An open letter to HRD Software, LLC

First, let me state again for the record I am (or was as the case may turn out) a customer of HRD Software. I run Ham Radio Deluxe every time I turn on my FT-991, in my shack or out in the field. I tried several different software packages, HRD was the one for me and I was willing to pay for it and continue to support it through annual support subscriptions to support further development. No longer.

To date, there have been three verified cases of remotely disabling the licence key in Ham Radio Deluxe in retaliation for either the posting of a unfavorable review of HRD or being associated with a group the criticized HRD. And, if you read the End User Licence Agreement, as you pointed out to the blacklisted user in one case, you retain the right to do so - at any time, for any reason. After this came to light you doubled down on your right to do so.

Let's think about how chilling that is. Imagine if you posted a review of Windows 10, and said "I think this bug makes Windows 10 not worth buying", and then the next time Windows Update ran your computer didn't boot. That's exactly what you did. Over and over again. Your customers don't have proof yet, but we think it's way more than the three times.

Your counter has been that you are sorry, and promise it will never happen again. That's not good enough, and let me explain why.

If my son took a dollar out of my dresser every day, and I caught him one day after years of doing this and he said "I'm sorry, Dad, it was wrong and I promise I'll never do it again" - I might want to believe him, but I dang sure would want to put a lock on my dresser or bedroom to keep it from happening again.

This is what you must do to regain my trust:

  • Take out the ability to remotely disable your software. Period. Your licence key tied to my callsign is sufficient anti-piracy protection.
  • Take out any reference in your EULA that you can disable your software that I have paid to use at any time for any reason.

That's it. I'm not calling for heads to roll, or full page ads apologizing or anything like that. But if you want me (and I imagine many others) to use, purchase updates, and recommend your software to others, you have take out your remote kill switch. Because you have demonstrated you can't be trusted with it.

Feel free to contact me at tom@kn6q.org if you have decided to try to regain my trust.

73,

Tom KN6Q