Thanks for your input!
I’ll try to respond to some of your concerns.
“Why does it need to go online at all?!” – It doesn’t, you can use it entirely offline. Online does offer some advantages though.
“Why do you need a verified email address for the user?” – Two reasons: One as you say to support the business model. But the other reason is because it enables us to communicate with users, and it helps us immensely when we provide support. Although we log very little, and no individual encryption / decryption actions, we do log events such as failed and successful sign ins, password resets (the fact, not the password) etc. This gives us a chance to help users who have gotten themselves into trouble.
“… the comments/reviews the downsides of AC2 are pretty much related to a business model need rather than a user functional need” – Some few changes are indeed to support the business model, but they also overlap with features and user friendliness aspects. The account email is for example also used to implement the key sharing functionality, which has been requested by many for a long time. This enables us to use a single password model for all AxCrypt functions, while allowing you to share encrypted files securely with others using advanced public key technology without hardly noticing it. This also enables a feature even if you don’t share with anyone – if you change your password, this new password can be used to open even old encrypted files, since we always ‘key share’ encrypted files with yourself.
“It does not need much functional change from year to year ( 95% of its function was present in version 1)” – Not really true, and with version 2 we now support iOS, Android and OS X, also requested by many for many years.
“Rather charge a nominal fee for version 1.8 which would include 256 encryption than pursue AC2 would be my recommendation” – We have of course considered this, but there are some problems. It’s a non-trivial thing to implement, and we just don’t think it’s worth the effort. But, the source code is out there, so anyone could if they wanted to! I’d be happy to give advice and some support to a serious such effort.
“The new website for AC2 lists and uses links for reviews of AC1 as support for a reason to buy AC2” – We feel this is fair, because effectively, version 2 is a superset of version 1. Even the normal use case is click and type identical! If you close your eyes and don’t look at the different look, the clicks and typing is actually identical to version 1 with “Remember this password for encryption and decryption” enabled.
And, as you’ve noticed, we do keep the old version around and will continue to do so indefinitely.