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James wrote in response to John:

I didn't know we considered trialware "cunning".

They let people create & edit documents for a while and then hold them
hostage, until the users coughs up for MS Office.

I wouldn't consider it either cunning or holding people hostage to provide them with a free trial of software that is otherwise only available for a price. That, indeed, has been the essence of shareware -- try before you buy. Anybody obtaining a trial version of MS-Office is clearly told that it is a trial version; no cunning, no deception.

If you don't like it, don't buy it.

The creators of the shareware concept (I recall Bob Wallace of the PC-Write days) realized that buying software is often a crap-shoot. You don't know until after you've bought the program whether it will do what you need, or whether you will appreciate the manner in which it does it. This is especially important in the case of an office suite as users will tend to use them on a daily basis, eventually becoming married to their program. MS allows some users to try their program before making such a commitment.

For my part, on my last computer purchase, I received a free "starter" version of MS-Office, with some limitations on features, but without any limitation on time. I can use the starter version forever.

I'm no fan of MS, and I'm sure I don't fully understand all of its business practices, but I truly hope that disdain for Redmond is not the primary motivation for LO and other forms of FOSS. And, yet, it's a theme that recurs on nearly every FOSS related forum I read.

IMHO, it's better to focus on what's good about LO than what's evil about MS.



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