A freeware (term that is formed from the English expression free software) it’s a computer program whose distribution is free, so the user does not have to pay to install and use it. However, unlike what happens with the free software, users are not allowed to modify their code.
That is why it is important to distinguish between free software or freeware and free software. While the first has as its main characteristic the free distribution, the second presents as a fundamental property the authorization to alter its original programming code.
It is more appropriate, therefore, to compare the freeware with the shareware and not with free software. Shareware is software that is distributed free of charge, although it only allows its use for a certain time or with limited functionalities. The objective is that the user can get to know the program and then, if he agrees, pay the corresponding license to access its full version.
In the case of freeware, it is distributed free with its full functionality and without time limitations. On certain occasions, developers may ask donations that allow them to continue their work.
You can’t fail to mention that the freeware has license. Although their distribution and use are generally free, they are often imposed restrictions, such as the ban on selling the software or to use it in a company for commercial purposes.
Antivirus Avast, the file recovery program Recuva and satellite photography and mapping software Google Earth they are examples of freeware: they have versions that can be downloaded and used free of charge. Also they video game rated as free to play are considered freeware.
As with almost all computer-related concepts, the word freeware It is relatively young, since it was minted in 1982 by Andrew Fluegelman, who intended to avoid traditional distribution methods for his show PC-Talk. It was then that he registered the term and started a custom that thousands of developers have adopted since then (it should be noted that today the Rights copyright on this word no longer belongs to Fluegelman).
To be more strict, we should say that the method that Fluegelman used to distribute his program was actually what we call today shareware, but this is merely anecdotal as it did not prevent the birth of freeware as a concept. One of the reasons why a developer may opt for this type of distribution is to publicize their product or their skills, and then offer them a version more recent or simply to gain popularity.
Some software development companies offer old versions of their programs as freeware, to give users an idea of the quality of their products; Of course, they also inform them of the benefits that are only included in the most recent one, to tempt them to buy it if they are satisfied with the free one. These old editions are sometimes considered obsolete for different reasons, such as the lack of compatibility with the operating systems or the drivers modern, and this explains why their creators do not charge for them.
Although it is not the most normal thing, there are developers who offer free products simply because they do not want to make money from their distribution. Thanks to them, thousands of digital content creators can complete their projects without investing money in all the complementary applications. Let’s not forget that to create a video, a website or an application, for example, we need several tools, and if they were all commercial, very few people could face a creative process of this type.