Freeware: The myth exploded

By Poppa Bear · 24 replies
May 1, 2009
  1. Many people are under the illusion that freeware is a magnanimous gift, and something for which we should be on bended knees thanking the manufacturers for their beneficence. Not so!

    Freeware is an absolutely necessary marketing tool; and is factored into the manufacturing & maintenance costs of the product from the point of view of profit.

    It serves as an advertising medium, a tax deduction, promotes the company image, and acts as a de-facto beta version by providing feed-back to remove bugs from the system.

    From the manufacturers’ point of view, it’s like any form of advertising... a necessary evil. It doesn’t put you ahead of the opposition, but you have to have it just to keep abreast of them and stay in the race. It serves no direct productive purpose except to keep advertising personnel employed.

    The proof of the necessity of advertising is demonstrated by the following fact: A few years back the leading soap manufacturer in USA decided to stop advertising, based on the fact that they were well established, known and trusted. They went broke in short time.

    Closer to home, in the Firewire versus USB contest, Firewire started charging for its product. USB, which has always been free, came back with USB2, and we all know the rest of the story.... goodbye Firewire!

    So don’t panic! There’s no danger of freeware ever disappearing while we live in a market driven economy. But even in the worst case scenario, if they all disappeared, 90% of the population would simply use Windows Firewall and Win Defender, or pay for a program... perish the thought!

    In reality there aren’t many genuine free software programs. A few exceptions are Free Download Manager, CCleaner, EasyCleaner & DriverMax; and I pay tribute to them. Most so called freewares have a splash, nag or donate screen; although some at least provide an option to turn off the splash screen, such as Super Anti-Spyware. And that’s done out of good marketing savvy. After all, why brown off the potential buyers of your retail product? Better to keep them on side.

    Norton Anti-Virus to my knowledge doesn’t offer freeware, (correct me if I’m wrong), so it’s no coincidence that most of their software is included in packages such as utilities that come with the original product like motherboards from Intel. But their software is not free: It’s included in the overall cost of the main product you buy.

    There is a standing joke in the software marketing industry: A competition was held where the 2nd prize was a year’s free subscription to Norton Anti-Virus. The 1st prize was a program capable of removing Norton AV from your operating system.

    Here’s the bottom line: Your freeware “gift” is paid for by the purchasers of the retail versions of this software!

    My pet aversion: Freeware versus Free Download

    Being a bit slow, it took me awhile to figure out the difference. But after downloading, installing and running umpteen “freeware” products... and finding out you need 6,000 registry items removed or drivers updated, etc... they inform you that you have to buy the retail product to do it! Why freeware web sites allow these parasitic companies to masquerade under the title of freeware is beyond me. They should be called: "Trialware".... and we're the ones enduring the trial! Even from a marketing point of view, they do nothing but repel potential buyers.

    So there’s my take on it. Please feel free to knock yourself out criticising this article.
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Freeware shouldn't be given such a bad take.

    Without a doubt we all have some form of Freeware on our computers and are very happy with it.

    I myself have a few that I have linked to many times before:

    FastStone Image Viewer
    Avira free AntiVirus
    Adobe Reader

    Actually there are thousands of small and big free programs that are available. But not all of them have splash screens. What about Linux and all its programs?

    Free is not all about splash screens, but I do agree its about good marketing
    If I were to bring out a new Antivirus (not that I would of course as free Avira rules) it would be in my best interest to offer it free, until such time users became familiar with the product and then I could market a paid version (being somehow better)

    Going along that idea, may mean that not every free program will remain free, but certainly I was grateful for the manufacture to provide it when it was, at their cost.
    Free programs should be given the respect they deserve, an excellent program at zero cost except for some advertising parts. I'm very happy with free ;)
  3. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7

    Thanks Kimsland, for awhile there I thought nobody would even bother to respond. Re you response you said:

    Don't get me wrong. I love freeware and am glad to have it. And as mentioned in my post, I pay the utmost tribute to the companies and oragnistations who provide genuine 100% free software; like some of the examples you mentioned such as Linux etc.

    However, the main point I'm making is that I don't feel any debt of gratitude to the companies providing freeware as a marketing tool. It's true they bear the costs, but no more so than companies who bear the cost of advertising to sell their product. And as I said, in the final analysis, the paying customers bear the cost of the freeware, not the companies, because they factor that cost into their figures when computing their selling price.

