December 10 is International Shareware Day

International Shareware Day aims to raise awareness of the contribution shareware and freeware software developers make to all computer users.

No-one is exactly sure when the first International Shareware Day was held, but now each year, the IT industry and open source software developers around the world are encouraging us to take the time to acknowledge the huge contribution shareware and freeware has made to our digital lives on the second Saturday of December.

What is Shareware?

Shareware is the term given to open source programs that a developer or program author makes available for anyone to use – for free. Some shareware exists as free trials that include an expiry date, unless a fee or subscription is paid, while others are completely free all the time. Shareware is usually a program or app that can be used to perform a very quick task immediately. Some examples of shareware that you might be familiar with include:

  • Adobe Acrobat 8
  • Blue-Cloner
  • Total Privacy
  • Easy Movie Splitter 2.5.3
  • UltraISO 7.6
  • Wondershare YouTube Downloader
  • Internet Download Accelerator 3.1
  • CloneDVD 4.3
  • PHP Debugger
  • BadCopy Pro 3.61
  • System Mechanic 8.0
  • Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate 5.1.26

How is freeware different?

Freeware and shareware are often used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same. Unlike shareware, freeware uses closed-source programming to create software that is available free of charge.

Freeware is a term that hasn’t really been around much since the 1980s and 1990s, when it was used to describe programs released by developers without source code that didn’t need to be paid for.

Some familiar examples of freeware include:

  • Adobe Reader
  • Free Studio
  • Skype
  • Trillian
  • ZipGenius
  • Stuffit Expander
  • Evernote

While the major advantage of freeware and shareware is that it’s free, there is a downside. Because developers of freeware and shareware don’t get paid, there’s little incentive for them to update or improve their product, so as operating systems and web browsers move from one version to another, it’s not the same with freeware and shareware, often rendering old programs un-usable. This isn’t the case with the major freeware names listed above, but for more specific niche programs, it usually is.

The good news is – programmers and developers are releasing new freeware and shareware programs all the time, so regardless of which type of computer you’re using or which sort of software you need, you’ll probably find freeware or shareware that can help you – completely free of charge. That’s why we all need to feel grateful on International Shareware Day.

iFactory’s team of specialist web developers, designers and digital professionals understand the pros and cons of open-source software and can help you make decisions about which web development, application development or content management software will be best for your business. Contact us today.

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