Open Channel Foundation
Open Channel Foundation


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Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions for Contributors

As a software developer, you know the value of publishing your work to a wide community. Likewise, you can appreciate how much effort it takes to develop and support web site for your software, especially if your release has met with wide acceptance and you have a large and growing community of users and contributors. We believe we have an alternative to publishing your program on your own that will actually enhance the value of your offering to your users and help to build a strong community.


What you get...

A well-structured, customizable web site easily maintained through our content management system.

Bug tracking

Patch and enhancement submission and review

Project and task management

Support for registered and anonymous downloads

Statistics tracking

Mailing lists

Release monitoring

Server management and offsite backups

The Open Channel Foundation (OCF) offers you these benefits:

  1. We provide a means for you to publish your work without the time investment in setting up and maintaining a site. You will remain the chief developer and moderator, but your involvement with mundane day-to-day issues will be greatly reduced.

  2. Your software will be grouped with other related software in an area of Discipline. This will give your software higher exposure because users interested in similar problems will also review your solution; thus your community contact will grow.

  3. We will implement programs to encourage the active participation of the user community in supporting and enhancing the application. The result will be a more active user community involved with your software, which will increase the rate of adoption and development.

  4. If your program has commercial value, Open Channel Software will provide the resources to ready the program for commercial use, such as enhanced installation routines or extended documentation. We will also position, package, and market your software to commercial companies, providing the support and service resources necessary for acceptance.

  5. Subject to your institution's royalty sharing rules, a portion of the revenues will be directed back to you, either as a royalty, grant, honorarium, or stock options in the company.

This site is intended to answer your questions about the Open Channel Foundation and its parent company Open Channel Software. We have collected the most common questions for developers in three categories below. If you have any questions that are not answered on this site, please contact us!


Frequently Asked Questions

About the Open Channel Foundation


About you and the Open Channel Foundation


About commercializing software through Open Channel Software



About the Open Channel Foundation

What is the Open Channel Foundation?
Back to questions

The Open Channel Foundation (OCF) is a non-profit organization that publishes, distributes and provides other related services for software developed within academic or research lab environments. It is a central repository for high quality, advanced applications that are of a scientific or technical nature.

How does the Open Channel Foundation help users?
Back to questions

Because of our standard infrastructure format, the users of your software will find your site to be easily navigable, informative, and efficient. As the user community gets more involved, they will also benefit from increased support and perhaps more rapid development of the software. It will also actively promote the utilization of the hosted solutions and support the growth of an active community of users.

What do you mean by Community Activity?
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One of our objectives is to help build strong communities of users around each program. We will sponsor a variety of community building programs such as supporting an active news group and sponsoring user conferences where appropriate.

How is the Open Channel Foundation structured?
Back to questions

A main portal has been created for principle access. This main web site provides search facilities to locate software solutions, common interest subjects, and links to related sites. From there, the site sub-divides along major Disciplines, e.g., Security, Parallel Computing, Bioinformatics and so on. At the Discipline level, we want to become the center of information and community activity for the development of better software. Each Discipline then gives access to individual sites for associated software solutions. By being grouped with other related software in an area of Discipline, programs have a higher exposure to users interested in similar solutions; thus your exposure to the community increases.

model of the Open Channel Foundation

To provide a common look and feel for users and take advantage of scale, each software site uses common software for infrastructure support. Examples of these include:

  • License presentation and acceptance log
  • User registration
  • Download routines
  • FAQ support
  • Revision control and security
  • Bug listing and work-arounds
  • Listing of desired enhancements and a means for ranking
  • A mechanism for developers to 'sign-up' to work on either a bug or enhancement
  • Live chat session software
  • Discussion thread and bulletin board software
  • Recognition for contributors
  • Functions to publish reviews and the vision/direction of the project.

While we want to be the main host site for all the software supported by OCF, we recognize that many authors want to continue to maintain their home site for a variety of reasons. If that is the case, we will help create a mirror of your site and provide software that will synchronize our site with yours.

How are the Open Channel Foundation and Open Channel Software related?
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Open Channel Software (OCS) is made up of two entities: a non-profit company (the "Open Channel Foundation") and a for-profit company. The former will focus on the publication of software from academic and laboratory settings, the latter on the commercial aspects of programs that have been released by the Foundation.

Organization of Open Channel Software

What services will Open Channel provide?
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If a program has sufficient commercial application, and if the developer/author is interesting in pursuing such a course, we will establish a pro-active approach to marketing these 'free' programs to commercial businesses. Depending on the requirements of each program, a range of revenue producing services will be offered. They include:

  1. Support Services - Before commercial organizations can utilize research-based software, they require that there be some means of active support available. By creating an organization that can answer user questions or fix bugs, we can justify charging a fee based on the value of the software to the organization.

  2. Consulting & Implementation -Depending on the software application, there may be service opportunities for implementation, training, or integration work. If you would like to avail yourself of consulting opportunities, we will take care of all the details and issues around the engagement so that your time is well spent.

  3. Packaging and Documentation - If the product lends itself to special packaging or extensive documentation beyond that originally provided, we would charge the end user a reasonable fee for such a service. (Development of extra documentation might also provide an additional source of contracting revenue for authors.)

