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steffenpelz

The future of FSUIPC

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To all,There has been a lot of dicussion on this - too much for me to comment on individually. Most messages have been very supportive of Pete's efforts over the years but a few see him as trying to cash in or blackmail people with the imminent arrival of FS9 - a comment that saddens me. If you knew Pete as I do you would know he is not that sort of person.Whilst I'm a close friend of Pete's I'm not his official mouthpiece. I'm simply putting into a public forum what has been discussed in a private one. Perhaps if I give you a little background you might better understand his reasons for his decision.Pete is approaching retirement and the company he is a co-director of has not made a profit for the last two years primarily because of the dreadful events of 11 September 2001. I'm sure his company is not alone. Because of his greatly reduced income and his impending retirement he now needs to make up that shortfall.For three years Pete has developed and nurchured FSUIPC from a basic module he initially wrote for himself to one that now enhances many features both with FS and with 3rd party addons. How many of you can remember the cloud visibility bug in FS2000 that ruined many flights when visibility remained at zero after descending through cloud? I know it ruined many of my flights. Pete identified and fixed that bug for no charge. Then there was the spiking problem with the 767PIC - again another problem identified and fixed. I could go on and on but I don't think I need to. Pete has provided a first class service to the FS community for over three years for no charge.For him to now ask for a donation is entirely reasonable and if everyone who used FSUIPC (not forgetting his many other addons) then he wouldn't be in a position where he feels the way he does. Whilst he developed FSUIPC because of his love of this hobby he does spend an inordinate amount of time developing new features in that module and helping people who have problems all for no charge.I am not going to get into a debate with any individual who feels he is greedy or jumping on the money-making bandwagon. Pete does not have the monopoly on modules for FS. If anyone else feels they have the necessary skills in C+ to develop a rival module that does everything FSUIPC does and is then happy to support it for no reward they are free to proceed.To anyone who is now going to remove FSUIPC from their system, well that is entirely up to you but it smacks of cutting off one's nose to spite your face. We all spend quite a bit on additional software to support a great base product and a small contribution to support a great piece of software is not unreasonable IMHO.I hope that helps you understand his reasons.

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I think that says it best Ray.All the whingers who complain they will remove FSUIPC because their software or addon requires are effectively admitting they couldn't code worth a damn in the first place and had to piggyback the tireless work of others. Nice admission John.FSUIPC is only required to:Correct anomalies in the basic FS programming (which MS should fix or pay Pete for so doing); provide compatibility with the FS engine by freeware and payware developers (who could be expected to make their own packages work properly the first time, so get to work guys); and for the enhancements of the sim that Pete has discovered & coded - enhancements which no-one had better deny are worth paying for.JohnCi's attitude is childish and brutish. Has Pete even mentioned that he would remove earlier versions of FSUIPC in a deliberate attempt to `blackmail` the community? No. So your `valuable contribution` to the sim world would still work and you would only have succeeded in cutting off your nose to spite your own face if you insist on it being removed, as it would then become an admission that without FSUIPC, your `work` is substandard - and you deny anyone the opportunity to prove that is not the case. After all, if you wrote it properly, FSUIPC shouldn't be needed, should it?After seeing all these threads, I'm not sure Ray has done the right thing by opening a debate on the matter. Pete should simply have issued a statement that FSUIPC is going payware as the donation thing hasn't worked, and to he77 with the consequences. Obviously, other diehard freeware exponents are pefectly at liberty to release their own freeware version. As the expression goes: "Come and have a go if you think your hard enough." ChasW

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i agree.people seem to have no problem spending several times the price of msfs on addons, yet when they are politely asked for a contribution to keep what is arguably the most important thing installed after the flight simulator itself they have the nerve to argue.and although i agree that payware developers should pay for fsuipc and freeware developers shouldn't, i don't see any freeware developer complain about the price of visual c++ or visual studio, and that ranks in the hundreds of euros/pounds/dollars.of course, bottom line is microsoft has been cashing on fsuipc for years, so they probably should say thanks for that, but most likely they won't because they are microsoft.cheers,pedro

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Ray, thanks for providing some background information on this issue. As said, my statement was/is purely speculation. I'm glad you share this info with us without touching Pete's privacy too much. I too lost my job due 9/11 (used to work at SITA, a company aimed at the airline business). Anyway, I've been using FSUIPC and addons running on it for years and won't mind paying for it. But like many others I feel payware addons needing FSUIPC should contribute a significant part of the finance needed. Ofcourse they will compensate for this in their pricing. But this only 'hits' users buying this particular addon and not the 'home' FSUIPC users. I also agree with the statement made in this thread that companies not willing to pay for FSUIPC should write their own version of this module.Pete, I wish you all the best in finding a good balance between time/income and sincerely hope you will be able to enjoy your retirement. Thanks again for your perfect contribution to our FS community!

