What Is Shareware?
Shareware is basically "try before you
buy" software. Unlike software marketed through normal retail channels, where
you are forced to pay for the product before you've even seen it, the
shareware concept lets you try a program for a period of time before you buy it.
Once you have tried a shareware program, you know whether it will meet your needs
before you pay for it.
Shareware programs are just like programs you
find in major stores, catalogs, and other places where people purchase software - except
you get to use them, on your own computer, before paying for them.
Shareware distribution gives users a chance to try software
before buying it. If you try a shareware program and continue using it, you are
expected to register (purchase) the program. With registration, you get anything
from the simple right to continue using the software to an updated program with printed
Shareware authors are accomplished programmers, just like
commercial authors, and the programs are of comparable quality. (In both cases,
there are good programs and bad ones!). The main difference is in the method of
The Shareware concept makes fitting your needs easier,
because you can try before you buy. And because the overhead is low, prices are low
also. Shareware has the ultimate money-back guarantee - if you don't use the
product, you don't pay for it!
Prices for shareware vary from program to program, but you
will always find the price mentioned somewhere in the files you obtain when you downloaded
or were given an evaluation copy. Most of the time the price for the program will be
found in a .TXT or .DOC or READ.ME. For Windows programs, this information will probably
be found in the .HLP file.
Copyright laws apply to both Shareware and commercial
software, and the copyright holder retains all rights.
In summary :
- Shareware is a method of distributing software
- You can download and evaluate a shareware program before buying it
- Your trial period is usually limited to 30-60 days, after which time
you must make a decision to either purchase the software or else
uninstall the software from your PC.
- If you register (purchase) the program, you will often receive a password key to
remove shareware "nag" screens or you will be mailed a
Editorial - A shareware author speaks
Commentary - Before You Buy That Software...
More info - Frequently asked questions about Shareware