Software

Survey results: Would you use freeware?

Does the expression "You get what you pay for" apply to freeware? We decided to find out when we asked what you thought about this software in a recent TechRepublic survey. Here are the surprising results.


Despite the shortcomings involved with freeware, your votes in our recent poll indicate a generally favorable response to this software.

Your answers to our survey imply that freeware is better than the price would suggest; however, you don’t expect to get any support for it if you use it.

Here’s what you told us:

Is it suitable for the office?
An overwhelming number of you, 88.54 percent, said that freeware is something that can be used in the corporate environment.



What is its most attractive feature?
Nearly half of you thought that the price of the software was most appealing, but more than a third, 33.54 percent, liked the ease and simplicity of getting it. Not only is it free, you don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to acquire it. Our bet is that about 18 percent of those who took the poll have programming backgrounds, because that’s how many of you thought freeware was important in terms of encouraging creativity and innovation.



The trouble with freeware
Before we saw the survey results, we didn’t really know how much TechRepublic members would value support for the software. But the response was overwhelming: Support is a big concern.

About two-thirds of respondents said that the potential lack of customer support was the greatest concern that they had with using freeware.

Proof of ownership, or the lack of it, edged out training difficulties as the greatest concern for the remaining third of respondents.



Do you get what you pay for?
Finally, we wanted to know what you thought about the quality of freeware and the documentation associated with it.

The results clearly showed that you like freeware, but those results were mixed when it came to documentation; about half of you thought the documentation was typically inadequate.

The stunning result here is that less than 2 percent characterized freeware as poor in quality, while more than 98 percent of you think freeware is of average or high quality. That ought to keep someone coding into the wee hours tonight.


TechRepublic thanks everyone who participated in this survey. If you have more to say about freeware, please chime in with a post below or send us a note.

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