While doing some searches on something fractal-related, I found one page with a list of fractal softwares. Also there was a brief description for each of these softwares, which most of the times also helps you to have at least a clue about what it is, even though it might be a bit subjective or can even be a forced good review pushing you to choose that special item of that list instead of others.

Anyway, there’s this interesting entry that says (some bits removed to not explicitly tell which software it is –  people can get picky at times and refuse to understand criticism):

“One of the most popular generators of fractal graphics in 24 bit true color.   This freeware 32-bit program, written in Visual C++ by (…), has capabilities far above many that are available, and is well worth taking the time to try out and use.   (Both the executable and source code are available.)”.

Did you read “freeware” there too? OK. Just checking. Also, the source code is available for those that like to see how it goes behind the curtains. Nice, and the description makes you think it’s a very good piece of software. But click the link and… there’s this disclaimer in the page that says:

Entrance to the (…) download area is for registered members only.

Registration is $35 and is made via Paypal.

Upon registration, you will be emailed with a link, password,
and unlimited access to the download area.”

OK, did you read that too? You will only be able to download this freeware (??) software after you pay a fee to enter the download section of the site. Now how can this be called freeware? To me it’s just something I’d call annoyingware. And then programmers complain that their softwares are pirated or shared in P2P networks and warez sites. If they knew how to sell them, they would sell.

I always liked to and did register as many softwares I could that aren’t extremely overpriced (unfortunately, most still are) and that are really useful and/or without bugs, and even I’ve made some small donations to programmers here and there to help the development of their stuff, and like I did with UltraFractal, when I thought I could sometime have a profit from stuff I did with it, it was kind of a moral and obvious decision to register it (and other similar stuff), if I could ever have any benefit from using it – read “benefit”as pure $$$ – it would be nice to “pay” the author of the software for that the same way you pay for a tool you use at work. But when a software is known for being buggy, overpriced, hyped, or that have a clone software that does the same (or almost) in an open source/freeware format as a paid software, I don’t register or buy it at all, and sometimes when I register a software that later becomes buggy or that lacks support or even that charges me a lot more for a stupid upgrade… I have no guilty in getting an “illegal” updated version of that. But this was the first time I’ve seen some stupid thing like that, a “membership” to download a “freeware”. Pffft. Maybe a bad choice of words or advertising, but still stupid.

Just to make things clear, here’s the definition of “freeware” seen in Wikipedia:

Freeware (from “free” and “software”) is computer software that is available for use at no cost or for an optional fee.[1] Software referred to as freeware is almost always proprietary. Software that is commercial is occasionally referred to as payware.

Also…

“Not to be confused with Free software.”

OK, the author might say that he’s asking that fee because you’re downloading the source code blah blah blah. And the asked fee is nothing like “optional” in that site. Don’t pay it and don’t get the software, it’s simple as that. Had the author asked for a donation, he would probably make much more money than using this “pay before you even see what you’re buying” method. This would be a little different than what I’d call a “freeware” as it stated in this definition, it could (and sometimes is) called a “donationware”.