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>FSUIPC is only required to: >Correct anomalies in the basic FS programming (which MS >should fix or pay Pete for so doing); provide compatibility >with the FS engine by freeware and payware developers (who >could be expected to make their own packages work properly >the first time, so get to work guys); and for the >enhancements of the sim that Pete has discovered & coded - >enhancements which no-one had better deny are worth >paying for. Charles,The above statement is incomplete. FSUIPC does far more than "correct anomalies in the basic FS programming."It provides the interprocess communications necessary for outside applications to receive/transmit data back and forth. To be sure, all third party programers could develop their own code to enable this bi-directional communications process, but only at the cost of bloated code, and the very great danger of having too many competing methods interfering with each other.Now the simple fact is that - as one person has already said - the "toothpaste" is already out of the tube. As long as the last 'free version' of FSUIPC continues to fulfill its role in providing the services it already does, there is no compelling reason for anyone to 'upgrade' to a payware version.If and when a new, payware version is released, I will evaluate it just as I would any other bit of payware to determine if there is sufficient 'value added' to make it worth the cost.If the cost/benefit ratio is high enough, I'll buy it. It really is that simple.At this juncture I would only consider making a 'free will donation' if I received public assurance and a written guarantee that any such 'free will donation' would be considered 'payment in full' for all future payware releases/upgrades.

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Hi Ray,this raise an interesting subjet for which it looks like many are considering a "freeware" version for freeware developpers and a "payware license" for payware developpers.From the outside it just looks simple enough. However, from the inside, how could one enforce such to work, and what about the already released products?To my understanding, and reading the following from the FSUIPC SDK: "The interface it uses is not mine. It was invented by Adam Szofran in his FS6IPC module, several years ago" how could FSUIPC be licensed for a fee beeing itself based on a freeware code?These are reasons enough for not using FSUIPC in any of my developments, including TCAS (AI Traffic), but it certainly is an interesting matter.

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Ok...let's see here.....I spent $80.00 on Flight Sim 2002 Pro, about $200.00 for the joystick/rudders to fly with, $40.00 a year for a magazine subscription to help me learn more about my hobby and enjoy it more, $350.00 for a more powerful video card to get the best possible performance from the sim, $120.00 for sorround sound speakers so it sounds better, about $200.00 so far on payware add-ons to further enhance my hobby experience, and numerous other "nickel & dime" expenditures on my hobby. Any of this sound familiar to you?? I'll bet it does, as reading the forums will quickly show you. This is NOT a free hobby! It NEVER has been a free hobby! It NEVER will be a free hobby! For that matter, I'd like you to point me towards a totally free hobby that is as challenging, rewarding and fun as flight simming. Pete has contributed immensely to my enjoyment of this rather expensive hobby, and if he wants to charge for his contribution then he has EVERY right to! Not only would I be foolish to delete FSUIPC from my system, I would probably be just as foolish to pay for add-ons that don't utilize the stable, proven and reliable FSUIPC interface, as those add-ons are probably not worth a dime. So, for those of you that are crying/whining/pissing/moaning about spending $15.00 or so for FSUIPC, go over your total list of expenditures on this hobby and explain to me where you got the silly idea that this hobby is supposed to be free?Now, on the other hand, since the future of FSUIPC is now undecided, I don't feel comfortable making a donation, since I may then also have to pay to register the program. But, the minute it becomes payware, please tell me where to send my check, because I'm going to install every update of FSUIPC that's released and go on enjoying my expensive but fullfilling hobby!See ya in the skies!!

