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Short Notice: LogMeIn To Discontinue Free Access 408

Posted by timothy
from the how-much-friction-can-be-applied dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The remote desktop service LogMeIn sent an email to its users today notifying them that 'LogMeIn Free' will be discontinued — as of today. This is a major shock with minimal warning to the millions of users who have come to rely on their service, made all the more surprising by the fact that 'consensus revenue estimates for LogMeIn in 2014 are $190.3 million,' suggesting that their system of providing both free and paid accounts for what is ultimately a straightforward service that could be duplicated for well under $1 million was already doing quite well." Asks reader k280: "What alternative tools are available for free, and how do they compare to LogMeIn?"
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Short Notice: LogMeIn To Discontinue Free Access

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  • Uh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot&jawtheshark,com> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:27AM (#46024253) Homepage Journal

    Personally, I just set up two DNS servers, and my own dyndns service (inspired on freedns.afraid.org) and I make sure the people I support have the necessary port forwards for ssh using keys. From there on, it's just an ssh tunnel away for RDP or VNC.

    Now, for a nice all-in-one-package, where you don't need to do anything yourself and don't need to prepare the target PC's, I'd say TeamViewer works perfectly fine.

    • Re:Uh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:33AM (#46024331)

      and I make sure the people I support have the necessary port forwards for ssh using keys.

      Yea that compares to Logmein. Did you tip your fedora while you wrote that spew?

    • Re:Uh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by WillyWanker (1502057) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:25PM (#46025959)

      Personally I just cross the streams, align my Heisenberg compensators, and make sure my flux capacitor is online and I can tunnel into any machine using a combination of TTFN, IDK, LOL, and h(u)sh. Pretty simple.

      But, y'know, if you want to be all lazy and shit you can just use Gbridge.

    • by oatworm (969674) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:39PM (#46026973) Homepage
      RDP? SSH tunnels? Blasphemy. If you're using an SSH tunnel, all you need to do after that is enable WinRM, hit the remote cmd console, download a VNC server using BITSADMIN, and then go from there. Bonus points if you somehow manage to rope PowerShell connection and session objects into the mix.

      Seriously though, TeamViewer is fine. The point of LogMeIn was that, if you needed remote access to another user's PC but they weren't technically savvy, you could walk them through it without too much trouble. SSH tunnels and proper VPNs are certainly preferable if you're in charge of both ends of the connection, but if you're not, TeamViewer, Jump Desktop, and the like get the job done without too much fuss.
    • Re:Uh? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @03:07PM (#46028143)
      I second TeamViewer, it's the only product I found to punch through all my former work-sites firewalls without issue. I got VNC to bring up a java window in a browser, but the connection would just time out. Once I'm inside my home network, I use VNC from there to reach the other internal systems.
  • by essbase_nerd (2677851) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:29AM (#46024285)

    Chrome Remote Desktop doesn't have all the bells and whistles that LogMeIn has, but it's simple and works well.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:38AM (#46024407) Homepage Journal

    I used to use LogMeIn Free a lot in my last job for remote desktopping to my work machine, and it worked well. Luckily I no longer currently have that need, but I may do again in future. Trying to ge through a NAT setup to VPN into a box is an utter nightmare, if not downright impossible without admin access to and a full understanding of the company's firewall/NAT setup. What we really need of course is widespread IPv6 (I'm in the UK and IPv6 availability is still fucking abysmal) so we can just directly connect to remote machines using their IP.

  • alternatives (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fluffy the Destroyer (3459643) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:39AM (#46024413) Homepage

    Although join.me is by logmein this one seems to be free so try to use join.me instead of a connection pc 2 pc is what your looking for. works great for troubleshooting a complete noob that messed is pc up and calls you at midnight to fix his pc.

    Theres also teamviewer that works in a similar way like join.me and logmein. You can remotely log in a pc and work on it. Skype also has a share screen function so you might look at that as well

    • by PRMan (959735) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:51AM (#46025517)
      We use join.me to meet with a client at work all the time. Works great. Same technology but much better interface than LogMeIn Free.
    • by edwartr (1182951) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:07PM (#46025743)
      The biggest problem with Join.Me is that you have to have someone on the remote system to allow you mouse control. This is fine if you are doing 'live' remote desktop tech support or having an online meeting; but if you need to remotely get on a system say at night to do maintenance, repair, etc. then you are out of luck. Also, Join.Me has some problems with multiple monitors, UAC warnings, and some commands. I use Join.Me all the time to help my clients but you have to be aware of its limitations. For example, with Join.Me, you do not even see the UAC warnings; but it will 'drop' your control until someone on the remote system clicks OK on the warning. The limited uses is solved by simply not having an account or not logging in to it - just go to join.me, go to APPS, then download the windows application, install and then click on SHARE. Then give the person remoting in the 9 digit number and wait for them to join. Then wait for them to click on the REQUEST MOUSE CONTROL and click to allow and you're good to go - just don't leave if they do anything to get a UAC pop-up or if you have more than one monitor. Join.Me has been nice legally as they state that you can use it free (limited number of people can connect in at the same time) for personal or commercial use which most free apps are not free for any business use.
  • by the_crowbar (149535) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:43AM (#46024491)
    I have tried setting up Tight VNC for relatives, and while it is possible, it is also inconvenient while away from my own home. Now I just use Chrome Remote Desktop [google.com] You do have to be logged into Chrome.

