What programs are called freely distributed: examples. Licensed programs

Today, all software for computer and mobile systems, called software (from English software), can be conditionally divided into paid and free. Let's try to consider what are freely distributed, licensed and shareware programs. In addition, we will give an explanation of the differences between such software and the appropriateness of using one or the type of software products.

What programs are called freely distributed?

About this type of software immediately it is necessary to say that the condition of having a license for a certain product is not mandatory. For example, free software includes both licensed applications and those developed by enthusiasts (semiprofessionals, students, etc.).

Thus, among all that is offered on the market of computer and mobile software, there are three large categories:

  • Public programs;
  • Freely distributed applications (freeware);
  • Open source software.

Types of free software

What programs are called freely distributed, it is already a little understandable. But there are some nuances here, too.

Public software, from the point of view of legislative acts, is not protected by copyright. In this case, only the fact of alienating the product's rights from the author and assigning them to the category public domain when the rights are a common property is indicated. A vivid example can be called some of the Internet standards (HTML, TCP / IP, etc.). They may or may not have open source code. But in any case, such free software for Windows, for example, can be modified, modified, used to develop new software or simply distribute them without any restrictions.

For the second type of software products, copyright is reserved for the developer, and their use is generally limited to truncated capabilities, as well as non-commercial use. For freeware-programs, as it is already clear, any change thereof without the consent of the author is impossible or even illegal, although it is not necessary to pay for their use. In addition, the developer, as a rule, constantly monitors the use and distribution of its software product, and in some cases can even transfer it to the status of shareware (shareware), which implies a limitation in functionality or free use for a certain period.

Finally, another look at freely distributed programs. Examples of such software would be incomplete if the issue of software with open source code were not addressed. What does this mean in the simplest sense? But only that the developer presents users with unlimited rights to launch the application for any purpose, change and modification, and then transfer it to the original or changed copy to third parties, etc. In the sense of freedom of action, its level is much higher than for other freeware products , For which basically the concept of free distribution includes only the possibility of creating a copy and its use for own needs.

Criteria and definition of free software

Talking about what programs are called freely distributed, one can not help but touch on the issue of so-called freedoms, which is regulated by the rules of the General Public License (the licenses will be discussed separately).

Back in the 70s of the last century R. Stolman formulated the basic concepts of freedoms, applied to software products:

  • "Zero freedom" means the use of software for any purpose without restrictions;
  • "First freedom" - the opportunity to study the work of the program and its adaptation to their needs;
  • "Second freedom" - free distribution of copies of the application;
  • "Third freedom" - the possibility of changing or improving the program followed by a public publication.

As can be seen from the above criteria, for the "first" and "third freedom" one of the mandatory conditions is the availability of the most open source code, the concept of which, incidentally, introduced a little later E. Raymond. In general, based on these principles, by and large, free programs and applications can be called only those that meet all four criteria.

Types of free licenses

Not speaking about the basic license, today it is possible to find many other legislative acts regulating this field of activity.

However, as a rule, the most common and most widely used free license is the GNU GPL of different versions. In addition, there are also such varieties as MIT and BSD. The most important plus of such software is just that it can be used at home, in schools and universities or in any other organizations.

Freely distributed programs: examples

If you deal with the listing of everything that can be attributed to free software in part or in whole, it may take too much time, and you can find quite a lot of software products.

However, among all that users use most often, you can note all sorts of media, Internet technologies, some computing tools and even whole office packages (Oracle OpenOffice). Licensed programs do not have open source, but some applications can be easily changed. Even the developers themselves initially agree to modify their software products by users to improve functionality or fix bugs.

Features of licensed applications

Among free software, it's worth mentioning licensed programs. As mentioned above, they are protected by copyright and usage agreements.

But many of us face such things almost every day. Surely, many have seen that when installing some programs in one of the first stages of installation, a window appears in which the text of the license agreement is shown , and if the bottom is not ticked in front of the consent line with all the items, the installation will simply not continue. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of users consider this pure formality or convention and the text itself never reads. But in vain. Many would not hurt to know what they are talking about.

The license, by the way, implies that this software will work 100% on the equipment or in the configuration stated by the developer, which can not be said about other free products, however attractive they might look.

Some types of paid applications

Finally, we turn to paid applications. All categories will not be considered. We are interested in the types of shareware and trial shareware.

In most cases, they can be downloaded and installed for free. Typically, such programs may have full functionality or limited capabilities that can be used for a certain period of time (usually 30 days). But after that the application can stop working, because it will need to either register as an official copy, or buy.

With the first case, everything is simple. It's enough just to pass a simple registration on the developer's site, sometimes you may need confirmation via e-mail, but if it's a demo version, you'll have to buy it full. In the second case, too, will have to pay. However, this has never stopped our user (and not only).

Is it possible to bypass restrictions when using paid programs?

Today in the computer Internet space, you can meet quite a lot of enthusiasts who are engaged, to put it mildly, illegal actions - hacking programs. And, from the point of view of international law, all those who install or use such copies can also be classified as cybercriminals (at least, accomplices - so accurately).

Therefore, when it is proposed to use someone else's license keys to bypass registration, password generators (KeyGen.exe), patching (Patch.exe) or something like that, one should think a hundred times about the legality of such actions. No, of course, international organizations dealing with the counteraction of cybercrime can not be tracked by all users (they simply do not have the time or resources to do this), but the very fact of using hacked software is already a direct offense.


It is to be hoped that many have already understood what programs are called freely distributed and what criteria they correspond to. Among the majority of users, by the way, there is a misconception that free software is less functional than paid software products. Nothing like this. Some licensed and freely distributive programs created by enthusiasts and / or often having open source are sometimes not only inferior to paid analogs of well-known developers, but even surpass them (the same OpenOffice, which many users consider a much more interesting package than a paid counterpart from Microsoft ).

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