Computer Sharewares For $5 Or Less

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Computer Share wares For $5 Or Less

The IBM PC and IBM-compatible machines are the ultimate tool for the small
business. With a PC, you can instantly access individual records for your
customers, write letters and marketing materials, keep track of your books,
and more. You can't do it without software, though.

Software are the computer programs you need in order to do anything
with your computer. Unfortunately, most business software is quite expensive,
into the hundreds of dollars. There is a way, though, to get professional
quality IBM computer software for $5 and less. The software is a special type
called SHARE WARE.

Share ware programs, in most cases, are distributed directly by the
author of the program. Why would they want to do this? It is much easier for
their program to get wide distribution if they do it themselves, rather than
if they try to get a major company to produce and distribute it.

Many share ware programs are as good, if not better, than commercial
programs (the ones you buy at a computer store). What's better, the pretty
much unwritten rule in the share ware industry is that you shouldn't charge
more than $5 for a share ware disk. If you know where to look, though, you
can get the programs for FREE!

Share ware is meant to be shared, hence the name. It's OK for you to
copy a share ware disk and give it to a friend, unlike commercially released
programs, which are protected by copyright. What this means, is that you can
get PC-WRITE, a word processor that rivals WordPerfect, the industry leader,
for free.

WordPerfect, on the other hand, costs over $400. Other great share ware
programs include FILE EXPRESS (a database, great for customer mailing lists,
and inventory records) and AS-EASY-AS (a spreadsheet, for accounting and
bookkeeping). All these have the features of a professional program.

So, where can you get these programs? There are dozens of share ware
dealers like Software Labs (800-569-7900), which sell programs by the disk,
usually for $5 per disk. Some programs, like the ones mentioned above, are so
big they come on more than one disk, and may be priced differently than
single- disk programs.

There's also a way you can get this programs for free. How? Through
bulletin board services that offer free share wares.

First you'll need a modem, which lets you connect your computer to the
phone line. Then, you'll need a "terminal program," which turns
your computer into a terminal which can communicate over the phone. The best
terminal program to use would be QMODEM.

Call computer bulletin board services, which have programs you can
"download" (transfer) through the phone line into your computer.
The best sources for these programs would be America On-Line.

A share ware program is meant to be a trial program. If you like the
program, and use it a lot, you should REGISTER it with the author.
Registration is outlined in the program itself, or the documentation that
comes on the disk.

You will have to send the author a payment, varying from as low as $5
to a high of $100 (vary few are more than that). For registering, you will
usually get a package of items from the author than can only be received by

This usually includes a copy of the latest version of the program,
sometimes with extra features, and a printed instruction manual. Items might
include free or low cost updates to the program when available, phone support
from the author, or other programs the author has written.

It really is worth it to register the program. After all, you've got
the opportunity to inexpensively try the program to make sure it will fill
your needs. You will get a full-fledged software package at a much lower
price than the commercial equivalent. Also, you will be supporting the
author, so he or she will be able to continue upgrading the program and/or
writing new programs.

Registration fees are how the share ware author makes a living, and
it's unethical to use share ware permanently without registering.

With share ware, you get the best of both worlds. You get to "try
the software on for size," without getting stuck with a $300 program you
won't use. Once you find the program for you, you can register it and have a
professional quality program that still cost a fraction of the competition's
programs. Any way you look at it, share ware makes sense!

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