Any Old Ware
In a world dominated by Windows and Linux the general
computing public understand only two types of license: Open and
Closed source. However, this is only scratching the surface. There
are several lesser known types that dominate the non-commercial
computing market. In this short analysis, Gareth Knight describes
several license types that are common on the Amiga.
Commercial software is considered to be higher quality - a
misconception in many cases. It is better described as software
that is distributed professionally by individuals other that the
Many PD programs are considered to be in the public domain. In a
traditional sense, PD requires the author to forfeit all copyright
on the work and place it in the public domain for anyone to use.
The computer PD variety is more confusing, being used as an
umbrella term to describe several types of distribution
Freeware is the most common variety of licensing. For years the
Amiga led the market, producing hundreds of freeware titles. Its
effect upon the early computer market can be compared to the
current buzz surrounding open source licenses. Several monthly
magazines dedicated to the subject were launched during the early
1990s, covering Amiga, Atari ST, and DOS freeware. If an
application has been designated freeware, the author has allowed
the software to be freely copiable, but retains all copyright. In
many cases the author will request some sign of appreciation, such
as a bottle of wine or a new Amiga (hint hint). However, a letter
of appreciation or a contribution will also suffice.
Trailing behind freeware is shareware. Shareware authors request
that users' send a specified amount of money. Some authors force
this upon their users by disabling certain features, such as the
number of levels in a game or the number of records you can have in
a database. Other shareware authors rely upon the user's conscious
to register their software, promising continued development for the
computer. In return for registering, many users' receive updated
versions of the application or take part in beta testing.
Less common than freeware. Many of the large Amiga licenceware
distributors have closed or sold their contents during the last few
years. Licenceware is associated with high-quality
applications/games that compete with commercial-level applications.
Many authors choose licenceware as a distribution method due to the
low-cost for customers. Under Licenceware, the application cannot
be freely copied and a certain amount of the cost will go directly
to the author.
Other forms of ware that do not fit into
The author would appreciate a gift of some kind, such as a spoon or
other non-descript item.
The author would like you to contribute to a certain charity of
their, or your choice.
Cardware is simply the authors desire to be sent a postcard from
the users hometown (preferably with a pretty picture).
One forgotten Amiga utility claimed to be underware, requesting
that the user send an item of undergarment. Other varieties include
beerware, where the user sends a casket of their favourite beer
through the post.
Linux, GNU, and the
The software is released under the GNU (GNU's not Unix) public
license. This means that it must be distributed in full, including
source code. These cannot be used for commercial gain.
This subject is more complex. For a more detailed description of
GPL and other licenses take a look at the GNU page
dedicated to the subject.
Last Update: 23/02/2002