While testing a number of firewalls I noticed that most commercial ones have an annual update fee similar to AV programs. There are very few now which you can purchase for a one-off fee. Most people appreciate that with AV programs the virus definitions are kept up to-date and we are paying for this service. But what are we paying for each year with software firewalls? I can see that maybe a reduced fee may be needed for a completely new version, but apart from the occasional new leak- test exploit surely firewalls do not need to be updated as such compared to AV programs. Therefore, are these annual charges justified? Particularly, when the so called 'new' version has only changed its GUI! Moreover, there are free firewalls- ZAP and Kerio- which can be as effective as commercial alternatives. Whereas there are very few freeware AV software which are as good as their commercial alternatives.