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Shareware Downloads and Freeware Downloads


The Shareware Directory - Information about Shareware and Freeware Downloads - Learn about downloading Shareware, Freeware, Demo, and Commercial Trial Software. Typical Download Sections include: Java editors, Chat, MP3, AntiVirus, AntiSpyware (AdAware), Skype, Audio, Video, Spam Filters, CRM, Icon Tools, CAD Programs, SQL Database Applications, PDF Converters, Accounting Software, Finance tools, E-Mail, Spyware Adware Removal, Themes, Security, Zip, Mobile, Enterprise, Business, Desktop, Games, Hobbies, Education, Internet, Multimedia, Music, Network, Clipart Organizers, Browsers (Internet Explorer vs FireFox, etc), iPod, Programming, Wallpaper, and Utilities.


Shareware and Freeware FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is shareware? What is freeware? Where can I find more information about shareware?

Shareware is a marketing method, not a type of software or even strictly just a distribution method. When software is marketed through normal retail channels, you are forced to pay for the product before you've even seen it. The shareware marketing method lets you try a program before you buy it. Since you've tried the program, you know whether it will meet your needs before you pay for it. A shareware program is just like a program you find in major stores, catalogs, and other places where software is purchased; except you get to use it, on your own computer, before paying for it. Freeware is software that you may use as long as you wish for free. You can find more information about shareware if you visit the Association of Shareware Professionals website.

Why pay for software I already have?

Basically, for the same reason you should pay for any program: because it is the honest thing to do. Shareware is commercial software, fully protected by copyright laws. Like other enterprise business owners, shareware authors expect to earn money for making their software available. In addition, by paying you may then be entitled to additional functions, removal of time limiting or limits on use, removal of so-called "nag" screens, and other things as defined in the documentation provided by the program's author.

What does warez mean?

Warez is a term widely used to denote cracked (or pirate versions) of shareware or commercial software applications. Basically it is just illegal pirated software that is used for free, though it is supposed to be paid for.

What does it mean when a software application has been cracked?

When a shareware or commercial software application has been cracked it means that a programmer has changed the underlying code so that the copy protection has been stripped (removed). This allows the appliction to be used illegally for free.

Is shareware more likely to contain spyware, adware, or a virus?

NO! Simply put, since shareware is only a distribution method of software (i.e. Try Before You Buy) it is NOT more likely to contain spyware, adware, a virus, or any other type of malware over any other software. You must use your best judgement of the company that releases the software, it is all about trust.

I bought a CD, a book, or a magazine that contained the program--didn't I already pay for the program?

No. Shareware vendors and other publishers distribute shareware evaluation versions of programs. They charge a small fee for the costs of disk duplication and advertising, plus a small profit, or they include the costs in the price of the book or magazine. The money paid to these companies does not go to the authors.

What are some typical types of software that are distributed as shareware?

Actually, that's a good question, and one that is very easy to answer! Again, shareware is just a distribution model so that means that any and all types of software can be called shareware. The following is a partial list of software types that can take advantage of the shareware business model: MP3 players, audio players (like burners, players, ripping software, WAV players, MP3 players), video players (that can play MPG, MPEG, AVI, etc), video games (like arcade, action, stragety, card games), enterprise level business software, calendars, text editors, Icon Tools, CAD Programs, SQL Database Applications, PDF converter utilities, accounting software, finance tools, spyware removal tools, adware removal tools, virus eradication utilities, security applications, developer tools, desktop enhancements, themes, email tools, spam filters, screensavers, clipart organizers, teaching tools, mobile applications (for the Palm OS, Pocket PC, Mobile phones and other wireless devices), CRM tools, Office Add-Ins, privacy tools, identity theft prevention utilities, backup tools, chat tools, web browsers, Wallpaper, E-Mail clients, newsgroup clients, zip tools, servers, programming utilities (like Java editors, text based HTML editors, C++ editors), web graphic tools, Flash based utilities, AntiVirus tools, and many others that run on a variety of platforms (such as Windows XP, Linux, Mac, etc.).

What if I don't like the evaluation version?

That's simple: just stop using it and remove it from your computer system. Many shareware authors even provide a simple "uninstall" feature that makes this easy. You've lost nothing but the small cost of obtaining the evaluation version and the time involved in the evaluation.

What about viruses in software?

The shareware industry has an excellent track record providing products that have been checked thoroughly for viruses. Shareware authors, webmasters and other system operators carefully scan programs for viruses before offering them to consumers, so a shareware program will often have more checks made on it than regular commercial software. In recent years, very few shareware websites host files; most are linking to the shareware files back on the web sites of the authors, so you're getting files directly from the source. The few sites that do their own hosting are nearly all quite large, and scan their collections regularly and carefully. When in doubt, download directly from the authors' web sites.

Why do authors use shareware to distribute their programs?

Basically, it's efficient. Costs are generally less than for software sold through traditional channels. Lower operating costs mean shareware authors can concentrate on writing great programs, while often charging users less. Shareware also allows authors to retain complete control. Microsoft and Netscape are just two software companies that have recognized benefits of "try-before-you-buy" distribution.

How can I legally distribute someone else's shareware?

You'll need to check each program you wish to distribute for any distribution restrictions that the author may have placed on their software. Check the PAD file, the program documentation, and files with names like DISTRIB.TXT, VENDOR.TXT, and VENDINFO.DIZ for restrictions. When in doubt, you should contact the author for permission - failing to do so could leave you liable for copyright infringement.

COMMON MISTAKE - Some folks think that if they purchase a CD-ROM collection of software they may feel free to distribute that software, or if they've downloaded a copy from the Internet that they can sell copies if they wish. Unfortunately these statements are not true. A number of software publishers are using exclusive distribution licenses to allow distribution of their software, and violating one of these licenses could result in a very expensive lesson when you're sued for your actions. Better safe than sorry!

Can I just keep using software that's outdated?

No. There's a specific procedure that an author must follow to abandon their copyright, and if they haven't done so then the shareware continues to be copyrighted. You should check for a newer version for current contact information. It's also possible that the software has been sold to another shareware business and they may be actively supporting it. Even if the author has actually gone out of business, why do you want to use an unsupported program? What are you going to do if it crashes or if you need changes? Where are you going to find support and upgrades? How will you get newer versions to support new operating systems and features? You'll be doing yourself a favor if you find a newer program that you like instead and is still actively supported.


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