A cracking question.

There is a program you want to use. You have looked around and there is nothing else like it that you can find. It’s a very useful piece of code. However, you think that it is overpriced – if it were 60% of the price you’d happily pay. It’s not made by Big Corp Assoc, neither is it made by a lone guy – does this matter ? So you need the program, it’s not a whole lot of money (let’s say it’s $100 / £50) but it’s still more than you think it is worth (maybe it’s exclusivity causes the premium ?). Whatever. You have 3 choices:

  1. Do not use the software
  2. Use a cracked version
  3. Buy the code

The company will never find out (it doesn’t phone home) and no-one but you will know.
What do you do ?

15 thoughts on “A cracking question.

  1. Pingback: Fightingfriends
  2. Honestly back when I was a student I used to crack software fairly regularly, but after I got a job I stopped because since I could afford it I felt morally obligated to. I know this doesn’t entirely make sense.

    When I started Automattic I went back and double-checked everything on my computer and deleted it, replaced it with free equivilents, or just bought the software so now everything is totally legit, and I feel better about supporting the software economy which I’m now a part of. (Sorta.) If something is good enough that I can’t replace it with an open source equivilent for daily use, then I think they’ve earned my money.

  3. I’ll admit that when I first hit the net I had a machine stuffed full of warez. I stopped for one reason really – I could get better freeware. Freeware that did the one job very very well as opposed to a commercial product that tried to hit all bases to sell.
    My reason for asking though was this:
    In the majority of markets discounts can be had – CD’s, DVD’s, clothes, books, food etc. That applies even to software except software that is distributed by one company only. While they may have a price (say $75) and generate an income from that, they could arguably generate a greater income by reducing the price to $50. But as they are the sole source, I have to rely on them to do that / be willing to do that.
    I agree about the paying though with products I do feel are worth it – I have legit copies of FeedDemon and Syncback which I had no hesitation in buying.

  4. I would like to think I would cough up if I was going to use the program on a regular basis and get the full use out of it. However, if I could download it and use a cracked version without anyone finding out I would probably use the cracked verison :(

    It’s a bit like asking if there was $100 on a table and you could take it without anyone ever knowing about it. I’d probably do it, might feel guilty but I have a hunch I’d still do it.

    Now that I’ve written that I’m not sure about the money. The software though that’s different. It is the same but I would have a different set of values with it. Stupid but that’s the way it is.

  5. Hmmm… If there wasn’t another program that could do it, and I couldn’t afford it, then I’d probably go the crack route. Which I know is wrong, but then again as I can’t buy it – they aren’t losing money.

    However when I did have the money (and assuming that I actually found the software useful) I’d buy the program. No questions.

    I’ve done that before now, and with many programs.

    Sometimes I’ve even had to find a pirated version to even see if the program is worth the money: trial versions that limit the features don’t help me if the feature that isn’t there, or is crippled, is the reason I was going to buy it in the first place.

    I know many people that will buy one piece of software (say, Corel Painter 8) but when the next version comes along they see almost no additional features worth even the upgrade prices. So they pirate that version. Often they end up buying alternate releases (or even every 3 in some cases).

  6. My ‘limit for no thought purchase’ is $30. At that point and below I’ll buy it.
    Above that ? Hmmmmm

    (Getting off the point – it never ceases to amaze me the number of people that have ‘bought’ Dreamweaver yet cannot get even the really basic stuff right. Expensive lessons…)

  7. Hehe that would have been my point Mark. The amount of requests for help I see from people who admit they are new to the whole thing … yet have made the substantial investment in Dreamweaver and Photoshop is quite amazing. I’ve used the analogy before that it’s like buying a Ferarri before you pass your test. There’s also a school of thought that says that activity is why Dreamweaver does so well…

    I don’t have any cracked software, the only ones I pay for are Netnewswire and Ecto which are worth their weight in gold. Luckily in the Mac world there are some fantastic programs for free. I didn’t have to buy Netnewswire because I could have used Netnewswire Lite … and instead of paying for BBedit I use the free version Textwrangler. In all honesty I can’t think of an application I would want a cracked version for. Office is a potential one, but pure text files are easier to transfer between machines and OS. Even if you want to get into high end 3D work there are free (watermarked) versions. I did download a cracked version of a popular 3D package years ago before those versions were available and I wanted to play with it … but trying to get to grips with it gave me a headache :) So it got binned.

    By the way, with the conversation being cracked software you realise your traffic to this post is going to go through the roof? ;)

  8. I think I have a similar ‘ceiling’. If I can’t find freeware that does what I want, and the software is less than say $50, I’ll stump up. Hell I’ve bought software in the past that I no longer use because I found a better freeware alternative.

    Above that ceiling and it gets a little grey. I do have a couple of cracked apps on my PC but they are typically:
    a. too expensive
    b. not used often (less than once a month)

    So I guess I could come up with a usage per price ratio. If I’m using it everyday and it’s below X then I’ll buy it. etc etc

    Interesting topic though.

  9. About a year ago I needed a program for a small project, which would ultimately cut my production time down. I really wanted it, but couldn’t justify spending $275 on it… for only one use.

    I cracked the demo, and used the program for free. The application was created by a “lone guy”, so I felt guilty afterwards, when thinking about all of the time this guy put into the development process.

    I figured out that his program had saved me 3 hours of work, so I anonymously mailed him a letter explaining my situation and a money order for $90 ($30/hr x 3 hours). He later blogged about it, thanking me for my contribution.

  10. Ryan – excellent solution !

    As for my initial post, I had two cracked apps. Each costing $50.
    I have today found that a freeware program will do what one did (albeit in a more clunky fashion) so it is deleted but the other I cannot replace. Neither do I think it worth $50. So I’ve removed the shortcut – if I haven’t used it in a week I’ll delete it. If I have ….. hm.. I’ll think about that then.

    And it’s not a ‘must not spend money’ thing – it’s about value. If FeedDemon 2 (currently in beta) came along and I have to pay the $30 to upgrade I would. No hesitation.

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