Blog Splash

New Contributor Benefits

by Kerido Monday, August 15, 2011 4:19 PM

We are launching a new Contributor service that will allow users to receive KO Approach Licenses for free. The idea is simple: you share your opinion about KO Approach on the Web, we give you Licenses.

Well, things are a little bit more complicated because we need genuine content instead of copy-paste. In order to ensure that, you are required to first submit your review to KO Software. After receiving your text we will (most likely) approve it and notify you by e-mail. Then you can publish the review at the address initially planned and let us know through the review list page. And finally, we will read the published review and send you the Basic License ($19.95 value).

Less Span in KO Approach Promo Emailing

by Kerido Saturday, July 23, 2011 11:20 AM

We have now improved security on the KO Approach Promo Emailing section so that nonexistent e-mail addresses are no longer accepted.

KO Approach Promo Emailing is a service that enables visitors to get a KO Approach license for free. It is meant to let users spread the word about KO Approach through e-mails to their friends and colleagues. However, some people took advantage of a hole in our security and sent messages at nonexistent addresses. Well, not any more!

For a dedicated spammer it means they should now manually register at least ten fake addresses before a license can be redeemed. We would like to thank all the spammers for their great work at detecting this hole and thus helping us out. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Our View on Fair Licensing

by Kerido Wednesday, April 14, 2010 1:41 AM

We do take money for KO Approach. This is part of our strategy pretty much the same way as it is the strategy of some enthusiasts to deliver their products for free. It's hard to write on such ethically ambiguous things without getting involved into a perpetual controversy – what's better: free or non-free software. On one hand, they say that providing free software is the same as helping your neighbor. On the other, labor must be rewarded.

I don't mind helping my neighbor and I do it quite often. I do donate to charity and non-profit organizations. Not only because I want to believe that I'm a good person, but also because it makes me feel that I make a contribution to the world.

Unless it becomes a duty. When Richard Stallman declares that "proprietary software ... forbids cooperation", I feel that there's a ghetto some place where all non-free software vendors will eventually be sent. I'm serious – this compulsory moral that you may not ask for reward for your wok, is a real threat. Just because I'm free to believe I'm worth something. This is why KO Approach will never be free.

How It All Started

I started working on KO Approach not for money, but for one straightforward goal – access my files quicker. One day I just realized how much time I was wasting on things that didn't have anything to do with real work. Although things have somewhat improved on Windows, opening files is still a surprisingly time consuming task.

What I came up with was a program that displayed a list of files in a Windows folder when I clicked on the folder's icon. This functionality is now known as Folder Menus. Instead of beating my way through stacking windows, I now had a convenient menu-based interface that allowed me to reach even a deeply buried file in seconds. I was happy with this minimalistic approach to opening files. My screen was finally clean and free for real tasks. At first, I wasn't even concerned about distributing my product to somebody else. There were no installers, help files, or websites.

Eventually, I showed the tool to a local community. The feedback was roughly as follows: "You know what, browsing folders through menus is cool, but I won't be using your tool unless you add [feature]." This is where I learned three things:

  1. There is demand for the product
  2. More time and effort need to be invested in order to satisfy potential customers
  3. I should take money for the product

So I'm working hard to implement additional features. But this work is fun as I learn new things all the time. I love software development and I love KO Approach. I always wish I had more time to make an even better product.

Licensing Explained

The licensing scheme I implemented may seem extremely harsh. By default, a copy of KO Approach runs in a limited functionality mode in which the following restrictions apply

  1. Only two out of three program features can be turned on. For example, you can run Folder Menus and Approach Items, or Folder Menus and Titlebar Menus, but not all three together.
  2. A maximum of four menus can be displayed. When the fourth menu appears, folders do not show submenu arrows.
  3. At most, two plug-ins can be loaded. This becomes essential with version 0.4.4 that ships with four handy plug-ins out of the box.

In order to unlock, Approach needs a small Activation Key file. Each Key file contains commands and data that provide missing functionality to the program module. A Key file is only valid for one particular machine. This is achieved by gathering hardware data which uniquely identifies the computer on which Approach is running. A hardware update renders the existing Activation Key unusable. Each License has a fixed number of unique computers on which Approach can be activated. When a purchase is made, the customer receives a Serial Number which he or she must then specify in order to receive an Activation Key.

This may seem even crueler than Windows activation policy. The latter at least permits minor hardware changes without the need to reactivate. However, the goal is not to screw our customers by soaking the last penny out of their pockets, but to prevent Serial Number leakage.

Feel Free to Request Additional Activations

Whenever you make a hardware update and you don't have available activations left, just write us an email with a request for additional activations. By receiving an email, we can identify you as a valid customer and assist you as soon as possible. As a matter of fact, I remember one customer who has already requested about ten additional activations. I don't even mind if he installs KO Approach to his entire family with all these extra Keys.

It's fair to me because this is where mutual trust is established: you know you won't be forced into buying additional Licenses after a tiny RAM update and we know your Serial Number remains in good hands. It's probably the same as giving the keys from your house to your friend. But you still want to protect yourself from intruders and thieves, right?