WOF: What software are you willing to pay for?

By on December 18, 2010, 12:38 AM
[Weekend Open Forum] Earlier this week I was talking to one of our web developers about the software tools we use on a regular basis and were also discussing the kind of software we usually feel compelled to buy and the reasoning for doing so or not.

I think it was relevant to the discussion that he's a Mac user. I suggested that Mac users in general seem to be more willing to pay for software than the average Windows user and as result there are a variety of utilities, even the most simplistic of them, that go for a few bucks on the Mac while on the PC there appears to be a wider array of freeware and open source titles that can cater to one's needs.

Now we know for a fact that Windows users represent a majority of TechSpot readers. So here's the question: What kind of software have you bought in the past, and what type of software or services you are more willing to spend money on?

We have opened a poll to make your collective opinion easier to follow, you can choose up to five software categories. Please also comment on the specific titles you like the most and the ones you have actually bought, so that the discussion becomes more interesting as more of you drop in to voice your preferences.





User Comments: 39

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Guest said:

Cheap software, with prices like on iPhone...

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Important software, like data recovery or business applications.

killamoves said:

I agree with the cheap app store software. There's a lot of good software for just about anything most of which are $0.99. Games I buy from steam when they're on sale or the rare console game but other than that I think most software is overpriced. You can find most of the same features of the most expensive programs for free on a freeware version.

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Antivirus Software, and yes, cheap software. Basically anything which has a deeper use instead of just "Encoding Media" or "Chatting with friends". I have excellent free software to do that.

Guest said:

Willing to pay for :

OS

Security, Data Protection

PC optimization

Development Tools (since I earn a living out of them)

Definitely NOT wiling to pay for:

Games :D

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

OS (obviously you can't go anywhere without it)

Productivity + Office Applications, because I need them.

Games ........ there is no need to give a reason here right?

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

OS - because I don't want to be cheating on the backbone of the computer. It's like making your own fuel for an expensive car.

Games - at a reasonable prices, AKA 50-90% sales. :P

Office - only because there was a student discount. Like OS, this is high-priority and I just don't want the hassles.

For the rest, there's a billion free alternatives.

Decimae said:

Guest said:

Wiling to pay for :

OS

Security, Data Protection

PC optimization

Development Tools (since I earn a living out of them)

Definitely NOT wiling to pay for:

Games

Pretty much reverse here. Using mostly FOSS alternatives, and the occasional pirated software (most of the times my dual boot has an illegal Windows copy though I own XP and Vista OEM licenses) further more I won't use much.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

For years I pirated Adobe's creative suite. I couldn't have bought it if I wanted to with such a high price tag. Last year I got a job doing web development & design and they bought the master suite for me. Feels pretty good to finally own it!

There really isn't very much software I'll pay for unless there is no alternative.

Nima304 said:

Piracy for the win. Who pays for software anymore?

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm a sucker for paying for games. My local shop has a wall dedicated to both old and new PC games and as a teenager I'd always come out with something. I do admit though that most of them were crap...

I think it came up to about £500 after 4 years which still shocks me today

Cota Cota said:

My Win 7 OS, Office, Nod32, Visual Studio, Tuneup Utilities (the only one I trust), PCanywhere, some misc apps for editing media and that's all. *cough* a ************ ton of games =)

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm willing to pay small sums of money for most types of software. Over the years I bought art, productivity, OS, development tools, partition management, office applications, and of course games. I even paid for some apps that don't require payment, like Irfanview.

I must say that these days there are a lot more free options, so it's possible to stay away from paying for most things. I mostly buy just games these days.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm willing to pay small sums of money for most types of software. Over the years I bought art, productivity, OS, development tools, partition management, office applications, and of course games. I even paid for some apps that don't require payment, like Irfanview.

I must say that these days there are a lot more free options, so it's possible to stay away from paying for most things. I mostly buy just games these days.

Wow, kudos for paying for Irfanview. I think yeah, the flip side to this thread has to be that there are some fantastic people out there making great stuff for free...Free games, photo editors, utilities and loads more stuff.

All off their own back...

Renegeek said:

I'm a freeware junkie, i probably have like 10gigs of freeware... I hate paying for software... only if i have to.

Guest said:

Why should I pay for software? Everything I use is free, including my OS.

