Free software downloads: who has the best freeware downloads?

Free software downloads: who has the best freeware downloads?

Posted 09.14.2009 in Articles by Christopher

Instead of purchasing all of the software you use there is a plethora of free software available for downloads known as “freeware.” When it comes to freeware, there is a considerable amount of competition between Web sites that list downloads, but with so many Web sites it can be difficult to know which ones are the safest or offer the best and most complete lists.

Freeware is software that can be downloaded from the Internet for, as the name would imply, free. They are generally for personal use and cannot be redistributed, sold, or altered. It usually comes from programmers or coders that write the programs in their free time, as a hobby. Depending on where and how you download, freeware is safe, and can be incredibly helpful and beneficial to personal computer users. To make sure you download freeware that does not also come bundled with malware, software that can be harmful to your computer, download freeware off of reputable sites and have a good anti-virus installed on your computer.

Download.com is a freeware website operated by CNET, which is a reputable site run by people passionate about technology who give reviews, news, podcasts, tutorials, and opinions for consumers who want to know more about which products are best or how to use a certain product. The site gives freeware for many platforms, including OS X, Linux, Android, and Windows. Download.com gives reviews of freeware, providing an editors’ rating, a users’ rating, and a CNET Editors’ review for many of the downloads. To ensure that their files are free of spyware, CNET scans and hosts the files on their own servers. Although there was some controversy in the past about CNET putting malware on the Nmap freeware download. CNET no longer offers Nmap and has apologized for bundling toolbars and other potential malware, adware, or spyware into their packages. Their malware policies can be found at cnet.com/download-malware-policies.

Brothersoft.com is another download site that has a huge amount of freeware, offering programs for most platforms as well as mobile devices. McAfee and Norton have both said that Brothersoft.com is a relatively safe site. Brothersoft ensures safety with their editors manually scanning the program files before adding the programs to the database; three anti-virus programs auto-scan their servers monthly, and Brothersoft also continually scans the programs with other anti-virus engines. The site’s organization is sometimes confusing and there are many advertisements and links which may lead to malicious downloads. Furthermore, some of their downloads are free trials, which after a certain period of time the user then has to pay for. The site does not offer extensive reviews, though there are user ratings and the Brothersoft editors do give a short blurb on the product and its features. Most features require the user to sign up for a free account. Brothersoft offers over 200,000 downloads, and is liked by many for the wide number of downloads it has.

Tucows.com lists its goal as “to provide simple, useful services that help people unlock the power of the Internet.” The site provides domain names, email, and other services through a reseller program called the OpenSRS group. Their download site is the original freeware download site on the web, and host over 40,000 software titles which are all tested for spyware and viruses. The site now offers freeware, ad-supported software, demos, and shareware. The site does not offer extensive reviews or ratings, though the downloads have short descriptive blurbs and occasional “cow ratings” given by the managers of the site. Although Tucows.com has safe and secure downloads, the site itself is a mess of links and advertisements that may interfere with easy downloading.

Overall, of the three sites above, brothersoft.com may have the largest selection of freeware. But Download.com has the best layout and design, the least amount of ads and potential malicious links on their site; even with the recent controversy about a bundle with unwanted software, Download.com has taken steps in removing completely that download. Download.com also offers the most comprehensive reviews, news, and recommendations.

Remember when downloading freeware to keep your computer safe, however; be on the alert for suspicious or confusing links on the download page, and make sure to click the correct one. Keep an anti-virus on your computer to keep your computer clean. Freeware is very useful and can do all sorts of things from word-processing to computer-cleaning to helping with productivity or so on, but download responsibly and safely.

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perida3
Posts: 1
Comment
the mac app store
Reply #1 on : Mon October 15, 2012, 12:17:28
How does the Apple App Store stack up with free software downloads against these sites? The App Store has a lot of free software and great games. Are these sites listed better?

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