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Freeware & Open Source

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This is a list of freeware, GPL & Open Source software originally collected and collated in the Freeware List in the OCAU Forums.


General Criteria for Freeware

For the purposes of this Wiki, it is put forward that "Freeware" should be defined as software supplied:

  1. without necessary remuneration from the user to the developer/publisher.
  2. without conditions which overtly restrict the program for personal use on a single home PC.
  3. wherever possible, without overtly advertising a paying product to such an extent that the use of the program causes irritation (I realise this is subjective, but I try to imagine what I believe to be a "reasonable man" test case).
  4. wherever possible, without necessary registration.
  5. wherever possible, without a clause in the user agreement which necessitates removal of the free product if it becomes a commercial product in future releases.

While there are some products listed that may violate one or more of these conditions - ICQ is one case, being adware - they are included for the sake of being thorough in offering a choice within a specific category.

GPL software is an entirely different matter, which is why it has been distinguished from freeware. GPL has its own mandate of use which is not legally re-definable; GPL simply is, without any necessity for further explanation here.

Software which discontinues use after a certain period of time or number of uses perhaps shouldn't be defined as freeware as this condition violates guidelines, and contributors should consider this before listing it here.


We think the above definitions sum it up best.

Generally speaking Freeware is not crippled in anyway, shape or form. That is, it's a full featured program that is offered completely free to use for home, personal and/or sometimes corporate use by the author.

Be aware that some products are marketed as "Freeware", but are actually really Shareware, Crippleware or other products. Computer criminals often hide worms, trojans & viruses in their "free" products. Sometimes it is easy to confuse "Freeware" with the terms "Free Download".

With that said, some software authors release what is called "Lite" versions of their software as freeware. "Lite" meaning it is a smaller less featured version of a "pro" or "standard" version of the same software they also develop. Even though, technically speaking, "Lite" software isn't really freeware, it is regarded as freeware. Why? Because it is released free without any conditions on it's use (trial periods, etc), except for it to be used for personal use only by the author/s.

Types of software that are not regarded as freeware

* Abandon-ware

The copyright holder is dead, non-existent or untraceable. Often when a copyright product has several hands of changing ownership (company buyouts, etc), some products have their ownership unknown. Some definitions of copyright (eg Freeware, etc) may be so legally untested, that it is "legally abandoned" until it is tightly defined as within legal definitions. Examples listed below are the Operating Systems of Sinclair, Atari & Amiga computers, and their emulators.

* Adware

Basicly any application that contains blatant advertising unless you purchase a license to remove it.

Examples of this include Opera 7.xx Browser and Eudora Mail Client.

* Conditionally Licensed

Often these are Abandonware, or superceded versions of current software. The "condition" is that you somehow received permission to use the software. Legal proof of the below conditions may be difficult or impossible. This permission may be because:

1) You bought an newsletter / magazine / official-presentation, and hence have access to the software. Examples are Lotus Wordpro & 602 Office software.

2) You are part of a bulk licence system (at school, work, etc. - often a Microsoft or Adobe product).

3) You have a license for a previous product before it was upgraded, renamed or the copyright / ownership changed.

Note: Sometimes there are combinations of the above that may also include and install third party product's such as DivX 5 Codec and Sharman Networks Kazaa Client.

* "Free Download"

Cunningly used by most software suppliers on the Internet to give the impression of Freeware. If it really is freeware, examine closely the cost: $0.00, or for the actual word: "free".

* Demoware or Trialsoft

Software with full or partial functionality that is usable for a set trial period (usually 15-120 days), after which it becomes completely unusable unless a license is purchased. Another version of crippleware limits the file sizes, menu choices, or number of times that you are allowed to use the product.

An example of this include would be Adobe Photoshop CS 30 Day Tryout.

* Shareware, Nagware or Crippleware

Software that is released as "freeware", but has features crippled or disabled by the author that may require the purchase of a license to un-cripple or enable. Some rare types of shareware is more "Frightware", where it's threats of limitations are not really in operation. The majority of this kind of software has charactoristic "nag" screens that pester you to buy a license.

An example of this include would be Apple Quicktime Player.

* Betaware, Alphaware

Rarely has a use-by date, after which it is unusable. Often with known & unknown bugs and limitations. Often used by a way to launch most types of software before re-launching a relatively bug free version.

Audio Visual / Graphical


File Management / Office Applications


Internet / Communications

Operating Systems

PDA / Mobile Phone

Portable Applications

Programming Interfaces / Utilities


System Utilities

Freeware Websites

101 ways to help improve open source

For when you have some time on spare and want to do something useful...

Additional information

"I'll make special mentions of DeepSpring, for his early & continuing efforts to create work for me by providing so many links, and z3099528, for setting up the bulk of the Wiki entries. Deepspring has taken the time to further define the different types of software that can be found for download on the net in terms relevant to this thread.

"I posted the first message on 17th January, 2004, and the last, now, on 04th December, 2005. Nearly two years later, after 302 posts and almost 26000 views (at this time), the thread is dead. Long live the Wiki!" - Ambush

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