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Donationware is a licensing model that supplies fully operational unrestricted software to the user and requests an optional donation be paid to the programmer or a third-party beneficiary (usually a non-profit).[1] The amount of the donation may also be stipulated by the author, or it may be left to the discretion of the user, based on individual perceptions of the software's value. Since donationware comes fully operational (i.e. not crippleware/Freemium) when payment is optional, it is a type of freeware.


An example of donationware is the 1987 Atari ST video game Ballerburg, whose programmer distributed the game for free but asked for a donation, offering as incentive the source code for the game.[2] Red Ryder was a terminal emulation software program created for the Apple Macintosh in the 1980s that used donations to fund development.[citation needed]

Later examples include GIMP, Paint.Net, IrfanView, VLC media player, TrueCrypt, FileZilla, Vim, Stickies, and the browser extension AdBlock.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Milian, Mark (2011-06-13). "Reading apps sell subscriptions to fuzzy feelings". CNN. Retrieved 2014-05-22. 
  2. ^ April 1987: Ballerburg - Zwei Spieler, zwei Burgen und ein Berg dazwischen... on "Ich habe das Programm als Public Domain veröffentlicht (die Unterscheidung in Freeware, Shareware usw. gab es damals nicht), mit der Bitte um eine 20 DM Spende. Dafür gab es dann die erweitere Version und den Quellcode." (in German)
  3. ^ Zukerman, Erez (2011-12-08). "Free Downloads That Are Worth a Donation, Part 1". PC World. Retrieved 2014-05-22. 
  4. ^ "AdBlock - Browse faster. Ad-free.". 

External links[edit]