I'm developing open source software for about ten years. Now I rebuild my main product into a professional version. I think for it as a successor of the freeware version which is more or less legacy now.

I want to implement the following licensing model:

  • After downloading the software to work in Trial Mode with full functionality for a limited period of time (30 days)
  • After the trial period has expired, the program will switch to Free Mode with reduced functionality.
  • After a purchasing of a license, all features will be unlocked

There will be one program (not separate freeware and a professional).

My questions and doubts are:

  • What is the licensing type (for the download servers) Freeware or Shareware or...
  • How to announce the program on my website? Can I announce it as a Freeware?

Do you have any advises or recommendations on that business model?


1 Answer 1


There isn't a nice clean, rigorous definition of Freeware and/or Shareware.

Freeware means that the software is at least distributed free of charge, but there may be restrictions on re-distribution, availability of the sources (as in closed source) and it might omit some features that are available in a paid version.

Shareware is even less well-defined than Freeware, but usually means that (after a trial period) the software stops functioning or starts to seriously nag the user to buy a license.

Going by those two definitions, I would classify your software as Freeware and you could mention in the description that the full functionality is offered during the initial trial period.

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