Freeware vs. Shareware vs. Free Software

  • By reComparison Contributor
  • comments 0
  • views6076

Difference between Freeware, Shareware and Free Software

The word Freeware is derived from free software. Freeware is computer software that is available for use for free or for an optional fee. Freeware is generally closed source and proprietary in contrast to free software which is open source and free. Shareware on the other hand refers to software whose trial version with limited functionality is distributed for free. This helps customers to judge the utility of the product before they purchase the key for the full software. A trial generally lasts for few weeks or months. Free software can be modified, copied and redistributed without any restrictions and is free of cost.

Freeware
Shareware

History

Andrew Fluegelman was the first person to use the term freeware when he wanted to sell communication software called PC-Talk. Bob Wallace called his word processor “PC-Write”, a shareware. Shareware gained popularity as they solved the problem of long distance payments and their trial versions could be downloaded from the Internet. Before 1980, binary copies of software were sold so that they could not be modified or studied. Richard Stallman in 1983 announced that the GNU Project and software for the GNU operating system were developed for free. He also founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985.

License and copyright

Copyright laws are applicable to freeware and shareware. Developers are the programmers and copyright holders, they retain all rights. The license may impose some restrictions on the way software is used including non-profit use, academic use, individual use, non-commercial use or in any combination of these. For example the license may be for non-commercial and personal use only. In case of freeware the EULA (End User License Agreement) plays an important role. Every freeware has its own EULA. As far as free software is concerned, they too have a small set of licenses however there are fewer restrictions imposed on these. Some of the popular licenses are the GNU general public license, GNU lesser general public license, MIT license, Apache license, Mozilla public license and the BSD license.    

Examples

Adobes PDF, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, and MSN Messenger are the examples of freeware. WinZip, Cuteftp and Get Right are shareware. Similarly, LINUX Kernel, Linux operating system, MySql relational database, Apache web server, and send mail transport agent; all of these are free software packages.           

Similarities and Differences

Freeware

  • Freeware is computer software that is available for use for free or some optional fee.
  • These are generally closed source and proprietary.
  • Andrew Fluegelman was the first person to use the term freeware.
  • Every freeware has its own EULA (End User License Agreement).

Shareware

  • Software whose trial version with limited functionality is distributed for free.
  • Bob Wallace called his word processor “PC-Write”, a shareware.
  • WinZip, Cuteftp and Get right are shareware.

Free Software

  • Free software can be modified, copied and redistributed without any restrictions and is free of cost.
  • Richard Stallman found free software foundation in 1985.
  • Some of the popular licenses are the GNU general public license, GNU lesser general public license, MIT license and Apache license.

Which do programmer use more often than not?
  • Freeware
  • Shareware
  • Free Software
 
 

Discuss It: comments

Post a Comment
  • Name*
  • Email*
  • Website (optional)
  • arrow You are commenting as a Guest
  • arrow Your email will not be public
  • arrow Login or Sign Up and post using your reComparison account
  • arrow Facebook Connect