No software is perfect right from the start. There are always issues not foreseen, incompatibilities on different operating systems not discovered, or new features to be added to the core functionality.
Our philosophy is that you shouldn't have to keep paying over and over again for the same product. The manufacturer of your washing machine doesn't keep asking you for more money each year? Why should software be any different?
We operate a small business that is extremely lean. Our overhead is low. It was designed that way, and it is intended to stay that way. Once you pay for a license for a product, it is yours to use forever, effectively (the license agreement allows you to use it for an indefinite amount of time, but you do not own the product; that remains with Fourth Ray Software).
Some of our products do require you to purchase a license to be able to continue to use them after their 21-day trial period. Why do we not offer our products for free? Well, we need to make a living. A business always has to make money. If a company offers all of their software for free, you will "pay" for it in some other way, e.g. through advertising, or through the stealing and then selling of your private data to advertisers. The bottom line is: at the end of the day we all have bills to pay. Fourth Ray Software product licenses pay for the cost of development of our products, current as well as future ones.
So, how can other companies offer free software products? Because they make their money in other ways. Google, for example, gives away their software for free, because they literally make billions of dollars each year through their advertising. Other companies offer their software for free because they count on their top-of-the-line products to make them their money (anti-virus companies usually give away their personal editions, because they charge a lot for their big server-based products). No company can survive without making money, unless they depend on government grants or some other benefactor.
Some software is free because the person or persons involved in producing the software do it as a hobby. These individuals make their money because they have a full-time job. Because it is a hobby, there is always the concern about long-term commitment to the software application, or the quality of the product. Where is your technical support for those types of products?
At Fourth Ray Software, our business is a full-time, committed endeavor. This is all we do, and we support all of our products. Our "free-upgrade" offer is our competitive advantage to those companies that need the continuous revenue from existing customers to be able to support their infrastructure. Our free-to-use applications are simple tools that don't require much continuous effort on our part to make available and keep current. We can offer free-to-use applications because we have paid-for applications.