How Good Is Free?

March 17, 2008

After reading Chris Anderson’s blog about Oprah and free, I starting thinking about how good free really is. I feel that in Suze Orman’s case, she was able to get a head start because of Oprah. I mean, let’s face it, whatever Oprah does, most women find it inspiring. I agree that it was a great business tactic on Oprah’s part but if it wasn’t for Oprah, I don’t think Suze Orman’s book could have increased in sales the way it did. Then again, you just never know. I think we all have to agree that you get what you pay for, especially for those who own their own vehicles. Although, free can sometimes be a good thing, especially in technology these days… or at least in Suze Orman’s case. 

I decided to look into free software such as anti-virus programs. According to Wikipedia “The free software movement was launched in 1983 to make these freedoms available to every computer user. Software that does not provide these freedoms is referred to as proprietary software or non-free software.” (Wow that was before I was born and before my family even owned a computer!) I think it’s neat that individuals, especially techies, are able to use, study, and even modify these programs without restrictions. They can also be “copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions only to ensure that further recipients can also do these things”.

There are so many things that can destroy your computer such as Trojan, worms, Spyware and so on. Can these free security programs such as AVAST and AVG anti-virus really stand up to it all? Let the poll be the judge of that at Tech Support Alert.


10/10 100%


Norton 9/9 100%


F-Sec     9/9 100%


Trend 8/8 100%
F-Prot 6/9 67%
Avast 6/9 67%
Kaspersky 9/11 82%


McAfee 8/10 80%


AVG 6/8 75%


Norman 7/10 70%


 Don’t let these numbers get you down. Most companies make a big effort ensuring their product pass the VB100 test. The VB100 test is a monthly trial that tests the product to see whether or not it can detect 100 Trojans. If a product doesn’t detect 100%, then it fails. Basically, even if it detects 99 Trojans out of 100, it still fails. That’s fairly demanding. Which in turn means that because programs such as AVG and AVAST aren’t companies, the demand for them to perform at this level is non-existent. However, the poll does suggest that AVG is a “middle man” so I guess you are getting a bang for your free buck. Unfortunately, AVAST doesn’t show that kind of performance.

In my case, if I were to invest into a computer I would purchase an anti-virus program such as Norton of Nod32 as they seem to show the best performance. However, if I were a techie, I would jump aboard the Free Software Movement. I think it’s great for people to be able to use these kinds of programs, although, I think it’s equally great that we have excellent programs such as Norton to chose from.


7 Responses to “How Good Is Free?”

  1. Katelyn Murnaghan Says: keeps cutting the last part of it! It won’t let me finish my post 😦 Can anyone help me? I must be doing something wrong because this is the second time today. It always cuts off after my poll.

  2. mellaz Says:

    You forgot to mention AVG I used the FREE version and AVG protected and caught few viruses and worms on my laptop.

  3. Katelyn Murnaghan Says:

    Yeah I had that, but I was having problems with my computer getting the rest of my blog posted. Three hours later it’s up!! Go me… needless to say i’m definetely NOT a techie.. Sorry guys!!

  4. wattsy Says:

    good post, an important topic to cover. I am using McAfee for our home computer here. I am fairly pleased with it, but it’s a nusiance making all these passwords, and if you phone up customer support. They ask you what you password is, and username, and all this information. Considering if you have so many passwords, and its easy to forget one you barly have to use. All in all McAfee it is good to use. I like the fact that it updates itself, and not manually having to update it. I used AVG on my old computer, and really liked it – can’t beat the free version.

  5. Katelyn Murnaghan Says:

    We have MacAfee as well. My father swears by it. It seems to be working well although we don’t download music off of the “family” computer. I guess the real test would be to use it with a program such as Kazaa.

  6. Tasia Says:

    ARGH, I know what you mean Katelyn! I always have problems when posting my junk too. I think this site is against us! haha just kidding

  7. davecanvin Says:

    I haven’t used an anti-virus program in two years.

    Ahhhh the joys of owning a Mac

    In all seriousness though, When I had a PC I used PC-Cillin I think it was called. Not free, the school pays for it though. You get your license key through your online student account.

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