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Shareware is a type of software that is distributed free of charge to prospective customers in a limited format. A full software version is distributed for a trial period (usually 30 days), or a trial version is distributed with disabled features.
Shareware is often confused with freeware. Like open-source software, freeware is truly free, whereas shareware is proprietary and subject to copyright. Shareware with disabled features may be referred to as liteware or crippleware. As these terms suggest, shareware is limited and not fully functional.
Compared to proprietary software, shareware development is usually cheaper and easier. Shareware developers try to fill computing niches that are not always covered by larger developers. These niches include system control, network configuration, some multimedia functions (like bulk photo editing) and smaller functions that do not require large or complex software.