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back to article Vultures circle to feast on carcass of free remote desktop service LogMeIn

A number of vulture firms have swooped in to feast on the desktop access carcass left by the death of LogMeIn's free service. El Reg was, frankly, shocked by the level of outrage yesterday after LogMeIn decided it would no longer allow techie types to use its service to access their desktops remotely for free. We received a …

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Black Helicopters

A security nightmare

Although a remote desktop is appealing from many points of view, it is a security nightmare. I'd not call it gotoMYpc, but AnySpookCanSeeMyPCToo.

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Re: A security nightmare

I prefer OpenMYPCToTheEntireInternet.

Tbh I've never used their product but I distrust any software advertised on TV with adverts that cheesy.

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Hell hath no fury

> enraged they would actually have to fork out cash to see their own desktops from afar

... like a freetard pwned

Instead of a "thank you for all the years of value you've given us for free" the sense of selfish entitlement displayed when a company decides it's not seeing any benefit, was truly remarkable. Sure, Logmein did pull the rug with no useful period of notice, and I do sympathise (being one of their freetards, myself). But surely graceful acceptance of the situation is not beneath most people?

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Re: Hell hath no fury

The issue, as far as I was concerned was that I have 6 days to get an alternative installed on my 90 year old father's Mac. The notice was rather short.

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JDX
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Re: Hell hath no fury

How long does it take to log into his PC using LogMeIn, and install something new?

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Re: Hell hath no fury

Try Apple Remote Desktop, assuming you are both using a Mac.

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Re: Hell hath no fury

I'm entirely grateful to Logmein for the free service they have provided,however pulling the rug from under peoples feet with 1 weeks notice, and whacking the prices up for paying customers is nigh on suicidal. some of their

Logmein's pricing policy was all wrong from day 1. Free or hugely expensive - is anyone remotely surprised it's a financial model that does not work.

Perhaps £5 for 1 PC, £10 for up to 5 PC's per year is affordable and I would gladly have paid - £49 for 2 PC's 'special offer' for 12 months does not cut the mustard - I still bitterly remember Trend Micro trying to stiff me for their Safesync after a 'special offer' after they bought the product. Doing it myself now with Synology Cloud Station

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VPN + RDP?

If you want to access your business PC from afar then there are two perfectly good bits of technology to let you do that in a reasonably secure way without paying much if anything.

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Re: VPN + RDP?

That's great but what happens if/when the VPN fails? How do you remotely fix the VPN issue without an alternative way to get onto your network (such as a remote access app)?

LogMeIn (and similar apps) very much has its uses for an IT Support function.

Of course manglement won't pay for it. They'll suggest using the VPN+RDP they've already paid for.

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Stop

Re: VPN + RDP?

You have no one in the office at all? VPN is generally pretty solid, needing no support at all, but a quick reboot should solve most of the remaining issues.

You could make a similarly silly argument about what you'd do with LogMein if the PC were to crash.

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Re: VPN + RDP?

That's what I don't get either.

Who are these business users who are going to use LogMeIn to provide remote access, when RDP and a VPN works just fine, and covers all the other network services that you might need workers to access remotely?

It's not that hard to set up a VPN by corporate IT standards - and it can be done either with open source software, or paid solutions from companies that actually inspire trust (who the fuck is LogMeIn?) with more luxurious features and enhanced security.

Meanwhile, the personal users (and people at small businesses using LogMeIn without official support) will balk at being charged a fee, because they only picked it because it was the first easy solution they found on google. They'll just move to team viewer or some other similar free tool. Or maybe the unofficial small business users will ask for the paid version, and their IT person will realize they need a proper remote access solution.

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Re: VPN + RDP?

Steve,

We're a 24/7/365 workplace with 9-5 Mon-Fri IT staff so being able to remotely fix stuff is important especially the VPN that is used by the other staff all the time. If the PC crashed at the same time the VON got b0rked it would be unlucky and someone would have to go to site and do stuff. Also with something like LMI I could access my PC for emergency work when I didn't have a device configured for the VPN handy (like when visiting my Mum). It really has been a useful alternative for me.

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Re: VPN + RDP?

Probably the same way you connect to the remote PC when the network has failed

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GotomyPC?

