Within a few weeks, we will be formally releasing Version 3.0 of the OntoPortal Virtual Appliance for public use.

There is a lot of improved code under the hood, and more than a few new features. We’ll be telling you more about these in coming posts.

One thing we want to mention up front: the new Appliance will require user registration. We added this because we really need to know how many people are using the appliance, and what they are using it for. And yes, we may also need to start charging commercial users to use the Virtual Appliance.

As much as we love making the Appliance a free service—and we plan to keep it free forever for independent users, and researchers at academic institutions and non-profits—keeping the system sustainable will require finding diverse sources of funds to keep paying the developers that maintain the software. We believe asking companies that benefit from this sophisticated software to help fund its development is an appropriate request.

And by asking all of you who are using the software for your own research to register it, we hope to make a stronger argument about how important this software is to the many research communities that use it. Hopefully this will also help make our software sustainable!

We’ll write more about the new features in OntoPortal Virtual Appliance 3.0 once we’ve completed the official release. You’ll be seeing new annotator capabilities, more included ontologies, significantly improved documentation, and the ability to work with Allegrograph as your RDF backend! And we’ll be partnering with members of the OntoPortal Alliance to make sure you are getting an Appliance that will be useful for a long time.