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SANTA MARIA, CA, February 20, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Consumers these days are increasingly conscious about their spending habits, and many are turning to websites that offer discount coupon codes, and even free products. One free product that has seen huge popularity gains recently is computer software, also known as "freeware". Freeware (from "free" and "software") is computer software that is available for use at no cost or for an optional fee.
Many computer software companies offer both free versions of their software and pay versions, with the pay versions offering additional features and functionality. However there is now a very large number of software companies offering free versions with full features and functionality.
Other software developers are releasing free software that aims to compete with highly popular and expensive types of similar software. One example is OpenOffice.org. OpenOffice.org aims to compete with Microsoft Office and emulate its look and feel where suitable. It can read and write most of the file formats found in Microsoft Office, and many other applications; an essential feature of the suite for many users. OpenOffice.org has been found to be able to open files of older versions of Microsoft Office and damaged files that newer versions of Microsoft Office itself cannot open.
Companies that offer freeware or free software also offer "proprietary software" which is how they generate revenue. The idea is that if consumers are highly satisfied with the free software, they are much more inclined to purchase upgraded versions. Others earn strictly through donations, usually open-source software.
Consumers should be aware of "beta" versions of software. "Beta" is a nickname for software which has passed the alpha testing stage of development and has been released to users for software testing before its official release. It is the prototype of the software that is released to the public. Beta testing allows the software to undergo usability testing with users who provide feedback, so that any malfunctions these users find in the software can be reported to the developers and fixed. Beta software can be unstable and could cause crashes or data loss.
Generally, the average consumer should avoid using beta releases of software and only download and use "stable" versions of software. The term stable refers to a version of software that is substantially identical to a version that has been through enough real-world testing to reasonably assume there are no significant problems, or at least that any problems are known and documented.
Most free software download websites offer beta versions of software by default.
Consumers can find many of today's most popular and powerful STABLE VERSIONS of freeware and free software downloads on the following website:
Best Free Software
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