15 October 2006

Open Source Eudora

Most of the time you'd be reading rants about awful and shifty vendors are - perhaps every industry is as bad, but I'm "further away" from most? - so it's a pleasure to celebrate software vendors who do the right thing...


Now here's a vendor with a popular product, but one that isn't their central interest. They could have just killed it, and told those who complain that it is their right to do so; after all, we see that all the time with music corporations, who delete titles they are "too old and unpopular to make money" while still forbidding even the original artist to distribute them for free.

But instead, they are shifting the product into Open Source, while committing to honor their obligations to those who have purchased the Paid version. Those who use Sponsored mode (myself included) can now stay in this mode with full functionality forever, even when the ads stop. Unless there's some sting in the tail so hidden I can't see it, it looks like an excellent result!

Previous "Do The Right Thing" award

I've been as impressed a few times before, and the last time was when Computer Associates ceased the popular free InoculateIT antivirus suite. Again, they announced the move and then supported the free version with updates for a longer period than commercial vendors' one-year subscription, and they offered a low conversion price to the feeware eTrust that replaced it.

The InoculateIT story was particularly impressive, as the initial announcement that stated "free updates until we have to change the scanning engine code" was made within a few months of the release of a new version of Windows. It would have been so easy to claim the need to create a new engine to overcome compatibility issues with the new Windows version, but they didn't do so; InoculateIT remained free for many months thereafter.

When InoculateIT ceased to be free, it also ceased to be the de facto free/non-warez antivirus product. AVG stepped into those shoes; it was always around, along with Avast, later AntiVir, and some others, but there was greater confidence in InoculateIT at that time. AVG have also done the right thing when they dropped the free AVG 6 product to consolidate on AVG 7 as the sole code base; they offered a free version of AVG 7, pushing alerts to AVG 6 installations about the cut-off date for some months before updates ceased for the old version.

When you have such good "no strings attached" free antivirus products, why would anyone want to put up with Symantec's embedded commercial malware in Norton AV? If you do a Google( "Why I don't use Norton" ), you will see I'm not the only one who avoids it.

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