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Just What Are These Different Kinds of Wares?

Ray Dotson - December 18, 2006

Everybody’s heard of shareware and freeware, right? What about donationware or postcardware? There are lots of different kinds of wares out there. What we’re talking about here is the agreement or understanding about the use of the software between the developer or publisher and the purchaser or user of the software. There may be some confusion, though, as to what each of these terms exactly means.

The concept of freeware is easy to understand. This usually means that the software is yours to use however you wish, free of charge. Sometimes certain types of uses are restricted, however. Some developers or publishers will allow the software to be used for free for personal use only, and not for commercial use or for making a profit. Other times, they may require that the software not be used for any government or military purpose. It depends on the personal values and beliefs of the creators of the software.

Shareware is pretty straightforward, too. The developer or publisher is sharing this software with you so that you may try it out to see if you’d like to purchase it. Sometimes shareware isn’t fully functional software (some call it ‘crippleware’), in order to persuade you to buy the full version. This was pretty common at one time and still is common with gaming software, but lately lots of shareware is offered as fully functional so that users can get a better idea of all of the features. Developers also may limit the length of time that the software will be fully functional or that it will work at all. This type of software is often called a demo. The demo software may become locked after a certain trial period and then can only become functional again after a registration code is purchased and entered into the program.

So, what about donationware or postcardware? These types of software aren’t seen quite as often, but are most similar to freeware. Essentially, they are free, but the developer usually asks that if you like the software or find it useful you make a donation so that development costs can be recapped and/or that further development can take place. Often, a small number of donors out of a larger user community can keep development alive. Postcardware, on the other hand, is just a request from the developer that you send them a postcard to let them know you like their software. It’s more of a feel-good gesture than anything else, but a small price to pay for the privilege of using good software.

There are other types of wares that can be found on the Internet, but most will fall under the types outlined above. The bottom line is that the developer or publisher can decide however they would like the software to be used, but it’s up to the users to honor that request.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 18th, 2006 at 8:12 am and is filed under Freeware, Internet, Main, Shareware. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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One Response to “Just What Are These Different Kinds of Wares?”

  1. Ashish Pandya Says:

    Frequently visited this site and fantastic idea and tips for Software coding

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