Freeware ( of "free" and "software") is software that is available for use at no monetary cost or for an optional fee, but usually (although not necessarily) with one or more restricted usage rights. Freeware is in contrast to commercial software, which is typically sold for profit, but might be distributed for a business or commercial purpose in the aim to expand the marketshare of a "premium" product. According to the Free Software Foundation, "freeware" is a loosely defined category and it has no clear accepted definition, although FSF says it must be distinguished from free software (libre). Popular examples of closed-source freeware include Adobe reader, Free Studio and Skype.
The term freeware was coined by Andrew Fluegelman when he wanted to sell a communications program named PC-Talk that he had created but for which he did not wish to use traditional methods of distribution[clarification needed] because of their cost. Fluegelman actually distributed PC-Talk via a process now referred to as shareware. Current use of the term freeware does not necessarily match the original concept by Andrew Fluegelman.
Software license 
Software classified as freeware is licensed at no cost and is either fully functional for an unlimited time; or has only basic functions enabled with a fully functional version available commercially or as shareware. In contrast to free software, the author usually restricts one or more rights of the user, including the rights to copy, distribute, modify and make derivative works of the software or extract the source code. The software license may impose additional restrictions on the type of use including personal use, private use, individual use, non-profit use, non-commercial use, academic use, educational use, use in charity or humanitarian organisations, non-military use, use by public authorities or various other combinations of these type of restrictions. For instance, the license may be "free for private, non-commercial use". The software license may also impose various other restrictions, such as restricted use over a network, restricted use on a server, restricted use in a combination with some types of other software or with some hardware devices, prohibited distribution over the Internet other than linking to author's website, restricted distribution without author's consent, restricted number of copies, etc.
Distinctions from other software licenses 
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has formally defined the term "Free software" in 1986 and requested that people avoid referring to "Free Software" as "freeware". Members of the Free and open source software (FOSS) community believe that "freedom to use" implies that the end user is free to run, study, modify, and distribute the software with minimal restriction. Also the United States Department of Defense stated in an instruction for government employees and government contractors that the term "freeware" should not be used as a synonym for "open source software".
Freeware is also distinct from shareware; the latter obliges the user to pay after some trial period or to gain additional functionality. Sometimes, the class of shareware produced without a time limit, but with intentionally limited functionality is erroneously referred to as freeware. This "freeware", more accurately termed freemium is easily identified by an option to upgrade for a more enhanced version, e.g.: basic version upgrades to "Pro" version.
Many freeware products are developed by commercial developers alongside an expanded product with more features which is sold for profit. This type of freeware is released as a type of promotion for the other product, which is often based on the same code base with only a compiler flag required to produce the free version. The BBEdit, BBEdit Lite and TextWrangler text editors for the Macintosh are an example of this model of freeware.
Method of distribution 
Freeware cannot economically rely on commercial promotion. Thus the internet is the primary resource for information on which freeware is available, useful, and is not malware. However, there are also many computer magazines or newspapers that provide ratings for freeware and include compact discs or other storage media containing freeware.
The pure freeware model of software development has been criticized as "unsustainable" because it requires a single entity to be responsible for updating and enhancing the product, which is then given away for free. Most successful freeware products have been ad-supported or "freemium" in which the free product serves to promote a commercial offering. Other freeware projects are simply released as one off programs with no promise or expectation of further development. These may include source code, as does free software so that users can make any required or desired changes themselves, but this code remains subject to the license of the compiled executable and does not constitute free software.
See also 
- Free software movement
- Gratis versus Libre
- List of commercial video games released as freeware
- List of freeware
- List of freeware video games
- "Freeware" (2010). Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Accessed January 13, 2010.
- The Linux Information Project (2006-10-22). "Freeware Definition". Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- Graham, Lawrence D (1999). Legal battles that shaped the computer industry. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-56720-178-9. Retrieved 2009-03-16. "Freeware, however, is generally only free in terms of price; the author typically retains all other rights, including the rights to copy, distribute, and make derivative works from the software."
- "Categories of free and nonfree software". Retrieved 2011-02-16. "The term “freeware” has no clear accepted definition, but it is commonly used for packages which permit redistribution but not modification (and their source code is not available). These packages are not free software, so please don't use “freeware” to refer to free software."
- Free Software Foundation, Inc. "Words to Avoid (or Use with Care) Because They Are Loaded or Confusing". Retrieved 2011-02-16. "Please don't use the term “freeware” as a synonym for “free software.” The term “freeware” was used often in the 1980s for programs released only as executables, with source code not available. Today it has no particular agreed-on definition."
- Dixon, Rod (2004). Open Source Software Law. Artech House. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-58053-719-3. Retrieved 2009-03-16. "On the other hand, freeware does not require any payment from the licensee or end-user, but it is not precisely free software, despite the fact that to an end-user the software is acquired in what appears to be an identical manner."
- ADOBE Personal Computer Software License Agreement (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-16. "This license does not grant you the right to sublicense or distribute the Software. ... This agreement does not permit you to install or Use the Software on a computer file server. ... You shall not modify, adapt, translate, or create derivative works based upon the Software. You shall not reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, or otherwise attempt to discover the source code of the Software. ... You will not Use any Adobe Runtime on any non-PC device or with any embedded or device version of any operating system."
- "ADOBE READER AND RUNTIME SOFTWARE - DISTRIBUTION LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR USE ON PERSONAL COMPUTERS". Retrieved 2011-02-16. "Distributor may not make the Software available as a standalone product on the Internet. Distributor may direct end users to obtain the Software, with the exception of ARH, through electronic download on a standalone basis by linking to the official Adobe website."
- "IrfanView Software License Agreement.". Retrieved 2011-02-16. "IrfanView is provided as freeware, but only for private, non-commercial use (that means at home). ... IrfanView is free for educational use (schools, universities and libraries) and for use in charity or humanitarian organisations. ... You may not distribute, rent, sub-license or otherwise make available to others the Software or documentation or copies thereof, except as expressly permitted in this License without prior written consent from IrfanView (Irfan Skiljan). ... You may not modify, de-compile, disassemble or reverse engineer the Software."
- "The Free Software Definition". Retrieved 2011-02-16. "“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.” ... Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software."
- Frequently Asked Questions regarding Open Source Software (OSS) and the Department of Defense (DoD), retrieved 2012-06-11, "Also, do not use the terms "freeware" or "shareware" as a synonym for "open source software". DoD Instruction 8500.2, “Information Assurance (IA) Implementation”, Enclosure 4, control DCPD-1, states that these terms apply to software where "the Government does not have access to the original source code". The government does have access to the original source code of open source software, so these terms do not apply."