I came across the product page for this obviously fairly new software just yesterday… SurfCanister. SurfCanister appears to be virtualization software which claims to provide a safe browsing environment for its users:
Now, being virtualization software and apparently free, SurfCanister immediately piqued my interest. However, during further investigation I began to suspect that this might well be one of those occasions where the software would only be available for free during the Beta period, and until a final commercial version is released.
This notion has now been confirmed by the developer:
According to your Question, “is it free or not?”: We are startup and we are in our beta phase. Hence for now we make our software freeware. When we launch our commercial version, then we make our software available for “Trial version”.
Okay, now that is pretty standard practice these days for a startup… no problem. However, the issue I have is that there is no mention of this anywhere on the SurfCanister site. Any casual, and less suspecting, visitor could easily be forgiven for thinking it is in fact ‘freeware’. Surely the developers must realize that “freeware” means free forever – not just for a relatively short period of time, until a certain event takes place.
Why did they not include this information on the product site? Was it out of naivety, or is it a deliberate attempt to mislead visitors into downloading their software?
I would like to give the benefit of the doubt and trust it’s the former, but it is yet another area where users need to be on their toes: If/when you see a “Beta” version of software advertized for free – be careful – before committing to download and install, make sure the ‘free’ aspect is set to carry over to the final version. Otherwise, what you are getting is merely a trial, pure and simple.