Meteobridge is a modified firmware that needs to be flashed on your router. Hardware section lists supported routers. When flashing the Meteobridge firmware onto the router, your router converts into a Meteobridge device. As the router does have minimal internal flash storage, Meteobridge needs to reach out to the Internet to load the needed application stack from the Meteobridge server. Having downloaded the needed stuff the fast blinking LED switches to steady on and Meteobridge is ready to operate.
14 Days Try-Out License
First time your flashed router does connect with the Meteobridge server a 14 days trial period starts, where you can use all features and try out, if Meteobridge is a fitting solution to your purpose. During try-out period You have a PayPal button on the "License" tab which allows you to purchase a permanent Meteobridge license. When try-out period has passed, Meteobridge will no longer read data from your weather station and will prompt corresponding error messages in "Messages" section on "System" tab. Being in this state, you can still purchase a license to get the system operational again.
Licensing via PayPal
When doing the PayPal licensing with the embedded PayPal button, the Meteobridge should do an automated restart to start operation in licensed mode. Sometimes this fails and it needs you to power-cycle the unit to give it a fresh start. You can check on "License" tab if the licensed version is active. If it is not (even after a restart) please contact "info(at)meteobridge.com". You also receive an automated invoice in mixed English and German text that confirmes your purchase and tells licensing date, license number and fingerprint of the system that has been licensed. You don't need this information for operating your Meteobridge in licensed mode as the relevant mark that you unit is licensed is stored on the Meteobridge server.
How permanent is this License?
It is permanent, but Meteobridge operation depends in some aspects on the existence of the Meteobridge server. This dependency is threefold:
- In standard operation Meteobridge receives the application stack from the Meteobridge server.
- Historical min/max data which would otherwise be lost when you reboot your Meteobridge device is also stored on the Meteobridge server.
- Pictures you upload to the Meteobridge server and weather data annotation to those pictures are also a server based operation.
Being dependent on the Meteobridge server, your system will in standard configuration only operate when the Meteobridge server is up and running. To reduce your dependency on that, we designed a fall back mechanism, where you add a USB stick to your Meteobridge. Each time you reboot the Meteobridge the newest application stack loaded from the Meteobridge server is also stored on that stick. When you then set "boot from USB stick" option on "system" tab, you can operate your Meteobridge on next reboot without the help of the Meteobridge server. By that you can permanently use the Meteobridge, even when Meteobridge server is no longer there. When doing so min/max values are also stored on the USB stick, so you don't even need the Meteobridge server for this. Only item 3 (picture uploads) will no longer be operational when the server has gone. As you see, you have it in your hands to make operation truly permanent even beyond the existence of the Meteobridge server. There is no planing that the Meteobridge server will be terminated. This server is a vital component of the Meteobridge project. We just want to give you instructions how to permanently run your Meteobridge even when the unlikely event occurs that the whole project including the server should by terminated in the far future.
Can I transfer my License to a new Device?
Licenses are bound to the physical device. When you want to transfer the license to a new Meteobridge device, we can do that for free for you. Simply start the new device in trial mode and contact "info(at)meteobridge.com" telling us the MAC of the old and new device. If the old device is no longer operational and you don't have the MAC, please send us the invoice you received when purchasing the license. Having those credentials we swap the license to the new device. The old device will get the trial license from the new one, so you can operate it in parallel until trial runs out. When you have stored settings from old device (on "System" tab) you can upload that to the new device to spare setting it all up from scratch again. Min/max data stored on the Meteobridge server will not be swapped to the new device. You will need to enter the data manually for the new device (on "Live Data" tab).
What about "Update Licenses"?
Meteobridge license comes with a two year period of free update support. That means that during that time each time you reboot the Meteobridge, you will get the newest and greatest code. When two years have passed this free updates end and you will see a notification message on "System" tab, that you are stuck to the version current when the two years have passed. Please be aware that this does not mean your license is voided, it just means that you don't get new versions.
In case you decide that you want to continue to get the newest versions, you can purchase a so called "Update License", which gives you additional two years of updates. This can be purchased as easily as the original license on "License" tab. Just click the PayPal button and with a few clicks this is done. If a problem occurs, please contact "info(at)meteobridge.com".
Do I need updates?
It depends. As long as you are fine with what Meteobridge does for you, you don't need an update license. But there may be new developments or changes in functionality that make sense to you at Forum section. So you can easily wait with getting an update license until you really have the need/wish to make use of these changes. When you decide to opt for an update license to support the ongoing of Meteobridge development, we are of course also happy when you decide to go for an "Update License" anytime soon.
Isn't it unfair to let me pay for updates?
We don't think so, as you get two years of free updates when purchasing the initial license and this already is a substantial offer. When we are stuck to a commercial model, where we only get revenue from initial license sales, the whole thing collapses when additional sales go down while we have to maintain a large number of licensed systems. I think there will be a point of saturation in the market, when all people where Meteobridge solution does fit are equipped with it. Being there, there would be no revenue to cover client support, new developments, bug fixes, etc. As we have plenty of ideas of further development, it would be a pity to get the project stalled by not getting ongoingly a needed amount of new users on board. With the introduction of update licenses we generate revenue from the users who want additional features and support and by that we have a stable revenue base go on with Meteobridge.
Why didn't you let users pay for new releases but keep the old ones unlimited supported?
We thought about doing that, but it has the disadvantage that we have to support mutliple branches, which adds a lot of complexity to our development. That would mean, that part of the additional revenue will be eaten up by backporting bug fixes etc to old versions. Going the way we did, we just have one current version and this is the one we work with and we do bug-fixing and support for. We are aware, that this means that a user might need to purchase an update license, when he is stuck at a serious problem with the latest version he has access to. But as we just take 19 Euro for 2 years of update support, we feel that this is an acceptable price for having problems solved and additional 2 years of ongoing support. As we are a very small and specialized company, it is important for us to concentrate efforts and we cannot act as the big plays by supporting multiple branches.
Why didn't you outline the Update License policy right from the beginning when you stepped in with Meteobridge
To be honest, we did not see the problem to organize a revenue stream for support, further development, etc in that clarity as we do now, being in the situation. Therefore, this is a decision that developed over time and as explained it does look to us as the best way to handle it. On the other side, there have never been any promises of permanent free updates, we simply did not bother with that topic when starting. Next time we will be more clear on that right from the start.
- Your Meteobridge license is a permanent license, that does not run out.
- You can migrate the license to new devices (in case of HW fault, etc). Just send MAC of old and new device to "info(at)meteobridge.com" and we do the migration for free.
- First 2 years after license purchase you get all Meteobridge updates for free
- When 2 years have passed, you can purchase an "Update License (19 Euro)" to have another 2 years of updates.
- There is not need to purchase an update license. You can operate your Meteobridge with the latest version accessible to you.