I’m getting really tired of paying for software that doesn’t work and isn’t supported. It’s one thing when a free-beer tool like Thunderbird or Eclipse or doesn’t work quite right. It’s quite another when I’ve given some company my hard-earned cash, and they can’t bothered to fix bugs, answer my e-mail, or support the latest version of an operating system. Well, in the immortal words of Howard Beale, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
The latest one to piss me off is my FTP client, which has decided to forget all my passwords since upgrading to Mac OS X Tiger, and won’t let me enter any new ones. Technical support responded to my e-mail several days later with suggestions that didn’t actually work. (i.e. after following the instructions they sent me, the software put up an undismissable dialog and still never saved my passwords.) So, while waiting another several days for them to respond to that issue, I decided to check out other free-as-in-speech FTP clients, and I’m now prepared to recommend two:
- Cyberduck is a Mac OS X FTP/SFTP client with a better user interface than my old payware client ever had.
- j-ftp is another open source FTP/SFTP client. It’s not nearly as polished as CyberDuck; but it is written in Java so I can fix any bugs or add missing features myself. Unlike CyberDuck it runs on all Java supported platforms.
I want to give a little shout out to these two quality products, in the hopes that fewer people will pay for the poorly supported, closed source, payware clients; and the free market can do its job of chasing these posers back to the bowels of an insurance company IT department where they can spend their days churning out green screen code for actuarial tables. To speed them along in their career change, instead of sending them $17.95 to pay for an upgrade that might or might not fix their bug, I’ve donated that money to the Cyberduck programmers. For j-ftp, I may do something different. Time permitting, I plan to work on a Mac port myself and contribute the code back.
But this is just the beginning. There’s another, much bigger company that’s pissed me off lately by asking for another $29.95 more for a product I’d already paid for, just to support the new release of their own operating system. In this case, there’s no good open source alternative to this product; but I’m in a position to do something about that. After about a week of part time coding, I’ve already reimplemented more than half of their application, and I’ve added a couple of features they don’t have to boot. Very shortly I should be ready to kick the legs out from under their market. More on that next week.