A computer program that you don't have to buy. Freeware is generally closed source, unlike Free Software, which is open source. Freeware is essentially guilt-free shareware.
No true open source freak will touch it, and no company will touch it because of the standard freeware disclaimer.

Often freeware (also known as free(beer) software) such as PINE and POVray is open source in that it comes with the source code, but you still can't do relatively anything with it, freedom-wise. A fine distinction must be made between open source and free software.

free software = F = freeze

freeware n.

[common] Free software, often written by enthusiasts and distributed by users' groups, or via electronic mail, local bulletin boards, Usenet, or other electronic media. At one time, `freeware' was a trademark of Andrew Fluegelman, the author of the well-known MS-DOS comm program PC-TALK III. It wasn't enforced after his mysterious disappearance and presumed death in 1984. See shareware, FRS.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Previously, freeware was software gratis, as described in The Jargon File's w/u in this node. The term "Freeware" has been much abused of late. It can mean just about anything.

Certain software companies offer "freeware" versions of their software. The software may be lacking features of the non-gratis version, and may be more aptly described as crippleware, or shareware.

The software may be fully functional, but contains bundled spyware. Although the software is gratis, you end up sharing your private marketing info. Is this software gratis? Kazaa's bundling of Gator comes to mind.

Some "freeware" shows you advertisements in the form of banners. This should be called bannerware or adware.

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