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Freeware (from "free" + "software") is computer software that is available for use at no cost or for an optional fee.[1] Freeware is different from shareware; the latter obliges the user to pay (e.g. after some trial period or for additional functionality).


[edit] 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.[2] 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.

[edit] Criteria

The only criterion for being classified as freeware is that the software must be fully functional for an unlimited time with no cost, monetary or otherwise. The software license may impose restrictions on the type of use including personal use, individual use, non-profit use, non-commercial use, academic use, commercial use or any combination of these. For instance, the license may be "free for personal, non-commercial use".

Accordingly, freeware may or may not be free software, the principle difference being that free software can be:

used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with minimal restrictions only to ensure that further recipients can also do these things and to prevent consumer-facing hardware manufacturers from preventing user modifications to their hardware..

Free software embodies the concept of 'libre' while freeware that of 'gratis'.

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