Does your free music
editing software need to be Freeware, Shareware or "Open Source"?
What is the
the three models of "free" software
and which kind of free music editing software offers the most advantages
for the user.
Originally freeware was defined as "software which can be downloaded,
used, and copied without restrictions."
It is usually a very small program, released by a student or enthusiast.
The difference between freeware and open source is that you have no
access to the source code. There is no usually no community and no
development infrastructure around "freeware" as there is around open
What does that mean to us?
Basically one thing: "No support".
Shareware is a different concept. You can download and try shareware for
free, but if you use it, you are supposed to pay for it.
Shareware is usually a mid-sized utility or application,
written by a professional developer or small software company. The
developer or publisher does not have the resources to market it, so they
release it as shareware with a "try-before-you-buy" business model.
In the end, the only difference between shareware and
commercial software is that you can download and try shareware for free.
Like commercial software, you are ultimately dependent on the developer
of shareware for enhancements and support.
What does that tell us?
Well, the "Download Demo" of commercial software
is basically the same.
Open source means that the source code is available to all potential
users, and they are free to use, modify, and re-distribute the source
code. Legally, the "free" of open source refers exclusively to the
source code, and it is possible to have support, services,
The largest "free" software out there are all open
source like Linux, Apache, etc...
In practice, open source usually means that the application is free to
users as well as developers. Furthermore, most open source software have
communities that support each other and collaborate on development.
Therefore, unlike freeware, there are future enhancements, and, unlike
shareware, users are not dependent on a single organization.
Can we profit from that?
Yes, open source usually delivers the biggest and best
"freeware" with support, a community and ongoing development.
Consequences for Music Software Users
If you need a easy to use, small application, that doesn't need any
further development go for freeware.
If you need
a full blown program that supports any standard and function under the
sun and needs ongoing updates, go for open source, shareware or
commercial programs. Don't waste your time with freeware.