Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why I Kicked AVG out of my Computer

Disgusted, I got rid of AVG 8.0, about 20 minutes after I installed it. I am now working with (and enjoying) the Comodo anti-virus freeware. And why? Here ya go:

Freeware isn't a new thing on the web and in the computer world. A freeware is a software that's fully functional for an unlimited time with no monetary cost. In the beginning, those were usually nice-to-have software and apps, but most of the "important" or "good" software was either shareware or something you had to buy.

All this has changed, naturally, since the term Open Source has become a part of the mainstream. A lot of companies understood that it's in their interest to provide freeware alongside with other products, that you need to actually buy.

So, we have free-everything: from games to word processors, from PDF readers to anti-virus. You can have a computer and not pay one cent for software - from the OS down.

My first free anti-virus

Grisoft was a company that "got it". A few years back they released AVG anti-virus - a completely free anti-virus software that came as a huge relief to all the Norton and Mcafee victims.

Symantec and Mcafee have dominated the PC security market for years - mainly because there was no one else around. Norton was a synonym to anti-virus, but somewhere along the line it became a heavy, stupid, controlling and annoying product. You could hardly get rid of it - and it cost too much for its worth.

AVG was the first free anti-virus software that I tried, and for years it did a very good job. I installed it on many computers - and my friends, family and other users were very happy with it. It was lightweight, efficient and invisible. A classic.

The upgrade cometh

A while ago I started getting annoying pop-ups whenever I updated AVG, nagging me to upgrade to version 8.0. As usual, I didn't hurry it up. I waited about a month and only then, warily, decided to upgrade.

The installation was quick as usual. I noticed that the icon of the product got a new design, and the colors were suspiciously reminiscent of those belonging to a certain software giant we all know and hate. But that's not a reason to kick out an anti-virus.

The new interface wasn't better than the old one. Just more flashy. But that's not a reason to kick out an anti-virus.

I noticed that the memory consumption of the AVG 8.0 is larger than the one of the older version. Strike one.

Then, I opened my Firefox and searched for something in Google. And lo and behold, out of nowhere, strange signs began to appear next to each result. At first I thought Google flipped or something, but then I realized it was AVG - checking each link in a slow, annoying way, and informing me if it's "safe" or not. REALLY! Strike two.

I immediately went to disable this highly-annoying feature. AVG wasn't happy. Now, instead of the usual, colorful icon in my system tray, I got an exclamation mark! BAD GIRL! You disabled a new feature! We like that feature! As a punishment, you will get an exclamation mark and won't be able to see the true status of your anti-virus.


I mean, OK, I know it's a freeware. I am not paying a dime for it. I can't complain.

First of all, I CAN complain - because I have a blog and it's a great platform for it :). Secondly, if I want to disable a feature, that doesn't mean you have to render the software annoying and practically useless! And thirdly - the fact that there IS competition in the freeware market, and the fact that there is ALWAYS a replacement for anything, should indeed make Grisoft think long and hard before they make their software unfriendly.

I am not the only one that ditched AVG 8.0 - it's all over the web now.

I personally put in Comodo Antivirus 2.0 (beta) and I'm very happy with it. I also use their firewall, which is very good. There are plenty of others to choose from. Grisoft just lost a customer, and I'm guessing it won't be the last.


Joe said...

Um I think the company is called Grisoft....or am I missing a joke?

Revital Salomon said...

You are right, of course. Too much FREE thinking I guess. I'll fix it :) Thanks.

patrick said...

I had the same reaction about the green sign next to every google search result and I did the same as you did. I was equally surprised of the reaction of the system tray and after looking a little bit further I saw that AVG had added a Firefox Add-on. Disabling (read: uninstalling) this add-on made the signs disappear in the google search results and also kept the systray icon normal. So for the moment I'm still happy with AVG.

Revital Salomon said...

Interesting, Patrick. I thought it was the url-checker-feature thinige.

hu_moravian said...

Well, what's wrong about alerting the user that a feature is turned off? What if a "noob" incidentally turns off link scanner? Isn't it logical, that the software should alert him/her about it? What if your Resident Shield gets turned off and you don't notice? Would you be more happy just to have the "everything is alright" icon in tray and have your computer infected with trojans? Hm, I don't know. As for the memory consumption. Did you look at the Task Manager? Well, FYI, Task Manager is adding shared memory to every process that has a handle to it even though the data is present only once in the memory. Try Process Explorer and you will notice the difference ;-)

עוּגִּיג said...

and Strike four: for some freaking reason, AVG 8.0 refuses to update its database for the last 3 weeks. rumors on forums say that grisoft will release a fix "on the middle of june". I suggest they fix their early pension programs. AVG - Asta la vista! (Spanish for "sucks as vista!")

Revital Salomon said...

LOL, OOGig, you rock as usual :)