAs, which provide recent GNU Radio versions. With this, the build is faster, simpler, and hopefully also more stable.
I also updated to Ubuntu 20.04 and added VS Code. Like the previous version it comes with Intel OpenCL preinstalled, supporting Fosphor out of the box.
The biggest advantage of the Packer build is that it is easy to customize the VM for workshops or courses (e.g., change branding like the background image, add a link to the course website in the favorites bar, install additional software, etc). A good example might be the VM, I built for Daniel Estévez’s GRCon workshop on satellite communications.