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When Software is No Longer Free

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This came up when I went to Google for my usual go-to tool for making .icos, YES I still write video games in Windows. By the way, part 2 of my new Linux Game Programming tutorials will be up.. whenever it gets approved.

You will probably not remember my old post about IcoFX being a handy free tool for making Windows .ico files for use with your programs and such. Yeah. The page just loaded and you see, didn't you? The simple software tool you only used to load varying pictures into one .ico is now $60 - oh but if you order now it's $50. 50 bucks when you just wanted to take a bunch of images and make an .ico file.

OK this isn't no Guild Wars, it's a tool to complete a simple task. That's like if PeaZip was $50. The basic problem is that if your program cost anything, it means you have to jumble digital licenses and keys around. Here's what ends up happening: you get icon sushi.

Oh it edits icon images, but not professionally.. however the hell you edit an icon professionally versus just editing an icon file is beyond me. Both let you create 8-bit / 24-bit / 32-bit 256x256 pixel subimages in the .ico file anyway. You probably drew the icon in Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.NET or pretty much a program designed for you editing bitmaps with anyways.

The program looks a bit aged, but it works just fine. You open the images you want in the .ico, select them all (CTRL+click, etc.) and save as multiple image.ico. I've apparently just saved you 50 bucks, feel free to waste it on something else.

Not exactly just the rant, but how would you try to make money off of a program many people would use? It's not like people don't want your program, but if you charge anything they just Google for something else- usually arriving at a free freedom open source program. One way seems to ask for the money in advance on something like Kickstarter, where you'll already have been compensated for the it takes to make the program. However, if the program wasn't too hard a project, perhaps you should just ask politely for donations. You pay however you feel the software was worth, and you don't have to pay anything if you don't want to.

10 Comments On This Entry

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farrell2k Icon

26 September 2012 - 09:16 AM
It's a good question, how do you monetize an application when there are possibly 10 open source clones? I doubt the efficacy of donations. Advertisements in desktop ads seems to have gone away, but it seems as if bundling optional software is the way to go. e.g the ask toolbar, free McAfee scan etc.
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Martyr2 Icon

26 September 2012 - 10:38 AM
If you are going to move out of a freemium model, you should probably create a second build, call it "Pro" and add some more useful features to that and charge. Don't update the old tool, but leave it there for download and to rot. Trying to take something free and slap an enormous price on it is crazy. If you have to charge for the free tool, make it low enough to get people to say "You know, it has helped me out all these years, I can support them for 15 dollars". 60 (discounted to 50) is just too much money for something that use to be free.
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BenignDesign Icon

26 September 2012 - 10:46 AM
How is using an icon creation program better than just saving as an .ico in your image editing program? I KNOW GIMP can do this... it's how I create my icons all the time.
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WolfCoder Icon

26 September 2012 - 12:05 PM

Quote

How is using an icon creation program better than just saving as an .ico in your image editing program? I KNOW GIMP can do this... it's how I create my icons all the time.


Because they don't do multiple varying sub-images. It's sort of like mip-mapping because you can view the .exe in varying sizes in the file browser. .ico files are not just one image, the whole point is that there's a subimage for different systems and metrics.

For example, I use a face cutout of the full sprite (of say, the main character) for 16x16, the whole sprite for 32x32, the face for 48x48 and 64x64, and a more high-resolution face for 128x128. The smaller versions are an entirely different pictures while the larger ones can be mip-mapped versions of the face. You don't have to use anything other than true-color images anymore, being 2012 and all (before you did for some systems who didn't use true-color desktop color modes).
1

WolfCoder Icon

26 September 2012 - 12:07 PM
(edit button is broken here)

.. it's a pretty cute effect, so when you're viewing files as a list, it's a noticeable, recognizable chibi sprite and when you use huge icons, folders, etc. it's the face picture. The face picture would be really blurry and unrecognizable at smaller resolutions. The picture entirely changes as the icon is viewed bigger and bigger.
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BenignDesign Icon

26 September 2012 - 01:02 PM
Thank you for explaining. I learned something new today! :)
0

RudiVisser Icon

27 September 2012 - 05:25 AM
I just use ConvertICO, which does do the different images based on your original if it's bigger than the standard sizing. It of course doesn't allow you to choose which different images you want as it's a simple conversion tool, but it works well for basic purposes :)
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ihatesegfault Icon

01 October 2012 - 06:53 PM
If you want to charge money for something like this, and get people to actually buy it, you'd have to make it very convenient. So incorporate it into some sort of really large uber-IDE with a whole bunch of other tools. Because there are so many free software tools, if people are paying for one it's because it's convenient or already widely used (like Microsoft Office).
0

NathanMullenax Icon

11 October 2012 - 06:38 PM

WolfCoder, on 26 September 2012 - 12:05 PM, said:

Quote

How is using an icon creation program better than just saving as an .ico in your image editing program? I KNOW GIMP can do this... it's how I create my icons all the time.


Because they don't do multiple varying sub-images. It's sort of like mip-mapping because you can view the .exe in varying sizes in the file browser. .ico files are not just one image, the whole point is that there's a subimage for different systems and metrics.

For example, I use a face cutout of the full sprite (of say, the main character) for 16x16, the whole sprite for 32x32, the face for 48x48 and 64x64, and a more high-resolution face for 128x128. The smaller versions are an entirely different pictures while the larger ones can be mip-mapped versions of the face. You don't have to use anything other than true-color images anymore, being 2012 and all (before you did for some systems who didn't use true-color desktop color modes).


Gimp totally can do multiple resolution icons. Check it:

http://egressive.com...y-with-the-gimp
1

doveraudio Icon

02 February 2013 - 12:03 AM
example of how : reaper by cockos
daw software. Completely no difference between the features of the paid / free version. just a timed nag screen, that usually goes away before you remember what you were going to do. pretty much if you take the time to learn how to do something useful/interesting with the software, you've developed enough appreciation to buy it. it's a damn good product, also, they ask if you are a Pro musician, you pay a pro grade price. Again, people pay that. I paid the "i'm broke not making money with it" license. It was pretty much born and raised on kvraudio, so it really had a lot of help there in getting riddled with features and "the right stuff right". It can do big time stuff. So i guess in that sense it is quite different from the .ico program. It's a piece of software that enjoys the company of any major DAW software, which normally range in price from 200 to thousands, and lets anyone get working with it, right now. no $. no dongle, no pace, no BS. And when you are a grown up, and it's a tool, not a toy, then you pay for it. Like a proper lady or gentleman would. which is what it comes down to at the end of the day. If you use it and it's good, then great. put some money in the hands of the developer, by any means necessary.
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