Brad' site where he mouths off about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Trolls on a mission..
Published on February 11, 2005 By Draginol In Personal Computing

..I'm in a ranting mood...stand back!

Over the years I've noticed a pretty consistent thing - there are people who really really have a problem with the concept of people making a living selling software.

As a result, some of these people make it their mission to go out and harass people (like me) who make a living selling software. 

One example came up today. I am a news moderator on the popular tech news site Neowin.net. I think it's a fantastic site with an incredible staff of volunteers.  But it has a sizeable user population of "l33t" users who a) Think they know everything on tech because, well they're 19 years old and they know everything doncha know? and Non-free software is the devil and any level of nastiness is justified to thwart the purveyers of evil.

One guy today went so far to create an account called "ToadLad" (my account name there is "Frogboy"). Get it? Toad = Frog. Lad = Boy.  Very clever...

Since I post software news on Neowin I also post Stardock's press releases too. On other sites, our media relations goddess does this. But since I'm a news moderator on Neowin, it makes sense for me to go ahead and do this since, essentially I would be the one who would end up approving the final news item.

But this guy went onto a rant that essentially went like this "You just love to spam the world with your crap? You've already got Stardock.com and WinCustomize.com? Why do you have to spam your stuff here?" Here being a Technology NEWS site. And spam being news for software that is (god forbid) not free.

For those not ambitious enough to create fake users to troll the comments, you also have the people who insist on trying to rationalize that any good commercial product has a freeware equivalent.  Photoshop? Oh, the Gimp is much better. Terminal Server? Loser, VNC.  WindowBlinds? No, just hack your uxtheme.dll.  And now with our upcoming Multiplicity program we've got the same crowd chimes in with "Oh, you can do the same thing with Synergy!"

In most of these cases (almost all these cases) these "l33t" users have never actually used the commercial product (see "evil" above).  But they just know because they know everything.  Who cares if the "Free" program has a lot fewer features or is flakey or requires hours of setup time to work? When you're 19, time is all that matters and $20 or whatever is big money to someone who's source of income is their mom. 

I have nothing against free software. I use a lot of free software.  In fact, I use free software whenever I can. I'll take free over commercial any day if it does what I need it to do.  But there is nothing inherently magical about free software. And the downside is that most free software I run into (not all of course, there are very well known examples) have the 80% problem.  They work -- almost.  They tend to often be more proof of concept.

"Sure the screen flickers when you switch desktops and you can't play a full screen game while using it and you have to configure the machines using a text file with arcane configuration fields and it sometimes disconnects for no reason requiring you to reboot...but...it's free!"

I don't think I have a problem so much with the people who try to promote a freeware program. Hey, more power to them. I take the view that people who might potentially buy our product will try out the free alternative, try ours and make their own conclusion.

What I do have a problem with are the people who intentionally go out of their way to try to stifle my right to promote our software.  The double-standards really irritates me. As if free software somehow deserves special treatment because it's "free".  I don't think users should make such distinctions in terms of what gets reported, only in terms of when someone makes a decision on what to actually use.


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 12, 2005
Other than WinZip, free software seldom does what its supposed to do and I inevitably wind up uninstalling. Surely those who enhance their programs are entitled to a gain for their efforts. 
on Feb 12, 2005
When I read this, I was reminded of this Linux Zealot comic. I think another factor might be that in the case of Object Desktop, there is no decent free alternative, and therefore these people are more upset with Stardock because they're either forced to fork out the money or settle with a gimp of a product that doesn't compare (speaking of GIMP, I always thought it to be one of the worst examples of open source software).
Other than WinZip, free software seldom does what its supposed to do and I inevitably wind up uninstalling. Surely those who enhance their programs are entitled to a gain for their efforts.
Actually, WinZip is also a commercial product.
on Feb 12, 2005
Free software is a failure for the same reason that communism is. (Firefox is having this problem right now) Free requires people to donate their time. Free requires that others give away their abilities so that others can profit from it. The problem is, that in the real world, free is second to people making a living so that they can eat. I call this the lottery effect. (Or the Oprah car giveaway effect, but it's much less catchy...) People live for free. To put it another way, they live for getting something for nothing. They live for stealing from others and not having to pay the price. It's endemic in our culture. The really sad thing is that people will put more effort and money into free than if they just paid for it fairly in the first place. Stop stealing and act like just men and women! (No it doesn't matter that you hoodwinked these poor souls into believing in your lies of subjective, socialist crap, it's still theft.) The universe doesn't do something for nothing. Or as Newton put it, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Someone always pays the price and sooner or later, the people that do (because there are very few that actually do the paying and lots that do the stealing) will either stop, or be dead, and then you're screwed.

