SDRSharper: A modified version of SDR#

What appears to be a third party reskinned version of SDR# has been released on the *removed* Facebook discussion page. The modified software is called “sdr sharper” and changes the look and feel of SDR#. The software also includes several plugins ready to go including a scope, audio notch filters, audio equalizer, audio waterfall and s-meter. The sdr sharper software call be downloaded from the file *removed* over at *removed*.

Important Note: We are currently unsure of the legality of this software as it seems to be based on the licensed SDR# code base. If it turns out to be illegal software we will remove all download links.

Update 28/01/2015: As suspected SDRSharper is illegal and infringes on SDR#’s licensed code and trademark as pointed out by Youssef, the author of SDR# in the comments section of this post. In response we have removed the direct download link. Please respect the SDR# licence and Youssef’s hard work by not using illegal copies.

The majority of added features can be added to the original SDR# with the plugins listed on this page.

Reskinned SDR#: SDRSharper
Reskinned SDR#: SDRSharper

44 comments

  1. TheOne

    I looked into this issue of the license of SDRSharp. Quite apart from the fact that much of the code can be found as examples across the web pre-dating the development of SDRSharp (and pretty much just copy and pasted too), the MIT license was applied to the codebased until the following revision:

    4e3252bfd77a57cefd7d57c2f7c053d6b0376188

    The link to that revision is here:
    https://github.com/cgommel/sdrsharp/tree/4e3252bfd77a57cefd7d57c2f7c053d6b0376188

    This places much of the radio project under the MIT license. Later revisions did revise the license terms, but that cannot be back-dated as Github retains a history of commits.

    • TheOne

      I double checked this in the changelog. It is consistent with the record at Github and the commit record states it was by ‘Prog’ which is Youssef.

      The modified license was applied 40 mins later, perhaps after some thought, who knows? The end result is that there are multiple logs stating that the MIT license applied to a particular commit. So, a legal branch can be made at this point in the development process, however, everyone will need to review the changelog and make their own updates after that point.

      ————————————————————————
      r459 | prog | 2012-07-12 21:47:12 +0200 (Thu, 12 Jul 2012) | 1 line

      Modified the licensing scope
      ————————————————————————
      r458 | prog | 2012-07-12 21:40:25 +0200 (Thu, 12 Jul 2012) | 1 line

      Additional license for the DSP
      ————————————————————————
      r457 | prog | 2012-07-12 21:17:17 +0200 (Thu, 12 Jul 2012) | 1 line

      Unreferenced a project
      ————————————————————————
      r456 | prog | 2012-07-12 21:09:18 +0200 (Thu, 12 Jul 2012) | 1 line

      Added the MIT license
      ————————————————————————

      https://airspy.com/downloads/changelog.txt

      • Onlooker

        And no one did what you describe, they all took the latest (and/or decompiled SDR#, which was relatively easy since C# is a JIT compiled language), deleted all the licenses and slapped GPL license on “their code”.

        • TheOne

          From what I have read about that, it is because Youssef linked to DLLs released under the GPL and made a release. Under the terms of the GPL, the enitre program must be GPL’d and the acceptance of those terms is to make a public release. That led to a GPL fork called OpenSDRSharp but no one pushed it at the time. Copies of that fork remain but I don’t think anyone distributes it. That resulted in changes where the RTL code was downloaded by a batch file. But, I recently noticed Youssef is bundling RTL in the current version which places the latest release under the GPL. So, now doubt it is being reversed. Yousseff seems to have issues with license management.

          • Onlooker

            I don’t see that at all, I just downloaded the latest version of SDR# and all I see is “install-rtlsdr.bat” And as far as I am aware spyserver uses dynamical loading of shared libraries at runtime so if “librtlsdr.so” on Linux or “librtlsdr.dll” on Windows or libairspy.so/libairspy.dll are missing it just won’t support those devices.

            I think you may need to fact check, before you post.

            • Onlooker

              Sorry under Windows they are called “rtlsdr.dll” and “airspy.dll”, I’m a UNIX person, so I assumed the files names would be the same under windows.

  2. Eliana

    so… Airspy.com SDR# SDRSharp, cal them what you want, have benefit from the generosity of open-source great minds to… then built a commercial software? And remove the original works?! All sounds like a bunch of criminal to me.

    Any of you have the original source code/link so I can place this back on git, and return Airspy’s change?

    • Bert

      There were two licenses for separate parts of the code.
      The Microsoft GUI frontend was covered by a BSD license
      But ALL of the DSP code was covered by an extremely restrictive Microsoft license (Ms-RSL) which was and still is not open source.

