Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

May 6 2009   2:06PM GMT

Shareware – a demonstration of faith

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

My wife said I was “a foolish old man” if I thought even one person would voluntarily send me money for the program. I was more optimistic. I suspected that enough voluntary payments would come to help pay for expansions to my personal computer hobby – perhaps several hundred dollars. Maybe even a thousand dollars (in my wildest dreams!) But my tiny post office box was too small to receive the responses from a wildly enthusiastic public.

Jim Knopf, The Origin of Shareware

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is shareware. Jim Knopf, a man who’s widely recognized as “the father of shareware” is retired now.  Lucky for us, he’s posted his story.

Is shareware dead? No. You might know it by other names though — crippleware, demo-ware, trialware.  They all describe a distribution model where the software is given out for free with the understanding that if the user likes the software, he will eventually pay the developer for it.

Shareware’s in the news again because of Microsoft’s Windows 7 Release Candidate.  From now until July 2010, you can get a pretty-close-to-final version of Windows 7 for free. The  understanding is that if you like it, you’ll pay for the upgrade when the trial period runs out.

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