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Freeware is computer software which is made available free of charge. Typically freeware is distributed without source code. Freeware usually carries a license that permits redistribution but may have other restrictions, such as limitations on its commercial use.

The term was coined by Andrew Fluegelman when he wanted to distribute a communications program named PC-Talk that he had created but for which he did not wish to use traditional methods of distribution because of their cost. Previously, he held a trademark on the term "freeware" but this trademark has since been abandoned. He actually distributed PC-Talk via what is now referred to as shareware.

Commercial vendors often release freeware as a loss leader to attract customers to other services or products available for a fee. Others release freeware because other methods of distribution are unlikely to make a profit or because the software is outdated and is no longer worth selling.

Freeware is distinct from the following categories of software:

See also:

External links

Freeware archives