Wfview semi commercial version

Here’s an idea …

It is incredible that such wonderful software is available for free because of the commitment of a team of people. You have proven that this all works very well - so well that we all want extra features which would come in quick succession if this was a commercial product.

Have you ever considered taking this to the next level by making it semi commercial? If you charged $5 a month to use Wfview would you get enough subscribers to pay for a full time programmer to really kick this thing along?

You could also get corporate sponsors like me for whom it would be a tax deductible expense.

It could still be run as a not for profit organisation with volunteer participation.

I pay to use QRZ ($36 a year for basic XML lookup). I wouldn’t be without that service and the cost is insignificant. I couldn’t even remember what it costs - had to log in to look it up.

I joined Patreon to support your work monthly but most people won’t get around to that so you will only get a pittance from that.

Just an idea and as always “no” is a perfectly acceptable answer.

In my humble opinion unless the team are going to spend a considerable amount of time to expand its functionality and also the rigs supported, it’s best left as it is.
As an amateur I have huge admiration for those who use their skills to the benefit of others within the hobby and where a modest sum is required to cover the cost of providing such I do not flinch from such payment.
I like others pay for the services such as EQSL and QRZ as there are huge costs to such services in both hardware and software.
As I say just my humble opinion.
Hamish G0GLG

Hi Peter,

I had thought about this long ago. Could there be a way to monetize wfview? It’s certainly worth money, I don’t think anyone doubts that it is. And I do get requests via email all the time for methods to donate (and this is why we have Patreon now – and thank you for your support there, Peter).

The thing is though, if we were to add premium features such as advanced audio processing, 3D waterfall, dual VFO, who knows what else, these features would add to wfview, and I’d want them part of the same open source product. If I were to keep them separate, I might as well make wfview shareware. The more we work on wfview, the more apparent it has become that there is so much benefit in making and keeping it open source. I’ve actually got 5 or 6 “pull requests” on gitlab right now for things ranging from optimizing the build system to minor spelling errors. This is something we could not do (or at least, not as easily) if we had to maintain a secret closed-source fork for premium subscribers.

And then there’s our team. We’re all already full-time employed with jobs. Many of us have young families. We are literally tapped out on what we can actually put forth for working on wfview. wfview is a sort of “labor of love” right now that we all enjoy so much that we can’t help but work on it here and there when we get a few hours to ourselves.

Realistically, if the community wanted to directly fund specific features, we would do something like a kick starter, raise a significant amount of cash, and take a month of unpaid leave to knock it out. I’ve thought about this, and it may happen some day. The results would remain open source, the community would benefit and grow, new ideas would sprout (and old ones would ferment!), and we could repeat the process again and again.

I’ve no desire to return to the “dark ages” of MSDOS shareware that held older hams back from making their code truly “live” in our hearts and minds. You can look at Sheldon Shallon’s W6ELProp program for an example kind of close to home to me. I’d love to maintain it, but the source code was never released and thus it’ll simply slowly die. Or look at Roy Lewallen (W7EL… what is with these callsigns?) who made EZNEC. A great, fabulous program that has done a lot of good in the industry and in our hobby. But he is making it free and closed-source now. It’ll die a slow, painful death. Nobody will be able to maintain it, to port it to Linux or newer version of windows – who knows what people will be dealing with on desktops in the next few years. Free and closed-source is not future proof. It’s a great program that has, right now, no foreseeable future as there cannot be a maintainer, and software should be maintained for its user base. Perhaps I’m digressing a bit here…

On the other side of the coin, we’ve got excellent software like fldigi, CHIRP, hamlib, Gqrx, gnuradio… the list goes on and on. These programs have grown out of the love of their users and developers, and have become staples in our hobby. I’ve never spent a cent on any of them, although I have done some pull requests.

I’m sure if you stick around, you’ll see the sun set on the old generation of must-have closed-source ham radio apps like HRD, winlink, echolink, and EZNEC. (All great programs in their own right, don’t get me wrong!) You might think I’m kidding, but the writing is on the wall.

Bottom line, we may one day ask directly for funding for specific features. But we will have to earn that right by cultivating a community of users that are basically begging for it, and with a good track record on our side to back it up. I’ve also thought about selling pre-loaded Raspberry Pi boxes as little “rig servers”, but the thing with this is, I have no time to do it, and what time I have is better spent adding features than making a few bucks selling computers. Maybe one day we will complete our iOS and Android ports and sell them in the app store for $5 as a way to boost team morale – but keeping the code open source at the same time.

This community of practice you see here grew exponentially out of the most improbable meetings of four people with similar ideas and ambitions. We’ve now got thousands of users from every corner of the globe. We want to see that continue.

Thank you to everyone reading here for your continued support,

de W6EL

1 Like

Thank you for such a carefully considered reply. I feel bad that I wasted your valuable time to reply. I totally accept and appreciate your decision. Keep up the good work.

Hi Peter,

Not a waste at all! It helps bring me focus when I see what people are thinking about here. Plus some other people may benefit from reading our discussion. I enjoy it!

de W6EL

Elliott you talked about pi computers do you have a good web sight for a beginner to learn to build one. Thanks in advance

Paul KO4R