shareware

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shareware

[′sher‚wer]
(computer science)
Copyrighted software that can be tried before buying.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

shareware

(software)
/sheir'weir/ Software that, like freeware, can be usually obtained (downloaded) and redistributed for free, but most often is under copyright and does legally require a payment in the EULA, at least beyond the evaluation period or for commercial applications. This payment, as well as fulfilling the user's legal obligations, may buy additional support, documentation, or functionality. Generally, source code for shareware programs is not available. Shareware is sometimes also nagware and/or crippleware, which muddles the term and is frowned upon in the community.

See also careware, charityware, guiltware, postcardware, and -ware; compare payware.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)

shareware

Software on the "honor system." The concept is that users try a product, and if they like it, they voluntarily pay a set registration fee or make a donation to the program's creator. There are tens of thousands of shareware programs; some fantastic, some awful.

Typically written part time by individuals, shareware had its heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s. Although some applications were successful, the bulk were not, and most shareware evolved into trial versions that work for a limited time or lite versions that have limited functionality (see trialware and lite version).

The Shareware Heydays
Prior to the Web, "shareware vendors" copied hundreds of shareware programs onto floppy disks and CD-ROMs and sold them by mail order or at computer flea markets. They collected a small fee for the distribution service, although novices often thought it was the software registration fee. In the late 1990s, advertiser-supported shareware websites sprang up to provide distribution. See crippleware, freeware, public domain software, ad-supported software and wares.
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