Although it is a proprietary closed source operating system, Windows also hosts a popular open source software package, many of which provide functionality that is difficult to find in proprietary solutions, especially for the free price. Not all open source programs, however, are always free from obscure behavior, and depending on who is in charge, some may start taking questionable actions to keep the lights on. A recent example is the popular FTP program FileZilla, which has now resorted to a somewhat misleading strategy for placing adware on Windows computers.
Most Windows users probably won’t need an FTP client, but when you do, FileZilla is traditionally the most recommended solution. It’s not pretty or simple, but it’s free, open source and does the job. Now, however, it also comes with adware that you may not be aware of if you don’t read the fine print.
nixCraft reported the sudden and silent change in the FileZilla for Windows installer. Most experienced users are likely to just download the standard Windows installer, while new users are unlikely to read some of the small text below the big download button. That text simply says “This installer can include bundled offers”, which often translates to “apps with ads” or even just “ads”.
This has become a common practice, at least on Windows, for many applications offered for free. Its installers often include browser extensions or additional software that may have some user tracking functionality. They also often cause antivirus software, including Microsoft Defender, to trigger an alert to alert users of possible antics.
NixCraft recommends WinSCP, another free and open source FTP program, for those who really need one on Windows. That said, FileZilla offers Windows installers that are adware free, but you have to dig for them and they are not the first option offered by default.