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Free Software and Freeware

Nowadays on the internet you could practically search and locate any kind of software just by typing the keywords or related phrases into any of the major search engines such as Google or Yahoo. And it’s not just software I am referring to, but “fr.e.e” software – software that you could download, install and use without having to fork out a single dime! It is possible to believe that if anyone could envision a task, activity, function or use that could be made easier or even be automated, there is a software out there that has been developed for that purpose! And chances are that you could also find one that is free to download, install and use!

However, one may have several doubts and questions about the whole realm of “fr.e.e” software.

Questions like:-

(1)What actually is termed as “fr.e.e” software?

(2)Are there any limitations to it’s usage in the context of business?

(3)Why does programmers and developers develop fr.e.e software?

Firstly, let’s define what is “fr.e.e” software. There are essentially 2 type of “fr.e.e” software:

(1)Freeware

(2)Free Software

Freeware

Freeware is software that is zero-cost or free in price terms and is usually referring to a common group of software programs that can be downloaded, installed and used in most operating systems. However, they are usually copyrighted and as such they may not be free to modify, share or to be reused in your new software developments, unless they are listed under “public domain software”.

Free Software

Free software is software that anyone may freely use, run, share and modify, at any time, for any reason. However, to re-distribute it, the only condition is that the distributed version of the free software must be done without altering the original terms of fr.e.e use, modification and distribution under the GNU General Public License(http://www.gnu.org), as stipulated by the Free Software Foundation (http://www.fsf.org/). The word “free” in the term “free software” is about freedom, not price. People are allowed to sell free software or distribute it for a fee and the person who buys the software may change it or give it away.

In terms of limitations, fr.e.e software tends to have less limitations in it’s scope and flexibility in it’s usage than freeware, as far as the community of users, programmers and developers are concerned.

But why are programmers and developers so willing to develop fr.e.e software? One of the answers, surprisingly, is that it is actually cheaper to develop free software! Any such software is usually put together using a number of smaller software program packages which are also developed and distributed under the GPL (General Public License). The completed software is then distributed to a community of beta testers which includes programmers to try out and give their feedback on existing bugs and often accompanied by patches which are corrected parts of the software program to fix these bugs.

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