Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Freeware, Shareware, Silverware - Is It Legal?

When doing my usual daily work I realized that I've never written a post about freeware, shareware and silverware. Ok strike the silverware just making sure you're paying attention. The intent of both is to create an environment where the average computer user can actually enjoy their PC. If you've never downloaded free and/or share ware you are missing out. In some cases you're missing out on viruses and spyware and in other cases you're missing out on good, old fashioned usable software. Let's start with a simple explanation of what they are from the dictionary.

computer software distributed without charge.

computer software distributed without initial charge but for which the user is encouraged to pay a nominal fee to cover support for continued use.

So the question becomes what can I get for free and where can I go to get it, that is the question of the day. The biggest thing I would encourage you to do is to use a large scale site with paid staff first and foremost, especially if you're not a computer geek. The reason for this is they will get inundated with emails, calls and general hate mail if there are any problems with the content on their site. Some of the websites I'd recommend for downloading your next piece of software would probably be CNET.com and tucows. The thing to be cautious of is when you really need something and the stress and emotions are high to not just download something to immediately solve your problem. The effects of that could cost you significant time and money and maybe hijacked passwords, credit card numbers, etc. Also be sure to take your time reading the installation guides, the reputable ones will tell you that they're installing additional items like the google toolbar, yahoo toolbar and the latest wiz-bang toolbar. In many cases you can opt-out of that item and still get the software installed.

Here is just a sampling of some of the software applications I use for free:
7-zip :: review
Spybot - Search and Destroy 1.4
Windows Defender

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