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This is software that’s created most often by an individual, fully copyrighted, but which may be downloaded by computer owners or freely copied and distributed so that the end user can try it out before committing to purchase a license for it. This is an offshoot of freeware, which is also copywrited, but for which the programmer expects to receive no payment. Shareware got its name because the cost of its development is ultimately shared by those who choose to use it. It typically has a tryout period during which users can run it without making any payment. Then, after a certain amount of time, or a certain number of launches, the program may no longer function without the user purchasing a license for it. In general, shareware is less expensive than retail software, typically because the author has little or no overhead, and does not actively market it by purchasing ads in various industry journals. Often shareware is distributed on CDs or DVDs that ship with commercially distributed magazines or it may be found on Web sites that specialize in the distribution of both shareware and freeware. In some cases, shareware authors may not require payment, but rather depend upon the ‘honor system,’ whereby they put their faith in the end user to send payment if he or she finds the product to be useful.

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