  4. Contract Programming - We will act as a broker, linking people who need work done with independent developers who can do the modification for a fee. We will facilitate all the contractual issues and certify the process from both sides of the transaction.

  5. Hardware - Some of the software may require special hardware (computer boards or peripheral devices), or it might make sense for the software to be sold as complete turnkey systems. We will be the supplier of these devices.

  6. Special Versions or Extensions - There are some situations where it is appropriate to offer the software in a dual license mode, i.e. it may still be free for academic and non-profit applications, but is sold for commercial applications. Where appropriate and with the approval of the author, we will pursue this strategy.



What other resources will be available?
Back to questions

A Support Manager will be hired for each program we support commercially. This position will 'own' the fulfillment aspect of the commercial operations (support, consulting, etc.)

Each Discipline will also have a Commercialization Manager. While the published programs should have good momentum on their own, we intend to proactively 'push' those programs we want to commercialize into the appropriate market segments. This person will manage the pricing of the services offered, identify the market segments that should have an interest in the software, and generally be responsible for the 'sale' of support contracts and major consulting or programming engagements.


About you and the Open Channel Foundation

How will OCF promote my software?
Back to questions

The major focus will be on promoting the Discipline as the source of software for the subject area. A Moderator who is a known authority within the community will be hired to help guide the acquisition of new software and community building activities.

To assist in this endeavor, a Commissioning Editor will be hired for each Discipline. The Commissioning Editor manages the relationships with the authors and the user communities within their Discipline, and will be your principle contact. They will have to be knowledgeable of the fundamental issues within the Discipline. Commissioning Editors serve as the front line drivers for building traffic and adding to the focus area. They will be responsible for quality control of the fulfillment process, i.e., the delivery of software for publication on our site.

Your application will have its own web presence within the Foundation's web site. Besides being listed on the Discipline site, a keyword search function will help interested users locate your solution from anywhere on the site.

What if I want to remove my software from OCF?
Back to questions

Our goal at OCS is to be the main host site for your software. If you are not satisfied with the service provide by OCS, you may remove your software at any time. We will provide linkages to your new site from our site to redirect your users.

Will the software be peer reviewed?
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A facility for collecting reviews from users will be provided. In addition, the Moderator of the Discipline may review the software for significance or for technical achievement, awarding an 'editors choice' award for outstanding work.

What if my software does not fit one of the disciplines?
Back to questions

While we will have a "miscellaneous" Discipline, OCF is actively recruiting software to add more Disciplines. If you don't see your Discipline and feel that there is sufficient interest to support one, contact us and we will review the option with you. Our critera for establishing a new Discipline includes the number of applications that could be included, the appropriateness of the subject matter, and the involvement and interest of the user community. If we decide to proceed, your help in establishing the Discipline would be greatly appreciated.

What will it take to move my software to OCF?
Back to questions

First and foremost, we have a very knowledgeable and dedicated staff to help either move your current site over to OCF, mirror your present site, or create a site from scratch. Additionally, we provide a web content management tool that will help you rapidly develop your web presence on our site. Each site will utilize standard infrastructure software adopted by our staff for the particular requirements of your application, i.e. FAQ support, revision control, user registration, etc. A 'Webmaster' will have responsibility for the maintenance operations of each web site.

Will OCF take over the support of my program?
Back to questions

While OCF will provide the platform for distribution of applications, we are not in a position to become the moderator or 'owner' of any hosted solutions. We subscribe to the open source model that the responsibility of supporting projects is with the community. We want your involvement but our intention is to make it easier for the application owner to manage the site themselves by providing staff to provide assistance and a first class infrastructure environment.

If a decision is made to support your software commercially, we will take over the technical support aspects of your application. However, we would still like to have your involvement as the main architect/visionary.

Will OCF verify or validate my software?
Back to questions

Validation and verification of software can happen at many different levels. OCF will verify that the software we publish on our portal does in fact install and that the test suites do run. We will not validate that the results produced by the software are correct. However, if the software is determined to have commercial application, as part of the commercialization process complete testing and validation will be done.

What license will be used to release my software?
Back to questions

We can continue to use the license you are currently using or OCF will work with you to change the license to one more appropriate for the present environment. If a commercial release is developed, we will again work with you to ensure a workable license.

Can I make money when the application is listed with OCF?
Back to questions

You will be in a good position to profit from your efforts through the increased opportunities for consulting and requests for product extensions, which we will encourage and help to broker.

If I agree to do consulting or training, how is the relationship handled?
Back to questions

OCS will act as a broker with the company that request your services. OCS staff will work with you to arrange for your time or visit to the client site. OCS will also negotiate a statement of work between you and the client that will define the scope of the project. OCS will arrange and pay for all necessary transportation and lodging. You will need to keep receipts for your meals and other expenses and mail/fax these to OCS for reimbursement. OCF will provide immediate payment of consulting fees and expenses once the project is completed (we carry the receivable). If the project will continue for an extended period of time, OCF will provide partial payment during the project.


