EZNEC (PRO/2) WILL BE FREE BEGINNING IN 2022.
EZNEC PRO/4 WILL BE DISCONTINUED.
THERE WILL BE NO SUPPORT OR REFUNDS AFTER 2021.
On January 1, 2022 I will be retiring. I’ll be nearly 76 and want to spend more time at other things. EZNEC is and always has been developed, sold, and supported only by me, so all development, sales, and support will end at that time. For several reasons there is no practical way to sell or transfer ownership to someone else, so here’s what will happen on that date:
EZNEC will be released to the public domain and become free of cost and can be freely copied and distributed. I do not plan to release the source code.
There will be one or two EZNEC program types:
EZNEC Pro. This will have all the features of the current EZNEC Pro/2 (internal NEC-2 calculating engine) and will additionally be able to run external compiled NEC-4.2 and NEC-5 programs furnished by the user. Please keep in mind that NEC-4.2 and NEC-5 are copyrighted software that must be purchased elsewhere. At the time of this writing, the sole seller is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) but they are in the process of transferring this responsibility to some other person or organization. Note that external NEC-4.2 and NEC-5 programs won’t have the full capability of EZNEC Pro/4 with its internal enhanced NEC-4.2 calculating engine, and the LLNL-supplied NEC-4.2 may be very much slower.
EZNEC+. EZNEC Pro uses some advanced memory management methods to accommodate its upper limit of 45,000 segments, and this may cause trouble on some systems. So I might also make available EZNEC+ which has simpler memory handling. However, I’ll investigate the possibility of making this unnecessary.
No programs will require a hardware key or other additional device.
EZNEC Pro/4 with its internal enhanced NEC-4.2 calculating engine will no longer be available for sale or free or as an upgrade from v. 5.0 or earlier. This is because sale of this program requires my verification that a user has purchased an NEC-4.2 license before sending EZNEC Pro/4. I will no longer be doing this. It will also not be available to replace a lost or damaged program, so users must be responsible for maintaining robust backups. The requirement for a hardware key to use EZNEC Pro programs (EZNEC Pro/2 and EZNEC Pro/4) will be removed very soon and announced on the main EZNEC web site main page and elsewhere.
Until the retirement date, EZNEC sales and support will continue as before. After that date, no support will be be available, and any email or other communications regarding EZNEC support will not be answered. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN FOR ANY REASON AFTER THE RETIREMENT DATE.
Anyone using the public domain programs will do so at their own risk and with no possibility of support or recourse.
At the time of this writing, the compiled NEC-4.2 from LLNL has been found to contain at least one bug (which has been repaired in the current EZNEC Pro/4), and the recently released NEC-5 has a substantial number. There is currently no one at LLNL able to fix these and no one outside LLNL authorized to distribute updated versions, so anyone purchasing those programs and using them with the public domain EZNEC Pro program will encounter the bugs and may not have any way to get them fixed.
Very soon after starting my own business I discovered a number of things about human nature I hadn’t previously realized. One is the following: If you were able to buy a brand new car for $500 you’d be absolutely thrilled and feel that you had gotten a terrific bargain. But if you discovered that your neighbor had gotten the same car for $300, those feelings would immediately switch to convictions that you’d gotten a lousy deal and been cheated. That’s my greatest hesitation about releasing EZNEC to the public domain and making it available for free. Rather than expressions of delight from people who will be able to use this software for free, I fear I’ll hear (but sorry, I’ll ignore) loud complaints from some people who previously thought that EZNEC was worth at least what they’d paid for it (and many have told me they feel it’s worth much more) but like the lucky car purchaser now feel they’ve been robbed because they could have gotten it free if they’d just waited or if I’d made it free a little earlier. Ironically, those people would be happier if I passed it to someone else to continue selling it or simply made it unavailable altogether when I retire. In fact, the only reason for the six month delay until retirement is to give potential new customers fair warning of the choice they can have of buying it now or waiting and getting it free later.
I sold my first copy of MININEC-based ELNEC v. 1.0 in March 1990 and two more major versions followed. When personal computers became powerful enough to run NEC-2, I introduced EZNEC v. 1.0 in April 1995. Shortly after that I quit my “day job” as principal design engineer at Tektronix, and EZNEC became my primary way of making a living which it has been ever since. The first Windows version, 3.0, came in May 2000, and versions 4.0 – 6.0 have been introduced since. My customer database which goes back to the first ELNEC sale in 1990 has nearly 13,000 different names and companies. A sizeable fraction of these are current users.
You, my customers, have been wonderful. I’ve enjoyed interacting with you and learned a great deal by doing so. You’ve been courteous, thoughtful, patient, and honest beyond all expectations. You’ve enabled me to escape the Dilbert cartoon and have the dream job of being a one person home-based company for 26 years, with no bosses and no employees. It hasn’t brought me more than a modest income, but getting rich has never been my goal — along with occasional consulting it has provided an adequate income and a much, much, more pleasant and stress-free life than a career at a large corporation (or even most small companies). I hope that what I’ve been able to provide has been a fair exchange.
This announcement may be updated from time to time.
Last update July 7, 2021.
Roy Lewallen, W7EL