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This small rant is about a program I used to love and recommend.

Cyberduck.

Cyberduck had to be one of the easiest FTP clients for Mac that I’ve ever found. Very little set up involved for any site and it just worked.

Until now.

Late changes in its development have made this program a complete and total pain in the ass. Asking me if I want to change the way I communicate with the site I’m trying to access and arbitrarily making changes to my settings that worked up until now. For software developers out there let me say something that needs said. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Believe me, I understand “why” you thought these changes were needed and perhaps they are but my gripe is how you’ve implemented these changes and how you continue forcing me to do something I may not want to do.

For example, a dialog box popped up asking me if I’d like to change from FTP to sFTP (secure FTP) and the choices are continue, cancel, and don’t show me this again.

I chose “don’t show me this again” because…I don’t want to see that dialog EVER again. What does the program do? It changes my settings anyway!

My website is not set up to use sFTP at the moment even though Cyberduck seems to think it is and the way I have my sites configured, it is not necessary. Security should never be forced on a webmaster by software. We are well aware of security threats and will deal with them accordingly; thank you very much!

The next to last point I feel I need to make is whether or not I can continue to recommend Cyberduck to my friends and family.

The answer is a resounding NO.

If I have trouble initially understanding what Cyberduck is trying to force me to do, I’m quite sure my mother will have troubles. My father will get angry and possibly throw the computer and my kids will call me every five minutes until their Cyberduck gets fixed.

I hate having to change this recommendation, my personal recommendation on Mac OS X FTP programs is to use FileZilla. Don’t get me wrong, FileZilla is awesome but up until now it has been a bit too complicated to recommend to my family (but not by much). Weighing Cyberduck‘s changes and now forced me to conclude that FileZilla is easier to use on a Mac. Of course, FileZilla is available on ALL platforms.

Finally, I’d like to address the issue of the “Donate” dialog. This dialog pops up every time you upgrade Cyberduck. If you have donated in the past as I have (twice) then you’ll appreciate what I’m about to say.

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(Caption: This issue was considered so annoying that a help desk request was submitted to the developer. Go here to read the whole thing.)

In the past, a dialog box popped up asking if you’d like to donate to the Cyberduck project. Let’s face it, developers appreciate a little “scratch” now and again for their work and rightfully so. After you donate, you simply check that you’ve donated and move on with your life.

Until, the next Cyberduck update. The dialog re-appears and asks you if you’ve donated. You say “Yes” and the dialog goes away until…

…you get the idea.

From a coding standpoint, it is not very difficult to write a routine that “knows” that you’ve donated from change to change thus keeping the annoying dialog box from rearing it’s ugly head every time you upgrade. Common practice is that you would ask for a donation again only after a major upgrade (e.g. version 3 to version 4). This program asks for a donation after each and every “incremental” change (e.g. version 3.1.1 to version 3.1.2). The numbers may not be accurate and I’m just throwing them out as examples but you get the idea.

The latest implementation shows a “Get a Donation Key!” button at the top of the window. The problems I am speaking about occurred prior to this change and no; I will not be donating a third time just so that I can now get a freaking donation key.

I can easily dismiss the annoying donation issue but when it’s combined with the sFTP changes, it becomes too much for even me to bear.

Cyberduck is neither easy nor fun to use anymore.

That makes me sad.

Note: This article is based on my own experiences and my own opinions. If you aren’t bothered by these things then “good on ya.”

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