we've had a running discussion of the definitions of freeware vs. donationware on this site.
i have argued that a more rational distinction between terms would be to call software "donationware" if it REQUIRES a donation to be able to use the full features without nagging.
but i admit that that definition is not common. most people use the term "donationware" to mean a free program where the author asks users to donate if they want to. to me this seems a little strange, since it means you can turn freeware into donationware by mentioning to your friend on the bus that it would be nice if someone oneday made a donation to you
by most common understanding, the software on this site is donationware because we make such a strong appeal for donations, and because we make you go through some extra steps if you do not donate. these extra steps could be seen as controversial to some because we do make you sign up at our forum and then redownload a license key every 6 months. im not sure we will continue to do this since it doesn't seem to have led to a noticable increase in donations (though it has led to an increase in forum signups).
right now, i have no trouble calling the software on this site also freeware, because it has no limits or nags, and can be used forever as full versions, without user having to donate anything. but the moment a nag was added that was shown to non donators, to me that would make the program cease to be able to be called freeware. then it becomes something like nagware, which i view as a big shift and one i would like to avoid. i love the freeware community and i think it would be a terrible shame to leave that community.
We're still experimenting with the best ways to encourage donations while keeping the software free, and I think this is right. Sometimes it can really get you down how hard it is to get people to donate who would otherwise buy a program.. This is our challenge - finding a way to convince those who can and do buy lesser software for more money, to make a donation, while still keeping the software free for those not in a position to make a purchase.
As long as the freeware community is willing to put up with us asking freeware users to make the extra steps of signing up for a freeware license key, then i'm willing to keep our software free and full versioned without requiring a donation.
carol has a great point:
As a personal comment: I think the problem with donationware is knowing how much to give. If I give a couple of dallars I feel rather stingy, but if I start giving $15-20 I start thinking 'do I really need this program?' and as a newcomer to the site I also wondered 'is there a cheap commercial version' or a 'free' version with no expectation of a donation? Don't misunderstand I think donationwar is a great idea but it takes some adjustment in the mindset.
this is indeed part of the challenge, changing our mindsets and becoming good citizens. it's hard to know how to advise how much to donate. I took a try at a kind of joke chart here: http://www.donationc...te/HowMuchChart.html
one of the nice things about donationware is that you can always donate again later. and remember you aren't just donating for what is already available, you are donating to help the author continue work. a donation to a site like ours or to a donationware author is a way of helping us/them continue to work on such software.