BabyFaceLee BabyFaceLee said:

Software that I always install on my PCs:

OS: Windows 7

Backup: ShadowProtect by StorageCraft and MozyHome (paid for version)

Encryption: Best Crypt Volume Encryption by Jetico (I use my PC for work so don't want info to get into the wrong hands)

Office: Microsoft Office Professional 2007 - but I hate the ribbon toolbar thingy and how difficult it is to customise anything

Web browser: Firefox (love being able to customise everything about it)

Music manager: iTunes (love having gazillions of great value apps to choose from)

Utility: True Launch Bar by Tordex (replacement for the quick launch bar)

BabyFaceLee BabyFaceLee said:

I love utilities and will always buy the 'paid for' versions rather than go for freebies. I strongly believe that you should pay for what you get/use and that goes for music too. Why do so many people think that they are entitled to get stuff without paying for it....ever.

yRaz yRaz said:

I bought a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate but I use the pirated version on all my computers. It isn't that I'm trying to get stuff for free, i just think the price is unreasonable. They will get some of my money, but I'm not spending close to a grand to put that stuff on all my computers.

There are a lot of things like that that I eventually buy. I get most of my games on Steam when they go on sale for less than $10. It's not that I want everything for free, i just want more reasonably priced software. Games should not be $60 and the OS should not be $200. I think $100 is a reasonable price for both an OS and stuff like Photoshop with games being $30 (at release) or under.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That is because people think it is their 'right' to get things for free, however, crux of the matter is even 'freeware' is not entirely free, as they to get paid through various means e.g. donations etc.

ColdPreacher said:

I pay for my development software like Visual studio, Maya, and most recently CS5. I also pay for games as I believe in supporting the developers.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I never paid for development tools and suites like Maya or Adobe, but then I really just played around with them. But while I won't impose my morality on others, I think that if you're actually getting money from using any software to create something, you should be using a paid version of the software.

But looking back at downloading software over the last decade I do have to say that its much more of a hassle to download and run software than it was in 2002. The DRM takes a lot more work to crack, there are a lot more viruses and trojans sprinkled around, fake copies with limited functionality, virus writers hijacking "legitimate" releases and infect them, etc etc. Even running a pirated version of windows becomes a hassle, you have to find workarounds for WGA, updating becomes a problem.

Guest said:

Why would you pay for an operating system? Linux is free, and before you start hating on it, you can now use microsoft word on it as well as photoshop on some distros.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Microsoft Dreamspark gave me Visual Studio Professional (along with a ton of other programs), for free. :P

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Games and more Games!

All the other software you can get for free (And not by piracy).

Leeky Leeky said:

I'm willing to purchase anything I need, but usually:

OS

MS Office (though I usually upgrade student versions every couple of cycles. e.g. Have 2007 now, and will wait for 2011 or whatever next one is)

Games - pretty obvious though!

I tend to wait for discounts if possible on all of them though. That said, I use a lot of open source software, as well as Linux, so if a linux alternative is better (with the exception of Office), I'll use that instead.

Some of the open source software on my PC currently:

FileZilla

Firefox

RSSOwl

X Chat

Tunniler

Gimp

OpenOffice

VLC

Notepad ++

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Why would you pay for an operating system? Linux is free, and before you start hating on it, you can now use microsoft word on it as well as photoshop on some distros.

As an alternative for Windows users, Linux is IMO only suitable for undemanding users or those with a lot of time and patience. I tried several Linux distributions over the past year, and they're great for browsing the web out of the box and such, but they might fail to run or install because of hardware they don't like, stop booting because you installed a driver, install incorrectly if you try anything advanced in the installer, might not notify you of problems if you run something through the UI instead of the command line, ... Nothing is obvious. Installing a high performance 3D driver for my Radeon 5850 is something I never managed. I'm sure I could have with some patience and help from others, but I just don't have that patience. And that's just for native Linux. If you want to run any Windows software on Linux, then you can expect to fight even more compatibility problems.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of Linux, that's why I keep trying it. I'm also sure it's very good for people who already know it, and who don't spend a lot of time on Windows centric software such as games. The problem is that it reminds me of using a beta of Vista. Well, maybe not that bad, maybe the first release version of Vista. And I'm still using Vista, which I think is a good OS (given enough resources), and I feel there's hope for Linux, too. It's just taking its time to get there.

treeski treeski said:

st1ckm4n said:

OS - because I don't want to be cheating on the backbone of the computer. It's like making your own fuel for an expensive car.

Games - at a reasonable prices, AKA 50-90% sales. :P

Office - only because there was a student discount. Like OS, this is high-priority and I just don't want the hassles.

For the rest, there's a billion free alternatives.

Wow... Exactly where I stand, word for word

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@ET3D

Exactly, having suffered similar issues with Linux, I believe that Linux isn't ready for prime time, an ordinary user doesn't need to go through this unwanted pain and agony; until Linux can become as easy to configure and use as Windows is, I don't see its future beyond geek's PC for a foreseeable time.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Actually, if I can get something to do the job I need for free, that's the way to go. And, since my needs are rather simple, most times there's freeware available that suits the purpose.