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My point, which you miss Ray, is that Pete's utility's value is in part based on the freeware utilities that use it. Yet you've come into the forum, first with threats, and now a hardship case.... The hardship plea is especially disgusting. I doubt few of us are any better off financially than Pete is. My company without notice laid off 10 pct. of it's IT staff over the XMAS holidays. May happen to me, may not. But I am not as arrogant as Pete is to assume my utilities are so important, as to hold our community hostage.Pete needs money--fine--let Pete make money, but let him devise a profit sharing mechanism for those of us who have helped make FSUIPC what it is with our free products. As for fixing FS bugs, the impact of FSUIPC was strong in FS2000, but running without it in FS2002 has less of an impact, at least for me.I would be happy to code a utility that at least gave access to FS's state data, but the calls required are not readily available--I've never been privy to an SDK. At some point, someone has examined/hacked MS's internal code or has been given access to information that they now wish to profit from. Stinks.... Last, I missed the plea for donations when it was first posted. Now, after having read this disgusting thread, and after getting the sense that Pete considers the ground he walks on holy due to his "contribution" to the community, I won't donate a cent. As some of the people responding in sympathy with Pete's plea and my posts have also gone the payware route as contributors to many projects, I hold little credibility in their support of Pete.But I will reconsider my decision. If the existing FSUIPC works in FS9, at least to the point of supporting existing state data access, then I'll continue supporting my products. OTH, if anyone has access to information which would allow one to access state data directly through program code (preferably VB), please share that info. Indeed, for FS2000 there used to be a VB devel kit, and without any DLL calls I had the hooks needed to gather the state data for my apps..... I'll be happy to code an alternative for those dedicated to freeware, while Pete cashes in on his fame... But if this information is not available, I'm afraid I simply don't have the time to keep my work current with the next MSFS. I too am looking over my shoulder, always wondering how I will collect a paycheck...

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"JohnCi's attitude is childish and brutish"As you have I have gone a few rounds before, and you are always right :) , I won't respond in kind Chas, which is what you seem to seek.Tell me though, oh wise one--how do you think Pete should have handled those who support his product by releasing FREE utilities based on it? By shoving this issue down our throats? As I state in another post, give me information on the hooks and calls needed to access FS's state data, and I will update my utilities. Somehow, Pete has access to information which is not freely circulated..... I may be a child and a brute (you're at least right on the brute part, although I hope a diet will change things), but I am not complaining due to lack of respect for Pete's utility. I would gladly pay for it, but not when held hostage, and certainly I can't offer "freeware" dependent on users paying for yet another formerly free add-on...

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To be honest, I dont have a problem paying for enabling technologies, though I would think that by FS2004 the functionality of FSUIPC should be incorporated...at least MS should license FSUIPC!Eric

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"at least MS should license FSUIPC!"That I agree with....or at least, Microsoft should publish a SDK that would allow programmers to have access to state data, with the language support that FSUIPC offers. Having something to which we can interface to in VB code opens up many doors for those of us who have no training in C or XML.I really think Pete should try this approach--as it would also spread out the cost of FSUIPC over many millions of users, vs. just the die hard hobbyists. I still receive frequent emails from folks who obtain FSUIPC for one reason--to use it with my software. And I happily answer support questions for it, where I can. I suspect many of us in the freeware community receive the same coorespondence.

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It would make me very sad if Pete is indeed considering making FSUIPC payware. (I say IF, because, other than Pete's 'donation' request, I only see other people suggest this).But heeee .., it's freeware now, and that would be his decision (for whatever motivation).If it is a matter of investing time and effort: I'm sure someone is willing to take over the 'stick' from Pete, like he started FSUIPC based on Adam Szofran's work (FS6IPC).Although I have the greatest respect, admiration and gratitude for Pete's work on FSUIPC, in my opinion it is freeware (and MS) that has made this flightsim hobby to what it today, and how it will evolve in future.No disrespect to payware-designers intented, but that is a very small niche market in relation the number of people using FS.For those of you that suggest that Pete should be payed by payware designers or even MS: I think you are very naieve; that's never going to happen. If MS really thought that adding FSUIPC-like functionality would add something relevant to their business, they would have taken action a long time ago (either by hiring a person like Pete, or making it themselves). But you are forgetting that most (IMHO >90 %) FS buyers are just using FS out-of-the-box, without ever downloading/buying addon's, so they must think this add-on market is negligable.In which I believe MS is making is big mistake: they under-estimate the enormous value of the marketing potential of an enthousiastic flightsim community like ours is.Personally (but that's my choice), I have stayed away from any addon that I have to pay for; not because I cannot afford it but because I'm convinced that the current trend from freeware to payware will finally kill this whole hobby.And (probably because I am a freeware designer myself), I don't believe/agree with the much-heard statement that 'nothing comes for free'. I guess this is a universal trend which doesnot fit in my way-of-living. But maybe now I am being naieve :-).Rob

