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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} {at} {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)
      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. SS
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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 The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@g m a il.com> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:32AM (#46024321) Homepage
      Only thing it's missing, for me, is an Android client app, and that is coming. Until then TeamViewer works pretty good.
      • Make that very good!
    • by R3 (15929)

      Seconded.
      Since I am considered to be a go-to IT guy for my friends and family and about 90% of them are using Chrome anyway, the transition from LogMeIn (and VNC for couple of them) was easy.
      On their side it was just one plugin to install, per-session passwords (PINs) are nice (nothing to write down and/or remember (forget)), great performance regardless of platform.

    • by mrbene (1380531) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:48AM (#46024575)

      Important note - Chrome Remote Desktop works by default as a screen scraper, so that anyone physically near the computer you've remotely logged in to can see what you're doing on the monitor. However, there's a simple registry key that you can add to enable "curtain" mode, which spins up an instance of Remote Desktop and connects to that, instead.

      More information here [google.com].

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      Unfortunately, it looks like [google.com] they have no plans [google.com] (see "known issues") to allow you to remote into Linux desktops. So this lets you go from Linux -> Windows, but not Anything -> Linux.

      • by dskoll (99328)

        Why do you need a remote management tool for Linux? There's SSH fer cryin' out loud and if you really need desktop access, use VNC.

  • 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 directl

  • 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)
      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)
      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 exam
  • 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)

      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?

    • Circumvents IT Security by letting people configure a remote desktop connection.
    • by N1AK (864906)
      Something so simple that some 'totally credible' anonymous user thinks it can be recreated for less than $1,000,000. Obviously we needed to know that because it's clearly accurate and/or worthy of note.
    • by sandytaru (1158959) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:06AM (#46024815) Journal
      It allows remote login to desktop computers that are online from any other desktop computer. The free version was meant for consumers; the paid version is used by a lot of IT and tech support companies who support remote users because it's a heck of a lot easier than driving over there, and doesn't need to be on the same domain like RDP.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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@nexusuk.oGAUSSrg minus math_god> 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)

      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

  • 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.
  • 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
  • by LoRdTAW (99712)

    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 ja

  • 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).
  • 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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