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Software supplied on a 'try before you buy' basis. Shareware is produced by software companies and independent programmers and supplied to users through a variety of channels including magazine cover disks, e-mail, mail order, Internet downloads, etc. The basic idea is that users will try out the software (which is sometimes, but not always crippled or limited in some way) and will like it so much that they will pay a relatively small registration fee to become an authorised user of the unrestricted program.

Shareware has been very successful and several software houses have established themselves as niche market leaders this way but companies should exercise caution in the use of such material. Shareware form independent programmers has a reputation for being 'buggy', causing conflicts with other software already installed on the computer, or simply failing to perform as expected.

Companies with policies which permit the installation and use of such material should restrict it to stand alone test or development machines where the software behaviour and the programs claimed benefits can be examined fully before being installed as registered version on live machines.

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