The Principle of Shareware and Public Domain

Much of the content of this site was created with the use of programs and libraries (software, icons, images, etc.), which are available as either PUBLIC DOMAIN or SHAREWARE products.

PUBLIC DOMAIN:- (sometimes called FREEWARE)
Means the program or library content is available to any person without any charge being made. There is often a license still associated with public domain products, to ensure that proper credit is given to the original author, developer, or artist. Sometimes an acknowledgement is also required in return for the use or inclusion of public domain products.

SHAREWARE:-
Means that the program or library content may be freely distributed (in its entirety), on a (try before you buy) basis. If you try any shareware product and decide you don't like it, you can simply delete it and no payment is required. If on the other hand, you like the product and intend to continue using it, the terms of the agreement (usually distributed with the product) require payment to the original author. Frequently, there is only a nominal fee required, as Shareware products are usually produced by individuals or small software organisations.



One essential program for anyone sharing data (be it via disk, Email or Internet Web Browsing), is an Antivirus program. A perfect example of Freeware which bridges the gap between Shareware and Public Domain, is a product called:

AVG Antivirus System, by GRISOFT.
Another example is Zone Alarm, from ZONELABS.

These excellent products are both distributed as Shareware, but are offered FREE to private users in return for a simple registration (via Email). However corporate users are asked for a registration fee (well - they can afford it, can't they?).

AVG offers a complete Antivirus solution and is (in my experience of over four years use to date) 100% reliable. It offers Email and Web browsing protection, and also includes automated virus signature file updates and scheduled virus scans which can be tailored (if you wish) to your own requirements. This product is a perfect example of install and forget software and in my humble opinion is far superior to the likes of either the Norton or McAfee antivirus offerings (both of which slow the system considerably).

Zone Alarm is intended for anyone using the Internet, but is probably of more use to those of us with Broadband connections, or anyone who stays connected to the internet for long periods. Zone Alarm is a Firewall, and is designed to thwart the efforts of Hackers, who (for whatever reason) would invade our systems and threaten the security of our data or personal information.

Like all Firewall products, it can take a little effort to set-up, but it tries to do this automatically, by asking (usually) sensible questions, like...

"Do you want program Publish My Personal Info to access the Internet?",
or
"Would you like program Bugger-Up My Computer to act as a Server?".

No - They're not always as obvious as that, but the simple rule is, If you answer NO, but tell it not to remember the answer, then if something stops working, you can always give it the opposite answer next time. When you're happy, tick the box to say Remember this Answer and it won't ask you again. - Easy Peasy!

And if you should make a mistake, you can review and change the settings very easily. Personally, I think these two products are invaluable, and they work together on any operating system (including XP) with no problems whatsoever.
And at Zero cost, they offer unrivalled quality and value for (no) money ;-)



Shareware products usually include some form of notice like :-

***** SUPPORT THE SHAREWARE PRINCIPLE *****
If you intend to continue to use this product after the trial period
(usually 30 - 90 days), please register with the program author.
***** SUPPORT THE SHAREWARE PRINCIPLE *****

All programs are supplied as-is and no responsibility can be assumed
by the author(s) or the vendor for any loss or damage which may result
from the use of any program or utility included with this package.

***** . . . . . . . . USE AT YOUR OWN RISK . . . . . . . . *****
If you do not agree with these terms, please DO NOT use these products.
Problems may be referred to:- Support@share4all.whizzo-products.net
If we can help we will, but this is a free service so please be patient and
PLEASE - NO STUPID QUESTIONS (or expect a stupid answer) !!!
. . . . . The Share4all Team - - - Quality Software since 1812. . . . .
***** . . . . . . . . USE AT YOUR OWN RISK . . . . . . . . *****

This is quite simply to warn the end user that the software is not free, and also acts as a disclaimer to renounce all responsibility in case you manage to completely trash your system or lose all your irreplaceable data.



The following text was extracted from an article by Jack Schofield,
which explains the SHAREWARE principle in more detail.
The original can be found at:-

www.TISCALI.co.uk
but please note: this site can sometimes be a bit slow....

Shareware
Try before you buy
Shareware is computer software that is distributed on the principle that users can try it before they buy it. Shareware is not free software, and it is still protected by copyright laws. The essential difference between shareware and ordinary commercial software is that users are permitted to run a shareware program to test it for a reasonable time, perhaps (say) 30 days before registering and paying for it. Users who do not pay for it are on their honour, if any, to stop using it.

Because shareware is freely distributed, it avoids many of the costs of commercial distribution. Shareware programs are usually circulated without boxes and manuals, and there are no dealers to take a cut of the profits. Shareware libraries are allowed to make a small charge to cover the cost of disks and postage, and online services may charge for connection time while a program is downloaded to a user's personal computer, but these charges are small. As a result, shareware is usually much cheaper than commercial software, and it can be very good value.

The best shareware authors are often members of an American organization, the ASP (Association of Shareware Professionals), which acts as a sort of trade body.

Heyday
The shareware market was most successful in the early days of the IBM PC, launched in the USA in 1981. At the time, there was relatively little commercial software around, there were not many shops selling programs, and commercial standards were relatively low. Good shareware programs such as PC-Write and PC-File generated millions of dollars' worth of sales.

Today, sophisticated software suites such as MS Works and ClarisWorks are widely available and cheap, so most shareware programs are simpler utilities that often could not be distributed on a commercial basis. But, there are exceptions, such as PaintShop Pro, and games, such as Doom.

Don't pay, don't use
Software writers have made a variety of attempts to encourage users to pay for programs when the test period runs out. Payment may, for example, be rewarded with an upgraded version of the program, a printed manual, and support if there are problems. Some programmers include warnings or advertising messages that nag the user into paying (often called 'nagware'). Some programmers limit their software ('crippleware'), or stop it from working after 30 days. This is no longer shareware by the standards of the ASP.

Many programmers take advantage of the distribution system that has grown up around shareware, including shareware libraries (which distribute programs by post), online bulletin boards (from which programs may be downloaded), CD-ROMs, and computer magazine cover discs. Some authors are giving their programs away (freeware) while others ask for a postcard, a bottle of an alcoholic beverage, a donation to a named charity, or just a smile.

Shareware is not as popular as it has been, and there are fewer shareware libraries in operation. However, the future is not necessarily bleak. Many computer users are now used to downloading programs over the Internet, and this means many more users have easy access to shareware.

Also we may be moving away from large, complex programs towards an age of software components that 'plug in' to 'container' programs like Web browsers. These components, written in for example, Sun's Java language or Microsoft's Visual Basic, can easily be written by individuals and small companies and could well be distributed as shareware.