Free Software?

There is plenty of software that you can obtain from a variety of sources such as by downloading from the internet or from the CD on the front cover of a magazine that you have purchased. You might think that all of this software is completely free and that you can do what you like with it. No matter how nice it would be if all of this software actually was free, this is rarely the case.

If you check out the documentation that comes along with this software you will usually find that the software is labelled as Shareware, or is a Trial or Demo version. If so then to use the software legally on an ongoing basis requires an additional payment to the software owner.

In each of these cases the software that you have has been provided so that you can evaluate the product and decide whether it is the right one for you before you buy it. In the case of a demo version some key function of the software such as save has been disabled in the version that you have and although you can try out the functionality of the software to see what it does you can’t actually do anything with the results.

A trial version is not quite so restrictive. Usually with a trial version you get full functionality but only for a limited number of uses or for a limited amount of time, at the end of that usage the software will either disable itself completely or will convert to a demo version. The assumption in either of these cases is that you get to see what the program does and if you like it you then pay for the full version. In some cases converting your demo or trial version into the full version just requires you entering the code supplied when you paid for the product into the program that you already have.

Shareware is exactly the same as trial or demo software in that you are given permission to try the software for a limited period before buying it. The main difference between shareware and a trial or demo version is that the software may continue to function after the trial period expires. This doesn’t mean that you are legally entitled to continue using the software, it just means that the software owner is relying on your honesty to pay for the software. Continuing to use shareware after the trial period and without paying for it is just as illegal as taking a copy of purchased software off of your friend’s computer and installing it on your own.

So when is the software that you obtain from the internet or on magazine cover CDs actually free?

Well sometimes the magazines do a special deal with the software owners to put a free copy of an old version of their software on their CD along with a special offer to upgrade to the full version. This is usually advertised very clearly on the magazine cover and on the CD as well so it should be clear when this is the case. One thing that I have noticed recently regarding this type of software is that most of it requires that you register it via the internet in order to be able to continue using it beyond a short trial period. This can make it difficult to install such “free” software on a computer without an internet connection.

Other software that is free for you to use on your own computer should be clearly identified as Freeware, Public Domain, or software subject to the GPL (GNU public licence). Any software so marked is available for you to use on your own computer and most such software may also be copied and given to your friends as well (but check for any restrictions particularly if you obtained the software from a CD). In the case of public domain software you can do whatever you like with the software including selling it (if you can find anyone silly enough to buy something they can obtain free). GPL software may also be sold and even modified to perform additional functions. The only conditions on doing anything with software subject to the GPL is that the conditions of the GPL be met which includes the requirements that the source code be supplied along with the executable version and that any copies and modified versions are also distributed subject to the GPL. Just because software is freeware doesn’t necessarily give you the right to do what you like with it, the owner may have given you the right to a free copy that you can run on your computer but they may have retained all of the other rights associated with the program for themselves.

So just because you downloaded some software from the internet or from a magazine CD cover doesn’t mean that the software is free, it all depends on the license conditions associated with the software.

All software not in the public domain is subject to copyright. This copyright gives the software owner certain rights over their software such as the right to make copies of the software, the right to change the software, and the right to sell the software. When you obtain a copy of any software by whatever means, the software owner still retains these rights. What rights you get with respect to the software should be spelled out for you in the software licens.

Beat the Recession With Free Software!

It’s just typical when your feeling the pinch, some unexpected bolt out of the blue comes along to drain your finances even more! Like the never ending subscriptions for your software for example!

Whether it’s your antivirus package that’s about to expire, your firewall or spyware program, it’s like a constant payout!

Well, people are beginning to feel the pinch these days with the recession and it’s very prudent to start putting the pennies away to see us over this rocky period, but can you really afford to scrimp on your PC security software? Or what about the kids computer that doesn’t have spyware protection, is that something you’ve meant to deal with but the cost is a bit intrusive just now?

You may even have considered grabbing an illegal copy from a warez site to save a few quid, but question is will you pay more for the damage the software from these sites could potentially do to your PC?! Are you willing to take the chance?

Well, you can put away your credit card, stop paying for yearly subscriptions and forget about using Warez sites, because freeware has been around since the dawn of time (well, almost). Freeware is basically free software which is developed by individuals, or in many cases large corporations, and is available for you to download and use without any cost whatsoever. Big names like Avast, McAfee and even Microsoft release software free of charge that you possibly don’t even know about!

There are literally thousands of categories available in freeware, from audio converters and antivirus packages right through to video production tools. Backup and recovery, compression tools, system tweaking and maintenance, in fact just about any category you could mention.

Whatsmore, freeware is completely legal and is released for no charge whatsoever!

So, what’s the catch I hear you ask?

Well, there really isn’t one! Freeware is basically software which companies release without a few bells and whistles or is a standalone product taken from a commercial package. Avast antivirus, for example, is one of the best free antivirus products available, but Avast also produce other, commercial, software and by releasing products free of charge they hope you’ll be so impressed that you’ll consider buying some of their other software. Of course, you can simply download, install and use all their free software without obligation, there is never a need to pay for anything.

Unfortunately, many people have serious misconceptions about freeware and consider it to be useless, full of advertising or contains spyware, after all it’s free so how good can it possibly be?! Well, some freeware sites don’t particularly care about what they list, but then again the same can be said for a lot of shareware or commercial sites.

Using Free Software Sites To Get The Applications You Need

No matter which type of computer operating system you own, it can be very confusing deciding what software you should purchase. Since updates continually take place, you definitely don’t want to spend money on something that is going to be changed in the near future. Software can also be quite expensive, so you want to make sure you are getting the best possible price.

At free software download websites, you can take advantage free software for your computer system. Many free software sites contain a wide variety of applications for computer system maintenance and security. For those of you who depend on your computer for more than entertainment, you know how vital that is. Other types of software available include billing, system recovery, and software to help you develop your website.

Since software is so expensive, why not check out what free software sites have to offer for free before you spend your money on it? Chances are you will find a variety of software products available that will work well for you.

One of the disadvantages of free software sites is the risk of spyware or adware. This problem is easily avoided by using sites such as CNET’s download dot com, which does not allow any software with adware or spyware. Many other sites also use a scanner system to alert you if a piece of software contains any adware, spyware, viruses, or other unwanted components.

Another possible disadvantage of free software is the lack of support available. This is something you should consider – if the software you need is crucial to you and you will need good support, you may need to buy the software. If you can make do with lesser levels of support, free software may be the best way to go, though. Many free applications do offer support via user forums and online help centers.