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A Basic Introduction to Freeware

A common complaint about software is the cost. Well, you should realize there is also free software available. Here is a basic introduction to freeware.

Freeware is a term that refers to a software program that has been developed by an individual or group that wants to make it available for general use, but wishes to retain ownership rights to it. These ownership rights include the right to further develop the software and control its distribution and use in some manner. The software is copyrighted by the owner. This differs from what is called Free Software. Free Software is generally just given away with no strings attached at all.

So, another way of looking at freeware is to consider it as software that does not have a cost, but does have strings attached. These strings may take several forms. One common one is to define and restrict who may use it. The freeware may be made available for personal use, individual use, academic use, either commercial or non-commercial use, non-profit use, or actually any combination of these that the holder of the copyright and license designates.

It is important to note that in order to be called freeware, the software must be made available to the designated users for no cost and for an unlimited time. Software that must be used within a certain time period is not considered freeware. Software that comes with any kind of ads or encouragement to upgrade to a better version for cost is not freeware. Everything that is created by the freeware must also be able to be freely used and for whatever purpose the creator determines.

This creates a problem for certain software programs that are often considered freeware, but can only be downloaded from a certain site and have restrictions on how the programs and what they produce are used. Although by one sense, these might be considered freeware, a more strict interpretation of the definition would seem to exclude them from the classification.

There are a lot of "wares" out there today. These include such things as spyware, and adware, and others. These are not freeware, especially whenever there is a hidden cost or profit based agenda associated with them. Many people consider freeware as an example of the community concept of the computer world. It is really quite a noble thing in a profit orientated world, and the owners are asking only that their rights as owners be respected as to how their programs will ultimately be developed and to whom they are made available.

Aazdak Alisimio writes software articles for SoftwareMonk.com.

Source: www.articletrader.com