    It begs the question: Would you give accolades to and be grateful to the company you bought your car from for paying the cost of advertising the car they sold you? Didn't you pay your share of that advertising cost in the price of the vehicle?

    But more to the point, they have to, or they won't stay in the market place. And I can guarantee you if there was some other way for them to achieve their marketing goal without handing out freeware, we wouldn't have any freeware at all. So there's no altruistic motivation behind it. It's purely commercial. And hence there is no reason to feel gratitude, except to compliment them on the excellence of their product. Which is exactly the intended purpose of any advertising campaign.

    In most other industries companies pay people to test their products, like test pilots, mattress testers, etc. And of course not forgetting celebrities who get paid to say how good their products are without even testing them.

    To give accolades to such companies would be akin to actors who do commercials giving accolades to their employers. They are used purely as a means to an end, a deal between both parties, and both parties benefit. And that's exactly the same with freeware that contains nag reminders to buy their product.

    I'm not knocking them for doing it.... just getting a right perspective on it.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,969   +2,526

    PaPa Bear, you did make a novel of a post, which effectively precluded a line item quoted response. Well, difficult but not impossible. On the other hand, you invited "criticism". So, the net result here is no quotes, but a couple of "thoughts" a bit later

    The obfuscation you speak of in regards to "free downloads" vs "free software" is ad speak, and you're probably more immune to it outside of the computer arena. If you cash every $5.00 check that somebody in league with your credit card company sends, by the end of the year, you'll have a couple of grand in in charges, you won't be able to explain. So it goes with program subscription charges, they'll keeping billing you, and the onus is on you to stop it.
    Much freeware is offered with no strings, yet with marketing sensibilities. It pays Adobe to give you their reader, since it promotes rendering PDF as a universal format, so they can sell the pro versions commercially. OK, the latest versions have gotten a little nasty with the ads and add-ons. So, it does follow your line of reasoning, you could accept the desktop icon, or just trash it, and you won't know reader is there until you open a PDF, and it's there for you. Not a bad situation.
    Especially in light of the fact the Adobe has one of the most agressive ad campaigns in the trial versions of their paid products.

    Adobe is trying to steer toward online subscription of their software, which is a nasty, nasty, concept on so many levels.

    The very popular "Daemon Tools" CD emulator comes with adware, but tells you up front at the website that you can turn it off with a tick box. If you don't pay attention, pop-ups can occur.

    You haven't taken into consideration that some of the most popular "freeware" has been written by individuals, not corporations, who really might need us to click on the "donate" buttons. Lightning's DVD Decryptor comes to mind, as this is an individual who has gotten into legal issues over the program with MacroVision and the courts. Did we chip in for any of the legal expenses, not likely. Do we all know what DVD Decrypter is for, >>;) << you betcha!

    I hope you accept what I'm trying say next as constructive criticism. I think you're being too hasty in your decisions as to what to download, and not reading the fine print. My experience has been that "Freeware", Trialware, and "Shareware", have a been plainly marked. Another thing is that you are perhaps too casual about reading the setup pages. Haste makes waste here, and if you don't take a moment to untick the auto update boxes, you have the problems you describe.

    Whenever I install a new program, paid or free, I make certain to remove any connection between it and it's source website, no auto-updates, no email, no BS. This is up to, and including, doing a msconfg, or killing the programs startups with Spybot. Adobe is one culprit here, they install a piece of crap called "Adproxy". Ya know, this might be OK for someone who wants online storage or intends to have photos printed online, I don't, I won't, so I kill it.
    I'm sort of a boring person in my software choices, in that I don't actually install that many, only Nero, Photoshop, an unzipper, screen cap, and (see above). When I find something that works for me, I'm happy, I stick with it, and don't really go out of my way to see if the next product is better. If your job is getting done to your satisfaction, stand pat, don't hit on an 18.

    I'll make the argument for you, that those habits shelter me from the most, if not all of the Ag you're complaining about. I don't have any business needs for my computer, it's just something to shop and entertain myself with.

    When I run a registry cleaner, it always finds 2 unnecessary registry entries that PSE installs, I remove them, PSE puts them back, and the beat goes on. Boring, I know, still it's the truth, and bears no resemblance to the "adventures in registry cleaning", you've described.

