Greetings FormerAxCrypter :)
Here’s a blog entry written by AxCrypt staff explaining why AxCrypt 2 doesn’t support multiple passwords any more. It makes sense and, even when using a password manager, it’s difficult to store multiple passwords especially if you’re encrypting in bulk. I guess people were encrypting with different passwords, forgetting them and then being unable to access their data.
You’re wrong in your assertion that “not being able to use different passwords for different files seems to fly in the face of good cryptographic practice”. Having multiple passwords doesn’t make you more secure. Keeping one password secure is far easier than keeping multiple passwords secure.
Still, I think it’d be a nice option to have multiple passwords.
AxCrypt 1.7 is still available and it continues to work. It’s not supported any more and no new features are being added. If you’re looking for something which functions like AxCrypt 1.7, is open source and still in development consider BCArchive or 7-Zip – for containers look at VeraCrypt.
AxCrypt 2 is freemium. That means you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription unless you want the additional features/higher level of encryption. If you use the free version then you can still benefit from AES-128 encryption (as used in AxCrypt 1.7) and there’s no associated monthly cost. It shouldn’t be a “head-scratcher”; the basic functionality is still available.
AxCrypt was never designed for the Linux/Unix command line therefore users of those OS wouldn’t be using AxCrypt. You’ve got decent alternatives like GPG and OpenSSL. For FDE you have LUKS etc.