What is the deal with freeware?


The main box and the Frankencomputer (check out “The Computers” tab) both run some variety of Linux as the only operating system.  All of the software on both of them, including the OS, is free.


The laptops both came with a Windows OS (Vista on the despised HP, and stripped-down XP on the netbook).  I presume I paid license fees for those.  Other than that, all of the software is free: either came pre-loaded (which, frankly, I rarely use) or downloaded and installed.


I’ve got browsers, image software, financial software, office stuff, computer maintenance & support, games… and things I haven’t figured out what to do with yet.  Ubuntu comes with so much free stuff, I uninstall some of it.


I just love it that I can get all this stuff for free.


I am grateful to the programmers who provide this stuff.  I support ’em financially sometimes (but rarely).  I don’t understand why I get to benefit from their largesse, but I am delighted (if a bit humbled) to do so.


What is the deal with freeware?  And why, if there’s a free alternative available, would you use anything else?


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