It isn't a coincidence that socialism and free software both are popular in acadamia. Acadamia and the kids living off of their parents that attend it (yes, sorry to those of you that work your asses off to put yourselves through school, I admire you, but you are the vast minority) don't know what reality is. The saying goes "those that can do, those that can't teach." It's actually "those that can do, those that are afraid to do it, teach." (both my parents were teachers, and I used to work for the school board in my area, so I can speak authoritatively here) As a result, acadamia is a construct specifically designed to ignore reality as much as possible. Steve Jobs has nothing on acadamia for a reality distortion field.

I just had this rant at MS about the Windows Installer being a pain in the ass to use, and all of the things that it completely won't let you do, bitched at the SQL Server division about the difference between MS and Linux. The difference is MS presents polish and things that actually work. Linux provides crap that you can make work... if you have the time and like to follow manuals to uninstall things in the right order. I also told them that if they went down the path that Windows Installer is forcing them to, there will be no reason to buy MS products because MS will be providing the same crap user experience that Linux does....

I wish that MS would get the same clue that you have gotten Brad.
on Feb 12, 2005
Not to step on ya Brad, but you do not have a 'right' to promote software willy nilly. You have a 'right to free speech' as a Citizen of the United States, but are not gaurenteed a right for people to listen to you, agree with you or even like you. When acting as a moderator on a site, you do not have a 'right' to speak freely, you have the 'rights' the site owners and admin allow you to have. You as an owner and operator know, that 'rights' on a Site are a Fantasy that is translated from the 'real world' and can be squashed by a Site Owner / Sponsor, in a Flat Second.




I am a news moderator on the popular tech news site Neowin.net. additionally Since I post software news on Neowin I also post Stardock's press releases too. On other sites, our media relations goddess does this. But since I'm a news moderator on Neowin, it makes sense for me to go ahead and do this since, essentially I would be the one who would end up approving the final news item.



Being a moderator comes with a responsability, and also some ethics, I would assume. You are acting in a role as a 'supposedly' neutral third party 'on behalf of the community.' When you do this you should hand review of 'your personal news items and product releases', over to other moderators to review for inclusion into a site. That way you can keep a level of impatiality, when it comes to news Items of similar releases.
Self promotion in this fashion is an abuse of the priviledge, you are given as a moderator.




Now on to 'Free Software.' It should recieve special treatment, and it's authors should receive it as well.
Anytime someone does something for free, the should be applauded. Be it charity work, Political Activism, Neighborhood watch, Habitat for Humanity, Free Software... same concept different products.


In most of these cases (almost all these cases) these "l33t" users have never actually used the commercial product (see "evil" above). But they just know because they know everything. Who cares if the "Free" program has a lot fewer features or is flakey or requires hours of setup time to work? When you're 19, time is all that matters and $20 or whatever is big money to someone who's source of income is their mom.


To anyone $20 is a lot of money. Your attempt here to over generalize and marginalize people who's oppinions differ from yours is very small minded, and a true disservice to your attempt to make some kind of point. I understand that 'WC' is your personal property, but using it to vent about another Sites behaviour is getting tiresome. I am sure this is going to turn out like the 'SoapBox Sessions.' You know where the people from the other site come here to Gripe about you griping about their gripes. What is this like the third or fourth time this has happened? Why can't you leave it alone sometimes? I mean you do come off as a zealot and over the top, and some folks get tired of it. It is the same perception of your attitude, that has followed you since OS/2, and you say the same things over and over. A general search of Usenet from Google groups will prove my point.

Now take my advice, and take a 'chill pill' and relax a bit. Please? Leave the SoapBox at home and talk about some type of Customizing, that is what the site is about. Right?
on Feb 12, 2005

Wah, I'm Serbian, where we can't make software but only make fun of other people's software!

on Feb 12, 2005

Well....'twas a bit ironic...but I was busy composing a very similar thread response as voiced in #4....

