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The article should mention DOOM, one of the most successful, if not the most successful, PC game explicitly offered as "shareware". 11:27, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

It should mention it, yes. But I don't know if it or it's predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D, was more successful. We need to find some numbers somewhere. — Frecklefoot | Talk 15:17, 8 December 2006 (UTC)


This article does not convey a clear concise information about Shareware. Or in other words, this article is written in an un-encyclopedic or magazine like way.

Please consider a rewrite.

Mugunth 05:12, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

There have been about one thousand edits to this page over it's history. Some revisions have been well written, many have been less so. Reviving and sorting through the history would take a lot of work. The one specific point that has caused a lot of contention is the lack of a proper definition of the term. The rewritten article should clearly state that the definition is not canonical and is widely disputed. This fact is well referenced over the history of the article. If this point were made more clear in the rewrite, with an emphasis of how different definitions of the term affect different aspects of Shareware, I believe future editors would have an easier time with it. (Yes, I know people like me should just do it and not talk about it; but this would be a multi-day project to ensure the rewrite is comprehensive over the many references that have been added and removed over the years.) --Bwagstaff 07:45, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

I have just rewritten the first part of this article. The past version had some facts wrong, completely left out any mention of shareware disk distributors, who were the major source of shareware distribution in the 1980s and early 1990s, and claimed that the number of new programs in pre-Internet days were severely limited (which is not true -- Public Software Library added hundreds of new programs a month) thus restricting the spread of niche programs. Nfordwik 19:30, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Shareware vs Open Source[edit]

This suggestion may create more problems rather than solving them, but...:I find it interesting that no one has compared shareware to "Open Source" and "Free/libre" software which provided explicit licenses including BSD license, the GNU General Public License (GPL). Versions 2 and 3 of the GPL, etc. While these are generally for freeware, these license agreements address some of the problems and abuses of the shareware that proceeded it. It might be helpful to do a comparison/contrast. I stopped shopping for shareware when I discovered open source, and I don't think I'm the only one!!

There was also some writing on the commercial "success" of shareware projects. One should be more specific, perhaps find reference to statistics on profitability? It seems unlikely that there would be statistics on that, and even then, the complicating factors of a developer's/the developers' other jobs/ or studies at school, and whether the project begins as a hobby, and a thousand other factors makes it really difficult to assess the "success" of a project. Cuvtixo (talk) 04:57, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Definition section[edit]

I have added this section in light of previous comments above. I moved the first paragraph from the History section to here, it looks a good start but needs citations. Hence I added the Reflist to make it easier for others to add references to the various terms. It looks like other terms in other sections e.g. 'crippleware' could be moved here to keep it all in one place. There is much overlap and conflict of facts between the various sections at the moment - so more citations are needed to back up the facts and opinions in this article.Ray3055 (talk) 20:28, 28 November 2007 (UTC)


I removed this: "One problem is the lack of standards, including a strict definition of what constititues "shareware." because the section goes on to mention various standards by industry groups. Perhaps the original author meant "agreed standards". I was an ASP member way back in the early 1990s and they certainly had standards both for ASP Membership in what was allowed to be described as ASP approved shareware and also for ASP Vendor members in the way that the software was to be decribed; but certainly even then there was discussion that the distribution of a fully-functional version with no 'nags' etc did not give good returns for all programs - in particular 'business software' like the original software from Jim Button did well, but games software required a different sales model - as per Apogee etc. I recall most games software companies were not ASP members because the ASP standards resulted in poor sales for them.Ray3055 (talk) 12:33, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Re: definition of terms[edit]

(I've moved this comment, as it was a reply to a thread nearly two years old. The original thread is at Talk:Shareware/Archive 1#Definition of terms. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:20, 28 August 2008 (UTC))

I agree the definition needs to be "loosened up". I think the article is doing well in defining shareware as a distribution method, but then it becomes skewed by stating that the parts of shareware that can only be obtained after registering aren't shareware. They are shareware, but registered shareware that is not freely distributable as opposed to unregistered shareware that is. It's shareware because of how it is obtained. The definition section and the distribution section both need mending, in my opinion. If registered shareware is not shareware because it cannot itself be shared, then the free part is not just shareware either because it can be used on its own without paying (it'd be freeware; you can indefinitely play the first episode of Heretic without any obligations whatsoever just like any totally free game). Both parts together make that sort of software shareware. Distinctions should be made between different shareware models, but a product either is shareware, or it isn't. It's not that a portion of it is shareware and the rest isn't.

Perhaps the article needs sections describing the different shareware models used; earlier freer shareware that had little conditioning for the user, which either applied to a BBS service or chose to contribute optionally, and later "crippleware" and "part free shareware" which gave companies more control over their products.

