Ham Radio Deluxe has announced that the final free version of HRD will be removed from their servers September 1, 2013. After the HRD freeware product was sold by its author, it was converted to a commercial software product. The current owner, W4PC, has stated that the freeware 5.x version will continue to be free, however they will no longer host the files for download and there will be no further development on the 5.x version. Others may host the files for download free of charge.
I hate to keep sounding like a broken record, but the situation with HRD, and in particular with the 5.x freeware version, illustrates just why freeware is a problematic software model and ultimately a technological dead end for a hobby like amateur radio. Luckily with HRD, development is continuing with the commercial product.
Do you use other freeware amateur radio programs? Ask your favorite program authors if they would consider open sourcing their software. If they don’t, ask them why not and what do they have to lose.