      As far as I recall there were zero patches submitted for the GUI frontend (or for that matter the DSP backend).

      But some people in 2012 decided to steal all the code, change the name and release “their” SDR software and delete the original licenses, and illegally slap a GPL license on all the code. I can see why the developers would move their code behind closed doors when their license was being ignored. From what I can see the licensing has not changed but all development is now carried out behind closed doors by an invite only team which is not incompatible with either of the licenses.

      The changelog is still public https://airspy.com/downloads/changelog.txt
      If you analyse it
      97.07% of the changes were by one developer
      2.82% of the changes were by a second developer
      0.20% of the changes were by a third developer
      0.10% by a fourth developer

      I’m seeing very little of this “benefit from the generosity of open-source great minds” that you mention. When it comes to SDR almost all of the innovation comes from DSP, which is non trivial.

    • Bernie

      This is an ignorant statement. SDR# is an original One Man Work not based on any existing application. This is not the case for HDSDR, WR+, SDRPlay’s SDR Uno (Studio1), all based on Alberto’s WinRad. There are many other commercial application who have never been open source and still using code from the SDR far west days.

      It’s SDR# that contributed to the SDR community, not the other way around. Heck even some of the most useful algorithms in GNU Radio were stolen and GPL-ized from SDR#, like GR-IQBAL – without it, all SDR’s are POS with terrible images all around the spectrum. Who knows who else is secretly using SDR# code today.

      AFAIK, no one contributed anything to SDR# when it was open source. At that time, all external patches were refused, which made a lot of people angry, but it also prevented SDR# from becoming a chaotic blob of code, like it is the rule for open source projects. The best proof is that is it still heavily developed today by the same person at a high level of quality.

      It’s funny how the SDR incompetent companies like SDRPlay prefer to pay and acquire existing software like Studio1, itself plagued with copyright problems rather than develop their own software centered around their own hardware, but no one seems to care enough.

      Do your due diligence next time.

  3. Daniel Jackson

    In looking at the original license for SDRSharp as it is posted at Github it does grant a license to make derivative works from the source code, and to do whatever one wants with the derivative even sell it, so long as the original License and Copyright applied to the source code is contained in the files of the derivative.

    License is at:

    https://github.com/cgommel/sdrsharp/blob/master/LICENSE

    Context of License

    Note Permission was granted to do as one wishes with the
    Software so long as this Copyright is maintained in the files.

    Specifically to “to deal in the Software without restriction,” among many of the things the license grants.

    In which case based upon the License as long as SDRSharper has a copy of the original license in it, it is legal. Also the derivative portions of the software would be licensed to the individual who derived SDR Sharper. And also the derivative work may be sold by the individual who compiled and authored the derived work.

    *************************************************************

    ORIGINAL LICENSE

    Copyright (c) 2012 Youssef Touil and other contributors,
    http://sdrsharp.com/

    Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining
    a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the
    “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including
    without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish,
    distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to
    permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to
    the following conditions:

    The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be
    included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

    THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND,
    EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF
    MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND
    NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE
    LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION
    OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION
    WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

    ************************************************************************

    • Daniel Jackson

      In effect this is the only license that is stated as being required to post within any derived work, which means something specific doesn’t it?

      • admin

        I’m no expert on licencing, but if you look under the license scope file it says that the DSP code is under the MS-RSL licence, which is not open source. Only the gui components are under the MIT licence.

  4. Marty

    I am unable to get the sdrsharp.. QPSK.DLL.. plugin to work with Sdrsharper. Does anyone know why?
    There is an odd message at startup and the plugin is missing.

  5. Tom

    I actually prefer SdrSharper it has better features then SDR# so to the coder of SdrSharper THANK YOU and keep up the FANTASTIC work.

  6. Anomy

    Youssef aka prog is a keyboard warrior you want to go into his IRC channel and listen to him quack with his butt buddy DOSFAN.

    Complete plebs

    • longdipole

      I was just informed about the ‘noise’ on this website concerning my personnel SDR sharp mods.

      As said once before i do and did not have any intentions to steel something or even more, make profit out of it. I think SDRsharp is still an extremely nice piece of software (as is CuteSDR or SharpDSP, both being freeware and both of them with published source code!).
      Unfortunately however I was missing things. One of the main issues in this was ExtIO support for my Perseus and other SDR hardware. I once asked the SDRsharp crew to add such, but got no response.

