The zed is reporting today that the source code and rights to Ham Radio Deluxe have been sold to three radio amateurs, Mike Carper WA9PIE, Randy Gawtry, K0CBH and Rick Ruhl W4PC. No details are posted right now other than development and support will be continued on the product (emphasis mine).
HRD is arguably one of the best, if not the best amateur radio loggers ever written. It’s the first amateur radio program I would give straight As for design and usability.
While HRD has always been a free piece of software, it would follow that if someone has paid cash for the source code and rights, they intend on getting a return on that investment. Considering one of the purchasers runs an amateur radio and communications software company, this is quite plausible.
I find myself sounding a lot like the open source zealots I used to bemoan on Slashdot, but I’m increasingly concerned with closed source software and systems within amateur radio. I’ve seen freeware closed source software authors and followers who think they have a license to be arrogant to users or use the software to further an agenda or an ego. Some closed software stagnates over time when the author no longer has the time or interest in maintaining it. Networks run by closed source software tend to be silo solutions developed in a vacuum, ignoring standards and recreating the wheel. Open source can prevent all these scenarios and create a design and development “ecosystem.” Such an ecosystem is quite apparent in the Linux and Arduino communities and for a spell in the 2000s I think we had such an ecosystem in QRP. I don’t think we’ve ever had a truly great software ecosystem.
There is one positive if HRD goes commercial. With a revenue stream there will be an incentive to continue development, support users, and maintain it as the fine product that it is. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun and prematurely assuming it will go commercial, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibilities. I made a contribution to HRD in the past, so I would probably buy the commercial product as it’s just that good. It’s just unfortunate that HRD couldn’t have been released as an open source project and been freed to evolve in a community based effort.
3 thoughts on “Ham Radio Deluxe Rights Sold”
This is, indeed, a most interesting development. I share your sentiments. Opensource would have helped move HRD beyond some of its stagnation (and there has been a slow movement on some of the critical areas of its development). Opensource does not mean lack of a control point.
That said, the commercial recouping of costs incurred by these three does not have to come by the selling of license rights. They might have another model. However, if they do, it yet might be a pricing structure within the reach of those running computers on which HRD is compatible.
As one who has donated to the project, I might be one who can also afford the potential price-point of whatever might be coming down the line. It certainly has a worth. HRD is a great part of the new amateur radio.
Thank you for sharing this news with us. 73 de NW7US
I’m just a guy who USED to be a ham, and have many fond memories of a hobby that kick-started my career. I am a self-employed software developer who has made a living developing and supporting software for astronomy over the last 12 years. So I think I am in a position to make a relevant comment here. I found this via NW7US on Facebook.
“Open Source” does not automatically equal “Free”. That there were rights for those guys to purchase means that the software was the work product of someone who placed a certain value on the software. The buyers obviously expect to make a business out of selling and hopefully SUPPORTING the software. Pricing “within reach” is relative, Overpricing it will obviously cause the buyers to lose.Underpricing it will obviously cause the buyers to lose. Thus is only one of the risks of starting a business.
The community should be happy that such a popular and useful piece of software will be supported and further developed by people with skin in the game. For the guys who bought it, my advice is to understand that
“Software is a service business, not a product business”.
No matter what, once you sell software you will hear from your customers asking for help. The fork in the road is how you will respond to it. Will you see it as an opportunity or a pain in the rear?
I am not against participation in the development of this software, however I want to say that I have several times made donations via paypal and I never got a single response.
Jean paul F6DDV