    I still disagree with you that eliminating pop-ups and "nag" screens would improve a software company's sales figures. Our basic natures preclude that. If I'm getting what I need for free, I'll keep it. If I'm getting nagged, I'll uninstall it, and find something else, but still no spendy money. It's not a serious disagreement, just my somewhat jaded view of of that part of our natures, that I feel we all overlook, perhaps a bit more than we should.

    A large part of this discussion taps into what we've come to accept as convenience, as opposed to what we've come to overlook as invasion of privacy. Windows Media Player will give you all the information you'll never need about the song your playing while it roots around on the web looking for information. I don't particularly want my business followed this closely. so I suffer the disconnect, still buy CDs, then play them to amuse myself. Your cell phone can be made to track your whereabouts, all you have to do is install some software. That's great, just what I f****** needed, an electronic leash. The real world emergency value of this is so far overwhemed by the blatant and massive invasion of privacy. I pass! If I'm laying in a snowbank somewhere, don't worry about it, I won't be mad, at least I'll die knowing I haven't been tagged me like a wild animal.

    Another "Popup", something somebody, somewhere, wants to make me believe is for my own good while they're selling me a "service".

    With proper consideration I think you'll at least agree with this. Consciously or unconsciously, nag screens annoy us because they're such a massive invasion of privacy. Buy or don't buy, I'll make up my mind myself. Our consumer driven economies can't really allow that to continue without intervention.

    As far as the ethics of freeware, I take a sort of churchie view about it. Admission absolves guilt, (or so they say), so, ya caught me, I'm freeloading! :eek:<< (Please take this in the way I intend. This is directed at me, no one else).
  5. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    There is no such thing as a free meal.

    That’s one of the most widely applicable adages. Or at least it was, till the internet came to be. The game has changed now, if you know how and where, you can get most if not all software for nothing, and I don’t mean warez – (mal)warez are not free, and the way I’ve written the word should make it clear why.

    I need only mention the innumerable boards with free membership, where people offer just about anything for what has come to be called “respect”, which respect doesn’t even go to themselves, but to some nickname, which nobody knows who it belongs to. Need a specific example? Well, I just happen to know a particular board where you can get free expert computer support and advice…er…what was it called now? I’ll remember it in a moment… :)

    But we are talking about free software here, and the examples given by the preceding posts are only the point at the tip of the iceberg. So those who offer it do get something in return, be it respect again, or fame, or marketing, or advertisement income. Well, I’m glad they do, and as long as I don’t pay for it it’s still free as far as I am concerned; which is all that matters to a cat known to be selfish by nature, which makes him almost human, but not quite, because humans are more selfish.

    But there is still a catch, and that is why I said above “if you know how and where”. Because if you don’t, you can buy software having good freeware alternatives, or you can pay an even higher price “in kind”, having forms such as phishing or malware.

    In view of the above, I end with an amended quotation:

    There is such a thing as a free meal on the Internet, but people often pay the price of ignorance. (bobcat) :)
  6. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7

    Thanks Capn. I'm flattered that two people have even read my post. When you're on a hiding to nothing, any criticism is welcome. LOL

    Your points are taken. And I agree with the main sentiment behind it. I actually do take quite a bit of care these days when I load a program. My son is a computer techo, and he corrected me on choosing the "fast install" as opposed to the "custom install". Like yourself, I opt out of registering, receiving any emails, etc, etc.

    Be all that as it may. I have no problem with companies putting in nag screens to buy. That's there prerogative. I simply don't think they deserve accolades for it being free when the intended purpose is to help sell it. And my considered opinion from a marketing point of view is that it's counter-productive to the intended goal.

    And that's totally separate to those individuals you have mentioned who make programs like DVD Decrypter, Clean-up, etc. I'm all for "donation" buttons where something is not being sold commercially and is genuine "free" ware.

    Without trying to play the part of a prophet, if Adobe continue along those lines with their product promotion, I guarantee it will bring them down.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    good comments by all -- my feelings don't sway one way or the other.

    I am a big advocate however of the Open Source movement :)
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,969   +2,526

    Open source, is by far the closest thing to altruism in the computer world. A lot of very talented people contribute an awful lot of time, effort, and creativity into making it better for all of us.
    This is a semantic point. I don't believe that either one of us can debate it effectively. To do so would require access to corporate statistics, that we simply don't have. Either one of us or both of us could be right, wrong, or something in between. So, on both our parts, it's more of an emotional guess.
    The online subscription software issue is one that is tied to the entertainment industry's current practice of herding people toward downloading movies rather than buying, (or renting) DVDs. We're really lazy beasts, and this is attractive to such creatures. Trust me, this is a poison apple, and due to DRM, it benefits no one by the entertainment industry. I wish I shared your confidence of prescience, but I fear waking up one morning with all the blockbusters closed and locked.

