Saturday, 6 June 2009


One thing that surprises us here at QL Heaven is the fact that there are still "commercial" programs in the QL World that were written not just one or two years ago but decades ago. For example Text87plus 4 a quirky word processor is still a commercial program at a price of around £80. Who in their right mind would want to pay that premium price for an unsupported program. The author is no longer on the QL scene, does not develop software for the QL any more but will not relinquish the "commerciality" of his program. The last updates to make his program run on modern systems were done by the author of QPC2 and sold as a commercial program although there were bugs in that as well.

Other authors have been more pragmatic. Psion has allowed the free distribution of its seminal office suite both in the standalone formats and as Xchange, yet retains its ownership. I think Psion have also allowed the free copying of other software such as its famous chess program.

I can understand why someone producing new software may expect a financial reward at least initially after it is launched and while support is being provided. Examples of this are Launchpad and QPC2 both of which are currently supported.

The QL scene is littered with examples of abandoned commercial software where authors have declined to provide support yet still expect to be paid for each copy of their software in existence, even if it has to be patched by another authors program to run on existing QL systems.

It seems that new spurious copyright claims are being exploited as a means of gold mining enthusiasts. An example of this is the sale of the SMSQ/E O/S on Quo Vadis Design at £37.20. The O/S has not been significantly updated for 2 years. The previous 5 years of updating has been done by enthusiasts for free, not the original author. The O/S can be obtained for free on the original sources site ( with all the necessary tools to compile and run the latest version for any QL system. Under the licence a token payment was required for distributors - this was 10 euros, even at today's exchange rate there is no way that 10 euros equates to £37.20

Authors should be required by law to demonstrate continuing copyright bt the provision of continuing support otherwise programs must be re licenced as abandonware.

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