Freeware and the bundling of extras!!

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Freeware and the bundling of extras!!
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Jim Hillier
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August 7, 2011 - 6:34 am
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Hey All,

[i:2570dcu3]"Freeware and the bundling of extras!!"[/i:2570dcu3].....this is the subject of an article in the latest DCT newsletter, and this is the thread where you can offer your opinions and discuss this issue.

[quote:2570dcu3]As more and more developers turn to the bundling of extras as a source of additional income, it is becoming ever more apparent that the days of downloading freeware and only getting what one ordered may be nearing an end... [/quote:2570dcu3]Read the rest of the article in the latest DCT newsletter [url=http://davescomputertips.com/newsletters/2011/august.php#article7:2570dcu3]HERE[/url:2570dcu3].

Please feel free to post here and let us know your thoughts.

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Flying Dutchman
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August 7, 2011 - 4:39 pm
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Hi Jim,

A very good read, touching on a sensitive nerve (btw, am I the only one that didn't receive the Newsletter or wasn't it sent out?).
I recognize only one slightly positive side since bundled extras became "mainstream": you have to closely watch the installation and can't blindly click "next" till it's done or you'll end up with some unpleasant surprises.

I guess I belong to the people that abosulutely loathe bundled extras, for the simple reason that they offer/add nth useful, yet come prechecked to install by default.
How to approach:
Go for the portable version, if one's available. If there isn't one, check if there's an .msi installer - they usually don't include any extras (that applies to Foxit Reader as well, Jim). If that's not available, check if the installer can be unpacked with Universal Extractor, 7-Zip or Innounp and get rid of all the extra stuff not needed for the program to work properly. If nth of the above works, look for an alternative.

Over at Calendar Of Updates, they maintain "The Installers Hall of Shame", a list of "dodgy installers" as they call them.
Thanks for the link to FreewareBB, looks like a great place to check out. I'm very happy with Gizmo's Tech Support Alert as well, as they also follow the policies you mention about FreewareBB.

Concerning the Ask Toolbar, even if declining doesn't cripple functionality, there's an extra "decline" button that needs to be clicked instead of the "next" after unticking everything, else it still gets installed.
As for AntiVir Free Anti-virus, it also offers you UniBlue RegistryBooster (like Avast Free offers you Google Chrome, grrr!! - but you can tweak a registry entry and never see it again, even if you do a clean install).

Regarding OpenCandy, we did have a discussion about it here and, no matter how harmless it may seem, I stand strongly against it. Something that scans your machine and collects any sort of data [u:iyrc3mxk]without asking you [b:iyrc3mxk]before[/b:iyrc3mxk][/u:iyrc3mxk] it does so, that leaves a lot of room to developers about how to inform the users (state it in the EULA/on your product page/in your FAQs, make it opt-in/opt-out, what ever), that misrepresents who/what decided you should get this or that, doesn't exactly register as harmless.
[quote:iyrc3mxk]Let's face it, who actually reads right through each EULA?[/quote:iyrc3mxk]
I do, but I've experienced it not clearly stated/included in the EULA and also though included in the EULA, not clearly stated that the scan would proceed without aksing me.
[url=http://winscp.net/eng/docs/opencandy:iyrc3mxk]Here's[/url:iyrc3mxk] some info about it and how to avoid OpenCandy altogether, but it requires a little tech knowledge and I'm not sure if it still works or for how long.
Another thing that just popped into my mind is: what happens if you close your Internet connection during installation? Since OpenCandy communicates with sites to do its thing, would the installation break if you denied it access to the Internet? Hmm, asking this question made me realise that on top of everything else, OpenCandy wastes your bandwidth (uploads & downloads).
[quote:iyrc3mxk]Transparency and clear-cut options to decline, they are key.[/quote:iyrc3mxk]
I do disagree though with the second part - "clear-cut options to decline". Imho, it should be "clear-cut options to [u:iyrc3mxk]accept[/u:iyrc3mxk]" - after all, I just asked/want the "X" program, if the developer bundled it with the "Y" extra, I should be asked to accept it as it's not my choice but someone else's.
That aside, I do understand that developers of freeware software need to somehow make money, it's just that the ways they try to don't seem to take the end user into account - but maybe that's because of the way the advertising industry works.

Ok, enough said, lets hear from someone else.

I am human

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Jim Hillier
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August 7, 2011 - 7:57 pm
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[quote:3oz7f4mj]you have to closely watch the installation and can't blindly click "next" till it's done or you'll end up with some unpleasant surprises[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
Very true FD, and it's extremely difficult to educate some users to do just that.

[quote:3oz7f4mj]they offer/add nth useful, yet come prechecked to install by default[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
The first part of that statement is totally subjective FD, although I must admit most would agree. The second part is not entirely true. Many are presented on an opt-out basis, but there are plenty which utilise opt-in.

[quote:3oz7f4mj]If that's not available, check if the installer can be unpacked with Universal Extractor, 7-Zip or Innounp and get rid of all the extra stuff not[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
Yes, that was mentioned in the article FD.

[quote:3oz7f4mj]Thanks for the link to FreewareBB, looks like a great place to check out. I'm very happy with Gizmo's Tech Support Alert as well[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
Gizmo's site is indeed excellent but entirely different to FreewareBB. Gizmo offers reviews and downloads for recommended freeware only, which can be as few as 2 or 3 titles in a category. FreewareBB is a dedicated freeware download site with literally thousands of titles listed.

