I read a news announcement about a new freeware program that does some cool stuff. I check it out and it is vastly superior to an existing freeware program. Yet when I read the comments, the new, superior freeware program is being flamed. Why? Because the guy making it also offers a for-pay version that has more features.
I check out the forums of a game I enjoy playing. Normally people are singing the praises of this game. Now, the forum is full of flaming and angst. Why? Because the developer started offering optional premium content for players if they want.
Let me tell those complainers a truth about life: Money is exchanged for goods and services.
Before the current generation of l33t-speaking complainers became the norm on the net, we had a concept called shareware. Someone would make something cool and offer a version of it to try. This version might time out or it might have fewer features or it might just work on the honor system. If users liked it, they bought it. End of story.
Nowadays, we have it better. People make free stuff and release it. No nags. No missing features when compared to other "free" competitors. No time outs. But the developers will also release an even better version. And the complainers get vocal.
What annoys me is that the whiners are attempting to bully people from making stuff that many people like me want. I don't live with my mom in her basement. I don't begrudge paying a few dollars to someone who made something I want. I recognize that I already pay $80 a month for my cell phone and $60 a month for cable so bitching about paying $9 to $20 for something I want is pretty ridiculous.
And I certainly recognize that the mere existence of premium stuff doesn't hurt me. If I want it, I'll pay for it. If I don't, I won't.
Let me give you two examples:
The program ObjectDock is the best dock out there. We make it so I'm biased but it has far more features than any dock out there. It's also free. You want a cool dock on Windows, this is what you get. But there is also ObjectDock Plus. It's $20 but adds a ton of features like tabbed docks. And so what do people say? They'll say that ObjectDock is "payware" or "crippleware". Why? Because a non-free improved version exists.
Similarly, I love Team Fortress 2. It is a great game. And you know what? If Valve created a new character I could play as for say $10 I'd buy it in an instant. I want more characters in TF2 to play as. But you know the reaction they'd get. They'd probably get flamed because the parasite-class would argue that they should get that for free because buying something once to them means that the developers are perpetual slaves to them after.
I understand that we all want to keep from getting nickled and dimed but one assumes that we can make our own judgments as to whether something is worth it or not and allow others to make the same judgment.