The Price Of Freeware Rises

from the so-it-goes dept

It ain’t easy being free, these days. While it used to be simple to create a piece of software and put it up on any one of a number of download sites for “free software”, the world is now changing (and charging). Plenty of download sites are now charging fees to either software developers or to downloaders. This makes it a tougher proposition if you want to give away free software. The worst offender may be a site called “Completely Free Software” that charges $5 a month to access its software. The download sites say they need to charge because advertising isn’t paying the bandwidth bill any more. Of course, the main issue here is the costs of bandwidth for the developers (otherwise, why not just offer it on their own site?). There’s a simple way around this, though, which is for someone to set up a P2P file sharing system that is focused on free software. People could write reviews and point others to the best free software products, and the bandwidth would be shared across everyone. Of course, how would people find out about this great P2P product if all the free download sites are now charging…

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Comments on “The Price Of Freeware Rises”

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xdroop (user link) says:

Uh... No.

Let me get this straight — I’m supposed to trust that the thingware-0.5.9b.tgz that I downloaded from some bozo out there is the real thingware-0.5.9b.tgz?

The purpose of having authoritative download sites is so that you have a better confidence level that what you are getting is the real thing and not some trojaned thing.

Untrustworthy sources are fine for data like music, movies, and pictures; but not for software.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Uh... No.

That’s silly. All you need from the authoritative source is sufficiently detailed checksum information to verify that the file you got is the file that was released. It’s already common practice to release checksums for verifying file distributions; and for the less sophisticated users the check could be built into a P2P client designed for this purpose.

Mark Easterling (user link) says:

Here is a solution.

A possible solution would be to find a way to host everything for free by using services that are already in place for something else. Check out this guys blogger blog. It’s pretty neat because he is using blogger to host his website pages ( they are static and never change, basically each program gets a single page blog) and then he links them all together with another blog. The main issue I saw with this strategy is file hosting, but this guy figured that out. He is hosting his files on Google Sites. So his project is totally hosted by Google for nothing. And when people click his google ads, he gets paid. Not a bad setup. you should take a look at it. I’m working on my own version of it right now for my freeware programs.

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