This is software that manages your passwords. If you just have a few passwords you don’t need an organizer, you just write them down on a piece of paper and keep that under you keyboard. If you have thousands of passwords you need something that not only organizes it but also preferably fills it in automatically in the websites and tools you are using since looking up passwords in a tool or list about every 2 minutes is then no longer workable. It is comparable to stamp collecting: if you just have 10 stamps, you keep them in an envelope. If you are a collector and have tens of thousands of stamps then you need some way of organizing them and help you with additional things like determining the total value of a subset. For someone who only has 10 stamps it is totally incomprehensible why anyone would need a tool for managing stamps. And for the person with tens of thousands of stamps it is difficult to explain why such a tool is needed to the person with only 10 stamps.
Overall, now that I have tested them both for some time I feel that RoboForm in general "works better". It is more accurate in determining which password I need and it doesn’t create a gazillion entries all for the same site (e.g. on the intranet site of my company). So from a user point of view I feel that Roboform works better. I don’t want to produce a complete feature overview since I don’t have the time for it, but there are also many details in the way it works which makes it more "handier". However, the permanent license structure creates so much blocking issues in my head that I feel that I am not allowed to use it from a logical point of view.
The problem with Roboform are the "Household" costs
I started using LastPass because it is "free" and RoboForm is not "free". That in itself would not be a problem, since I already paid for Roboform licenses and I don’t really have a problem with paying for some fine software.
However… I have several laptops, I use Windows and Linux, a large amount of VMWare images, the PocketPC, the phones, the laptop of my wife and so on. For each of these I would have to buy the € 50 permanent license. Even when I would just have a VMWare image that I only sometimes use. And my wife only just sometimes uses the computer and the amount of passwords she uses is so minimal that it’s not even worth the hassle but I still want to keep them secure in the same database.
That is not only is investing a lot of money in just 1 of the pieces of software I need but it also forces me to keep a separate administration of the passwords and licenses I have of this tool and… I don’t want to have this overhead lol. I just want to use the software without this overhead.
So… if Roboform would have some kind of "household permanent license", where I would just be able to install it on any "environment" that I use within my household then I probably would continue with Roboform especially since I already paid for the licenses for myself but since that is not the case it just makes it too difficult to just "use it".
On to LastPass
So I’m trying to put LastPass, the free version (although I don’t expect it to keep being free) as the standard in our household. And in general this works.
In terms of costs, LastPass currently asks $1 every month for the Pro version. I hope, when they add more features, that they also will switch to a permanent license structure since I don’t want to have the overhead of a monthly subscription fee. I just want to do a 1 time action and then forget about it.
Although LastPass in general works ok. It does have some issues where Roboform does not. LastPass somehow does not work on some sites with some login boxes. It also produces a large list of logins on the same sites (e.g. on intranets) and It keeps guessing the wrong password on pages even If I click hundreds of time that it should not use the gmail account login of my wife (which is in the system) but the gmail account of me. So even on the most straightforward site it brings up the wrong password: the one of my wife. Another example is the ftp login in WordPress. I always have to manually indicate that it has entered the wrong username/password on a WordPress site. It somehow never is smart enough to remember that if I click hundreds of times to select another username/password that it will remember the next time. So probably I would have to go to the forum, ask around, etc… but I don’t have the energy to start that process. I just want it to work.
So… I’m not really convinced on which route to take. Roboform works ok but is in terms of licenses to difficult to maintain. LastPass Free of course does not have that problem but does not work that well as Roboform.
So I’m now going to try KeePass, for the integration with a browser It has several plugins. I will try to see how that works as opposed to Roboform and LastPass and probably in some time there is another blogpost with another update.