Open Channel Foundation
Open Channel Foundation


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Frequently Asked Questions for Users

  • We are updating this list of questions on an ongoing basis. If your question is not answered on this site, send it to us! We'll get you an answer and consider adding the question to this page.

  • If you are an author or developer who would like to contribute software to the Open Channel Foundation, see our FAQ for Contributors page.

Do I have to register in order to download software?

In order to accommodate the institutions who provide the software we publish, we have changed our policy with regard to anonymous downloads. At this point, you are required to log in and fill out an information form for all software titles. Most of the institutions that contribute software to the Open Channel Foundation site require us to collect this information. We tightly control who gets access to this information.

Who gets access to my information?

We provide a list of users who acquired a particular software title to the developer of the software, as they typically like to know who is using their program. The institution where the software originates also has access to a list of all users related to titles that they have contributed. This is done to allow OCF to comply with Federal Law and export guidelines to which most of our software applies. We do not sell our user lists to anyone. We may occasionally contact a group of users ourselves about a new release or another program in the same field which we are now publishing.

I am not a US national. Can I still get software from Open Channel Foundation?

Some titles are available to all users, regardless of nationality. Others are restricted to prevent users from certain countries from accessing the code. Still others are restricted to US citizens resident in the United States. The export status for each software title is displayed on the request form. The export status of a particular title is determined by the institution that contributed it, and not by the Open Channel Foundation.
If you request a title with an export status that prohibits distribution to you, the order will be cancelled.

Is all the software free?

Some software on the Open Channel Foundation site is free. Other titles, notably from the NASA COSMIC collection, carry a fee. We are constantly adding new titles to our site.

How do I get software?

Every software title has a "get it" link on the home page, and a "get" link in the left-hand menu. That link brings up a page where you can request code and documentation. You must be logged into the site to complete the request process.
Once you have filled in the request form, one of two things can happen. Some titles have a "click through" license that you can accept on-line. After you accept the license, you will receive an email with download instructions for the files you requested.
Other titles require that you print, sign, and fax a license agreement back to Open Channel Foundation, at (US)773-334-8187. If you have requested a title carrying a charge, you may be contacted regarding payment before we will fulfill the request. Once we have received the license, you will get an email from us with download instructions for the files you requested.

How can I contribute to the development of the software?

Moderators of software titles hosted on the Open Channel Foundation site support different types of participation. Often there is a user forum where you can submit questions. In some cases, there may be a system for logging bugs, or uploading patches and enhancements to the code. If you would like to contribute to a software program that does not have any facilities set up for this purpose, please contact us, and we will forward your request to the appropriate party.

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