Free software has continued to be very popular. Over the years, the number of free software developers has skyrocketed significantly. This can be attributed to the increase in the number of free software development tools. Further, free software is often used a platform for the promotion of paid versions of software. This purpose may explain why many paid versions of software are being incorporated into free versions of software. Free software can also be used for presenting lectures or teaching a specific subject. This is often the case in the education sector where such software is used extensively. Although free software is generally defined by the fact that it can be obtained by a user without paying anything, it is not the same. There are various types of free software that are available today as highlighted in the passage.
Open source software
All software that is open source is editable. This means that users are at liberty to customize the features of the software in line with their personal preferences. Users can make as many changes as possible to the software by simply modifying the source code of the software. This applies to many computer programs including operating systems. What is quite interesting about open source software is the fact that users can edit the software and even distribute it as much as they wish. However, there are license details that come with such software. You have to find out what license details are associated the software before you can begin to share it.
Shareware is an example of free software that is shareable. This is software that can be accessed for free and later shared with other users. The means of sharing the software depends on the user’s preferences. External media devices or computer networks may be used for sharing such software. Shareware software is freeware software that is not often editable. Further, users are required to respect the developer’s rights.
Demo software is software that is available to the members of the public for free primarily because it is being tried. This software is available for free and accessible to the members of the public on the basis of testing its overall performance. For example, some software types may be made available to members of the public while they are still in the beta versions. The beta versions may be improved in the future. Sometimes the demo software is simply a paid version of software that is made available for free for a certain time frame. Once the time frame has elapsed, the software is no longer free. The term trial version is sometimes used to refer to demo software.
These are the most notable types of free software that are available today. However, other types may also be considered provided they can be accessed for free. For example, proprietary software may be considered free if it can be accessed for free. The only difference is the fact that copyrights of the developer are preserved.