Posted: 12.12.2020 07:51

What is Shareware?

You must’ve heard for the term Open Source, but do you know what is Shareware? Purchasing a large number of licences for different software may be problematic and expensive, especially for SME (small and medium enterprises). That’s why many companies use Freeware, Shareware and Open Source. 

Every second Saturday in December is celebrated as Shareware Day. On that occasion, we are going to explain the main features of this technology. 

Open Source vs Shareware vs Freeware

Open Source, Shareware and Freeware are different software. For a start, let’s explain the main differences between them.

#1 Open Source

Open Source software’s source code is available to all users within open source licence. Users can change, rewrite, improve and fix its content. The term open source dates from late ’90es, and it was introduced by The Open Source Initiative (OSI). Some of the most popular Open Source software: Mozilla Firefox, LibreOffice, GIMP, VLC Media Player, Linux, Blender, Python and PHP.

#2 Freeware

Freeware is software available to users with no fee. This type of software is very often identified as an Open Source. The main difference between the two is that although Freeware is free for the users, its source code can not be changed or copied. Andrew Fluegelman used the term Freeware back in 1982.Some examples of Freeware: Audacity, Zapier, Dropbox Basic, Microsoft OneDrive, CCleaner Free, Skype, Kindle, Gmail, Filezilla, GIMP, Google Earth, WhatsApp, Google Keep, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

#3 Shareware

A distribution model is what distinguishes this type of software from others. The buyer/user can try the product before purchase. It means that the user downloads the software, uses it for a certain time and then pay for it after that free period or loses the right to use it. Bob Wallace was the first to use this term that was coined in the ’80es. 

Types of Shareware

Shareware is a broad term, and various apps with different business models are categorized as Shareware. Here are some of the most popular types. 

#1 Trialware

Software is functional only for some limited time – 15 or 30 days in most cases. The other option is that there is no time limit, but the number of usage/login into software is limited. After the free trial, the application is no longer available to a user or just some basic functionalities of the app are still available. 

Examples: Netflix, Roku, Skillshare, Peloton.

#2 Donationware

This licencing model enables full user access to software for a donation to the programmer or the development team. The amount of donation can be predetermined, or the user can decide on the amount. 

Examples: VLC, Cyberduck, Adium and Handbrake.

#3 Nagware

We bet you are familiar with the trial software with non-stop pop-ups and notifications to upgrade it to a paid version. That is nagware. A developer is tampering the user to pay for the full version, by offering special offer and discount. This software is also called annoyware. 

Examples: Spotify, WinRAR, WinZip, AVG. 

#4 Freemium

Combination of the words free and premium in the name of this software describes its business model. A basic product is free, but the user has to pay in order to use additional functionalities of the software.

Examples: Mailchimp, Canva, Clash of Clans, Zoom.

#5 Crippleware

When it comes to crippleware, a developer cripples some functionalities of the application and makes them available only in the paid version of the app. Some widely known examples of this type of Shareware are video editors that have a watermark in the free version. 

Examples: Filmora, Adobe Spark.

#6 Adware

Adware is malicious software that displays or downloads the ads after you install some software. Some adwares are Spywares that violate users’ privacy. 

We are certain that you use at least one of the listed software regularly. Sometimes we take for granted all those tech wanders we use for free. Shareware Day is here to remind us not to take them lightly. If you use some app for years now, award the development team with some small donation.