What is the difference between Freeware and Shareware

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Lluis Enric Mayans
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When you download programs without paying anything you can be faced with two types of licenses: that freeware is that software. In this article I will try to explain you in detail what is the difference between Freeware and Shareware and above all how to understand which are freeware programs and which are shareware ones.

Let's start by saying that i freeware software are free and are given spontaneously by their developer without being asked for anything in return, at least apparently.



I software shareware instead they are made available for free, disabling some features, only for a limited period of time, in order to allow you to try them and see if they are right for you. Once the trial time has expired, you will be asked to purchase the program. In this case you will have to pay the license to the manufacturer and you will get an activation code upon registration. Please note that at the end of the trial period, if you do not purchase the program, the software will stop working.

The functionality of the programs is similar shareware said Trial. These are always free programs that have all the features activated but that you can only use for a limited period of time. After this period the program stops working.

The source code of both of these types of programs, freeware e shareware (the instructions that make them work) remains the property of the programmers. They are therefore not software open source where the source code is made public.

Il freeware is subject to a license that allows free distribution and is often the simplified version of a paid program or a launch version sold free of charge by the programmer. The author of the software reserves the right of copyright but authorizes the user to make free use of it, however, prohibiting its sale to others. 



The hope of those who market a freeware program is that by using it they will discover that they need its more advanced features. The same can be said for the trial programs, with shareware license: the idea is that after having experimented and used them, the user will want to buy them. 

But it happens that programmers choose to make money even with free programs, how? By adding spyware, more or less intrusive, to the software that performs the functions that are really useful for the user. In this way, even if no one buys the program, programmers will still earn a sum for each user who installs the software.

Also worth mentioning is the demonstration program mentioned Demo and GPL software.


  • La demo has the purpose of making known the program or the game with the possibility to edit it but not to save it. Some demos may have useful features, but in most cases you need to purchase the full version in order to use the software.
  • Il GPL software o Free software may be part of commercial packages, but it is freely copyable and modifiable, as long as the modified versions are also made available as free software. The Linux system for example is GPL software that can be freely copied but also purchased by those who want to have technical support, manuals and accompanying programs.

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