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Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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The free software conundrum - RF Cafe Forums

RF Cafe Forums closed its virtual doors in 2012 mainly due to other social media platforms dominating public commenting venues. RF Cafe Forums began sometime around August of 2003 and was quite well-attended for many years. By 2010, Facebook and Twitter were overwhelmingly dominating online personal interaction, and RF Cafe Forums activity dropped off precipitously. Regardless, there are still lots of great posts in the archive that ware worth looking at. Below are the old forum threads, including responses to the original posts.

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Curtis Crow
 Post subject: The free software conundrum
Posted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:47 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 1:27 pm

Posts: 17

I read a story in EE Times called The free software conundrum. It poses a valid question about what will be the motivation for comapines to invest in developing quality software if there keeps being a push to make everything "open" and "free?" Notice that the vast majority of the people calling for free never give away anything they create (usually because they're not capable of it). Its like another story I just read about the government planning to create its own drug research bureaucracy because they have been so successful in demonizing and breaking the backs of pharmaceutical companies that the amount of research has gone waaaaay down.

http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news ... -software-

Hey, maybe Obama could create a new unelected software czar to head a new agency. Yeah, hire a few thousand new government employees and have them form a union. Yeah, that'll get us some good product to build the future!

 Post subject: Re: The free software conundrum
Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:31 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:07 am

Posts: 48

On the other side of the argument:

What do you do if you are a small business owner, and need a wide range of software for addressing the various needs of new customers?

You need a board layout program ($2500 initial, and another $1500 each year to keep it current)

Microwave analysis software ($10K and $600 for each year's service)

EMAG analysis program ($25K to $85K to buy and gosh knows how much a year to keep it current)

3D drawing package, like solid works ($5K to buy and another $1K per year to update)

Whatever bill gates throws at you that you have to have to read customer information ($400 per seat for maybe 3 computers)

Matlab/Mathcad package ($10K to $50K to buy).

And it goes on and on.

That is simply a boat load of money! If someone comes up with some free or very low cost stuff, like open office, 4NEC2, Dionysis, etc programs--you have to check them out!!!!

BTW, anyone out there try to use the latest microsoft office suite? Boy does it stink! They moved EVERY function around so that you can not do anything that you used to know how to do! Avoid that one like the plague



Maguffin Microwave Consulting


Cube Slave
 Post subject: Re: The free software conundrum
Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:38 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:10 am

Posts: 13

To Biff44 I have to say I see your point. In the old days when DOS ruled, there were lots of free programs out - the equivalent of Apps today - that performed a lot of minor functions well, but you still had to shell out for integrated programs like for filter and amplifier design. Touchstone for Unix was a couple thousand bucks even in the 1980s. The early Eagleware suite was a kilobuck.

There's an answer to the Office suite price - OpenOffice.org. It's every bit as good a Word, Excel, Power Point and even exchasnges files with them. There are some mighty nice free programs for Linux that you can't find for Windows of MacOS. Looks around. It might tempt you to buy a spare comuter just for those programs.

eBay is still a good resource for cheaper older versions. I have MathCAD 3.0 that does everything I can ever imagine needing it for. Cost - $50.

If you're good at programming, maybe this is an opportunity to cash in on the fortune out there awaiting you.

 Post subject: Re: The free software conundrum
Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 8:44 am 

Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:38 am

Posts: 1

Cube Slave wrote:
There's an answer to the Office suite price - OpenOffice.org. It's every bit as good a Word, Excel, Power Point and even exchasnges files with them.

And what is more, there great support community for OpenOffice where you can find answers to all your questions.

 Post subject: Re: The free software conundrum
Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:30 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:14 am

Posts: 2

You will find that even the most rabid right wing guy is a software socialist. Is that good or bad? Don't ask me dude.

Posted  11/12/2012

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