    Think about it, every credit card company, utility, and insurance company is ramming online bill pay down our throats. Wowee! I want to save a .42 cent stamp by signing up for $50.00 a month broadband, look how much you've improved my life. That's just the beginning of their plans for our dependency, bank on that.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I didn't really read all the responses in detail, but I read the first post, it read like an essay for a Poly Sci course or something, but was lacking citations...

    What soap company was it? Ivory? They are still in business.

    Firewire... I think Firewire was developed by Apple, and they required it be licensed to be used by anyone else (I'm not 100% sure on my statement, so correct if necessary). FW and USB are really pretty different though so I don't think they can be directly compared like that. And FW is still used a lot in video applications. That is beginning to decline, and that may be because of fees charged by Apple, but I don't think it is such a strong argument to be included in your freeware essay.

    Trillian, Pidgin are both free IM clients and as far as I know they aren't ad supported or meant to lead you into purchasing anything, although I think there is a Trillian Pro you can pay for. Adium on the MacOS side is also a free IM client, and I don't know of any strings attached to that either.

    Or what about Irfanview for Windows, its a freeware image viewer.

    Maybe I got lost and missed your point? I think there are freeware programs (as I've noted) that are completely free to the end users.
  10. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7

    Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of response I've got to this post. I have found the interchange of ideas and viewpoints quite fascinating.

    Capn re part of your response:

    Yeah, that's pretty much what I do. And that's the puzzling bit. If program manufacturers know that people are going to be irritated like hell by the nag screens, and react the way you have described, then why keep doing it if it pushes people away from their product? Whichever way you view it, it just doesn't make sense.

    It's like they're saying: We'll give you the program free, but we'll make you pay the price by being forced to view nag screens, even though we know they'll eventually make you stop using our product. And that's just plain crazy. Why bother giving it to us in the first place?

    Maybe it's just a % game based on the principle that if you throw enough mud some will stick. Similar to the TV late night telemarketing where they brainwash you by repeatedly showing the same sequence over and over. And I must admit I've been sucked in by them... once! By repeatedly seeing the same thing, you end up conning yourself that you need it. It's said the thought is the father of the deed! I paid $150 for something on TV that I found 3 months later in a retail store for $45. That's a big burn!

    I must admit I've never really thought of it that way. It's more like I've reacted emotionally to nag screens. The same way you'd react to a blue-tail-fly that keeps buzzing around you and annoying the living hell out of you when you're trying to get a job done. However, I think the deepest issue with me is that I'm a perfectionist, and want my PC to be the way I want it. And I'm smart enough to know that's not always possible with freeware. And that's probably a flaw in me. It then becomes a challenge to get rid of it.

    Even in a paid copy of Nero 8 that came with a burner I bought, it had a nag screen asking you to register. And there was no option to turn it off either before, during or after install. By trial and error I tracked down the particular file in the Nero program that initiated the nag screen, and just typed .bak at the end of it, and the problem's gone. And though it's probably childish, I must admit I got enormous satisfaction out of doing that.

    As I've mentioned earlier, I repair and reload Windows for friends and acquaintances at no charge. I do it as a hobby and because I enjoy it. Truth is I'm too selfish to do it for altruistic reasons. Point is, I constantly come up against problems from people I help, who have tried to load updates of freeware progams, and not being schooled in the finer points, tick or don't untick all the wrong options. And then they end up in chaos. So, without wanting to be controversial, contrary to what you thought, I am very, very careful about what options I tick. As mentioned, I wasn't always that way... but in the words of "Manuelle" out of Fawlty Towers: "I learn!"

    In point of fact, I've got a guy bringing his laptop over tomorrow morning because he can't get on the net since he downloaded the latest update for Zone Alarm free version. I'd put money on it he's chosen the trial run of the pro version.

    Anyway, I'm waffling on now. Time to hit the sack. It's 3.43am in Perth right now. Cheers Poppa :grinthumb
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,969   +2,526

    That's "donate button", software. So yeah, that would make it completely free.