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I'm not too keen on the "Donation Ware" idea but I think it is better than losing Pete's work altogether, and I have donated to other projects before (R4D/MAAM and Desktop Wings VFR flights). I think it falls comfortably under the banner of free enterprise.The socialist attitude presented in some of the posts is sickening. Some apparently believe that Pete should be forced to continue FSUIPC at his sole expense for the good of the FS community. Pete is a _FREE_ (socialists may need to look up the definition of the word) individual, who will decide to work or not work on FSUIPC based on his own circumstances. To call that blackmail is pure sophistry.My own view is that MS should have been providing most of the features of FSUIPC all along; but having worked in the software industry for some time, I can understand some of the reasons against it (not that I agree with them).I think it is very reasonable for Pete to charge commercial vendors for his labor involved in adding new features that thier product requires. I think that this makes more sense than charging a fee for software that has it's own roots in freeware. Buts that's just my opinion.If Pete cannot continue his work for whatever reason, I hope that he would release his source to the community as a base for future development.This hobby is not a life and death matter. Get outside once in a while for "Pete's" sake ;)-T Edwin (hoo)

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JohnCi,<>I think you're putting the cart before the horse here. Whilst there are several utilities that use FSUIPC, Pete's utility was around a long time before the first addon became available. Additionally, you have also to consider the uselfulness of FSUIPC itself - programmable button and some axis assignments, joystick calibration, improved visibility handling leading to better frame rates and bug fixes for FS2000 and FS2002. You get my drift?<>I find that comment quite uncalled for and ask you to retract it. I stated at the outset my message was not a warning yet you choose to ignore that and put your own coloured slant on a message that was composed with a great deal of thought. I find you comment about hardship particularly offensive. You hide behind the anonymity of e-mail - would you talk face-to-face with someone and use such language? I doubt it.<>The only disgusting aspect of this thread are your comments. I will not discuss these issues with someone who obviously has no respect either for me (I'm not that bothered anyway) or for the efforts of Pete Dowson (a man I have a great deal of respect for and so should you). Perhaps after your latest comment you will do the honourable thing and remove FSUIPC from your system.For anyone who wishes to make a contribution to Pete please follow this link...http://secure.simmarket.com/product_info.php?products_id=453To all,To those who have made a contribution to Pete's fund and are concerned about the future of FSUIPC rest assured as soon as I know Pete's decision I will post any news here unless Pete wishes to make the announcement himself elsewhere. One thing is for sure - the current version of FSUIPC will not work with FS9. Pete has been working on a new version (with Microsoft's co-operation) to ensure a future version will work.Watch this space.

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ChasW, Hakkie, Steve and everyone who has posted constructive and sympathetic discussion to this well-read thread,Thank you all for understanding the situation and for your opinions. Pete really doesn't like visiting these forums and I know he wouldn't instigate a discussion on his own product. I also know that the tone of some of these messages (fortunately very much in the minority) would not amuse him. I have a rule - I never say anything in an e-mail I wouldn't say to a person's face. It's a pity there are some who can't manage that. Nothing is gained from abusive comments especially when they don't know all the facts.I'm going to point Pete to this thread as many of you have suggested some options that will give him some food for thought. I'm sorry I couldn't discuss with you individually the points you raise but I hope the thread, if nothing else, has raised awareness of the situation. The lack of donations has dismayed him so I hope that those of you who feel you would like to help but have yet to make a donation will reconsider. I see this thread has been accessed nearly 1400 times in 24 hours. Now if only 1 in 4 makes a contribution that would make a big difference.http://secure.simmarket.com/product_info.php?products_id=453Thanks once again.

