Freeware vs Shareware: What’s the Difference?

freeware vs shareware

Did you know that programs can be classified not only according to the type of service offered, but also according to the type of license and how it is distributed? Licenses protect intellectual works where the limits are set for the use of an application. For example the programs that are registered under GPL license (General public license or General public license in English) allow them to freely copy, modify and redistribute.

However, the freeware and thisHareware are forms of diffusion, which you will know their similarities and differences below.

What is freeware?

Exactly 39 years ago the term “freeware” was used for the first time. Andrew Fluegelman coined the term when he created the program called PC talk for IBM computers.

But Fluegelman didn’t want to use traditional methods to distribute his show. So the programs were born Freeware, Which can be used for free with no trial periods, fees, blocked functions or some other trick that suggests buying such a program over time. The term freeware comes from from the union of words “free»(Free) and«Software”.

Developers generally use the distribution Freeware become known or show a version with less functionality and sell other software that contains more alternatives. For example, Avast Antivirus has its version FreewareBut there are also other payment programs with additional services.

Differences Between Free Software and Freeware

It is important to point this out Programs with sales Freeware You own the copyright. The license grants free use, but the program cannot be changed or redistributed by the client. This is the main difference to Free Software.

From a legal perspective, in order for a program to be licensed as free software, it must allow users to access the source code, which programs do not Freeware. For this reason, freeware is not the same as free software.

For example, the GIMP image editor is registered as free software because users can modify the program’s source code and even redistribute it. Instead, Google Earth is registered as freeware because its users can use it freely. However, you are not authorized to access its code and make additional changes. It is strictly forbidden.

What is shareware?

On the other hand, in 1980 the concept of «shareware» was born. The aim is to distribute the programs as the user can Use it for free for a limited time only.

Users can share this software, but taking into account the fact that it is a trial version, at some point it will have limited features or only be fully usable if you pay for the program.

You will know when you are facing a program with distribution Shareware Since you are constantly being reminded to buy the entire product or the most important features, you will find that these are blocked as well, e.g. B. Export, print or share. In order to be able to access the entire program, the user must go to the checkout and receive a product license or an activation key.

Different types of shareware programs

We can add an additional classification of shareware programs. These can be of the type Freemium or Liteware, Adware, Demo goods, Nagware Y. DonationWare.

  • Freemium: The CCleaner cleaner, for example, belongs to the category Freemiumbecause it has totally free features like cleaning your devices but paying for the cleaning schedule, technical service and updates.
  • Adware: In the same order of ideas, Hotspot Shield is a program for covertly navigating the Internet, but the user must see advertisements or advertisements in return, so it is included in the category of Adware.
  • Demo goods: WinRAR, however, is of the type Demo goods because it gives you a trial period so you know if it suits your needs but after a while it stops working unless you buy the license.
  • Nagware: This type of distribution applies to programs with intrusive warnings that allow you to purchase the full version, such as: B. the famous AVG antivirus program.
  • Donation goods: Finally the programs Donation goods They are the ones asking for a donation to help develop the program, such as the great BurnAware.

Freeware ≠ Shareware

In summary, we can say that the Freeware refers to a completely free use as opposed to without involving your source code Shareware where it is free to use but for a limited time or sacrificing important features. They are similar in that both types are free to download and under no circumstances do they contain the source codes to protect the programs and that they are not illegally modified.

Program developer Shareware They motivate their users to share, knowing that the more people use their product, the higher the long-term profits can be.

The good thing is that the quality of the programs is never compromised. In fact, developers take the opportunity to offer the best of service to build a reputation in the technology industry. This is a common practice and a good example of this is many of the Microsoft and Adobe products that have been in the market since 1975 and 1982, respectively, and which are popular with millions of users to this day.

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