Freeware is software that is available at no charge to users. It is not a type of software, but rather a term used to describe software that is offered at no cost. Freeware is often distributed on a flash drive or other physical media. You can also download it from the Internet.
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Is shareware the same as freeware?
Freeware is different from shareware, which is software that is offered for free with the option to pay for it if you want to continue using it.
Who owns freeware?
Because freeware is typically software given away for free by the author, the author retains the copyright, which means that users cannot do anything with it that is not expressly allowed by the author. Usually, the author allows users to use the software in any way they choose, except for selling it. The author is the only entity that can change the freeware, or offer it for sale at a later date.
Does freeware stay free as long as you use it?
Freeware is usually offered for free as a way for the software developer to generate exposure for their product. The company may sell the full version of the software at a later date, or they may offer the software for free indefinitely.
Freeware is often distributed as a trial version of the software, which you can use for a limited time before you decide to purchase the full version. It may also be distributed as a demo version, which is a full version of the software with limited functionality.
Freeware vs. open-source software
Freeware is a type of shareware, but it is not the same as open-source software.
Open-source software is often available at no charge, but it is not considered freeware. Open-source software (sometimes called free open-source software or FOSS) is distributed under a specific license that allows anyone to view, copy, modify, and distribute the software as long as they make it available at no charge to other users.
Freeware is not open-source software, but it is not restricted in the same way that shareware is. Users are free to use freeware for as long as they want, but may not be able to make copies of it to distribute to others.
What are examples of freeware?
Applications offered as freeware include web browsers, word processors, media players, and games. Browsers are typically offered as freeware because their development is supported by other applications developed by the same company. For example, the development of the Google Chrome web browser is supported by Google’s numerous revenue streams including advertising, data sales, and technology licensing agreements.
Popular freeware web browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
Popular freeware word processors include versions of Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, and Google Docs.
Popular freeware media players include: Windows Media Player, VLC Media Player, and iTunes.
Freeware for IT pros
Check this list of freeware for IT pros | TechRepublic