Surely the point of a remote-access app is you don't have to actually go to it.

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Linux

ssh -X ?

There is a very good technology that allows you to access remotely, for free.

Yeah, most people use Windows. I ssh -X into my target network then use rdesktop to hop on to any of the RDP Windows boxes I need. Bonus: no Windows ports exposed to the tinterwebs.

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Vic
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Re: ssh -X ?

ssh -L is equally useful.

I have port 22 open on my perimeter. It accepts only key-based logins.

But with port-forwarding, I can readily get to services inside my network, with all the comms properly encrypted. This is how I do email on my phone - ConnectBot allows me to connect to my IMAP and SMTP services within my network over an insecure link.

Sure, it takes a little thought to set up in the first insrtance - but if businesses are really that worried about the loss of LogMeIn, I'm sure they can afford a few moments to address the problem...

Vic.

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Re: ssh -X ?

FreeNX

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Teamviewer

I've always used the free version of teamviewer. It allowed more than the logmein free version did at the time I tried it (maybe file transfers or some such can't really remember)

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Anonymous Coward

Why vultures?

There is some logic in the "freemium" model: eventually a small fraction of your free customers become paying ones, and some others recommend the paid service based on their experience with the free service. But after a few years of doing this there is likely a point where you won't see more money coming from these sources, and you have to keep the "free" service up and running, which costs money. The "special offer" from LogMeIn is only going to be attractive for business users, not for someone like me that is seldom using this kind of service to fix family computers remotely.

(of course there are "freemium" services where there is direct profit from dealing with customer information, such as Google, etc, but seems wise from LogMeIn to steer away from collecting private information, which easily could with these kind of products)

But these alternative offerings are not "vultures", they are businesses trying to capitalize on the opportunity left by a large major player removing itself from this segment. They think that there is still money left on the table. Perhaps they have excess capacity that they have already built and are not using and think this is a good way of attracting a few new customers at a fairly low cost? Or they have cheaper offerings than LogMeIn?

Or perhaps "vulture" is not being used pejoratively? This is The Register, whose logo is a... never mind.

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Paid

I use the paid version with the LogMeIn console. It is much easier to hop from system to system over multiple clients. The down side of the this for LMI is I started using their service through the free version. I wonder how much business they are going to lose from people that are not familiar with the product.

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Re: Paid

It's precisely because of the free service that I got to know that software and trust using it. I seriously hope this doesn't hurt their business. I like the software. On the other hand it may be they have enough in with the big telcos now that it's no longer an issue and they don't need to feed the end user a freebie anymore. The last two telcos I had a tech support job with had us use LMI to trouble shoot end user PCs.

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Re: Paid

Their paid for model is waaay to expensive.

Their business model is stuck between free and wildly expensive - not a surprise it has failed.

Happy to pay £5 for 1 PC for 12 months, and £10 for 3 PC's for 12 months but not the outrageous money they after.

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I don't think it is as much that the free is going away, but the way in which LogMeIn has pulled this switch. I remember when I set up a few PC's with it, I was promised free service until 2015. In my opinion, that was a contract. I don't really mind that they broke it, but the abrupt "F you" attitude theydisplayed is really unpleasant, and unnecessary. Would a month's notice, in a civil way, have broken their backs? I don't think so. At least we now know what their corporate attitude is, and I will steer very clear. With that kind of attitude, I would rather pay a bit more elsewhere.

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GoToMyPC? You must be joking :)

I discovered LogMeIn almost a decade ago JUST because GoToMyPC moved from FREE to PAID...

Strange move on LogMeIn part and I'm on my way to the next option.

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Quite like Chrome Remote Desktop myself

VPN + RDP is also good, although IPSEC VPN cross-platform is a bit of a PITA

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Regarding VPNs and VNC

They're all great and all - but require configuration and dicking around with firewalls. The attraction is stuff that works over port 80.

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Re: Regarding VPNs and VNC

Ah but attraction for who? The kind of baddies who find the barrier of a single password simpler to overcome than something that has been properly configured, and is protected by a firewall that someone has dicked around with?

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Anonymous Coward

Ah but attraction for who?

One off stuff.

