Money for nothing and your bits for free...
Entry 353 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash, 3. Gamebits
I'm a great believer of freeware (or beerware as some call it). Practically every utility can be found legally and for free on the web. It's a bit like generic medicine. Some freeware sites however are not that harmless at all or are only in it for... the money.
George Dillon has put his 50 favourite freeware programs on one page and I'm pretty sure you will find one or two in the list that will make you say: hmmm... He writes that he wants to thank the authors of the programs he lists. By hyperlinking to his page I thank him for this pretty neat collection. The only problem is that some of the freeware he lists has been replaced by updates that are not free anymore or that have disappeared. Examples are jv16PowerTools that is no longer free and Sygate Personal Firewall that has been captivated by Symantec. In that case Last Freeware Version comes in handy. It offers you about 180 freeware programs that no longer exist.
About a decade ago I was a frequent visitor of Completely Free Software. It contained without a doubt the best freeware collection for DOS and Win 3.1.To quote its owner Graham Pockett:
This site was born in May 1996 from frustration - frustration that many of the so-called 'free software' sites were not offering freeware but shareware, time-limited, or demo software which cost money to use or are not really functional. Only the download was 'free'.
Until Graham Pockett, out of frustration I believe, decided to turn the logic around and made his site 'members only'. Those who pay 35$ (for a life time subscription) can browse the site and download its content. Only a true Christian can find the path to make money out of freeware but out of sheer honesty Pockett (what's in a name?) could at least re-baptise his website to: The Not So Completely Free Software. (I confess, people who put Christian banners on their site duly piss me off.)
So I had to go and look for other freeware sites. Luckily CFS contained a list of other places with free content and that is how I found Freewarehome. I visit them at least once a year as their collection includes a pranks section that comes in handy when April the 1st comes around. It has a pretty neat games selection as well and probably it is the place where I first found Smoke'em Poker. Somewhere in-between CFS and Freewarehome lies Nonags. The site takes subscriptions as well, but you can still download for free.
Above sites are rather well done and pretty easy to browse and search but for the more adventurous mind there will always be Freeware World Team. Here is a site that replaces quality by quantity. Presenting some 32500 freeware programs it is pretty messy to find what you are looking for, but if you can't find it there, it probably doesn't exist.
After all these years the best download place for me turned out to be Snapfiles, previously known as WebAttack. They offer a somewhat limited, but fine, selection of tasty freeware. I even left some comments over there, although I am somewhat ashamed that I only reviewed 5 programs as the majority of my Program Files folder comes from their place. I couldn't survive the software jungle without them.
If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Freeware Poker