The term “free software” was first used nearly four decades ago, when programmer Andrew Flyugelman created PC-Talk for the IBM PC, although it was not originally distributed free of charge.
A few months later, Bob Wallace, a software engineer at Microsoft, developed the word processor PC-Write and called it shareware because it was not freely distributed.
Ideally, free software – or free software – is available completely free of charge, with no features or time constraints. Shareware, on the other hand, is a pre-release version of commercial software with restrictions on features, time and use, and other obstacles that push you to buy the full version.
We’ll go over each term individually with examples of each type of software and show you why they are different.
What is free software?
Free software is a combination of the words â€œfreeâ€ and â€œsoftwareâ€ and refers to software that is 100% free, with no paid licenses, fees, expiration dates or restrictions on their use.
However, this should not be confused with “free software”, which gives users the freedom to do whatever they want with the program, as it has no restrictions.
Free software is free to use, but it is copyrighted, while free software is not copyrighted and has no restrictions or limitations. Free software users can make changes to the basic elements of the programs, rewrite or rewrite whatever they want, and change it as they see fit.
Free software is not free because it is cost-free, but in order to be truly free, the software developer must release it by transferring the source code. Some examples of free software include, among others, LibreOffice and GIMP
It is legally distributed and users can profit from it regardless of whether they spent anything to get it or earned more than the original cost.
Free software is completely free, but nevertheless protected by copyright, and its source code may or may not be freely available. Unlike free software, it doesn’t have to be edited or modified to create a completely new program.
It can be restrictive, especially if it is used commercially and not for personal use, and there is a paid version with a lot of features. In this case, the developer can limit its functionality.
Usually developers have commercial and free software, so they give out a free version to advertise the commercial version, but with fewer features.
For example, free software might come with ads, or a developer might block some features until the user buys a commercial version or gets a license that unlocks additional tools.
Free software developers also provide users with more or less access to the program and freedom of action, as well as the ability to lock the source code or restrict its use in certain environments, among other restrictions.
There are several free programs that are available to the public for educational purposes.
Free Software Examples
Free software comes from many sources and in many forms.
You can find free PC games, driver updater software, data destruction software and free mobile apps, antivirus software, image editing software, and more.
Also, be sure to check out our excellent list of the 99 best free software you can download.
What are joint programs?
Shareware is commercial software that is available free of charge, but is intended to be shared with others. Developers distribute shareware on a trial basis or in a limited format with an expiration date so that users can test the program and hopefully decide to purchase the full versions.
A good example of shareware is new games that developers make available on a limited basis, allowing players to experience and share the experience before purchasing the full version.
Unlike freeware, which can be used for free and for an unlimited time, shareware software is limited in time that you can use it, even if it’s free.
Another limitation of shareware is that you only get full functionality of the software after you purchase the shareware license. You will find that most shareware programs continually convince users to buy the full version or block functionality after the trial period ends.
Some developers may use the login screen to provide access to a user account with valid login information, or offer a product key or license file to upgrade to a premium version.
Shareware can be found in a wide range of categories, mainly focused on making it easier for users to meet specific computing needs. These categories include:
- Freemium or liteware, which are free but limited to non-premium features. If you want to access premium features or advanced features, you need to pay first. This limits the time of use and places restrictions on who uses the software, such as individuals, students, or companies. A good example of freemium is CCleaner, whose standard features are completely free, but you pay for routine cleanups, premium support, upgrades, and more.
- Adware or ad-supported software is a popular type of shareware. It comes with advertisements in the setup file. Other apps with pop-up ads or in-app ads that run before, during or after the software is launched are also considered adware.
- The demo or demo software is shareware that you can use for free, but it limits you to certain time frames, such as free trials, or restricts (cripples) most of the basic functionality of the program while you won’t pay for it.
- Nagware is an annoying type of shareware that can send you reminders from time to time to pay you to use it, or compulsively prompts you to upgrade to the premium version to access features. They usually appear as pop-ups or advertisements when you open, use, or close software. Some free antiviruses like AVG and Avira are the culprit for nagware.
- Donationware usually offers shareware for free, but offers to donate a small amount of money for activation and access to some paid features.
Shareware can have several security issues, such as malware that cybercriminals send via URL links or ads that appear legitimate but redirect users to pages with malware instead of genuinely safe shareware.
This is especially risky because most of these programs are not fully licensed and lack updates or patches, which can also put your system at risk, especially if left on your computer.
- Copyright and Ownership: Free software is copyrighted and 100% free for unlimited time, but the developers retain ownership of the software, so they can make further changes if they want, and possibly transform its into a premium product in the future. Shareware is copyrighted and distributed free of charge, but for a limited evaluation period.
- Pricing: You can download free software for free, while shareware allows you to try the software for a limited time before paying for the full version.
- Capabilities: Free software makes all functions available without any restrictions. Shareware offers limited functionality in its trial or evaluation version, with some functionality disabled until you purchase a license for it and gain access to all functionality.
- Permissions. Free software developers provide users with fully functional programs with permission to download and copy software free of charge and without notice. It can usually be downloaded, but without the source code so that users cannot make changes to it. Shareware developers encourage people to try out their features for a limited time, but they can freely share the software with others.
In short – the differences between free software versus shared software
- Copyright and ownership: Free software is copyrighted and 100% free for an unlimited time, but the developers They hold ownership so they can make more changes if they want, and possibly turn it into a premium product in the future. Shared software is copyrighted and can be shared for free, but for a limited evaluation period.
- Cost: You can download free software at no cost, while trial software lets you try the program for a limited period of time, before paying for the full version.
- Features: Free software enables all features without restrictions whatsoever. Shared software offers limited features in its beta or beta version, with some capabilities disabled until you buy a license for it and access the full features.
- Permissions: Free Software developers give users fully functional software with permission to download and copy the software at no cost and without approval. It’s usually downloadable but without the source code to prevent users from making changes to it. Shared software developers encourage people to try their features for a limited time but are free to share the software with others.