Letting an instructor check the configuration of a classroom computer before they come in to teach.

or

Uninstalling all the toolbars and crap from the bosses home computer without having to go to the bosses house.

Used logmein maybe once a month, almost never on the same computer.

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LogMeIn

Am I the only one who keeps reading LogMeIn in a German accent, with the mein bit pronounced as in mein kampf? No? Damn.

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Re: LogMeIn

Maybe, but I keep pronouncing it with a silent 'g', and these comments are making me hungry.

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Anonymous Coward

I used nomachine over ssh with the server running on my linux media centre and the client off a usb stick so I could use it on any windows box. then just rdesktop'd to any machine I wanted to connect to.

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I am just an ordinary salaried person who has to help look aft my aging silver surfer of a mother and a couple of friends and, when working away, like to log in back at home occasionally. Logmein used to do me just fine. But there was no way I could justify or afford to pay for it.

So, now I'm after alternatives. Teamviewer does seem to work OK. I'll have to go round the people I help and put TV onto each and then remove logmein (otherwise they'll get messages when I close off my logmein account).

It's all a bit of a pain and only having 7 days to do it all when I work away during the week is not very user friendly.

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I remember Hamachi

One of the best aspects of the LogMeIn service was the software known as Hamachi which existed standalone before LogMeIn bought it. The benefit of Hamachi was that it was a Zero Config VPN which managed to work with almost every NAT in existence which no messing about with port forwards or even UPnP. It was a sad day when Hamachi was taken over.

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FAIL

And of course there is the Ignition users

Ignition on iPad was the tablet access to the free service. It was a $30 app, not cheap at all. Lots of people paid for it in the belief that the company statements that "LogMeIn Free is, and always will be free".

Then LMI decided to do a switch, and put an essentially similar free app "Logmein" into the app store.

LMI then decided that if they eliminated Logmein Free entirely, they would not be breaking their "always free" statement.

And there you have it, a lot of people who paid money to LMI and who are now feeling very aggrieved.

Bootnote: I have read on the LMI forum that Googleplay are paying refunds for people who paid for the Android version of Ignition.

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This is silly.

If you're providing professional-level support, you should probably be using a professional-level tool like Bomgar (that's what my company uses). Upgrading to something that supports Windows, OSX, iOS, Android, and the major Linux distros is kind of a no-brainer.

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Anonymous Coward

Love all the comments talking as if LogMeIn has gone completely.

Then there's a guy saying they're a 24/7 company and LMI is a lifesaver for them.

But not enough to pay a few quid a year - good grief! :-D

"WHY WON'T THIS COMPANY MAINTAIN SERVERS AND UPDATE SOFTWARE, INCLUDING FOR MOBILE DEVICES ETC FOR FREE?? WTF IS GOING ON??!"

If it's really THAT useful, then pay you cheapskates.

Otherwise, you're a port forward and VNC/RDP access away from the same functionality, clients for which exist on most platforms. Or if you prefer lock it all up in an SSH tunnel/VPN or by restricting access from certain IP's etc and you're laughing. What's the problem?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bootnote

Ed, you wrote "One could also use VNC which comes in various flavours such as TigerVNC...."

There are a number of better alternatives to VNC which don't cost anything. One that comes to mind is NoMachine - their latest release introduced a new free product for Mac and Windows, not just Linux. They are no longer just a terminal server company. It's about time they were given some credit for what they are doing.

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BestLogmeinFreepost

Yeah, everyone wants a piece of whats left of them. If they were to sell their free users database (who knows if they didn't?) these companies would pay anything they asked for.

But I think that it is a good thing that these "vultures" are stepping up, pushing smaller (and better) solutions out of the shadows and learning what NOT to do! lol I'm enjoying BeAnywhere Support Express. What do you think about it?

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Anonymous Coward

Surprised it took so long

While i am not surprised that they decided to start charging, i am disappointed. I remember signing up many years ago and the gimmick that sucked me in was the statement on their site that said "free for life" (I am paraphrasing). Although i didn't think to capture a screenshot, it was clear that the basic package was intended to be free forever.

So i am not enraged but disappointed that they went back on their word and for that reason, i will not pay for the new service and instead will go back to a vnc solution.

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