    Cheers,
    the_crowbar
  • Translation... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hohlraum (135212) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:43AM (#46024493) Homepage

    Logmein loses 99% of their user base. :)

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:47AM (#46024537) Homepage

    made all the more surprising by the fact that 'consensus revenue estimates for LogMeIn in 2014 are $190.3 million,' suggesting that their system of providing both free and paid accounts for what is ultimately a straightforward service that could be duplicated for well under $1 million was already doing quite well.

    Why is it surprising that a company might want to do better than "quite well" when it sees the opportunity?

    Also:

    what is ultimately a straightforward service that could be duplicated for well under $1 million

    Go on then. Or was that number just pulled out of someone's behind?

    • by petes_PoV (912422) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:14AM (#46024933)

      Go on then. Or was that number just pulled out of someone's behind

      Most deinitely, pulled. Also, the guy who wrote that is confused about revenue vs. profit. If logmein was sucha profitable organisation and it was so easy for someone else to offer an alternative service, there would be dozens of them - everywhere. And logmein's founder would have sold out to Google / Farcebook / Oracle / whoever, years ago.

  • Pity, was useful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jratcliffe (208809) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:49AM (#46024591)

    Used it to control my HTPC from my iPad. I think their pricing is just a wee bit too high, though. If it were, say, $25 a year (rather than $50), I'd probably say that it was worth it to avoid having to find an alternative. As it is, I'll find something else.

  • by ebbe11 (121118) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:51AM (#46024609)
    And have been using NeoRouter Free [neorouter.com] ever since.
  • by MrNemesis (587188) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:54AM (#46024655) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps this is just reinforcing my "you're an IT dinosaur, old man!" but for the benefit of us ignoramuses, might it be possible for the submitter or, god forbid, the editors to say what "log me in" actually does?

  • Now, I don't blame logmein themselves, as what users do on their own is beyond the company's control. However, I found that a disturbing number of people who used logmein would setup their account to connect directly to an administrator login on their windows box; hence with one often rather simple password anyone could get full access to that box from anywhere in the world. It seemed to me that it was often used to circumvent security that was set up for good reason, and in so doing created nightmare situations for unsuspecting network administrators.

    I suspect many of the people who were using it for free before won't be interested in paying for it, so having the free access go away immediately could be a very, very, good thing.
  • by radish (98371) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:59AM (#46024719) Homepage

    That's a lot of backdoors being uninstalled!

  • by Chas (5144) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:03AM (#46024783) Homepage Journal

    Teamviewer works fairly well. But it's pricing structure is just crazy.

    There's also AMMYY Admin [ammyy.com]. It's a similar product and, if you wish to pay for it, has a more reasonable pricing structure.

  • by bhlowe (1803290) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:03AM (#46024785)
    Timbuktu is a good choice if you need something that works only on Windows NT, XP and Mac OS 6 and 7. Just kidding. I I use Team Viewer and I'm happy. Agree the pricing model makes me unlikely to confess to using it for any commercial purpose.
  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:05AM (#46024801)

    If I need to do some remote tech support, I'll have the person download showmypc [showmypc.com]. It's not as robust as logmein, but easy for a person to install.

  • Entitlement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nicholasjay (921044) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:13AM (#46024913)

    It's so typical. Someone offers a service/product for free. People use it and like it. They keep using it. Then the service/product gets changed/removed/etc and everyone yells at the owner about how they feel shafted instead of *thanking* the owner for providing such a useful service for free for so long.

    Everyone feels entitled to get whatever they want for free.

    • Re:Entitlement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexus[ ]org ['uk.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:55AM (#46025579) Homepage

      It's so typical. Someone offers a service/product for free. People use it and like it. They keep using it. Then the service/product gets changed/removed/etc and everyone yells at the owner about how they feel shafted instead of *thanking* the owner for providing such a useful service for free for so long.

      Everyone feels entitled to get whatever they want for free.

      No one is entitled to anything above and beyond what the contract says - no contract, no entitlement.

      *However*, in just the same way as a customer might be peeved when a supplier sticks rigidly to the contract terms instead of offering some good-will flexibility, a customer of a free service is going to be a bit peeved by this kind of no-notice change to the service... And peeved customers aren't the kind of people to continue to be customers, which is important where you're withdrawing the free service in the hope that many of your "free" customers will move to the paid service - if you pissed them off then they probably won't.

