FREE SOFTWARE is one of the web promises. There re an infinitude of websites promising free software, and indeed there are many free software's around. But not all are what they seem.
Shareware, Freeware and Addware
Shareware is probably the oldest form of free
software around the internet. It's not really free, but you can
install it for free and test it. If you like it and want to keep it
installed, you should pay it's author a pre-defined fee. In the beginning
of shareware, this payment was voluntary and, in reality, you could
use the software and never pay for it. Sometimes, there would be
some minor annoyance until you pay for it, like having extra buttons
to press or messages attached. This is still the case of WinZip
Many Shareware's nowadays have more restrictions, until you pay
them. It may be a temporary limitation (full features but only
for some time, like 30 days, until it locks itself) or a feature
reduction (not everything works, or will only work for a reduced
number of times). Shareware developers found that, unless they did
it, their revenue would be greatly reduced.
Freeware is really free software. There are many
around the internet. Linux and other Open Source software's are the
most well known. Unlike what many people think, they do have
registered copyright, it's only that their license
terms are the opposite of the usual commercial software: you cannot
pay or charge for it. But most so called free software for end users
are not really free, at least in unrestricted form.
Addware is a sign of times: The software is free
for its users because advertisers pay for it, much like open wave
television. Most of the time, you can opt
for a paid version that will disable the adds. Some of them are benign
in that you know what you're getting and no private information is
sent without your consent, like the Opera
Browser. But some others, like Kazaa,
install it without really disclosing to its users the extent to
which they will send information about the PC user. Be very careful
when installing free software, there is an increasing trend to
bundled with so called free software download from the internet.
Are there reliable sources?
There are some well known shareware directories, belonging to
respected organizations, where you can download software with some
degree of confidence. Many even include some feedback mechanism
where previous users can rate and comment the download.
That should give you, as well as the organization behind the
directory, some confidence. The most well known are:
- belongs to CNET, one of the webs best known source of IT
knowledge. Lists software in categories and includes many
information about it, including price and download conditions.
Direct links to download pages.
- Tucows.com -
another huge shareware directory, very similar to shareware.com
Human Review - The TUDOGS Newsletter?
Both directories above work by submission, meaning that the
author of the software fill in a form requesting the listing of
their products. Even if they may be reviewed, software there is
shown from the publisher point of view, not the user's one.
One very interesting alternative is the Tudogs.com
website. It's free but you will have to registrate an email address
(just that, not more personal info) to get into it. You will get a
Tudogs is also a directory, with software listed in categories.
It's design is fairly simple and the newsletter is irregular, not always
released on the due date. The reason is that it's maintained by a
family, not a regular company. The main difference is how
content gets into it: tudogs.com
authors browse the internet for free software and publish what they
find of interest to their audience. This means that what's get
listed is not what software authors what, but what end-users find
interesting, and the description of the products is made by the same
- personally maintained freeware directory from a end-user
a very interesting alternative and we do recommend registration
for those interested in free software.
Can I know more about this subject ?
Check our FREE PC Tips. They will be
regularly published and will include some on free software very soon. Better still,
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