[quote:3oz7f4mj]As for AntiVir Free Anti-virus, it also offers you UniBlue RegistryBooster[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
True, but that is only with the commercial version and I am focusing on freeware.

[quote:3oz7f4mj]no matter how harmless it may seem, I stand strongly against it[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
That is your prerogative FD. and I'm sure many would agree with that stance. Again, it is entirely subjective, there is no clear right or wrong and it all comes down to personal opinion. I am certainly not in favour of OpenCandy by any means but I concede that many struggling freeware developers could benefit from the association. You are tending to approach the subject from a somewhat idealistic and emotional point of view. I am adopting a more pragmatic approach; in the overall scheme of things OC is relatively harmless when compared to the possible alternative....no freeware at all.

[quote:3oz7f4mj]I do (read right through each EULA)[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
LOL. Yes, I know FD. But you are the exception rather than the rule mate.

[quote:3oz7f4mj]I've experienced it not clearly stated/included in the EULA[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
That is a distinct possibility FD and one which I did cover in the article.

[quote:3oz7f4mj]I do disagree though with the second part - "clear-cut options to decline[/quote:3oz7f4mj]
Agreed, but you are being a tad pedantic FD. Whether you opt-in or opt-out, the end result is the same. It was just a more concise way of putting it, if somewhat less precise. I have stated many times over that opt-out is the sneakier method and I am heavily in favour of opt-in.

There are definitely pros and cons, a lot of cons and not too many pros; but if OC helps keep good freeware alive then that is, IMO, a very big pro!!

Appreciate your input, as always.

Cheers FD......Jim

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Flying Dutchman
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August 7, 2011 - 9:52 pm
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[quote:2khni90f]but that is only with the commercial version and I am focusing on freeware.[/quote:2khni90f]
Not true, take a look [url=https://secure.dslreports.com/forum/r25973411-Avira-Partners-with-Scareware-and-Sleazeware-Vendors:2khni90f]here[/url:2khni90f] - 6th post from the end, that's clearly from the free edition.

[quote:2khni90f]You are tending to approach the subject from a somewhat idealistic and emotional point of view. [/quote:2khni90f]
No, I don't, I approach the subject from the "I want to be given a real choice, a.k.a. have control over my machine" point of view. For example, I didn't drop Avast because it offered me Google Chrome for the simple reason that it gave me a choice to not install it. And though I was irritated at first with the registry entry it made about it I found a way to use it to my benefit.
The issue with OpenCandy is that there is no opt-in or opt-out for it.

Cheers

I am human

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Jim Hillier
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August 8, 2011 - 2:11 am
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[quote:a4a89quw]but that is only with the commercial version and I am focusing on freeware.

Not true, take a look here - 6th post from the end, that's clearly from the free edition.[/quote:a4a89quw]
I must admit FD my information was extracted from reports that were issued prior to the official release of the Avira service pack, so subject to change. Still, it is a minor point in terms of the overall discussion.

[quote:a4a89quw]No, I don't, I approach the subject from the "I want to be given a real choice, a.k.a. have control over my machine"
The issue with OpenCandy is that there is no opt-in or opt-out for it.[/quote:a4a89quw]
The ultimate "real choice" still remains solely in the hands of the prospective user FD......one can elect to ignore all freeware bundled with OC altogether, or not. Is that not the ultimate opt-in/opt-out solution?

I don't wish to argue with you over this FD. As I said: there is no right and no wrong, opinions will vary. Many are going to follow your stance and reject OC outright, others are going to accept it, some reluctantly. It's a bit like religion and politics, everyone has the right to their own opinions/choices and debating differing points of view is, more often than not, an exercise in futility.

I believe we agree in principle and I do concede many of your points. I'll say again...I do not like OC. I truly wish that OC [and unsolicited bundling in general] would vanish into thin air so we can have our freeware unpolluted. But I, for one, cannot see that happening, bundling has become an institutionalised part of the freeware world, a fact of freeware life, and OC is here to stay whether we like it or not.

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Flying Dutchman
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August 8, 2011 - 9:51 pm
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Hi Jim,
[quote:n0vng7eq]I don't wish to argue with you over this FD[/quote:n0vng7eq]
Would you like to argue over something else??

[quote:n0vng7eq]I believe we agree in principle[/quote:n0vng7eq]
Jokes aside, yes we do, next subject please!

Cheers

I am human

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Jim Hillier
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August 8, 2011 - 10:24 pm
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[quote:20h02f4x]Would you like to argue over something else??[/quote:20h02f4x]
LOL.

I will tell you something FD, and this not directed at your good self at all nor meant to infer that you fit into the category in any way. Just a general observation:

It never ceases to amaze me how paranoid some people can be about their privacy over the internet. These same people willingly give up much more personal information just performing common chores than is ever likely to be collected while using the net; opening a bank account, starting an account with any of the utilities; electricity, telephone, etc. Making any major purchase; new car, house, electrical appliances. Taking out insurances, filling out warranty forms......well, you get the idea. There are a myriad examples.

All that information we willingly disclose is recorded on some kind of computer database somewhere. We generally have no idea who else might be sharing/utilising that data, who can access it and who cannot. No-one queries the levels of security involved, whether or not that data is protected by high level encryption techniques. Or even if it is protected at all.

Just all seems a tad skew-whiff to me at times.

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