Shareware [ ʃeə ( ɹ ) ˌ weə ( ɹ )] ( "share" from the English share for and ware for " goods" or "Product") is a form of distribution of software, with which that software can be tested before buying. Was introduced in the name of Bob Wallace, one of the first employees of the U.S. computer company Microsoft.

It is usually allowed with shareware, copy the Software in unmodified form any or distribute, but in contrast to freeware with an invitation to relax after a trial period to allow ( usually 30 days) to register a charge from the author.

Different types of shareware

A kind of shareware provision is to release a free version part. This part version has limited functionality (which is why this form is also called crippleware to German as " crippled software "), but restriction is. By registering the program to download a full version will be either possible or partial version by transmitting a serial number to a full version.

There are shareware with nagscreen (Eng. " Nörgelmeldung " ) that urges the user to missing registry. Most of the Nag is immediately after the start of the unregistered program displayed with the recommendation, the user may wish the program now but register.

In the third type of shareware that is considered by many as shareware in the strict sense, the software is delivered without restrictions and without technical measures for the temporal restriction of use. The author trusts that the user paid for by itself by using its power under test time for the software. This type of shareware has become rare since the user the required registry often refrain and continue to use the software anyway.

To be distinguished from the shareware is the demo version, which is no longer functional after the expiration of a trial period. The term "Trial Version " can denote a demo or time-limited usable shareware version.


Shareware is often offered by the manufacturers on their website for download or for journals as a free CD - addition.

In the trade, eg in large department stores, located CDs are (or DVDs ) with shareware collections. However, it does not acquire buying this volume generally the right to use the software thereon perpetual. Payment is made only for the service that the CD was compiled and produced. Often appropriate providers do not make a sufficient degree to this fact thoroughly, so that it can be expected that not enough informed consumers come to the opinion that they had also acquired with the purchase price of the disc, the software thereon. Examples of popular shareware CDs are Night Owl and Pegasus.

Another important distribution channel shareware directories, or download portals on the Internet. On these web pages you have a large selection of shareware, freeware and Demo software, and this can usually download in few clicks for testing.


License types, allowing more freedom in the use or distribution of:

  • Freeware is software that is provided without charge are available from the author.
  • Donationware is freeware, with the eventual payment remains free to users.
  • Careware is software whose distribution is to serve a charitable purpose.
  • Cardware is software for which the author expects in return a postcard.
  • Beerware is software for which the author as a reward, often jokingly, requires a spendiertes beer on occasion - otherwise the software is mostly public domain.
  • Mindware is shareware, for which the user should pay a self-selected amount.
  • Free software allows users in addition to a free disclosure of the program to inspect its source code and change it.
  • Copyleft limited only by the rights of a free software that derivative works have to grant the same freedoms.
  • Public Domain (public domain ) means the complete renunciation of the author on his rights (reference to the legal situation in Germany: see there).