I'd like to chime in on this, being that I just went through this process of installing the new OD 2.0 beta.
First off, I've been using the free version of OD for some time, and I absolutely love this application. I had been thinking of paying for the 2.0 beta upgrade for some time, partly to access some of the features I'd been missing, but mostly to reward StarDock for creating such an awesome product. I was dismayed that after I made the purchase via PayPal, I didn't receive a direct link to download the item I had purchased, nor did I receive an e-mail containing a serial or product number to activate my product. These activities are just so ubiquitous when purchasing software on-line that I was absolutely shocked when I discovered I would need to first install the Impulse program to then download and install ObjectDock. It's a fact that many software companies follow the model of using a download manager, but these are often very unobtrusive programs that only execute to download the initial installation binary, and possibly maintain a background service footprint to check for product upgrades now and again. They certainly do not remain active in the system tray by default, nor do they expose a host of other unsolicited features like adding friends, advertising other products and games, etc. that causes Impulse to dangerously verge on the border of ad-ware. To top this all off, I found there were two other barriers that prevented me from easily installing the 2.0 beta. First, I needed to merge two distinct accounts that had been created for me, one linked to my PayPal e-mail account and another linked to a different e-mail address I had provided to StarDock. Following this issue, I then needed to instruct Impulse to look for beta releases so that v2.0 would appear in the download list.
In all honesty, the process of installing OD 2.0 was such a debacle that I seriously contemplated just trying to seek a refund via PayPal. Thankfully I was finally able to get it up and running. I have since configured Impulse to not run at start-up, and I fully intend to never let that program see the light of day on my system until if and when I need to upgrade or patch OD.
As a loyal (and now paying) customer of StarDock, I urge you to please reconsider linking OD to Impulse. I have seen a variety of posts in the forum that agree with my sentiment here. Several folks, however, have responded that Impulse is listed in the OD system requirements, that Impulse makes StarDock's job of implementing an installation platform easier, and also it is a necessary measure for combating software piracy.
Firstly, while Impulse is indeed listed in the system requirements for OD, it's fair to say that this is a case of something being hidden down in the very, very fine print. Also, when I installed the free version of OD, there was no trace of Impulse, so it's actually quite a departure from the expected user experience that one gains while using the trial version of OD. Lastly, I don't believe the system requirements fully specify exactly what Impulse does and how it does it unless you a follow a link to the Impulse Driven site. If you're going to chide folks for not reading the system requirements prior to installing OD, please at least list the full description of Impulse without pushing us off to another web site.
Regarding the argument that Impulse makes StarDock's job of building an installer easier, that may be true, but it does not make things easier from a customer perspective, that's for sure. If the customer experience truly comes first for StarDock, then I would say it would be better to not require us to download a separate tool to get at the product we just paid for.
As far as the software piracy theory goes, there are many companies that are able to eliminate a large amount of the fraud without necessitating a dedicated download service linked to a user account. You are always going to have a level of dishonesty and software licensing theft, but if you make it too difficult for users to install your program, then what have you really gained here?
Thanks for the wonderful job you've done with OD 2.0. I hope you continue to build great applications, and that you continue to keep your users' needs and best interests in mind as you continue developing your software in the future.