First order of business: I just wanted to let everyone know that forum-goer “null54” has published a new Paint.NET effect called PSFilterPdn. It lets you use Photoshop filters in Paint.NET. Pretty swank, and clearly the guy has put a lot of work into it. There are still rough edges since the two plugin models are not a match made in heaven, but it ranks quite high on the Very Cool And Also Useful Scale.
Now on to the other stuff.
Every so often I get an e-mail asking me to bundle stuff with Paint.NET. “You’ll make $999999999 per month guaranteed!” I usually ignore or just say, “no thanks.” Here’s a recent one, paraphrased and redacted to protect the
We believe your software is of high quality. [rick: Thanks!] Our Firefox addon, whatever, provides whatever. Our team is currently working on a new installer that will include a collection of high quality software. We want to offer you various partnership options with whatever or one of our other products, either as an advertiser or publisher.
… other stuff removed …
Please contact us for further details.
This time I decided to have a little fun though.
Why on earth would I bundle a Firefox addin with Paint.NET? Maybe I should start bundling pictures of kittens too, or maybe the latest Lady Gaga single.
Although apologies to Lady Gaga and kittens everywhere: the retort was meant to imply how unrelated the items are to Paint.NET, and not to be a statement on their level of quality or cuteness. I personally like both cute kittens and Lady Gaga’s music.
Clearly both of these are way cooler than a Firefox addon whose job is to offer up ads for more addons. (Cue the Mitch Hedberg joke: “I want a vending machine that sells vending machines … it’d have to be really freakin’ big!”)
One thing I really detest in the Windows freeware scene is the alarming rate that crapware gets bundled into apps. Not just crapware, but unrelated crapware. It’d be one thing if I were to bundle, say, a free trial of WindowClippings – it’s good, high quality, and I use it myself and think it pairs nicely with Paint.NET (especially with the “Send to Paint.NET” feature). Or, maybe a game you download includes a few offers for other games.
Browser addons though? Give me a break. Why must everyone bundle unrelated toolbars, antivirus scanners (*cough* Flash *cough*), or homepage hijackers? It bugs me to no end when I look at my mom’s computer and she has 4 new Internet Explorer toolbars and has no idea where they came from, simply because she clicked “next next next next next.”
I may have said this before, but I promise Paint.NET will never bundle unrelated crap that requires you to babysit the installer in order to opt-out of it. When you get an update for Paint.NET, it will only be Paint.NET. It’ll never install something else or hijack your browser’s homepage, all because you forgot to babysit the installer and missed a checkbox that defaulted to the “checked” state. (From a business standpoint I can’t promise I’ll never bundle. But I do promise it will be opt-in if that ever happens. The checkboxes will default to “unchecked,” in other words. I have no plans for anything right now, by the way.)
I can understand why many other applications publishers choose to do this: money, and lots of it. Each crapware installation usually nets a bounty of $1 or $2, and with millions of installations it adds up fast. I already have money though and see no reason to be greedy about it, especially since the cost is to flush the good will of the user base along with my reputation. That’s no way to build a career. Now, I don’t have millions packed into suitcases and buried in the backyard like, say, Notch … but there’s clearly better ways to make money than installing junk on people’s PC (as Notch has proven by writing a fun game that he sells for cheap that hundreds of thousands have paid for).
Sometimes I reply by saying they must provide me with their source code so that I can do a security-focused code review on it. That usually shuts them up fast too. And to be honest, I would require this of any code added to the Paint.NET installation: if I can’t review it, then I can’t vouch for it, but ultimately I’d be responsible for it.