version 2 apr 2011
If you become an Avast user you will join 130 million others worldwide (as at ~ sept 2010). Avast originated from Prague in the Czech Republic and a copy was first released apparently in 1988.
The oldest information i have found online is from 1998. At that time a free version was not being offered as far as I can tell. The prices then were not all that different from nowadays when you take into account inflation.
Avast is not to be confused with AVG free antivirus. The term Avast came from the words Anti Virus Advanced . . .
At least within a year or so Avast was offering an Avast antivirus free version.
Today it is well spoken of in technical circles, with some criticism regarding its user interface and ease-of-use. Comments on the latest version do give the user-interface a good rap however, so evidently they have made some overdue improvements.
It has performed well in lab tests where it was set up to detect a whole range of known viruses, that is, “viruses in the wild”, which simply means viruses that are still active and doing the rounds.
It does fairly well it seems when combating viruses that it does not already know about.
Avast offer the free version as being the minimum level of protection you must have against viruses and spyware, but as can be expected they recommend that you upgrade to a paid version if you are able.
There is no mention of support, which is not surprising, but there is an abundance of items in forums and comments on the wider internet.
Avast do not offer a firewall in the free version. Many people supplement their Avast antivirus free version with a free firewall from lavasoft.com . Otherwise you will need to upgrade to the full Internet Security version.
avast! Free Antivirus is given free only to be used for personal or non-commercial use.
Avast is well worth a look, especially as they claim their free version performs better than some paid software from other companies.