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On Sat, 30 Nov 2013, Tom Davies wrote:

Hi :)
Most products have numerous well-known competitors.

Normally an offer of a free trial-period is marketed to state that
after just a short time of using their product you will see how much
better it is than x, y, z because of a, b, c.  So they even name some
of their competition, drawing attention to the alternatives you could
try instead.

When MS offer a free trial it is not made clear that people could
choose an alternative.  The only option seems to be to either buy
their product or not use any word-processor or office programs.

There is no crap-shoot because none of the other choices are known.
It's not akin to the shareware idea at all!

However, I think people (incl me) have been too heated about this.
It's not the same as a drug-dealer giving a freebie to get someone
hooked.  People are not held hostage.

I only want to comment on this last bit but didn't want to delete the preceding and subsequent context.

I concur that the rhetoric about drug-dealing is too heated and is inaccurate.

there is however a point that seems missing from the discussion. Microsoft produces the operating system on which they then 'offer' Word.

the sense that the user is somehow tied in comes in part from the fact that users, most of whom are or have been 'naive', as another poster put it, only see Word, it appears as part of Windows.

if Microsoft offered Word, WordPerfect, LO or whatever and said, take your pick, that would be different.

or if others had some 'real estate' on the system when you bought it for instance as options offered by OEM's, that too would be different.

the difference would be that users would see alternatives and trial them. this would correspond to the 'shareware principle'.

of course one would not expect Microsoft to do such a thing out of the goodness of their heart, or on some free market principle. it's not 'cunning' so much or 'drug dealing', it's the common sense of the owner of the platform.

well, there may be cunning too.

on another note, I see no reason not to disdain a firm if you abhor their corporate practices. quality of a firm's product, for instance, is not the only consideration for a morally aware consumer.


There is no immediate threat of swift physical harm. It is something similar to those ideas but even native-English speakers can't find the more precise words. Even if we could it might not mean much to anyone else. Everyone online has probably seen hostage scenarios and/or the drug dealer scenario on tele or at the movies (or online) so it's the easiest way of getting the idea across.

Regards from
Tom :)

On 30 November 2013 00:20, Virgil Arrington <> wrote:
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



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Felmon Davis

What excuses stand in your way?  How can you eliminate them?  -- Roger von Oech

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