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Author Topic: HRD to cost: Why don't more Hams embrace the Open Source model?  (Read 8465 times)
M0HCN
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Posts: 473




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« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2012, 01:52:32 PM »

But most people, even (sadly) most hams don't design electronics either, the question really applies only to the small subset that does either or both. 

I would observe that the guys doing things where the software is somewhat incidental to the main, typically hardware based, home brewing will quite often publish the source, sometimes under not exactly open source licenses, while the pure software developer subset of hams are (as I perceive it anyway) somewhat less prone to.

Much of the SDR work actually runs on open source for example, linrad, gnuradio, various libraries under things like HDSDR and such, and then we have things like the TRXavr firmware for using an AVR based control surface with a picastar backend.

Open source generally has a MUCH smaller footprint in the Windows world then the Unix one (Absent tools, and missing infrastructure), and I suspect that that has an impact on the perceived level of open source licensing. 

Finally, I would note that the experimentally minded will typically program until whatever they are working on works for them then stop, rather then working up a finished program (See Linrads notoriously missing documentation), so there is lots of code for running funky hardware with a really clunky user interface out there that never gets turned into a finished application.

Regards, Dan.
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STAYVERTICAL
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2012, 12:41:32 PM »

What I don't understand is what exactly is the copyright status of HRD as a whole?

In my laymans view of things, HRD started as someones science project, then a lot of other guys jumped in adding bits and pieces of their own, many using GNU and open source software modules.
I believe this is particularly true in DM780 the digimodes module of HRD, arguably the jewel in the whole HRD suite.

Again, I am only surmising this from forum comments and the lengthy list of credits on the DM780 page.

As a potential HRD consumer (buyer), I would like to know if an investment in HRD is going to be solid and backed by legal ownership over every single byte of code by the new owners.
This is important as many instances of conflict have occurred over such issues, such as with the Java virtual machine and MS, and with the Linux court case when UNIX was resold.

I would assume since the new owners are professional business people, that they have matters in hand and are progressing the copyright and GNU issues (if any exist).

In my opinion, this perceived murkiness is what is causing some of the heated discussion, and once this matter is cleared up the temperature will drop, and HRD can get on smoothly with its new commercial incarnation.

I wish the new owners well and look forward to seeing HRD develop.

73s
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 01:51:09 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
WE1X
Member

Posts: 338




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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2012, 03:05:05 PM »

What's causing the heated discussion over HRD/DM780 is (a) folks got it for free and now the new owners are charging for it and (b) same folks want to see improvements, updates and support but don't want to pay for it (go figure). Add to the mix the new owners have yet to release a product/feature roadmap (especially for v6.0 which will be the first commercial released version)...consequently some current HRD/DM780 users are a bit hesitant to spend $ on v6.0 without fully knowing what they are getting.

Regarding the assumption HRD/DM780 was "someone's science project" that is far from the truth. The software was a labor of love and the product of considerable time, money and effort over many years from Simon Brown. Further, it was not open in the sense that "a lot of other guys jumped in adding bits and pieces of their own..." Quite the opposite. Simon leveraged existing components from other developers and built on top of them.

Per your concern "as a potential HRD consumer (buyer), I would like to know if an investment in HRD is going to be solid and backed by legal ownership over every single byte of code by the new owners. This is important as many instances of conflict have occurred over such issues, such as with the Java virtual machine and MS, and with the Linux court case when UNIX was resold" take a deep breath. First, HRD/DM780 remains free (v5.11a and 5.21) so there is no "investment" other than time to become familiar with the application. Second, the value of your "investment" should you purchase v6.0 is going to be more determined by the new owner's financial solvency and whether it makes good business sense for them to keep HRD/DM780 up-to-date.  I seriously  doubt any code ownership issues with HRD/DM780 will ever resemble a Java-MS-Linux court case as there is little if any financial incentive for attorneys and the courts to accept such a case. It's all a matter of perspective and regardless how some of us may love or hate HRD/DM780 it is inconsequential in the scheme of things.

Harry WE1X
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STAYVERTICAL
Member

Posts: 875




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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2012, 04:17:12 PM »

Hello Harry,

I understand the concept of paying for ham software.
I have even paid for digimodes programs such as Mixw, Multipsk, CWskimmer, etc.
Also, no one denies that Simon is a talented programmer and benificent in providing HRD to the amateur community for
as long as he did.

But, at the fundamental level, no one (I am assuming), twisted his arm behind his back to write HRD.
I cannot claim to read his mind - but I assume he did it as an interesting project which escalated to what it is today.
The fact that many people assisted with time, code, rig interfacing and other facets is also indicated, so let's not
retrospectively deny these contributors their due.