I was going to say...."But Frogboy....you must remember it is a fact that 19 year olds DO know what it is all about....and they will take extreme afront to any notion that age is somehow connected to experience."

I was also going to make the connection with youth and socialistic ideology which dissipates with age, maturity and experience.

I was gonna warn that your stance would attract nay-sayers and much animosity...

But after #4 it all seems pointless....tongue in cheek or otherwise....my thunder was stolen....

Jafo goes back to twiddle thumbs in corner...

on Feb 12, 2005
Also please try and remember that a lot of StarDocks' 'FREE' software is the same as the 'FREE' Software you are complaining about. Limited Functionality, that is, and please do not state they are two different horses.
'Plus' vs 'Enhanced' vs 'FREE' any argument there does not carry water with me.
StarDock is to be congradulated and held in accord with other free Developers, no more...no less.
If you want to draw distinctions, and say look I am better because my 'FREE' does "blah b blah" then you are not in it for the sake of nobility, but bragging rights and the sentiment is lost. Not everyone that makes a 'FREE' Application has the intention of selling it. Look at LiteStep, BiTTorrent, Linux (overall) Now Solaris Also, Open Office, AbiWord but to name a few.


Sorry Jafo, this caught me at a 'Sane' moment.
on Feb 12, 2005
I Wholeheartedly Agree With Frogboy's Post. A Person Should Not Be Persecuted For Offering The Labour Of Their Effort To The Public For Commercial Gain. As Long As The Asking Price Is Reasonable In Relation To The Product Being Sold. I Think Most Stardock Software Meet That Particular Requirement.

But To Quote stevendedalus :

Other than WinZip, free software seldom does what its supposed to do and I inevitably wind up uninstalling.


Take a Gander At The Following:
- CDex: For All Your Audio Ripping/Compressing/Recompressing Needs.
Frequently Updated w/Bug Fixes.
- Beweet: For All Your Audio Processing/Converting Needs.
Frequently Updated w/Bug Fixes
- Toolame: Rarely Will You Find And MP3 That Doesn’t Use This Codec
- TCPView : For All Your Port Monitoring Needs
You Guessed It - Frequently Updated.

Not To Mention Xvid, Matroska, Cool Beans Nfo Creator, Maximum Memory, Start CPL, Resource Hacker, Programmers Notepad, PeerGuardian, Anything You Can D/L From GRC.com ... The List Goes On Forever. All These Products Do What They Were Designed To Do - And They Do It Well. So I'll Have To Disagree With Your Post.






As For John Galt, Again I Disagree And Frankly Can't Make Much Sense From Your Post.

Free software is a failure for the same reason that communism is



Communism And Free Shouldn’t Be Used In The Same Sentence.

Stop stealing and act like just men and women! (No it doesn't matter that you hoodwinked these poor souls into believing in your lies of subjective, socialist crap, it's still theft.)


Again, Linking Communism With Theft. Erm OK. Plus Calling It Socialist Crap Is No Better Than a person That Says They Hate Racists Then Turns Around And Calls a Police Officer a Pig.

The universe doesn't do something for nothing.


That In Itself Is a Really Poor Outlook On Life.

it isn't a coincidence that socialism and free software both are popular in acadamia. Acadamia and the kids living off of their parents that attend it (yes, sorry to those of you that work your asses off to put yourselves through school, I admire you, but you are the vast minority) don't know what reality is. The saying goes "those that can do, those that can't teach." It's actually "those that can do, those that are afraid to do it, teach." (both my parents were teachers, and I used to work for the school board in my area, so I can speak authoritatively here) As a result, acadamia is a construct specifically designed to ignore reality as much as possible. Steve Jobs has nothing on acadamia for a reality distortion field.


