Fake Freeware

Update: my rant apparently has made the world a better place: Reggie, the author of AppDelete, has just posted the new version of his very useful app on Apple site – the new release includes some minor improvements and clearly specifies its license as “demo”. Reggie has been a real gentlemen during our email exchange and definitely deserves my thumbs-up for handling a potentially nasty situation with calm and efficiency.

This means that the only reason for you to continue reading is to find out how nasty and vocal I can get when irked – the actual reason for the rant below is gone 🙂

I am very angry and very disapointed. I have just run into a behavior unheard of within either Windows or Linux communities (and I cannot think of two more extremely opposite groups within the computing world). But, I guess, since Mac installed base is rather unique, some people try to get away with… anything.

So, I went to Apple’s software download site (by clicking “Mac OS X Software” in the Apple menu) and found something called AppDelete. It is supposed to cleanly uninstall other applications. It is also clearly labeled as freeware. Not shareware, not demo. Freeware.

Now, where I come from, “freeware” means it is free (like free beer) and unrestricted in its features and duration. If you feel like it, you are welcome to contribute your effort to wards improving it, or your just send a donation.

I have no problem with saying “thank you” and have done it many times over the years. The latest two gems that made me reach for my PayPal were irfanView (an amazing picture viewer and batch processor for Windows) and Butler (a super-useful app launcher for Mac).I released some of my own code under GPL as well.

So I thought I knew how things work in the freeware world.

Imagine my surprise when after just a few uses AppDelete demanded a $5.00 donation and refused to work without it. Not suggested one. Not reminded you that it’s polite to say “thank you”. No. That would be too nice. Too classy.

This is not “free like free beer” or “free like free speech”. This is “free like free heroin”. Only the drug dealers actually have the decency not to pretend that it will be free forever.

For obvious reasons I am NOT including the link here. If you want to donate – find it on your own.

And as far as donating goes… I am sending the author of this wonderful scheme my best wishes in the form of the ancient fertility gesture. You know which one.

BTW, I have found an extremely elegant solution for uninstalling Mac applicatins: AppTrap. It works fine (for me). No unplesant surprises so far.

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