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>"JohnCi's attitude is childish and brutish" >>As you have I have gone a few rounds before, and you are >always right :) , I won't respond in kind Chas, which is >what you seem to seek. I'm sorry John, but you began the aggressive tirade, with wild accusations and overreaction, as we shall now see...>Tell me though, oh wise one--how do you think Pete should >have handled those who support his product by releasing FREE >utilities based on it? By shoving this issue down our >throats? I wasn't aware that Pete had done any such thing? Was this thread not raised by Ray Proudfoot? has PD contribute to this or any other thread? Have you personal knowledge in the form of e-mail communication (or, to your way of thinking, a `blackmail` letter) stating that your work will no longer work with FSUIPC? I don't think so.I suspect the most likely solution is that FSUIPC will go payware when FS9 is launched (as we already know the `old` FSUIPC won't work with the new sim). So all your FS2002 work is safe, as are current versions of FSUIPC. And you will have plenty of time to discern whether your freeware efforts are to be worthy of a purchase of a piece of facilitation software (from your over-the-top condemnation of payware I assume your Computer, Windows software, flight sim software and design software you use to create your creations was all given to you for nothing?)>As I state in another post, give me information on >the hooks and calls needed to access FS's state data, and I >will update my utilities. Somehow, Pete has access to >information which is not freely circulated..... I may be a >child and a brute (you're at least right on the brute part, >although I hope a diet will change things), but I am not >complaining due to lack of respect for Pete's utility. I >would gladly pay for it, but not when held hostage, and >certainly I can't offer "freeware" dependent on users paying >for yet another formerly free add-on... Well, as Pete found the source I'm sure you can to, and we all look forward to your freeware alternative. Your `selective` lack of respect is particularly hard to discern from your thrusting and posturing, (but at least you have tried to restore some credibility), so let's hope your software is more intuitive and in-tune with the times.ChasW

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Dear Ray,with all due respect, many people here are saying that the most interesting feature of FSUIPC for a developper is giving access to FS variables / internals to other programs (and the reader should take for granted that almost ALL of FSUIPC data is the same that is readily available and documented in the FS Panel SDK series - the other features are FSUIPC local feature which could be done redone).However, what strikes me the most is the following:==================================================="One thing is for sure - the current version of FSUIPC will not work with FS9. Pete has been working on a new version (with Microsoft's co-operation) to ensure a future version will work."===================================================Does this means that Microsoft is not giving / treating all FS add-ons developpers the same (freeware / payware) in giving to only one individual the necessary insider information, and that for this reason / advantage, the very same individual could have a direct financial benefit from it? This definitely is a matter.I'm not discussing the service and how great FSUIPC is for a number of add-ons.Best,

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Hello JeanLuc,<>I agree entirely. The current version of FSUIPC not only gives this information but also serves a second and third purpose - a user-interface for changing visibility, programming buttons to FS functions etc. and as a bug-fixer. You could say it's all things to all men (not forgetting the ladies of course).I don't know how you would disect the program to provide three separate services if that is what is needed. I haven't spoken to Pete about all this - it's his program to do with what he wants but the discussion here raises interesting points.<>I honestly don't know who Microsoft is in discussion with on FS9. Normally there is a non-disclosure pact between beta-testers and MS during the development phase. Pete's involvement was revealed by another party after which it became pointless hiding his discussions with Microsoft. I'm sure he is not alone in working with them and actually, it's nice to see this happening. I'm sure he is not taking advantage of the relationship - he's not that sort of person, please believe me on that.Regards,

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Can't some MS FS2004 product manager simply hire or contract Pete Dawson (PD) and his services - so that new FSUPIC.dll is automatically distributed with FS2004? Hint, hint.MS should simply partner with PD techincally and financially...so that we can all get on with flight simming or coding, whichever you makes you happy.Life's too short to be arguing, enjoy it the fullest. I'm sure Mr. Harvey would agree!

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"so let's hope your software is more intuitive and in-tune with the times."So, now you want to flame my software? This has nothing to do about Pete. This has to do with your grandstanding. I made be a "child and brutish", but you are a fool and have stuck your foot in your mouth once again.... You started attacking the person.... Maybe for your free copy of FSUIPC? Want to score points, eh? GROW UP!

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"- would you talk face-to-face with someone and use such language? I doubt it."I consider that a threat..... Threaten me again on these forums, and I will ask for your removal. I am entitled to an opionion, whether you agree with it or not. And back to the hardship issue--it was you who introduced 9/11 into the thread as part of Pete's issues, as if it is some part of a litmus test for sympathy.

