I think, for someone who needs only basic functionality, I don't know how I canNOT compare programs to see which one suits me. Perhaps on a deeper level you see what sets PV apart from all the rest, but for the basics, the three are similar with what they claim to do for me, the end user and really, if you're selling a product and have any expectation whatsoever of at a minimum breaking even, that's who you need to satisfy. It was the relatively minor frustrations I had with OpenCPN that drew me to PV, a product I happily paid for and rave about over two forums. I've also recommended PV to my sail club and several people now use it.
I get the developer perspective and how close you feel to what you created. I work at a software company and I'm surrounded by developers all day (and a more fragile ego I've yet to encounter). But isn't it kind of like a mother who thinks her child is better than all the others on the playground? Being childless, I gravitate to the one that is least annoying and doesn't snot all over me.
Awesome post Donna!
I consider myself fairly technical, however the $40 cost (now $30) kept me away from PolarView.
I tried SeaClear and OpenCPN, and finally got sick of the software not being able to find the damn GPS, and screwing with the chart libraries. Sure I could do it, but I don't trust that my wife or crew could, and in either case, it takes time that I may not have in a "hairy" situation.
I am an Active Captain user, and when I read about the integration with AC, I decided to give PolarView a try. When I saw that the price dropped to $30, I paid to give it a whirl. (that reminds me; I better apply the license code)
PolarView just works! and the chart library updater is great!