Weirdware: When It's Not Payware or Freeware
Some software lives in the netherworld between freeware and payware. Here are some types you might encounter.
Gimpware : Free Software, but Not All the Bits Work
Gimpware is a type of payware that has some of its features disabled. It's designed to allow you to use it to get a sense of whether it will be useful to you. In order to get the extra features unlocked, however, you need to pay the author and acquire a license key so you can unlock the full functionality of the program. Some antivirus and anti-spyware programs scan and find infections but don't remove them unless you buy a software license, for example.
Advantages: Offers a "try before you buy" experience.
Disadvantages: Doesn't give you the full experience of all the software's features.
Trust factor: Gimpware is payware, so generally gimpware does nothing to impact the trustworthiness of the end product. It is more of a marketing tactic. Using gimpware as a full solution is not a good idea from a security perspective unless all the features you need are unlocked.
Trialware: It's Free, Until It's Not
Trialware is payware that is free to use without any limitation for a set period of time, often 15 or 30 days, so you can try it out before you decide to purchase it (see Figure 11.2). After the trial period, the program no longer runs. Again, this is a marketing tactic.
Figure 11.2. Zone Labs offers 15-day trials of all its software, except for Zone Alarm, which it gives away.
Advantages: "Try before you buy" approach to software.
Disadvantages: Sometimes the trial period is not long enough to get a full sense of its usefulness .
Trust factor: Trialware tends be trustworthy and in fact can instill more trust because you see how it works before committing to paying for it.
Shareware: I Trust You to Pay Me
Shareware is usually written by a small company or individual programmer. It's distributed with the understanding that if you like it and use it, you will voluntarily pay for it after a 30-day trial period, but it doesn't become disabled when this time period expires .
Advantages: The ultimate "try before you buy" software because the trial period never ends. It's often a very affordable way to acquire excellent software. Since it usually comes from a small programming shop, the support can be excellent because the publisher is close to the product.
Disadvantages: The support may be non-existent because the publisher is a small company or an individual. Sometimes the program is not well designed or amateurish, although I find this is the exception to the rule.
Trust factor: It's tough to feel secure when using shareware, unless it's a product that has been around for a while and has a good reputation. If you watch the Internet for feedback on shareware, you'll be able to avoid bad programs. Use shareware based on its reputation and look for reviews or commentary on the Internet before installing it.