The allure for free softwares is definitely not a Nigerian thing alone, who doesn’t love a bargain? Free Softwares, as we commonly know them around here, has two broad classifications; FREE SOFTWARE and FREEWARE. There seem to be some ambiguity here but, yes, there is a distinction. Citing Wikipaedia, these two classifications of softwares can be better differentiated with an understanding of the latin words, GRATIS and LIBRE.
FREE SOFTWARE (LIBRE): These are Open Source softwares that are liberally licensed to grant the right of users to use, study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code. Source code is the computer programming language that programmers use to make computer software and computer programs work. Open Source softwares have been around for decades, but they became popular with the Linux software communities.
FREEWARE (GRATIS): It denotes “free of charge”, “at zero cost”, “for free”, in the sense that one does not have to pay for some good or service, even though the good or service may have value.In software development, where the cost of mass production is relatively small, it is common for developers to make software available at no cost. With freeware, software is licensed free of charge for regular use: the developer may not gain any monetary compensation. There may be restrictions on commercial usage.
They are proprietary, closed source softwares usually developed and maintained by a team who produce their product in a compiled executable state, which is what the public is allowed access to, the source codes are not made available. The programmer may later decide to make a charge for it. Most companies who sell their software for money make it closed source to make it harder for people to change it or copy it for free. As the English adjective “free” does not distinguish between “for zero price” and “liberty”, the phrases “free as in beer” (gratis, freeware) and “free as in speech” (libre, open source) were adopted.
One other category of softwares which we intend to stay away from, but which is a reality of our times, are CRACKED SOFTWARES. These are closed source softwares gotten for free but were not intended as such. They are usually “cracked” softwares, a process whereby the protection methods are removed or disabled usually by reverse engineering. These are the types of softwares that you find in Otigba (Computer Village), torrent sites and the likes. It is almost impossible not to have come across or use such softwares at one time or the other in a country like ours, yours truly is not an exception. Growing older (and wiser!) made me realize that though they are free, there is a price to pay.
Apart from the moral and ethical issue which may not be a bother to a lot of people, there is a danger of acquiring malicious softwares that is usually distributed with such softwares and via such sites. This has a resultant effect on the smooth running of the OS and a compromise on the security of your system.
Nowadays, I pursue vigorously free softwares and freewares by scouring the web. For the lifespan of this blog site, we will be sharing our finds by pointing you to websites where you can get these free and LEGIT softwares. There are thousands of freewares out there, but we will only point you to first rate softwares that can compare to the paid-for ones. Of course, we would also provide information about softwares that are not free but that we believe are good bargains.
We hope this would make your computing experience a better one.