[Review] ExtraFTP

Giveaway of the day for September 12, 2009 is:

ExtraFTP

Version reviewed:

v3.2.5

System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/NT/XP/Vista

Software description as per GOTD:

ExtraFTP is an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client which allows you to transfer files between your local computer and a server on the Internet. With its many basic and advanced Features ExtraFTP also offers secure, reliable and efficient transfers that make it a powerful tool.It is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface.

Key Features of ExtraFTP:

  • Supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
  • Thumbnail image viewing of directories.
  • Powerful Site Manager and transfer queue.
  • Configurable transfer speed limits.
  • Transfer scheduling (schedule unattended transfers).
  • Filename filters.
  • Supports resume and transfer of large files >4GB.
  • Download acceleration (Multi-part downloads).
  • Fast multiple threaded connection options.
  • Network configuration wizard.
  • Easy to use.

Quick Verdict

Full Review

ExtraFTP is a software that allows users to access and transfer files between their computer to servers via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). If you have never heard of FTP, don’t  worry about what it is because you probably don’t need to use it (FTP is usually used by webmasters for their websites/servers but can have other unique applications also).

That being said, ExtraFTP is a copy and rebrand of FileZilla (an open source, free FTP client):

ExtraFTP

2009-09-11_230358

FileZilla

2009-09-11_230417

All the Extra Software did was make very minor cosmetic modifications like change and reorganize the buttons on the main program window. In form and function, ExtraFTP is exactly FileZilla. What Extra Software is doing with ExtraFTP is illegal.

Since FileZilla is released under the GNU General Public License it is 100% legal to modify FileZilla, rebrand it, and even sell it (although it is extremely shameful and unethical in my eyes to make minor cosmetic modifications, call it your own program, and try to profit off the hard work of the FileZilla development team). What makes the actions of Extra Software illegal is this: as per GPL terms, if you modify, rebrand, and sell any GPL licensed software, you must follow the terms and conditions set by the GPL license. These terms include, but are not limited to:

  • A copy of the source code or written instructions about how to get a copy must be included with the software. If the software is able to be downloaded from the internet, the source code must also be available for downloading.
  • The license of the software can not be changed or removed. It must always use the GPL.

No where on ExtraFTP or ExtraFTP’s page on Extra Software’s website do I see it mention ExtraFTP is licensed under the GNU General Public License nor do I see any link to download the source code. Bad, bad, bad! :x

Taking all that into consideration, I am going to put my foot down and refuse to review ExtraFTP. This is very distasteful of Extra Software.

Update: Extra Software has now added a small line on ExtraFTP’s page on their website saying “ExtraFTP is based on FileZilla, and it is GPL software.” This is what it was before they changed it:

2009-09-11_2331393

This is what it is now:

2009-09-12_133327

I promise you this was not there when I first called them out on this. I knew they would read all the comments on ExtraFTP and change their homepage so I took the above first screenshot when I first caught this to provide proof. That being said, I still don’t see a download of the source code. Still illegal!

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

Final Verdict

What ExtraFTP is doing is illegal and extremely shameful. Thumbs down. If you need a good FTP client, go for the real deal instead of a rip-off; grab FileZilla.

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22 comments

  1. Polytopal

    Hello Ashraf,

    Since you brought this to my attention, I e-mailed the contact e-mail provided on the website and cited their violation, I also blind-carbon-copied it to the gnu-license violation e-mail. Funny enough, if you recheck the site, they’ve added the source code. Keep doing what you do, your making the world a better place.

    Below is the e-mail with names and my e-mail anonymized out:

    from x x
    to support@dvdcopyrip.com
    bcc license-violation@gnu.org
    date Sun, Sep 13, 2009 at 5:41 PM
    subject ExtraFTP
    mailed-by gmail.com

    hide details Sep 13 (10 days ago)

    Hello,

    I recently noticed in a review that ExtraFTP is based on the GPL’d Filezilla, though your product page *now* reflects this fact after you hastily changed it, I have not found the legally required source code available anywhere on your website. Please know that this is just a concerned request from someone that believes that strict adherence to the family of GNU licences can only be a great thing!

    Thank you,
    x x

  2. Ambuj Saxena

    @Ashraf: Ad blockers don’t block because of image size. They do because of Image name. The filename previously had “300×250″ in it. But ya, now he should be able to see it. I use Adblock Plus, and it blocked the image for me. But I quickly deduced that it might be because of Adblock, so I disabled it for the page and the image showed.

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Ambuj Saxena: Oh I see what you mean. Since the size of ExtraFTP’s image is 300×250 he can’t see it (the one of FileZilla is 300×249). I didn’t know ad blocks do that. Thanks I changed it now.

