If you have ever installed software on to your PC then you have probably seen a End User License Agreement (EULA). A EULA is a legal contract between you, the user, and the maker of the software. The terms of EULA explain how the software can be installed and used. In addition, the EULA will explain what software will be installed. Unfortunately, there are many companies which bundle their software with adware and/ or spyware (eg. 180Solutions). As the old saying goes “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” To pay for the development of a particular software, the developer oftentimes partners with an advertisement company. The developer is happy because he gets a percentage of the profits from the ads. And, the advertisement firm is happy because he can bundle his adware with an attractive piece of software. The ad firm hopes that users will be so quick to download and install the software that they will be oblivious to the bundled adware. And, for the most part, they are right. For example, Daemon tools, a popular CD emulator, is bundled with WhenU toolbar. On close inspection of the EULA, in fine print, the user is informed that the software is bundled with adware and by installing the software they agree to have the adware installed as well. Technically, the law is on the side of the advertisement firms.
Users who installed the software usually don’t inspect the EULA; rather, they click away. It is no small surprise; the EULA is written in legal jargon only a lawyer could understand. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a lawyer to find out if a particular EULA hints of adware. Our friends at Javacoolsoftware have developed the EULAlyzer (www.javacoolsoftware.com/downloads.html). EULAlyzer will scan a EULA and display any segment of the agreement which suggests the installation of adware or any other suspicious programs. It is very simple to use. All you need to do is copy and paste the agreement onto EULAlyzer and analyze. Viola, you are done.
Anyone who plans on installing software, especially “freeware,” will benefit by using EULAlyzer. A pinch of prevention is better than a pound of trouble.