      That time the SDRSharp crew was still publishing the source code and people were explicitly invited to learn from it and use it, and that was exactly what I did. After some studying I added my own personnel wishes to the software. Because that time the add-in function was not that flexible as it is nowadays I could only integrate it directly into SDRSharp itself.
      The nicest result of this was that after some time, this led to renewed competition from SDRsharp because I noticed that some of the features I added in my software came available in the original SDRSharp.

      Some final words about ‘re-using’ intellectual property. If someone would take a further look at the SDRsharp sources one could see that the for instance core DSP code and the RDS code was ‘borrowed’ from respectively the sources as listed in http://www.dspguide.com/pdfbook.htm and from the CuteSDR sources at http://sourceforge.net/p/cutesdr/code/HEAD/tree/trunk/dsp/ and some stuff from SharpDSP sources.

      But let’s not sling more mud. I’ll keep my version as private as possible and let only make very few friends and club members over here make use of it, so nothing to worry about. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Youssef AKA Prog. Not Prog as in ProgDVB? Jeesh, has there ever been a more buggy flakey DVB app than ProgDVB? I understand the sat community have sweepstakes to see who’s closest to guessing the crash time each time it’s run.

        • Anonymous

          You’re spot on with that observation. Woe betide anyone who had the temerity to enquire how the airspy project was progressing after the proposed launch date had passed. With his increasingly rude and arrogant responses, plus of course the amusing toys out of the pram incident when the entire site was taken down it beggars belief he had any customer base left to sell his product too.

          FWIW I like Sharper, both it and Sharp do what I require but I prefer the darker and blingy look to Sharper so I’ll continue using it. Nothing like a bit of web censorship to attract some new users, two seconds on Google?

  7. Anonymous

    Hey youssef, instead of going off the deep end about someone reskinning your application, why don’t you collaborate with the guy. A lot of people like the look of SDRSharper. I have supported your software for a *very* long time. It has improved immensely. But sometimes a change in the interface couldn’t hurt. You once published the source code, a lot of great things happened because of that. Have you forgotten about all the forks on github? So then you closed it and developed a plugin system. Didn’t want people mucking with your work and fragmenting it all to hell. And then if course people tried to borrow your code. I remember a certain config file, that for the longest time contained an uncommented source for the rtl-sdr interface and a “;-)”. All because osmocomm didn’t want you releasing the code that way. Give the guy a break, maybe even just think about it. That skin looks good, the layout looks good. Perhaps you might consider allowing him to release it, as long as he gives full credit where its required? Or if that’s not good enough, offer a way for developers to reskin the application. Sheesh.

  8. Harvey

    Seems the source code is still available – https://github.com/cgommel/sdrsharp.
    [quote]
    Copyright (c) 2012 Youssef Touil and other contributors,
    http://sdrsharp.com/
    Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining
    a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the
    “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including
    without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish,
    distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to
    permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to

    The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be
    included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
    [/quote]
    the following conditions:

    • Ben

      Harvey, did you read the Lisensing Scope (the file immediately below the Lisense you posted)? It specifies which source code is under MIT licence and which source code is under Microsoft Reference Source License.

      https://github.com/cgommel/sdrsharp/blob/master/LISENSING_SCOPE

      “… This project (and the corresponding source files and DLLs) is under the MS-RSL license:
      SDRSharp.Radio.csproj”

      MS-RSL is the Microsoft Reference Source License, under which licenced code is not what would be considered “open source”. MS call it “shared source”.

      “‘Reference use’ means use of the software within your company as a reference, in read only form, for the sole purposes of debugging your products, maintaining your products, or enhancing the interoperability of your products with the software, and specifically excludes the right to distribute the software outside of your company.”
      – Microsoft

      Providing the source as a reference to help in the development and debugging of third-party plugins doesn’t make it “fair game” to modify and redistribute.

  9. Juan Carlos Yanez

    First of all: I´m not a programmer, I´m just a final user so all my opinions are at these level: user.

    Mr. Youssef had did an excellent work on SDRsharp. I use it a lot for fun and Ham. There is a lot of Work in these software, I respect and thanks that.

    I found that many third person plug-ins makes my SDR really good and usefull. I also wan to thanks all that people, especially Vasili´s ones.

    I tested sharper version, just for understanding. I found that these reskinn is very intuitive and helpfull for Ham work. Shame a very nice work its ilegal.

    So the solution comes easy for my sense:
    Why not colaborate in the mutual GOOD ?.