    I don't know if I should reply here, since this is directed at another member, but perhaps the premise was a bit too broad. The alternative would be a line item survey ,case by case of software, ( or rather "freeware")! Who nags, who doesn't, what's free, what's not quite. In any event, you have to admit that that's a bit too pointless and a terribly sterile approach to an emotional issue. Not as stimulating or as entertaining either.

    I'm not as inclined to suspect malevolent intentions here. But here again, who knows if my responses are "typical". The last thing that I would do, is install a paid version of a program that just screwed up my machine. So, I would think that screw ups like this, weren't engineered to promote sales, quite the opposite Usually free versions of paid program are just stripped down from the paid versions. It's every bit as likely that the paid version screwed up too, and required a quick head scratching and some patchwork.
    Well, perfectionism is a premier privacy issue. You don't view it that way normally, but when somebody else "adjusts" your machine to suit their agenda, I think on a core level you feel you've been violated, which is an invasion of privacy fer sure
  12. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7


    To SNGX1275

    With all due respect I think you have totally missed the point. It's not about which particular programs are totally free or partially free. It's about whether we shoud be indebted to and give accolades to companies that put out so called freeware which has nag screens, which are designed to sell the professional versions. My point is that this is a marketing technique and as such we don't owe them a red cent.

    The whole point of using the USB versus FW was to illustrate that once companies start charging for something that others offer free, then they're on a one way trip to oblivion. In other words, if companies want to stay in the game, they have to provide freeware. And this again means they are not doing us any favors for altruistic reasons. And I'm not talking here of the genuine free programs.
  13. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7


    to the Capn.

    My God I think I'm addicted to this forum. I should have been in bed hours ago. My head will be so scrambled tomorrow I'll probably end up wrecking the poor guy's laptop... LOL

    Re the laptop, I originally loaded the Free Zone Alarm version on his PC and opted out of trying the pro version; also declined registration, receiving emails, etc, but left auto updates on because he doesn't know how to do manual ones. Big mistake. I know the trial version of ZA Pro has certain options that can prevent access to the net. I found this out when I used it once. From memory it may have been the spyware blocking option or security level setting. Not to worry, I'll do a clean uninstall by clicking ZA in the start menu, right clicking Uninstall and then editing the .exe instruction in the target address by putting in a space and then typing: /clean. I'll then reinstall latest version with correct options selected.

    Re you statement:
    On reflection of your statement above, I think you have a very valid point there.

    Have thoroughly enjoyed the exchanges in the dialogue of this post. Go well my friend.
  14. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145


    About Avira, the 'freeware' version does have some quite obvious advertising for their nonfree version, I almost thought I clicked on a fake link and downloaded a virus.
  15. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Hmm I've quoted this thread a couple of times: Avira splash screen at startup, ironically made by Poppa Bear ;)
  16. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Guess I did, thats fine. I had just spent the last several hours working on environmental engineering homework. That and I don't believe I use any programs that have nag screens, except mIRC, and I paid money to remove that nag screen years ago....
  17. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7

    Nags counter-productive to sales

    Thanks to all who contributed input to this post. Hopefully this will be the finale. I'm circling the airfield trying to land... LOL

    Re the question: Are nag screens counter-productive to sales of the paid versions of freeware?

    CapnCranky made the observation:

    If this is a universally true statement for the greater majority of users of freeware, and I believe it is, consider this.

    Imagine you're using a program, and because of the nag screens stop using it and find another program that does the same job, but without nag screens, or with an option to disable them. Then 6 or 12 months down the track decide to "spendy money" & go professional and buy a paid version. Which one will you buy?

    Will you buy the one that you stopped using 6 or 12 months ago because it annoyed the hell out of you with nag screens?

    Or will you buy the one you've been using for the past 6 to 12 months that you know is effective, and that you're with familiar with it's set-up and use?

    In the marketing game there is a saying. Sales are made not just by the positive things you do to promote the product, but sometimes even more so by the things you don't do.

    The only thing that seems to fly in the face of the above premise is the fact that companies still continue to use nag screens. So why do it if it's counter-productive to sales of the paid versions?

    One possible answer is the guilt factor. They rely on decent people who use their freeware feeling indebted to the manufacturer for the free use of it, and hence obliged to buy it if they go professional. I call that manipulation by false guilt.