About commercializing software through Open Channel

How will OCS determine if a program has commercial potential?
Back to questions

First, OCS will continually monitor the activity around each application. We will track the number of downloads, the type of users, the applications the program is being applied to, and the potential synergies with other programs. We will also survey the interest of the users in more active support and in additional features and services. We will also have the input of authorities in the field whose insights into the evolving needs of the commercial market will help guide us toward potentially 'hot' solutions in the portfolio.

How does a program "go commercial"?
Back to questions

Before 'going commercial', we will make an assessment of the potential market, the readiness of the program for 'prime time', the availability of support resources, and the estimated cost to successfully market the new solution. If the software needs a facelift or other modification, Open Channel Software will provide resources to accomplish this upgrade. We stress that any extension of the software into commercial applications would only be made with the full cooperation of the author/developer. We will share with you the information we have on the market prospects and the development costs we expect. We will also negotiate with you and/or the copyright owner (if not you) as to the royalty or payment stream. In most cases we feel that this will be in the 10-15% range after our direct costs.

How will I share in the revenues?
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Our base revenue sharing model distributes between 10 to 15% of the revenues generated to the copyright owner, once the direct costs have been covered. Revenues associated with licensing and support are paid at approximately 10%, while revenues associated with additional services (consulting, implementation, training, and so on) are paid at approximately 15%. This is in addition to whatever payment you may receive as the provider of these services.

When will Open Channel consider commercialization?
Back to questions

Open Channel will consider commercialization when the released software has demonstrated commercial potential sufficient to warrant a more proactive marketing effort. The software will continue to be made available under its previous license agreement on the Open Channel Foundation site. For users who require more active support, Open Channel may provide services on a fee basis. Open Channel will also secure the investment required to prepare the existing software for commercial release.

What if I don't want to commercialize my software?
Back to questions

If you do not want your software to go commercial, OCS will honor this request. We will continue to list the software on the Foundation web site.

If OCS provides bug fixes or new versions, how do I know what code belongs to me or my institution?
Back to questions

OCS will execute a license with the author/institution which will enable OCS to have derivative works created. We prefer to have the original author involved in designing these new versions. If the author would like to do the work required, OCS will "sponsor" (pay for) the next version. If this occurs the author/institution would continue to own all the code. If OCS has a third party create the new version, OCS would have joint ownership of the new version with the author/institution. OCS will pay a royalty to the author from revenues generated on this new version once its expenses have been paid. Any code developed outside of the author or institution would be completed under a "works for hire" agreement with OCS.

What if I have already executed a (non-exclusive) license for my software with someone else?
Back to questions

Even though someone else might be commercializing your product, if our research shows that your software has good potential, and our marketing approach can offer a better 'product' to the prospects (e.g., services, pricing, quality of support, etc.), then it might still make sense for OCS to commercialize your product. Another possibility is that your software might fit into a commercialized suite of related products, the sum of which would be greater than the individual components.

As the author can I participate in the commercialization?
Back to questions

Absolutely. Where support, consulting, or training or other related services are required, we will offer the opportunity initially to the author or others familiar with the software (graduate students or active users). When demand exceeds capacity, we will hire full time staff to provide these services.

What if my software is a huge commercial success?
Back to questions

In addition to revenues being shared with the author or institution depending on the IP policy, we will share all marketing information. If WE (OCS and you) decide that there is sufficient demand so support a company on its own, we will assist in spinning off the entity to further develop the software and marketplace. We will encourage the staff that are involved with the project to accompany the venture to maintain consistency. OCS and you would share in the % of ownership of this new company, along with the financial partners and management team.

What if I commercialize my software with OCS and it doesn't sell?
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We will decide to invest in commercializing a given product based on good research into the market, the results of which we will share with the developer/author. However, marketing research is not an exact science and despite our best efforts, the revenue may not be sufficient to continue with an active support program. If that is the case, we will honor our commitments made to provide support for the time period contracted and then shut down the commercial support. The improvements made to the software will be made part of the published program available from the Open Channel Foundation.


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Discipline List
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Aerodynamics Applications
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Antenna Design and Satellite Communications
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Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems
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Bioinformatics
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Chemistry and Thermodynamics
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Collaborative Applications
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Coming Soon
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Crack Growth and Fatigue Analysis
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Education and Training Software
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Engineering Applications
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Finite Element Analysis
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Geophysics
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Graphics Software
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Internet Applications
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Networking Applications
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Optics and Lasers
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Optimization
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Parallel Computing
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Programming Tools
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Project Management
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Psychometrics
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Radar Imaging
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Ray Tracing Applications
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Reliability Analysis
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Remote Sensing
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Security Applications
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Simulation and Modeling
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Spacecraft Design and Space Missions
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System Identification
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Systems Engineering
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Thermal Tools
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Trajectories and Orbital Mechanics
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Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering
¤ 
Visualization and Virtual Reality

Open Channel Software runs entirely on Open Source Software. We return value to the Software community in the form of services and original software. Most of our content is currently available as source code, with the copyright owned by the original author, All Rights Reserved. Everything else is Copyright ©2000 - 2017 Open Channel Software.
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