Is Free Really Free? Understanding Free Software Downloads

If you’re looking for free software downloads, or maybe even free games downloads or free eBooks downloads, two terms that you’re bound to bump into a lot of the time are ‘freeware’ and ‘shareware’.

Assuming you’re not clued into how the free software downloads market works online, you probably will be at a loss to understand what these terms mean!

Technical Meaning of Freeware and Shareware

On a very technical basis, freeware essentially means free software downloads that you can use however you see fit. There may be a few restrictions put on certain free games downloads and free eBooks downloads that prevent you from using them for commercial purposes – but asides from that pretty much everything should be free game.

Shareware on the other hand is something that you could consider as ‘free to try’ but if you intend to use it in the long term you need to pay. Free software downloads that are shareware often only allow users to access certain features within the software and if you want to access the rest you’ll have to pay a fee and ‘unlock’ it.

It is worth noting however that nowadays many free games downloads, free eBooks downloads and free software downloads use the terms freeware and shareware very loosely!

Reality of Freeware and Shareware

Today, you’ll find both the terms ‘freeware’ and ‘shareware’ being used almost interchangeably.

At times, free software downloads that require you to pay to unlock the full version may be labeled as ‘freeware’ even though they’re technically not. Similarly, free games downloads that don’t require you to pay at all may be labeled as ‘shareware’ even though it is really freeware through and through!

This means that in most cases you can literally ignore the terms freeware and shareware entirely.

Instead, what you should be doing is focusing on the conditions listed for using the particular free software downloads that you’re looking at. If the software, game or eBook requires you to pay – it should say so somewhere.

By checking up on this before and when you do download anything, you’ll be able to know whether or not it is really free or whether you’re going to have to fork out some cash somewhere along the way.

Admittedly, this is a little bit of extra work – but it is certainly better than finding out much later on that you really need to pay for something that you thought was a free games download or free eBooks download!

Now that you understand what these terms technically mean and the reality of their modern day usage, you should see that there’s really no reason for you to be confused when you encounter them!