Thursday, July 20, 2006

Types of software

There are many interesting types of softwares.

Software that has lots of features and requires considerable disk space and RAM. As the cost of RAM and disk storage has decreased, there has been a growing trend among software developers to disregard the size of applications(also see fritterware)

Shareware for which either the author suggests that some payment be made to a nominated charity or a levy directed to charity is included on top of the distribution charge

Software that has some important functionality deliberately removed, so as to entice potential users to pay for a working version

Pejorative term for the hundreds of megabytes of low-quality freeware circulated by user's groups and BBSs in the micro-hobbyist world.

Software, often written by enthusiasts and distributed at no charge by users' groups, or via the World-Wide Web, electronic mail, bulletin boards, Usenet, or other electronic media.
At one time, "freeware" was a trademark of Andrew Fluegelman. It wasn't enforced after his death

An excess of capability that serves no productive end. The term describes anything that eats huge amounts of time for quite marginal gains in function but seduces people into using it anyway. See also window shopping. One example is the use of Incredimail to heavily decorate emails.

A piece of freeware decorated with a message telling one how long and hard the author worked on it and intimating that one is a no-good freeloader if one does not immediately send the poor suffering martyr gobs of money

"Malware" is short for 'malicious software' and is usually used as a catch-all term to refer to any software which causes damage to a single computer, server, or computer network.

Commercial software. Opposite to shareware or freeware.

Software that, like freeware, can be usually obtained (downloaded) and redistributed for free, but most often is under copyright and does legally require a payment in the EULA, at least beyond the evaluation period or for commercial applications.Shareware is sometimes also nagware and/or crippleware.

Software which is never used and so ends up on the shelf. Shelfware may be purchased on a whim by an individual, or in accordance with corporate policy, but not actually required for any particular use. Alternatively, it may be software that has been developed (unlike vaporware), but is never released as a product -- a common occurrence at DEC.

Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else

The variety of shareware that displays a large screen at the beginning or end reminding you to register, typically requiring some sort of keystroke to continue so that you can't use the software in batch mode.

Vaporware is software which is announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge.

Some definitions adopted from Foldoc archives.
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