Tag Archives: antivirus-software

Is Antivirus Software the Virus?

So, what would happen if the world was suddenly rid of viruses and malware? Would the companies making millions (if not billions) of dollars from products and services aimed to keep you protected suddenly find themselves out of business? Isn’t in their best interest to make sure we’re vulnerable so that they can sweep in and protect us from harm?

Don’t you find it a bit odd that some of these companies sell protective tools that slow our systems down, but also sell products that will allegedly speed our systems up?

What if the leading anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware products were open source rather than commercial in nature? Peter Schwankl doesn’t necessarily think that’s a great idea…

I like your idea that all Anti-Virus should be free! A company is indeed selling the cure for the poison that appears. It’s just a vicious cycle. But then again, I think open source is a mistake. I would think that an open source version of an anti virus would cause problems with potential hackers having access to the source code of an anti-virus, causing two things to happen:

  1. Impossibly hard-to-crack AV programs
  2. Far more devastating virii

It should be said that an AV program, open or closed, can have a hacker gain access to the source code, but making it easier is like handing it to them. Because that’s what’s happening.

So therefore, I think AV programs do indeed need to be closed source, an open source community wouldn’t have the dedicated resources that a company does to produce consistent, worthwhile, and stable-running AV software. Also, like with the Vista situation right now, open source can have a VERY long turnaround time when crossing to new OSes, leaving people crossing over, especially from OEMs such as Dell, or HP that move to the newest OS immediately, without protection while it’s updated for a new OS, where as companies are given OS Dev kits in advance.

However, while they should NOT be open source, they should on the same note be free. I WILL NOT pay to cure the poison that is omnipresent.

Certainly, some level of protection is necessary – the world is filled with evil people who seek nothing but damage and destruction. But isn’t the cost of protection getting just a little out of hand? Seems to me there’s more antivirus products than virii in the wild (an unscientific observation, but I think my point is made).

Free Software vs Free Trial

I don’t know if I’d call myself a software expert, by any stretch of the imagination – but I do know good software (and a good deal) when I see it. Window Clippings just went shareware, and I started an exchange with Kenny Kerr about this move – specifically, related to the new licensing structure (what it was, how it works, etc.). After sending him the following bit of text, he responded with a link to his earlier assertion.

I suppose the following is applicable to anybody who develops and releases software online as “free trial” or has software downloads geared towards on generating registrations.

So long as you don’t get picky about licenses tied to machines (please, don’t get me started about activation crap). If registration isn’t convenient for me (read: PayPal) , and if licensing is annoying (read: limited), and if the upgrade path is cost-prohibitive (read: paying for the same thing over and over again), I’ll walk – or, I’ll find something that’s open source and/or free.

Either way, subsequent licenses should be at *LEAST* half off (if not more). Let me put it to you this way: $10 isn’t much, but it means more to me if that covers a perpetual license that’s not tied to any one computer or another. It’s the reason I switched from UltraEdit (shareware, hellish upgrade path – even discounted) to PSPad (free).

Most shareware authors are mediocre developers and rotten marketers. They’re either too greedy, don’t understand their own marketplace, or they have absolutely no business savvy whatsoever. It’s the reason why I believe the entire shareware industry is in deep trouble. Deep, deep, deep trouble. The Web is killing ’em.

Exception to the rule? OS X.

You could do $10 once, $1 for each additional upgrade – and if you tie the registration into the user’s PayPal account, and you have a seamless upgrade path (all done within the utility itself), you could make upgrading painless and affordable. They could still upgrade without paying the extra buck for the new version, and the new version would fall back on its “basic” self. No harm, no foul. EVERYBODY can afford a buck, especially if it’s convenient.

Just don’t nag, man… ever. That’ll wipe you off my radar quicker than you can say “Milli Vanilli.” There are very few software titles that I’m willing to pay for – and even the ones I do pay for wind up disappointing me at some point. Right now, Window Clippings is nice to have – but not “$10 nice” yet, especially with a questionable upgrade path.

There are too many [X] utilities out there for me to say this is a slam dunk for you.