That being said, I do purchase imaging software from Adobe, since I'm involved with still photography, (but not video).

Many paid programs have become bloated pigs, for example Adobe "Photoshop Elements", to name the most irritating to me.

The program I bought once, "Nero 6", but will never buy another version of, is a prime example of how to alienate your customers.

If you install the entire suite, it takes over any file type you allow to be associated with it, then changes the file extensions so that other programs have a great deal of difficulty dealing with them.

The installer is sloppy, leaving in excess of 100 dead registry entries after it's finished.

But most importantly, many of the programs, (notably "Nero Vision" , are some of the worst performing pointless junk I've run across. Well, there's Photo Snap also. That even rhymes with "crap".

What we really need, is a good freeware Blu-Ray player. For me, it seems abundantly stupid to pay $90.00 for software to play Blu-Ray discs on the computer, when you can go out and spend the same $90.00 and get a free standing player for your home theater.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Captain

Nero is not just an example of bloatware, but it is rather useless as well considering the resource hog it is; I mean I can pretty much do whatever I want with ImageBurn for free.

Another good example where software leaves dead registry entries is Graphic Drivers (from almost every supplier) and subsequent instability they cause is just criminal in nature IMO.

Tgard said:

Paid:

I pay for the OS on all my systems. Love Windows 7 and now have that on all.

Use MS Office Student (bought it)

DVDFab (cause it just works and is frequently updated and I grew tired of trying to get around Encryption by using 3 or 4 other programs)

Games

Steam Games

Paperport 9 (came with my scanner)

--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------

Free:

--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------

Security:

Microsoft Security Essentials

------------------

Backups:

Acronis True Image Western Digital Version (for main drive complete image)

DriveImage XML (for regular backups of Win7 install)

Bestsync Free Edition (for everything else) (with limitations but works for what I need)

------------------

Misc. Utilities

Bulk Rename Utility

Ccleaner

Disk Monitor Free Edition

Stardock Object Dock free

7zip

MyDefrag

+ a couple or three dozen more

------------------

Office:

Notepad++

OpenOffice with some good templates for some projects

Bullzip with Ghostscript Lite for printing to PDF

Foxit Reader

------------------

Media Music Movies Converting etc.:

Sharepod (instead of iTunes = win)

Audacity

Mp3 gain

Mp3 Tag

VLC

Media Player Classic Home Theater

Iriverter

Daemon Tools Lite

CDBurnerXP

DVDFlick

Super

Any Video Converter

Iriverter (for shrinking that movie to the exact size for my wife's Zen player)

Windows Media Center

AOA audioextractor (the free part of it)

Subtitle Workshop

------------------

Images:

Irfanview

Gimp

------------------

Internet:

Firefox

Download Helper for Firefox

Pidgen

Peerblock2

Utorrent

and countless others.

I don't mind paying for software if it saves me major hassles (like DVDFab) or if it is a must have (like Windows OS)

Tgard

Tgard said:

Well I made a nice detailed post that was visible here for about 2 minutes. Don't know why it is no longer here? Did I list some software I maybe shouldn't have that clashed with sponsors or something?

Tgard

Guest said:

I recently had to purchase slysoft's Anyhddvdnow because my monitor wasn't hdcp ready in 2560x1600. It's weird because the site say the wfp8000 is hdcp ready but it will only work with 1920x1080 resolution.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

I have lots of freeware utilities on my hard disk but I'm also willing for stuff that matters like Windows 7, my favored backup program Acronis True Image, occasionally when a good AV program is available on a good deal such as the Webroot Internet Essentials on my Windows 7 machine and of course, PC games especially those of the FPS variety.

Guest said:

Games

OS

Office

Security software

Personal video and photography tools

be_patient said:

I buy all my games. I would buy more software if it generally wasn't so overpriced.

I love free software, but if I use it for extended periods I generally drop a small donation. (If they accept)

Didou Didou, Bowtie extraordinair!, said:

I've paid for my operating system (98SE, XP Media Center, Windows 7 family pack & now 7 home premium), office applications (Office 2010 home edition) & a few others such as good FTP applications, IRC, etc. I also buy my games & even collector editions of very good ones (Bioshock, StarCraft etc.).

Xcode can afford to be free on the Mac but Windows being a dominating platform Microsoft doesn't feel obliged to offer Visual Studio for free which is a shame.

Guest said:

Where's the option for : If I've got money I'll buy it if and I have to absolutely use it, otherwise just use a free option [x]. The OS and backup utilities are only what come to mind.

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