Difference Between Freeware and Open Source?


Last Updated on August 24, 2021 by Team Experts

The most elementary difference between freeware and open source is that open source has visible source code, community support, and a massive program base with development potential and is owned by a group of programmers or communities. Free programs are usually small pieces of free software that can be limited by license and cannot be modified with. In this article, we are going to have a close look at both software and understand the difference between them.

What is Freeware?

The freeware software can be easily classified as proprietary software that can be used without monetary costs. Although such programs can be used without any payment, they may have their own limitations. The program may not be modified, decrypted or distributed without the permission of the developer. Examples of such software include Adobe Acrobat Reader and Skype.

Although such software is available for free, it can bring hidden benefits to its owners. This can also lead to the sale of a premium version of the same freeware software. A common feature of freeware is that its code is not available. However, they are also available in free and paid versions, and their codes may also be available. Such types of programs are free to use, modify and distribute. There will be only one restriction. When the software is distributed, it may be used in conjunction with the terms of free use known as copyleft.

Open-source software should not be confused with free software. Freeware is a general form of software that can be easily downloaded on operating systems. As mentioned earlier, the code may not be available for programming purposes because of copyright issues. Free software can be distributed for a fee, unlike free software. Free software is expected to have limited capabilities compared to free software.

What is open source?

Open source is commonly known as a plan that has public access. Such drawings can be easily modified and shared by the public. The “open-source” term is used in the context of software development. This is an unusual approach used for the creation of computer applications. Nowadays, open-source has become widely popular in projects and products that encourage the concept of open knowledge exchange. In contrast to all the other benefits such as collaboration between participants in open source projects, community-based development, rapid prototyping, and transparency.

Open-source programs are also built on the same open-source concepts. In open-source software, the software’s source code can be modified, verified, and extended.

In most applications, the source code is the part of computer programs that is not visible because they are hidden. Such types of regulations programmers can easily handle to change the features of the software. If the developer has access to the source code, it will help him add new features and also fix bugs.

The source code can be easily accessed in some programs by the person or organization that developed it. The developers can only exercise sole control over such programs. Only the original developers can copy, modify or verify the source code.  Such types of software usually display a license that the user must accept when the software makes its first run. The program user is allowed to make some changes to the software with the author’s permission. Some of these programs include Microsoft Office software and Adobe Photoshop.

Open-source programs are very different from normal programs. The source code becomes available for learning, copying, modification, and sharing. LibreOffice is one of the open-source programs. Same as proprietary software, open-source software need a license agreement, but this is dramatically different from a legal point of view.

An open-source license impacts the use, study, updating and distribution of the software. Usually, open-source software is allowed for all sorts of purposes. Of the open-source licenses, copyleft licenses require that the original source code be published when the software is updated and shared, no license fee may be charged for that program. One of the significant advantages of such software is that it allows modifications and incorporates changes into other projects. It encourages developers to modify, view, and share source code.

What is the difference between Freeware and Open Source?


Freeware: Suhsoftwares may be limited to individual, scientific, non-commercial use or a combination thereof, although it is free. The software must be freely copied but not sold.

Open Source: In such kind of software, you can easily modify and distribute the source code. However, much of such software requires compliance with certain licenses. The users of such software may need to accept the terms while installing such kinds of applications.

Source code

Freeware: This software can be easily downloaded, copied, and used without any restrictions. However, these source codes will not be available for viewing, modification, and sharing.

Open Source: Such a program’s source code has been modified and can sometimes be redistributed under specific requirements. Moreover, errors can be connected because of modification capabilities.

Support and communities:

Freeware: This software are free but cannot be modified. The programmer can only update and update its functionality. Moreover, freeware is not supported by a community and has no development infrastructure.

Open source: Most often, the application is free for the user and developers. The open-source is supported by communities that work together to develop it further.


Freeware: Such types of software depend on the developer, organization, or team to find open source libraries for the development.

Open source: Such kinds of software do not depend on a single company.


Freeware: Such software is owned by the developer.

Open Source: Such software is not owned by any individual, team, or organization.


Freeware: Such software can be transformed to a paid version if the developer so wishes.

Open Source: These open-source software cannot be converted to paid software.


Freeware: These may not improve.
Open source:  Such software can be improved with community support.

Also read about: Understand the Importance of Data Backup and Recovery!

About the Company:

Kandi. Open Weaver is a search engine platform that allows developers to choose from various libraries, packages, code snippets, APIs, and cloud functions, by analyzing over 430+ million knowledge items. It is a platform where you can find (and play) the most incredible open-source information, latest technologies, features, and projects.


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Anil is an enthusiastic, self-motivated, reliable person who is a Technology evangelist. He's always been fascinated at work especially at innovation that causes benefit to the students, working professionals or the companies. Being unique and thinking Innovative is what he loves the most, supporting his thoughts he will be ahead for any change valuing social responsibility with a reprising innovation. His interest in various fields and the urge to explore, led him to find places to put himself to work and design things than just learning. Follow him on LinkedIn

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