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>"so let's hope your software is more intuitive and in-tune >with the times." >>So, now you want to flame my software? This has nothing to >do about Pete. This has to do with your grandstanding. I >made be a "child and brutish", but you are a fool and have >stuck your foot in your mouth once again.... You started >attacking the person.... Maybe for your free copy of >FSUIPC? Want to score points, eh? GROW UP! Aha! Don't debate the point, debate the person. Great deflection, a career in politics beckons. The point I was making (and I'll make it clearer so that you can't deflect the point by misunderstanding and grandstanding) is that there should be no effect on your current creations, and you will have the opportunity to decide whether to adapt to the changed conditions the new version of FS (and FSUIPC) may present. If you choose to bypass a payware FSUIPC then you may. All you're doing is creating work for yourself, reinventing the wheel. And possibly problems for those who download the result, if it interferes with other software like FSUIPC. Que sera. Is there any indication that a FSUIPC in the payware domain will actively prevent other software from talking to FS? I think not. It's a facilitation tool, not a compulsory download. You have the opportunity to bypass FSUIPC if you want, just like any developer. Or you can embrace its facility and ease of use. Like many developers. Your choice. Just as it will be our choice to pay for it or not. Like another poster all I seek is a clear statement of intent from Peter as to what will happen, once he's decided. I'm happy with freeware FSUIPC. I'll willingly pay for payware FSUIPC.We had the same debate when Helge Schroeder made FSNavigator payware from freeware and he simply withdrew from the forums to develop and dsitribute the product via his own website. PD can ignore all the posturing you put up because it's unimportant to the decision he needs to make. What he needs is support for whatever decision he makes to from the community as a whole - and that will be supplied by the hopefully constant stream of funds and developer agreements. Then this discussion becomes irrelevant.ChasW

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"Like another poster all I seek is a clear statement of intent from Peter as to what will happen, once he's decided. I'm happy with freeware FSUIPC. I'll willingly pay for payware FSUIPC."Thanks Chas....I have no problem reading your thoughts when they are worded like this response.I do see your point about Pete not being a participant in this thread. That is what bugs me the most--that Pete isn't taking an active role in speaking to us. My final thought, shared by some, is that perhaps Pete should consider breaking out the modules....creating a freeware state data interface, and a payware module that adds the enhancements brought forward into FS. Of course, an optimistic person would think that the next version of MSFS won't need someone like Pete to come along and fix issues. I still believe MS owes Pete more than any of us....some of FS2000's issues would have been show stoppers without FSUIPC. -J

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By your same argument, I could say that it is YOU (the freeware utility developer) that entered into that contract with Peter. You are dependent on his program, not the other way around. It is you and those who use your program that owe Mr. Dowson so much.No where in the README or any other documentation does it say that Mr. Dowson will provide support for this product or continue to upgrade it in the future. Those developers that rely on FSUIPC are (and have been) gambling on the availability of FSUIPC.I have gained SO much from FSUIPC. My experience with MSFS has been nothing but a total joy. And in no small way, Mr. Dowson has been a part of that. I was more than happy to send some $$ his way to show my appreciation for the years of enjoyment.We all want the free lunch to continue, but times change. Sometimes time change in a way that we don't like, or would rather not see. Well, that's life. If Peter needs to charge for this, we'll have to deal with it when that happens.I personally suggest that everyone take a few Euros out of their wallets and send them Peter's way. If for nothing else, to show your respect and gratitude for all he's done and for all the enjoyment you've recieved.

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>For those of you that suggest that Pete should be payed by payware >designers or even MS: I think you are very naieve; that's never >going to happen.That depends on: How much effort should be done to bypass FSUIPC. There are several variables that any developr with more or less effort can export (like the ones present in the gauges) but there are others not so readly accesible (TCAS data for instance). Do developers want to make the effort? I don't know.>I'm convinced that the current trend from freeware to payware will >finally kill this whole hobby.will not kill the hobby. There is a trend but the problem is that everybody wants quality, a standard that only very few developers grant for free. Usually everybody thinks in planes but in sceneries and utilities the freeware is still strong, just go to library and see that the latest developments are for free.>I guess this is a universal trend which doesnot fit in my way-of->livingme too. Althought I often pay for things.Jos

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