Click here for the Pscience5 Home Page Click here for My Software page Click here for the Xtra Software page Click here for the Articles page Click here for the Lost & Found page Click here for the Macros page Click here for the Colour Icons page Click here for the Overlays page Click here for the EPOC Links page Click here for the Contact page Click here for the Pscience5 Forum Please click here to donate towards Pscience5's upkeep

Pscience5: Why Freeware?

Free Your Palmtop... Free Yourself... FreEPOC.

Why did I join FreEPOC?

For the simple reason that FreEPOC is the first software house to offer nothing but high quality Freeware programs. To quote from the FreEPOC site:-

"...FreEPOC is a software house with a difference. FreEPOC software, while of commercial quality, will never be sold as such. In fact, it will never be sold at all. FreEPOC software will be free of any registration or crippling. The Free in FreEPOC isn't for show. It reflect a genuine commitment to the success of our trusty machines."

Can't ask fairer that that, can you? This doesn't mean however that Pscience5 will be taking a break. I will still continue to update Pscience5 with EPOC programs, relevant information, etc. just as frequently. Only now, my programs will also be available at FreEPOC! Smile - it's freeware! Visit FreEPOC at

On holiday in Bali, Xmas'98

Why Write Freeware?

I receive emails on a reasonably frequent basis from people saying - amongst other things - that they're surprised that Clock5 is still freeware when I could probably have made it shareware some time ago. It's certainly a question my 'better half' asks of me reasonably regularly. She wonders why any sane man would spend hours doing something so involved that it seems like a 2nd job for no obvious return... I suppose the short answer is just that I enjoy it. Whilst my Psion is undoubtedly a useful tool both for business and pleasure, it's also a hobby. Okay, so that still doesn't explain why it should be free. For that I need to wind the clock (no pun intended) back a bit...

A little history...

I got my 1st Psion - a 2Mb 3a - in 1994. Soon afterwards, I discovered CompuServe's Psion Forum and 'The Web'. At that time, web access (and even widespread public use of email) was relatively new. The Psion community was also somewhat different - and considerably smaller - than it is now. IMHO, there was even more of a sense of 'community spirit' amongst this smaller group of Psioneers. There also seemed to be a far higher percentage of freeware programs then than there is now. Perhaps I'm seeing my memories through rose-tinted glasses - but I don't think so.

I used many of these freeware programs and utilities on a regular basis and always felt slightly humbled that various people had spent so much time and trouble - for no obvious reward - so that I and others could use and enjoy our Psions more. A few names were key on the Psion scene at that time. Some of them are still around. John Boyce is a good example. John wrote a plethora of programs and utilities for the series 3a/c (more recently for EPOC) - all freeware. In my view, people like John set an example worth aspiring to. I think that my 3a experiences over almost 3 years of use made me feel that I'd gained a great deal from the Psion community - and that I probably owed quite a lot back to it...

I got my '5' in September '97 and started playing with 'the new toy'. At that time I was still very actively using CompuServe's Psion Forum. Towards the end of '97 (I can't remember exactly when), Psion released the 1st version of their Message Suite software. There was much discussion and complaint on the Psion Forum about how it could only support POP3 compliant mail-boxes and the fact that CompuServe's email system didn't support POP3. What many people didn't realise at that time was that CompuServe was in fact beta-testing a POP3 mail system. It was primarily aimed at North American users (and even now still isn't officially supported in Europe) but of course could still be accessed anywhere. I spent a week or so figuring out how to set it up on a PC and then how to configure Message Suite to use it and... Bingo! It worked. I guess it seemed obvious that I had to write up the description and post it in the Psion Forum for others to use. So in November '97 I wrote it up in a text file called Emailcis.txt and posted it. The response was immediate. I started receiving emails by the dozen about it. The last time I looked, there had been something like 6000 downloads of the file from the Series 5 area of the Forum... Anyway, payback time had begun.

By mid'98, I was receiving daily emails requesting help or advice about CompuServe email and/or scripts for the Psion. I figured that I needed to do 2 things. Firstly, the text-only explanation that I'd posted on CompuServe's Psion Forum wasn't as explanatory as it could be - words can only go so far - so I decided to set up a web site that I could put a graphical walkthrough explanation on (i.e. same as the text but with screendumps from the PC and Psion to make it easier to follow). I'd also written a few articles by this time for Stef Smith's 5 Alive site (e.g. a description of how to get an IrDA link to work with PsiWin) that I wanted to put on the site.

Programming begins!

Secondly, I really didn't know as much about Psion scripts as people seemed to assume I did! So I figured that I'd better find out. Since the scripts seemed to be pretty closely related to the Psion's built-in OPL32 language, I thought that I might as well teach myself OPL32 as well... As any program(s) that I wrote would be a '1st attempt', I certainly didn't feel that I could charge anyone for them! So that's how I started. Yes, I could still develop some shareware apps. in the future (and it's never been completely ruled out). But for the time being, I still don't have any plans to do this. Mainly for the following reasons:-
  • My day-time job keeps me pretty busy and my employer might begin to wonder about my loyalties if they thought I had another income!
  • The tax man might begin to wonder about my tax returns if he thought that I had another income... Yes, I could start doing all the paperwork, but would it be worth it?
  • A financial transaction for any product implies some sort of guarantee. Whilst obviously I am careful to make sure that any program I publish is stable and bug-free, I don't have to worry too much about liabilities.
  • I don't really need the money... Yes, of course it's always nice to have more cash - who am I kidding?! But this is a hobby. I don't need to get paid for it.
  • I guess I've got the vain hope that others might think likewise about freeware and follow suit...
  • There's no long-term commitment required.  I can always stop if I get bored or have something else I need to be doing.
  • I don't have to worry quite so much about people trying to reverse translate my programs for profit (or otherwise).
  • It sounds a bit soft but it's rather nice to receive email from people just saying 'thank you' for the software.  smiley.gif

So there it is. As and when I can think of more good reasons, I'll add them to the list.


^ Top of Page

< Previous Page

<< Pscience5 Home Page

Saturday, 1 April 2006