Free for 1 Year
I said to myself: "What if I return to the original concept of the blog, that is to write reviews of existing NMR software"?
I remembered there was one I had never tried. It's called NPNMR (where NP stays for: "Natural Products") and the web site has been in existence for a number of years, though I only heard about it from Google. The NMR wiki ignores it. I remembered there was a freeware version; I wanted to try it. The installation was successful. License was more problematic. The free license is not forever. It only lasts one year, starting from January 1, 2010. In practice it has already expired. "If you use the software on a regular basis, you should purchase a regular (commercial) license." I am waiting day after day, now I am a little tired of waiting and here is the review (without having tried the program!).
From the little I have read of the manual, it could be a fine product, with all the functions that today are considered the bare minimum. The author copied the right ideas from the right sources. The final result looks personal and tasteful. Some interface choices are arguable, like the multitude of different tools to perform correlated actions. For example, there are three integration modes and they are all necessary: the "integration" mode, the "remove" mode and the "edit" mode. Easy to learn but awkward for repetitive work.
The commercial price is reasonable. 500 euro for a professional program was a convenient price 10 years ago. I appreciate this kind of commercial policy: rounded figures that never change, the same price for everybody, no special deals, no promotions. Maybe the recent trend of the market made you think that a software can cost an order of magnitude less, but this is wrong. The software industry is not sustainable at low prices.
NPNMR is a Java program, with the limitations and the advantages of the language.
My impression about the NPNMR story is that the market is saturated. It's not enough to have a good product. It's not enough if the product is also free. A lot of hard work is required to make it popular. And NPNMR is not popular yet (otherwise I would have already found a license valid for 2011). A free product that requires a lot of hard work is an absurdity that can't last. We have already seen what happened in the past with other programs: Mestre-C is the most famous example, with NMRPipe representing a different illustration of the same basic concept.