Free Games - Terminology
As alien as it may seem to some of the more capitalist members of society, not
everyone does everything purely because they want to make lots of money. Some people
do things simply because they enjoy doing them, and are happy to let others
profit from the fruit of their labours without any exchange of wealth. Acorn
owners are no exception, and there are plenty of pieces of software available
free of charge which are of excellent quality, or at least worthy of
attention, including some great games.
So how do you recognise these free games? They're often designated as
"Public Domain", or just "PD", although this is usually - strictly
speaking - inaccurate, since if something is in the 'public domain' then
legally this means that no one owns that thing, whereas in reality most
authors retain ownership (copyright) of their work, even if releasing
it for free. A better term, which is now becoming more widely used, is
"freeware", which is just what it sounds like - free software, where the
author retains copyright.
Some software is released as "shareware", indicating that the author is happy for
you to obtain the software for free, but asking you to contribute some, typically
sum of money if you use the software for more than a certain period
of time (usually, although any conditions can be specified). Unlike in the
USA, shareware is not enshrined in UK law,
although it is possible that you may be in breach of contract if you do
not register. Registering often brings some reward, such as extra features
...this page last updated: 18/9/96...
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