About

Freeware (of "free" and "software") is software that is available for use at no monetary cost or for an optional fee, but usually (although not necessarily) with one or more restricted usage rights. Freeware is in contrast to commercial software, which is typically sold for profit, but might be distributed for a business or commercial purpose in the aim to expand the marketshare of a "premium" product. According to the Free Software Foundation, "freeware" is a loosely defined category and it has no clear accepted definition, although FSF says it must be distinguished from free software (libre). Popular examples of closed-source freeware include Adobe reader, Free Studio and Skype.

History

The term freeware was coined by Andrew Fluegelman when he wanted to sell a communications program named PC-Talk that he had created but for which he did not wish to use traditional methods of distribution because of their cost. Fluegelman actually distributed PC-Talk via a process now referred to as shareware. Current use of the term freeware does not necessarily match the original concept by Andrew Fluegelman.

The term freeware was used often in the 1980s and 1990s for programs released only as executables, with source code not available.

Method of distribution

Freeware cannot economically rely on commercial promotion. Thus the internet is the primary resource for information on which freeware is available, useful, and is not malware. However, there are also many computer magazines or newspapers that provide ratings for freeware and include compact discs or other storage media containing freeware.

Read more on Wikipedia.

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