Freeware is a term usually used on internet to describe or promote software downloads which are totally free for use. On the other hand you can find software that are free to download. Free to download does not specifically means that you will be able to use the software application or some other software service for free. Free to download means that you can download the software for free and you are not required to pay anything for downloading the software. Many Software developers put in lots of efforts for creating and publicizing software application. When offering software application, utilities or any other software based product or service, they want you to try them out for free and in case you are happy with the software, you can pay for the software later and use it as per the licence agreement of the software developer.
Open Source software applications are equally popular on internet and are provided on a free to download and use basis. Open Source applications are many times referred to as freeware applications. As software developers you might ask a question as to why people develop freeware application or utilities. Yes software developers develop software applications that are completely free to download and use for many reasons. The first reason for developing freeware applications is publicity. Freeware applications get much higher publicity as compared to trialware or shareware application. Many blogs or websites have readers looking for freeware applications and they often write a lot about freeware applications. Freeware sites gets lots of visitors from all across the globe and they earn money by advertising. There are lots of advertisers out there who want to publicize their products or services and freeware websites provide a platform for them to place their advertisement. Freeware software developers may be provide customer support or there may be limited customer support offered for the freeware applications.
Shareware or Free to try applications on other hand are offered on a free to download and try. Apart from shareware applications, software companies also develop adware applicatons which are advertisement supported. The advertisements in adware applications may be displayed by the software when it is installed, after the software installation, in the software itself or when you uninstall the freeware application. It is not only the money that drives freeware applications, many times people develop software applications in order to share an idea or utility that they found useful. There are many reasons for the existence of freeware software applications. Freeware applications often provide limited functionality it works as advertised and in order to unlock other useful features of the software, you might be prompted to pay the software company or something else in return.
Now a days Microsoft is offering free download of Windows 8. This does not mean that Windows 8 is freeware operating system. The version of Windows 8 offered by Microsoft currently being offered by Microsoft is sort of trial and it will expire in future at some date. Yes Microsoft offers free download of fully functional trial version of the operating system as well and in case Microsoft follows the trend for Windows 7, they will offer a free 90 days trial for Windows 8 as well. The same applies for other software applications or utilities. Many times the free to download and try applications are often limited in the functionality they offer, limited in terms of how many times the software application can be used for limited number of days for which the software can be used for free.