As I stated in my previous post, I am curious to know the copyright status of the code within HRD.
Whether or not lawyers choose to take on a legal case is irrelevant to the copyright status of the code.
I am basing my question (and that is all it is), on my reading of forums which have mentioned that GNU and open source
code is contained within HRD.

So, what I am asking is simple - is all of HRD, in it's entirety, completely covered by the copyright of the new owners.

That is all - I am making no claims, insinuations or otherwise doubting the veracity of the owners copyright.
Why is this question so hard to answer?
Why is this question normally greeted with diversionary howls of "we had it free for long enough" and so on.

If I were to ask this same question of many other software writers/package owners I am sure I would be referred
to a EULA which explicity states the limits, or otherwise, of copyright on the package.

Please, leave blustering to the politicians - they are paid handsomely for it - just give this mere mortal a straight answer.
I have no doubt that the new HRD owners have the situation all sorted, or are in the process of sorting it out.
Also, I have not questioned the legitimacy of their purchase of HRD, so again, just answer this simple, little question.

73s
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 04:20:36 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
N3QE
Member

Posts: 2289




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« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2012, 05:39:56 AM »

I personally think there's a lot of other "free software" models and licenses that many hams feel more comfortable with without going the full-puritanical GNU GPL open source approach.

e.g. there are many GPL'ed programs out there that are truly at the leading edge. e.g. FLDigi.

And then there are very good tools that are out there but not GPL. N1MM is free, and the developers will make source code available to anyone who wants to help develop it, but it isn't GPL compliant. And I'd like to think that projects can move ahead using whatever kind of license/source code availability model the developers are happy with.

And the different tools can interoperate just fine by using well defined API's, even though they may technically have different licenses. e.g. I can use FLDigi from inside N1MM. So as far as I'm concerned things are just fine as they are, that different products, some GPL, some free and open in a different way, and some commercial can all play in the same sandbox. That's pretty sweet.

Tim.
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WE1X
Member

Posts: 338




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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2012, 05:34:38 AM »



As I stated in my previous post, I am curious to know the copyright status of the code within HRD.
Whether or not lawyers choose to take on a legal case is irrelevant to the copyright status of the code.
I am basing my question (and that is all it is), on my reading of forums which have mentioned that GNU and open source
code is contained within HRD.

So, what I am asking is simple - is all of HRD, in it's entirety, completely covered by the copyright of the new owners.

That is all - I am making no claims, insinuations or otherwise doubting the veracity of the owners copyright.
Why is this question so hard to answer?
Why is this question normally greeted with diversionary howls of "we had it free for long enough" and so on.


Please, leave blustering to the politicians - they are paid handsomely for it - just give this mere mortal a straight answer.

Also, I have not questioned the legitimacy of their purchase of HRD, so again, just answer this simple, little question.

73s

STAYVERTICAL,

I don't understand the reference to "blustering".

While the issue of copyright and ownership of a product that was developed from among multiple authors, was once free and now is a commercial product makes for interesting discussion, the reference to wanting to ensure every byte of code is properly copyrighted to ensure an $80 "investment" is protected is like making a mountain out of a molehill (at least from my perspective, which I acknowledge is narrow at best). Personally, I would be more concerned whether the new owners were going provide the enhancements and support I would expect from my $80.

With that said, if all you want is a simple answer to "is all of HRD, in its entirety, completely covered by the copyright of the new owners" why not simply ask them? Truth be told, (a) no  one on this forum can as no one is in a position to truly know and (b) it would seem reasonable that as part of their due diligence during the acquisition process the new owners had this question addressed by legal counsel. So simply post the question on the HRD Yahoo User Group and I'm sure Rick Ruhl or one of the other owners would be glad to clarify.

My apologies if I created any discomfort.

Harry
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STAYVERTICAL
Member

Posts: 875




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« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2012, 05:01:37 PM »

Hi Harry,

No apology necessary, as no discomfort was experienced.
Your post and opinion is just as valid as mine.

As a minimalist, I tend to distill issues down to their base components.
I have found this has been an effective strategy, both in my technical and other pursuits, and assists in avoiding being embroiled in peripheral arguments.

Being a simple soul, I restrict myself to one forum, Eham, because I find it hosts a generally informative user base.
So, I would not wish to embroil myself in the HRD forum, and join the others on the machines spin cycle.

This is why I have asked this simple question.
I have no right to expect an answer, and make no claims in that regard.
I am not implying, directly or indirectly, anything other than that the new owners have total copyright, I am just asking a question.

So, I still ask the question;
Is every byte of code in HRD, the legal copyright property of the new owners of HRD LLC?
I admit ignorance in this regard, and am seeking enlightenment, that is all.

If the answer is true, then all of HRD's critics should take their bat and ball and go home, and leave the new owners to develop this package in peace.
If it is false, then I am sure the new owners have the situation in hand, or are progressing it, and will soon have any copyright issues resolved legally.



« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 05:37:29 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
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