Different software from same developer – trust or not?

My post on Ketarin yesterday got me to revisit idea on how selection of software people are already using might influence their choice when they are looking for more.

It is natural to trust products from the same source you have good experience with. But is such trust wise?

Big developer, plenty of products

Think Microsoft . Scale and range of software products from such companies is huge. From operating systems to calculators – anything and everything. Does liking one of their products means that you won’t have to ever look elsewhere? Hardly.


  • big development budgets;
  • thorough testing.


  • inconsistent quality because of numerous developers;
  • purchase and re-branding of software;
  • customer service may be lacking.

Big developer, few products

Think Stardock . There is line (or few) of closely related products. If you like some then others will probably deliver very close experience.


  • narrow focus;
  • high quality.


  • none?

Small developer, plenty of products

Think Nirsoft or Roadkil . Often it’s only a single developer that produces numerous small utilities.


  • consistent quality;
  • fast implementation of suggestions;


  • small scale;
  • may disappear or sell to bigger company;
  • often lacking in testing and interface design;
  • may never implement anything suggested.

Small developer, few products

Think Piriform or Canneverbe . In my opinion that’s potentially most dangerous combination. Single product can achieve amazing success. But it doesn’t instantly make developer proficient in everything.

For example most of Recuva reviews say something like “it’s from those guys who made CCleaner so it must be awesome ”. Well, when I tried it myself it was terrible experience. But I hadn’t seen a single review mention low quality because fame (well deserved) of CCleaner developers carries more weight than proper testing of software for review.


  • can produce excellent innovative software.


  • limited resources;
  • diversifying may do more harm than good.


It’s natural to check other software from developer you know and trust. But it’s dangerous to narrow your view . If you are looking for software for specific task you may start with known developers but continue your search on software portals such as Softpedia , SnapFiles and FileHippo and blogs like gHacks , Freeware Genius and Rarst. :) That will give you more choices and improve results .

Had you ever used software just because of familiar developer? What your experience was?

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  • Raju #

    Plenty of times I downloaded softwares just because of familiar brand. More recently, it was Norton Antivirus 2008. It was such a pathetic piece of software, and I repented for not going through the reviews before downloading. btw, I like your blog design a lot :) hopefully, the content as well :)
  • Rarst #

    @Raju Reviews are nice but having few alternatives to compare is even better. Thanks, design is still work in progress with plenty of areas to improve (I wonder if I'll ever finish). Welcome to blog and I hope you shall like content as well. :) PS I've checked your blog and home page always give mobile version (seems ok on post pages). Bug with MobilePress? You should probably check that.
  • Blogging from scratch #

    I never think of this until now. I download software that suits my need and my choices are from the familiar developers. For example, the Adobe softwares
  • Rarst #

    @Blogging from scratch It's easy choice to stick to big names as Adobe. But there is curious effect - when apps from such big developers are dominating then alternative apps appear. They don't target speciific tasks, they target to do same things that popular apps do... and better. Like Adobe Reader is obviously native and most popular for reading PDFs but 3rd party apps like Foxit Reader https://www.rarst.net/software/foxit-reader/ may suit some users even better. Thanks for your visit and comment. :)
  • Jim Sefton #

    I think it depends on your reasoning for trusting the makers of a particular piece of software. For example, some people are Microsoft through and through, and much as I am completely the opposite, it is hard to ignore their strength in certain areas... I mean even the Apple iPhone has Microsoft Exchange support! That said, this post is not about MS, and they are a bit of a unique entity, with Adobe running a close second, I suspect. Where I am more interested is in smaller companies that are trying to do something others have not. Their sole reason of existance is to bring out new, cutting edge products, and do it well. I have two exampes here. Firstly there is Freshbooks. They have really cornered their market icely. I have done some research and I cannot find anything in that area (online) that touches them. The second example would be the Carsonified team. They brought out DropSend a few years ago, and it was their first venture into the online service market. They blogged the details (a little too much at times) and it was great to see how they worked. Just from following the progress, I personally will be very interested in their next products, as I know they will be polished. I guess I also like to support the underdog too a little bit... if I see a smaller company, passionate about what they do, then I would be likely to buy their software, similarly to how if I hear an up and coming artist on internet radio that I like, I will buy their CD. Without wandering off too much on this topic, I would say me perspective is on a very technical level. Nothing excies me more (on this subject) than trying out new software and seeing what I can do with it. Ask my Dad and he would answer the opposite.. if it's not broken, don't fix it, hence he would stick with what is safe.
  • Rarst #

    @Jim Well, online services are kinda different species. Post is more about desktop software. :) Yeah, sometimes single product is dominating especially if task is complex or leading developer is simply that good. Still figuring out dominating one is important. If you hadn't done research on Freshbooks - you wouldn't have confidence that they are best. PS no MS Exchange mentions please, I am sick of corporate mail working... pretending to work on that :)
  • MK #

    I was also bought on the "it’s from those guys who made CCleaner so it must be awesome" statement, so I tried it, and yeah, it sucks. Better use PCI Recovery instead (ugly GUI, though). I hope more and more developers will follow Opera's attitude. Their attention to detail amazes me. Like, how you can use the browser entirely without a mouse. They keep bringing innovation after innovation, that had brought a great change to modern browsers today. And btw, Rarst, I think that the wwww is a tad unnecessary. Just Rarst.net is cool enough, just my opinion :)
  • Rarst #

    @MK I use Undelete Plus https://www.rarst.net/software/undelete-plus-undelete-plus-just-undelete/ Hm, need to rewrite that post. From early days of this blog, looks sub-par. Yeah, attention to details in Opera is spectacular. Unfortunately I find recent versions (since 9.50) loosing speed and stability. Need to do clean reinstall to be sure but it's first time in years I feel that Opera is slow (and memory consumption is highish). I know that placeholder logo sucks. :) New one is being [slowly] maked.
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