Freeware ( [ fɹi ː ˌ wɛə ]; . Engl free of " free " software and " Goods") referred to in common parlance software that is made to use free of charge by the author. Freeware is mostly proprietary, and thus is, according to the Free Software Foundation as opposed to free software (English " free software " ), the Wider sweeping freedoms, such as changes to the Software granted.

  • 3.1 freeware scene


The term freeware was established by the U.S. programmer Andrew Fluegelman who wanted to sell his 1982 communications program PC -Talk beyond the usual and costly distribution channels. However, the present meaning of the term freeware is different from the former, according to modern terminology one would talk with the former distribution model for PC -Talk of shareware.

Distinction between

An author can specify the contractual terms and conditions to a large extent under copyright to any transfer of the work. So Freeware is not precisely defined, legally valid term. It is in each individual case to ascertain in the specified in the End User License Agreement license terms, what specific rights of copyright granted to the user. Typical contract terms by the author are about, that distribution is prohibited for a fee, or the use is free only for individuals, ie the use in a commercial environment requires a license fee. Whether on its own or even further restrictions on the use of the term freeware is still correctly applied, is debatable, at least in terms of the general freedom of use.

A special form of freeware is available for software products that build on a paid operating system, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player. Here, the free use of the property other Microsoft licenses and approval for elevation of the existing licenses for Microsoft is bound.

Similar licenses

For the following license models freeware is usually used as a generic term, sometimes interchangeably. However, they are associated with constraints that arise from the name of the license model:

  • Cardware (also called Postcardware ) is a form of freeware, in which the author asks for sending an original greeting card, as far as the program has found favor. Similar concepts exist for a number of donations to the author.
  • Register product is freeware that can be downloaded but only a free registration. Often using the specified e- mail addresses are used to apply updates or enhanced versions or send advertisements from other companies. A disclosure of such programs in the private sector is mostly excluded without registration. (Example: Lotus Symphony )
  • Freeware for private use is a buy-back program, which must be paid in using on commercial computers. Only at only privately used computers the program may be installed free of charge, but registration is usually also required. Again, there are often separate versions for home users and advanced versions for commercial use. Well-known examples are firewall and anti -virus programs. Avira AntiVir for example, the user must explicitly agree to during the installation that the program is used on a solely privately used computers. The license model poses risks for the manufacturer because many freelancers and small business owners who use the programs privately, install it free of charge on the industrial PC or the computer is used privately and commercially. Sometimes the program may be used free of charge in schools and teachers. Some programs, some of which versions are free only for personal use (above mentioned security programs ), basically refuse to install on Microsoft Windows Server, because these operating systems typically - are used for business - except in the context of Dream Park or DreamSpark Premium.
  • Free-to -play is a business model that allows the free use of computer game software, but often offers optional premium content for a fee ( then sometimes called freemium )


The term freeware is to be found in some areas: Once in the computer magazines, freeware like to use as simplistic generic term (eg for free software or Lite versions ) and hobbyists who offer their smaller software projects on its website for free download and not want to deal with software licensing law.

Another source of freeware is a former commercial software, which is provided as freeware available at the end of their commercial marketing of the user community, in part, as a promotional campaign for a new software. Partially free downloadable freeware is provided to prevent that software is no longer available abandonware, such as Borland gave some of his legacy products so freely, eg Turbo Pascal or Diversions Entertainment computer game One Must Fall.

Although the term freeware is most commonly applied to smaller software products, there are some examples of larger free software products, eg the Internet browser Opera, or the world simulation computer game Slaves to Armok II: Dwarf Fortress.

Even the most open - source software, although not each, in addition to their more far-reaching qualities also freeware; an example is the Mozilla Firefox.

Freeware Scene

In addition to individual authors, there are also groups called coding groups, the hobby programming software and offer them as freeware, eg in the computer 's play area homebrews or Fangames.