Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:44 PM
This is a rather complex situation and one which I can appreciate on both sides of the fence, as a developer and as a user. In one hand, we have the honest and genuine developer who wants to try and make a little back from the program without being "in the face" of the end-user, and then we have the end-user who ends up with a ton of garbage on their computer that they didn't want through add-ons in the installers.
Normally, I'd say toolbars, etc, should be OPT-IN rather than OPT-OUT, but that would never work because nobody in their right mind would willingly install a toolbar so the developers choose to make you opt-out and hope most won't see it - thus it gets installed.
The whole issue of freeware has evolved over the years and the actual definition of freeware is a complicated one. Some say freeware is basically software which is commercial but given away, normally with some restrictions and with the option to upgrade to a paid version to unlock all other features. Others say freeware is, or should be, fully functional software distributed free of any charge or limitations but is closed source (as opposed to open source) and because of this it's often abandoned relatively quickly by developers who can't monetize from it because it becomes too difficult to maintain themselves.
There is truth in all those statements but the fact remains that developers will most probably need to try and figure alternative, and more user friendly ways to monetize from their software or websites as users are becoming increasingly frustrated with the number of developers utilizing add-ons, toolbars and all other manner of third party software in their installers. As for those who force users to install this stuff, or those who knowingly include third party apps which are considered dangerous or even suspicious, then they will have a very short shelf life on most responsible download sites.