This Particular Paragraph Is Disturbing. Let Me Assure You, People Who Work Their Asses Off To Put Themselves Through Some Form Of Higher Education Are Not "A Vast Minority" That Statistic Was Pulled Straight Out Of a Hat. And People Who Have Or Still Are a Part Of Some Academic Lifestyle Are in Touch With Reality. They Go On To Be Doctors, Surgeons, Architects .. etc

It's actually "those that can do, those that are afraid to do it, teach


Example : Mormegil Is A Very Respected Artist Here On Wincustomize. He Also Has a Series Of Articles In Which He "Teaches" Others A Little Something In The Art Of Making Icons. He Teaches, He Also Applies What He Teaches. If The World Followed Your Little Saying, There Would Be No One Around To Teach Anybody Anything. They Would All Be Busy With The "Can - Do" Part Of Your Theory.

The Last Paragraph Is Just a Windows Vs Linux Battle. Nothing New There. It Does Shed Light on Your Narrow Perspective On Things. Just Because You Don’t Like Linux Or Reading Manuals - Doesn’t Mean Its Crap. Millions Of Users With Win/Linux Dual Boot Systems Seem To Think Its OK.

You Come Off Sounding Like Disgruntled Software Developer. Disgruntled Because Some Crack Group Developed a Crack For Your Respective Software. A Group Compromised Mainly Of Teenagers Who You Assume Live Off Of The Wealth Of Their Parents. The Whole Article Was Distasteful And Poorly Researched In My Opinion.


Link

Link
on Feb 12, 2005
Being a moderator comes with a responsability, and also some ethics, I would assume. You are acting in a role as a 'supposedly' neutral third party 'on behalf of the community.'
and on and on and on...

A moderator acts on the behalf of the site owner and if the site owner doesn't have an issue with the way that Brad posts Stardock news there, then this is all just pissin' in the wind.

but you do not have a 'right' to promote software willy nilly. You have a 'right to free speech' as a Citizen of the United States, but are not gaurenteed a right for people to listen to you, agree with you or even like you.


As far as I can recollect there are only a handful of things like tobacco, alcohol, guns and skin magazines (not an inclusive list) that can't be promoted willy nilly....I don't think that software made that list.

On a privately owned site your right to free speech only extends to the extent that the site owner allows and can be quashed faster than anything the old fallen communist regimes in europe could do.

Essencay used free and communist in the same sentence
on Feb 12, 2005
Essencay used free and communist in the same sentence


Thereby capitilising on a collective.
on Feb 12, 2005
Fuzzy Logic isn't young enough to know everything
on Feb 12, 2005
What the heck does all of this have to do with winCustomize? These comments, on a whole, are totally irrelevant to this site and I take offence to the importance you all are putting towards it.

I for one, would like to be reading about how to use the wonderful programs WinCustomize has and reading about you artists making a project work better or different.

These conversations and opinions are not for this site, for WinCustomize, it is all hogwash. I don't think this is the place for any of you to vent anything that doesn't have to do with this terrific product. This is suppose to be a pleasant experience visiting here, not rivalry.

I've been a Citizen for 3 years and this type of, Article?, has become more important than the product at hand that I pay for and that is offered for our use and enjoyment.

I read these messages and comments, doesn't appear like an article to me, to learn about how to properly do everything, and enjoy the insite of how all you talented artists discuss projects back and forth.

I don't like this new setup of WinCustomize, I liked the old one better. Let's get the priorities right and stop putting so much stress on gossip.

By the way, where are the catagories you use to have above each section of pictures for, let's say, WindowBlinds? You know: holidays, fantacy, spooky, misc., scarey, etc..

There should, also, be a topic to click on that would bring up selections of colors for WindowBlinds, Boot Skins, Logons, Cursor XP, etc., to choose from. I will have a wallpaper that I want to use, and it takes me forever to find the right colors and subject matter for WindowBlinds, Boot Skins, Logons, etc..

I wish you would put your efforts toward making this site more user friendly.

I am a portrait artist and could never do what you guys and gals do. I'm sure we all look to you to speak in terms that laymen and paying customers can understand and teach us some of the complicated features.

This gossip has to go.

Let's hear more talk about the product.
on Feb 12, 2005
WinZip is not free. WinZip has a 21day evaluation period, if you use it beyond that you are required to purchase a license
on Feb 12, 2005
Ms.libbywoods103....did you expect that when you opened a thread called Didn't you know capitalism was bad? Trolls on a mission.. that it was gonna be about customizing your desktop
on Feb 12, 2005
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