In terms of misleading the person downloading the software, there is no difference. It's a lie, plain and simple. Not the truth. Trying to sucker someone into installing your software under false pretenses. That's why I wouldn't use such software.
If Archivarius really is "more precise results and will be lighter on resources", surely the software authors would like me to check this on all my files? The limitation seems to me just a way of avoiding a true comparison with other software - until you've parted with your cash, when it's too late.
Having used Archivarious for a time now, I'm convinced it *is* lighter on resources and all that. As I described above, I compared it to X1 and found X1 wanting. So the product itself appears to be pretty solid. I "parted with" $39 for Archivarius and am very pleased with it. In this case
I'd prefer to think the author is basically honest, and simply chose a poor method for crippling the trial version. Compounded by the lack of up-front information about HOW the trial is impaired, I can easily see how you'd get the impression he's a sneaky bastard. But in this case, the product clearly works well and he has nothing to hide.
So how did this happen?
There's a war out there. If you think it's hard being a software consumer, consider the developer: from their standpoint the WHOLE WORLD is out there trying to rip them off, either by sharing licenses or cracks. I can easily imagine a bunker mentality setting in, the result being a collection of poor decisions about how to protect their baby from being pirated.
Ultimately you can't. If you put copy protection on something, and somebody else wants it, people WILL find a way around it. There's a sub-culture in crackers who focus on 0-day cracks, where the cracking tool is published before the commercial app is even shipped! I recognize there is a big difference between TrialWare and stuff like SecuRom but the overall goals are the same: stop the software from being used unless it's paid for.
So everyone loses. The author gets a bad reputation (because even honest users are annoyed) and potential customers are turned off before they can evaluate anything. That almost happened to me with Archivarius, but I re-read all the positive reviews of it here, took a deep breath, and gambled my money. I am VERY happy I did.
You are very right to be cautious, james, but in this case I believe Archivarius' author is one of the good guys -- he just made some crap decisions, and it'll keep hurting him until they are rectified. And YOU lose because you'll never get to see Archivarius run free on your harddrive, happy clever puppy that it is.
BTW... This is a prime example of why I think DonationWare is one real solution to the problem. Honest people who find value in software don't mind paying for it. And developers don't WANT the other kinds of customer. :-)