    For example: I´m sure AirSpy Hardware will sell better with a derivative SDRsoft kind Sharp+Sharper that help many hams to get easy into SDR world. Then most of us will star to use the most customizable Sharp version while our learning courves develop.

    Also a more friendly (but Youssef controled) plug-ins and skinn arena will make, for sure, SDRsharp the most powerfull software for modern radio work//hobbie.

    EA1GGO — Juan

  10. lodenkabat

    Youssef does not work for a long time on sdrsharp, to the airspy does new functions only. He not HAM, he programmer, does not deal with our requests a lot, his energy goes away with copyright dispute (example sdrtouch). I acknowledge his work, but wrong the direction.

  11. LY5NF

    Well, there are a lot of great features in this build, and a lot of them should be in the official SDRSharp. I hope the devs get together and do that.

    • Kody

      Since Airspy is out the author doesnt add any new functions (except Airspy poopies), there isnt even a proper wave-iq playback, sliders anyone?
      I dont mind anyone else is doing this 🙂

  12. Maverick

    I’m guessing since it was called “SDRSharper” the developer probably had no idea code would come into question.. People should try to make a decent linux program that is like SDR#.

  13. Pat

    He’s not selling it, I don’t see the problem. If someone can edit a program to make it better than it’s his and only his prerogative. This is a classic case of internet “copyright”, where neither party has no idea what’s going on.

    • admin

      The SDR# code is not open source, so it is illegal to use the code in something else, even if he’s not selling it. The SDR# author had the code free for viewing at one point, but too many people stole the code which is why he had to take the code down.

      • anon

        I’m still a bit confused about this.

        The code was open sourced at one point. People likely still have the copies of this code.

        You can’t do ‘take-backsies’ on published works.

        It’s a totally different story if the code was from the post-closed source era, but I don’t see any issue (or any right on the original coder’s part) to say that derivative works are ‘illegal’.

        • Tehrasha

          Then you do not understand how software licensing works. OpenSource does not mean ‘here is some code use/modify/distribute this however you want’. It is restricted by the terms of the license which it was released with.

          It would have been nice if Youssef had released his code under the GPL, but he did not. The license his code was released under was a much more restrictive one. (IIRC he cannot use the GPL due to licensing on some of the code libraries being used)

          You can argue that expecting people not to use the code outside of limits of the license is naive, but that doesnt make the people who ignore the license any less guilty of the violation.

        • admin

          I believe the main part of the code was never open sourced, it was always licensed. He had however released the code free for viewing for learning purposes. Then people took advantage and stole the licensed code for their own software, so he removed the code.

          • MetaNoid

            I’d like to know the history of the SDR# source code licensing. Was the SDR# source code always copyrighted?
            According to the file changelog.txt on the sdrsharp.com:
            Imported project from googlecode.
            ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            r1 | www-data | 2011-09-18 15:27:08 +0200 (Sun, 18 Sep 2011) | 1 line
            Automatically created readme.textile and /trunk directory. We recommend you to put all your code there.
            ------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Which googlecode’s project’s source was imported for SDR#?

  14. osros

    Its a shame folks do this sort of thing instead of asking permission or collaborating with the author to bring enhanced features or a new look to an already good software. I appreciate everyone that works on the software and brings us cool things to play with free or paid. I took a look at this and I saw alot of nice things I wish the original had however coping code and what not without permission/agreement is not cool.

  15. Neeme

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: CLR20r3
    Problem Signature 01: sdrsharper.exe
    Problem Signature 02: 0.0.0.0
    Problem Signature 03: 54be3159
    Problem Signature 04: SDRSharp.Controls
    Problem Signature 05: 0.0.0.0
    Problem Signature 06: 54be3157
    Problem Signature 07: 3d
    Problem Signature 08: a2
    Problem Signature 09: System.NullReferenceException
    OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.768.3
    Locale ID: 1061

    • Jack

      I’d be careful stating something is trademarked, if it is not trademarked it is a legal offence saying that it is… just a heads up. I think you probably meaning to say copyrighted, that is a different thing. DON’T say something is trademarked if it’s not… you can be fined a very large fine by the bodies governing trademark registrations in your country.

      • Ben

        Nonsense. You are confusing “trademark” with “registered trademark”. You can claim anything to be your “trademark”, however it is much harder to prove in court than a “registered trademark”.

      • KD0CQ

        It wouldn’t work correctly with the USB option. At least on my install. It acted like it was sending data but nothing was received. The RTL(ExtIO) option worked first time. Why it doesn’t work under the USB option I don’t know. Haven’t had time to troubleshoot it that far yet.

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