    And that was the whole point of my article. We should not feel indebted to the providers of freeware, where nag screens or any other devices are used which promote sales of the product, because it's a marketing ploy, not an act of beneficence.

    Kimsland's statement backs up the guilt concept:
    As CapnCranky pointed out, the freeware is a stripped down version of the paid product. The cost of manufacturing the product is paid whether they offer the freeware or not. The only costs to provide freeware additional to the original manufacturing costs are those of stripping down; and that's minimal & a one-off. Making it available on their web site as a download option is also minimal. The freeware is primarily given to promote sales, and I call the cost of providing it cheap advertising. And as was pointed out in the original post, is a tax deduction, promotes the company image, and acts as a de-facto beta version by providing feed-back to remove bugs from the system

    Finally, at the risk of repeating myself, just so it's crystal clear, this article is not directed at the many self-less, altruistic persons who create genuine freeware such as the ones mentioned earlier in this post.

    I pay the highest respect, gratitude and accolades to such people. And agree with jobeard's statement re Open Source. I see them in the vanguard of true philanthropists in computer technology.
  18. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Depends, it is very hard to compare when programs differ, even a little. I try to look back to their support, how clean their website is, and mundane things like how cool their name is.

    IN theory, if they were both the same, I am inclined to pay the one I have used longest, I think.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,969   +2,526

    Consider Your Approach "Waved Off"......

    Well PB, I think you're trying to find a universal ethic behind that utilization of freeware. A Zen as it were, where the user, the programs, and the marketers all exist in perfect harmony, respectful of each others feelings and needs. Good luck with that.

    First of all, if a program is constantly breaking your b***s to buy it, it's not freeware, it's adware anyway..

    Second, people who frequent sites such as Techspot are not typical users. As a consequence of this, you're applying a different mentality to the issue of advertising content than would a less saavy typical user. A person who's worried about security of his or her machine is much more likely to cave into a nag screen, just to take some of the worry out of managing security. Money is exchanged for peace of mind, a fair trade. All the persons security needs can be met by one company, in one suite. Updates from one source, different threats assessed by one company. I actually think if you don't know what you're doing, it's not a bad thing for a company to nag you, since if you let the security lapse on your box, you're liable to have 2 dozen new credit cards in your name, but in somebody else's hands. People don't understand security, they don't necessarily have the time or the talent to address themselves to it, so perhaps it's for the better to stay on their case.

    The free version on an AV program still has the same security potential as the paid version. Nobody releases a free version that only stops 75% of the viruses it encounters, while selling a paid version that stops 100%. It's just not a "security suite". (Here I'm speaking to the efficacy of the AV component only).

    I have quite a few programs that are freeware, and are such simply because they don't have the features that qualifies them as "enterprise" software. These are programs that, as long as you are mindful of the little checkboxes when you install them, you will never hear a peep out of them.

    For example; "Accuhash", This little dandy checks both MD5 and SHAY1 sums. It's indispensible for checking the hash of something like a downloaded Linux Distro. I have the impression that the company that writes this, is of the mind that "if that's all you need to do, you can have this, no strings attached". If you need to generate hash calculations, then they have a paid program for you when you're ready. I install this in my internet computer, and don't feel guilty one iota, but I am very grateful for it.

    So, at the end of the day, those ads aren't there for you anyway, and that's probably why they piss you off so badly. ZA knows, Avira knows, Avast knows, and Lavasoft knows, that the savvy user will just build their own "security suite" with bits and pieces gleaned from everywhere.

    So, if a program is nagging you, and the nags can't really be turned off, then it's not actually "freeware, it's adware".

    I'm sorry, but I just don't see the "if they don't nag me I'll buy it" paradigm as being realistic or even honest. Sorry, but I'm way too jaded to buy into a scenario such as, I got up this morning and just decided to cut XXXSoftware a check, out of the goodness of my heart". Out of sight, out of mind, and if something is doing the job for me in a way that is satisfactory, then the checkbook gets used for other things. I really see this as fighting BS with BS. It's not malicious or harmful but it does, as SNGX has observed, sound like something out of a Poli-Sci course on propaganda.

    Sorry if I stoked the fire again, he said sheepishly.
  20. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7


    Thanks Kitty for input. Re you statement:

    Same here, but I can't do that if I haven't been using their product because of it's nag screen.
  21. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7

    no see

    Good to have you back on board Capn. :)

    Not much fire left to be stoked after all the dialogue.