    @secret2008: Do you see it now?

    @TK: WS_FTP was the first ever FTP client I used. That was so long ago =).

  4. Steven Meyer

    Well to clarify things for people who have never used filezilla, or don’t see the similarities …. then take a look at the version information using PE Explorer (you can download the demo and see for yourself)

    Length Of Struc: 0324h
    Length Of Value: 0034h
    Type Of Struc: 0000h
    Info: VS_VERSION_INFO
    Signature: FEEF04BDh
    Struc Version: 1.0
    File Version: 3.2.5.0
    Product Version: 3.2.5.0
    File Flags Mask: 0.23
    File Flags:
    File OS: WINDOWS32
    File Type: APP
    File SubType: UNKNOWN
    File Date: 00:00:00 00/00/0000

    Struc has Child(ren). Size: 712 bytes.

    Child Type: StringFileInfo
    Language/Code Page: 0/1200
    Comments: Version 3.2.5
    CompanyName: FileZilla Project
    FileDescription: FileZilla FTP Client
    FileVersion: 3, 2, 5, 0
    InternalName: FileZilla 3
    LegalCopyright: Copyright (C) 2006-2009
    OriginalFilename: filezilla.rc
    ProductName: filezilla
    ProductVersion: 3, 2, 5, 0

    Child Type: VarFileInfo
    Translation: 0/1200

    Plain as day right there ….

  5. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Matthew: They actually added that line after me and everyone else called them out on this. I promise you it wasn’t there before =). Regardless though, I still see no source code download so it is still illegal.

    Also I think I agree with you. You can sell GPL software long as there is no “license” users must buy/activate.

  6. Matthew

    There is no contention, they explicitly say that it is based on FileZilla
    http://www.dvdcopyrip.com/extraftp.html
    “ExtraFTP is based on FileZilla, and it is GPL software.”

    But if they fail to honour the requirements of GPL, then they are not entitled to the permissions provided by GPL.

    http://encodable.com/tech/blog/2006/02/25/Why_the_GPL_is_Incompatible_with_Commercial_Software
    If they build on GPL, they must distribute under GPL terms – provision of, or offer to provide source at handling cost, permission to modify and distribute under GPL terms.

    Pretty sure that strict interpretation of GPL means they must provide source, and cannot prevent the trial restriction code from being removed – the whole POINT of GPL is that while you gain the work of others for free, you are thereby required to return the favour.

    Better GPL minds than mine need to look into this, and consider what is required to ensure compliance.

  7. Daniel M

    Just a note, for those skeptics who think that an identical user interface is not enough to prove stolen code, if you have this rip-off program installed, browse to: C:\Program Files\ExtraFTP\locales and look at the file named filezilla.pot, as well as at all the locale definitions (they contain the name Filezilla in some of the messages).

    Or look at C:\Program Files\ExtraFTP\docs\filezilla.man

    They haven’t even bothered to change the company name recorded in ExtraFTP.exe from “FileZilla Project” into something else… and this is visible if you use Tiles view in (file) Explorer.

    In the same directory you can see the files FileZilla.icns, fzsftp.exe, fzputtygen.exe (which even displays copyright notices when run).

    I’ve sent Tim Kosse, the copyright holder of Filezilla, an email about this; I hope he takes some action.

    As for GOTD and them having no way of knowing… take a look at what I wrote above and think again… they are either very sloppy, which would also be quite bad in itself, or have simply ran out of software to give away. Sad, I would have thought it better if they repeated some older offer instead of this.

  8. Helen

    Pfft! I am glad I didn’t download it and it has been a while since I used FileZilla so maybe I would not have noticed, thank you Ashraf and I am glad I read the comments first – hence I saw your review. Thanks again :)

  9. Tortuga

    Hello Ash :D

    Once again … What can I say!
    Really dunno what we would do without having you checking this stuff out for us. You really do save us from so much trouble!!
    Just fantastic!
    And of course, I do concur w the “foot down” statement!

    Peace & Smiles ;)

    PS: Hope you are coping well w the fasting, must be tough though … Courage, it’ll be over soon :D
    I’m still amazed how you manage to do all the (very thorough!) reviews, plus hunting freeware & promos, plus school, plus work …
    You are an amazing young lad!!

  10. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    It is inevitable people will post comments bashing GOTD for the actions of Extra Software. I believe it is unfair to blame GOTD for this. Less being active FileZilla users, there is no way GOTD could have known ExtraFTP is an illegal rip-off of FileZilla. I myself would not have caught this if I were not a FileZilla fan. While I agree GOTD has messed up in the past on certain issues on some giveaways, today is not really GOTD’s fault in my opinion.

    Just my two cents though.