How to Legally Download Software Online
Software can be very expensive, especially in the professional world. Programs like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and more can cost hundreds of dollars. If you’re looking for tools like these, you may not have to fork out that much cash. There are thousands of free and open source programs available online that can do most, if not all, of the functions that the paid programs provide. Follow this guide to find out how to get your hands on free, legal software.
Finding an Open Source Alternative
Visit an open source repository.Open source programs are community-driven projects where the code of the program is available to anyone. This means that typically, open source software is completely free to use and copy. These projects are often iterated on by community members, meaning they are constantly evolving. There are several major open source repositories that host a variety of applications available for free download:
- Google Code
Look for a program that does what you need.Most open source programs work as replacements for paid programs. For example, OpenOffice will perform many of the same functions as Microsoft Office, and can read and edit most Microsoft Office files.
- Not all open source software is free. Developers can take an open source project, add special functions, and then charge for it.
Download the program from the developer.Only download open source projects directly from the developer. This will ensure that you get the code straight from the people who developed it, and it has not been repackaged with malware.
Browse freeware hosting sites.Freeware are free programs that anyone can download and install without paying. Some are open source, and some are “lite” versions of paid products. Many freeware projects are created by dedicated community members and enthusiasts.
- Always read the privacy policies and terms of service for freeware products. Ensure that your private data is not being used for marketing or tracking purposes.
Download the program from a reputable host, or directly from the developer.There are a large number of freeware hosting sites that can give you download links for the software you want. Try to check the developer’s page to make sure that you are getting the latest version.
Downloading Free Trials
Search for the product you want to try.Most major products (usually excluding games) are available on a trial basis. These are typically 30- or 60-day trials, where you can use most or all of the programs features. After the trial period is over, you will be asked to purchase the product before you continue using it.
- Most developers will provide a trial version directly from their websites. You may need to register with the company in order to download the trial.
Decide if the product is worth buying.Once you’ve started using the trial software, determine if the software suits your needs and if it is worth your money. Check around for freeware or open source alternatives; professional software can get very expensive.
- Be sure to check the list of operating systems this software works with before you download.
- Always read the descriptions. Software names do not always do the features justice.
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