    Re your statements:

    That really says it all. And that's my main message. And that's why we don't owe them any debt of gratitude.

    It's not really a case of: "If they don't nag me I'll buy it". It's more a case of: "I'll probably buy the one I'm used to and trust and know how to use, (people are creatures of habit), rather than the one I stopped using because it nagged the hell outa me". It's not the rights and wrongs of it, but rather the cause and effect from a pragmatic marketing point of view.

    Absolutely love em, and eternally grateful to the provider. These are honestly entitled to be called "Freeware".... as opposed to Trialware, Free Download, (what a crock o' s**t!), Adware etc.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,969   +2,526

    PCWorld Magazine did an article about how much crapware, bloatware, vaporware, and trialware shipped with a new PC. If I ever run across it I'll give you the title maybe you can still find it on their site. They had some choice words for some manufacturers.

    The premise here is that because the makers accepted trial software which companies paid to install, then they could sell you a PC much cheaper. That doesn't hold water anymore since I don't get crapware when I buy the components to build a computer. Well, I do, but I surely don't install it. (Norton tags on trialware with many mobos). You put it in, that's on you.

    Still in my bought machine, I have software that's handy that never nags me. Of all things, M$ Works. As I said earlier, my software needs are quite conservative, but having a copy of "Word" sure is handy, at least once in a blue moon. Works is worth 30 bucks or so, mine was free, and doesn't nag.

    Macafee installed their "security center", and oh, man oh man, was that a different story. This junk nagged you, and had no active components whatsoever, but there was a 30 day trial of anti Spyware. This s*** actually did break your machine, in that it ingratiated itself into the registry, and interposed itself between other security apps and the registry. When you tried to get it out, you broke the other attached programs. Well, Macafee isn't really known for giving stuff away anyhoo. But then there is "Site Advisor" which is kinda neat, and doesn't nag unless you ask it a hard question. See, even they're not ALL bad.

    But I think nags screen are a part of a larger issue, and that's the ever expanding plethora of advertising on the net in general. I pay extra for Yahoo software with my broadband, (only a couple of bucks), but now I am getting blasted with all sorts of ads on my Email page.

    So, I do understand where you're coming from, but the best I can offer is to say, "buck up trooper, I truly sympathize, but I'm afraid it's only going to get worse from here".

    Or possibly, watch more network TV, at least there you can dash to the fridge for a beer while the commercials are on.

    Really stupid s*** comes from everywhere nowadays. For instance, the "experts" have been explaining that 70% of out economy is driven by consumer spending. I always thought that when you spent too much, you went broke. So now, I think that they're trying to tell me that that's no longer true when you're really broke, then you have to spend more to make yourself wealthy again.

    And what drives consumer spending, say it with me now, ADVERTISING...... YaY!

    And know what, I hope that breaks your head, because it broke mine, and we all know misery loves company Call it "shareware"! :wave: :haha:
  23. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7

    Hello again

    Aye aye cap'n.

    I think we're in the wrong forum. Probably should be in a chat room. Enjoy your points of view now that I've got a handle on where you're coming from.

    Generally speaking I agree with most of your sentiments on the many themes you've touched on. Too many to really respond to in this forum. When we do disagree it's usually more a case of semantics or talking at crossed purposes rather than just plain disagreeing.

    I have a set top box with hard-drive that records TV, and I only watch the shows I've recorded so I can fast forward thro the ads. Maybe I can dash out to the john?

    My head got busted long ago when I started reading tech forum posts. LOL! Dunno if you've ever read Tolle's book "Power of Now", but if you have you'll understand the statement one of my friends made: "I've lost my mind... and I'm glad! What a switch off! My mind is a dangerous neighborhood."

    Good call, you got a genuine :haha: laugh outa me!

    Well that takes care of another morning out of my life!
  24. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    captiancranky has a seemingly unlimited pool of wits, their swimming in from all over the place!
  25. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 237   +7


    Have to applaud your call kitty. :haha:

    Here's an oldies' joke to finish off with:

    As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on 280 Interstate. Please be careful!"

    "It's not just one car," said Herman. "It's hundreds of them!"

    And to the capn re this oxymoron:

    Try these paradoxes on for size:

    I am a Nobody.
    Nobody is Perfect.
    Therefore I am Perfect.

    The statement below is true.
    The statement above is false.

    Better stop now, I'm off topic and risk the red warning light.
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