Relatedly, the defining difference between a demo and a free portion of a shareware product is that a demo does not offer a registration for the full product, not that the one is "complete" and the other isn't. In some cases the developers contradicted what I'm saying in how they called their software; for example id Software's DOOM says "this is not shareware" when you load the registered game. But I don't think an encyclopedic article should follow the marketing terminology of a company when describing a phenomenon (based around a distribution method), because such a partial definition of shareware would restrict the article. Although it might be wise to note how companies may have defined their shareware offerings in the article. Who is like God? (talk) 17:03, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

The newest edit[edit]

I visited this page, and saw the need for style editing and some clarification. It was not my intention to alter information, though I did notice the inconsistency in defining shareware as the software vs shareware as a distribution method. I visited Wiktionary and used much of that definition here, but then, I read this talk page and I realize I might have stepped on some toes in the process. The fact that shareware is a type of distribution, in my opinion, should be made after the primary definition which, in common usage, refers to the software itself. As a method of distribution I would think it should read sharewaring. In any case, though I'm new to wikipedia editing, and certainly to this article, I hope you will consider the merits of my rewrite and not just revert them back to the old version. After all, it sounds much more "encyclopedic" now. Marmel2 (talk) 12:54, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

I fixed the link to Bob Wallace's name to be a standard Wikipedia link, as he is profiled in an article. I also fixed a longstanding misattribution (here and on the bio page); Bob did not invent the term, but he was the first popular user of it. The edits you made look good, and I don't think a wiktionary link is necessarily required, but I'll add an infobox reference to it since there is a convenient template for that. Todd Vierling (talk) 18:35, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

describe the differences between shareware, freeware and public domain software[edit]

now i know the shareware is trial version , freeware is we can free download example gtalk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:36, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Moved new-user query to discussion page[edit]

Lokiasan, a first-time editor, appended the following query at the bottom of the article: "Sometimes, in some web download page, state that software is freeware, but after we install and try to run the application, it request to purchase the full version. It this a fake freeware []"

AGF convinced me not to rv the edit. Rob Rosenberger (talk) 02:45, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Reference #8 requires login[edit]

The reference page redirects itself to a login page. It requires a username and login to view its contents. Shouldn't it be removed or replaced by a "open" page? Leosdad (talk) 20:30, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

No. There is no policy/guideline saying that. --Joshua Issac (talk) 03:08, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Just because there isn't a policy for something doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. the rules are only for guidelines. It makes sense if someone wanted to replace a reference page that can not be easily viewed with one that can (if both are equally reliable as sources). IRWolfie- (talk) 20:19, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
That the source is not freely accessible is no reason to remove it, let alone replace it. If there is another reliable source available, then it may be added without removing the non-free source (unless there is another reason to remove it). Otherwise, we would be removing thousands of books and peer reviewed academic papers as sources. The relevant policy is Wikipedia:Verifiability#Access to sources (WP:PAYWALL). --Joshua Issac (talk) 19:40, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

The definition, yet again[edit]

"Shareware is usually offered as a trial version with certain features only available after the license is purchased, or as a full version, but for a trial period. Once the trial period has passed the program may stop running until a license is purchased."

I grew up in the days when the shareware market was a niche one. There was a company called Shareware Marketing, later Shareware Publishing, whose business was distributing shareware, freeware and PD software on floppy disks. The basic definition of shareware with which it went, AIUI taken from the Association of Shareware Professionals, is that the user agreement stipulates that you register by paying the author (or, in a few rare cases, merely contacting the author) to obtain a licence to continue using it. Usually there would be a time period or number of uses set in this agreement, but one of the rules is that it does not stop working once this time has passed - it is thus a form of honour system. Moreover, any material benefits of registration, such as technical support, a manual, a version with more features (whether via an unlocking code or the better version being sent to you on a disk) or additional content or software, are extra to the requirement of registration being in the licence agreement.

See also my previous explanation, which goes into a few more details.

Still, it would be good if we could find evidence of how the term was first defined. We know that the late Bob Wallace popularized it. But had anyone coined the term beforehand? Did Bob ever give a definition? The ASP website now doesn't seem to define the term to this level of detail. Still, there ought to be some definition agreed upon by the industry that preserves the distinction of shareware from demos, crippleware, timeware and the like. -- Smjg (talk) 18:13, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree that some research into the history of the term's definition would be a good idea. I also agree that a piece of software that releases a free demo version is not the same thing as shareware by any reasonable definition. That said, if the normal usage of the term includes demos today we can't ignore that fact entirely either. --ThaddeusB (talk) 03:10, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
One of the problems is that the definition and environment have changed over time. In its heyday there was a pretty clear distinction between retail software and try-before-you-buy software in most cases. The Internet, more mainstream computer use, open source, etc. have changed things so much that I could argue that there really isn't such a thing as shareware, as the term was once used, any longer--or at least it's indistinguishable from the broader world of commercial software.

ghaff (talk) 11:53, 2 May 2010 (UTC)[edit] is still up and running. If you mean a different then dont link it to the running one. (talk) 16:27, 3 July 2011 (UTC)