What Is Meant By Proprietary Freeware?


I came through a web browser named Vivaldi https://vivaldi.com/ and on its wiki it’s labelled as proprietary freeware. I’m confused about what is proprietary freeware. Can someone explain about this?


First, don’t confuse the term Freeware with Free Software. They both are not same terms.

A Freeware is a software that comes without a price (or) money. i.e you need not give money and buy the software to use, instead you can download and use it for free.

A Free software is a software that gives users the 4 freedoms as we already know it.

A Proprietary software is a software which doesn’t give any of the 4 freedoms of Free Software to the user.

Like combo offer in Pizza hubs, these are combo offers in Software distribution methods.

  1. Proprietary + Freeware: You don’t have any of 4 freedoms, but you get the software without paying any money to anyone. You can download and use the binary. That’s it.

  2. Free Software + Freeware: You have all the 4 freedoms and also you need not pay anyone to get the software. Most of the Free software are freeware. For example, Firefox is Free Software + Freeware, GNU/Linux is Free Software + Freeware.

A Free Software can be a freeware, but a freeware can’t be a Free Software always. When a freeware is not a free software, that is called Proprietary Freeware which is plain evil.

The only difference between just Proprietary software vs Proprietary Freeware is that Proprietary freeware comes without any price tag. But proprietary software comes with a price tag.

Any form of Proprietary is evil. Freeware is also evil.

One example is the uTorrent, which is a proprietary freeware, that starts to mine bitcoins in a user’s computer without the permission of the user and that bitcoin is sent back to BitTorrent Corp.

Chrome is again a proprietary freeware, everyone knows chrome spys its users and collects lot of user data and vivaldi is no different, we do not know what vivaldi could do under the hood.

Now you see why they can be evil and should be avoided.


Can non-free, “open source” software be proprietary?


Then Duckduckgo is also evil, since it has the core as proprietary?


@yogesh, yes, it is(example where unreal engine 4 is opensourced but not free) hence it is proprietary


By that I assume we are talking about permissive licenses which permits to make it proprietary. If such licenses allows for the creation of proprietary tools, the entire idea of challenging the current Intellectual Property Rights to form a new mode of production and distribution is failed.

Yes, anything that is proprietary is evil.