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What Is The Difference Between Freeware, Shareware And Open Source?

The vast majority of times when I post tips to software, the respective product is free. However, just because it is ‘free’ doesn’t mean it has no restrictions as there are different models of free software. The primary ones are freeware, shareware and open source.

It is a good idea to know the difference between these release models. For a good plain English explanation, check out this article. To quote on a brief overview of the differences:

  • Freeware is usually a very small program, released by a student or enthusiast.
  • Shareware is usually a mid-sized utility or application, written by a professional developer or small software company. The developer or publisher does not have the resources to market it, so they release it as shareware with a “try-before-you-buy” business model.
  • Open source spans the gamut, but the largest “free” software out there are all open source–Linux, FreeBSD, PostgreSQL, Apache. Before the advent of VCs in the “free software industry,” collaborative development around a shared code base was the only way a large free application could be built.

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One thought on “What Is The Difference Between Freeware, Shareware And Open Source?”

freeware says:
hei.. i have freeware collection with big size and they still call it freeware, i think it not about the size …

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Nik

Aug 23, 2009

642 Articles Published

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