      I'll give you a real world example: I have a bunch of servers in datacentres run by Host-It [host-it.co.uk]. They are over-priced, but we've been happy with their customer service so haven't switched to a cheaper datacentre. We pay for 12 months of hosting up-front, and about a month after we paid for one of our servers, the server failed and we decided to retire it. Coincidentally, the contract was up for renewal for another of our servers at the same time, so we asked them to transfer the remaining 11 months on the contract for the failed server over to that server. Seemed pretty fair enough to us. They flatly refused - sure, the contract doesn't say they have to do that, but it would seem to be a reasonable thing to do from a good-will perspective. So we had to pay for 11 months of hosting for a server that died (so they haven't actually been hosting it) because they refused to be reasonable and instead stuck rigidly to the contract terms. Now I'm not saying they were in the wrong - far from it, legally speaking they were dead in the right, but their lack of good will has ensured all future servers we commission will be hosted elsewhere.

    • by RJFerret (1279530) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:38PM (#46026139) Homepage

      Expectations, not entitlement.

      If you provide a service and lead people to believe they'll be able to use it, then yes, they'll be upset if you pull it out from under them (free or not, the free is irrelevant). That's not entitlement, that's having been deceived.

      If you provide a service and indicate at some point of time it'll be discontinued/rates raised, informed folks will expect it and be fine. Ignorant folks will be upset initially.

      If I'm a paying customer, who is aware you have treated users of your free service to no notice, I expect you'll treat me the same way at some point, and will invest in finding another supplier, because a contract limiting your bad behavior requires going after you when you breach it.

      Past behavior is the best indicator of future actions and values.

  • by jon3k (691256) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:15AM (#46024953)
    Everyone should have a dedicated server (or VPS). Find a couple friends, go in on a dedicated server, carve it up with Xen/KVM. Then just setup a reverse ssh session from home to your vps/guest and forward rdp and/or vnc ports.
  • by Nuroman (588959) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:22AM (#46025053)
    There is no automatic method of cancelling your account. You have to call the tech support line at https://secure.logmein.com/con... [logmein.com] for your locale. All you can do on the site is delete the computers on your account. As of this post, I cannot get through to the US & Canada line, just getting a busy signal. Apparently I'm not the only one following this route. As has been mentioned in other posts there are plenty of free options out there capable of the same features that a free LogMeIn account was capable of doing.
  • by tomer (313505) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:27AM (#46025129) Homepage Journal
    Back in the past PC Anywhere was the first choice for every remote technician. Than came similar software such as Remotely Anywhere that are easier to use and can doesn't require software to be installed in order to remote control (they have used a static HTML image map in addition to their Java Applet client). Later, services such as Microsoft Remote Assistant, Skype screen sharing (read only), logmein and TeamViewer started to provide easy access to remote machines, sometimes by proxing requests in order to make it just work without configuring port forwarding on the two sides or manually submitting IP addresses. I've not used logmein too much, because I prefer not to work remotely on Windows computers or Windows at all, but I am not sure if the sunset on logmein free service is bad after all. Soon we will see different products and better technologies (HTML5 WebRTC anyone?), and I've not seen too much innovation in logmein in the recent years. The usage of new technologies will advance us more to the moment we could host a service similar to logmein on our own servers and provide similar service to our own or to technicians in our area.
  • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:36AM (#46025251)

    Classicly I have used SSH to tunnel both RDP and VNC though it can be cumbersome on the client side as you need a VNC viewer and SSH software. Not a big deal if its your personal tablet or laptop as you can easily run ConnectBot on Android or similar on iOS and then use a VNC client. On a laptop use Putty on windows or on OSX, ssh is included by default. But if its a PC out of your control so to speak your options are limited. There is a java applet version of tightvnc which runs inside a browser, though java applets can be cumbersome and you need a web server.

    But alas, there is this: https://github.com/kanaka/noVNC [github.com], a pure javascript VNC client. NoVNC also includes ssl encryption as well so you can safely connect to your VNC server through an SSL tunnel; https://github.com/kanaka/websockify/wiki/Encrypted-Connections [github.com] (The link is also on the noVNC page toward the bottom).

  • by Fencepost (107992) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:38AM (#46025283) Journal
    I believe both Crossloop and Copilot are VNC-based.

    Copilot is free to use on weekends (their "day pass" pricing is $5 on weekdays and free on weekends).
  • by namgge (777284) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:50AM (#46025491)

    This behaviour by LogMeIn makes me suspect that they have got wind of a serious competitor for their service. If so, they will want to get subscriptions off as many potential customers as possible without giving them time to search for alternatives.

    The other possibility is that LogMeIn have a cash flow issue and need a some more money to stay in business.

    Either way, I'm out.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:05PM (#46025703)

    Too many use these systems and getting kicked out into the cold should remind the community that we can and should develop our own VPN solutions free of corporate constraints.

  • by sdinfoserv (1793266) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:09PM (#46026581) Homepage
    I setup an ssh linux server and run port forwarding with putty and remote desktop over an ssh tunnel. Easy, no cost and I've done this for years. http://www.dslreports.com/faq/... [dslreports.com]

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