SoftwareLode - Description
SoftwareLode lists thousands of software packages. Each software title is shown with a description provided by the software vendor and a link to download an installer. Almost all the software listings include a screenshot of the software program and, if available, a link to the vendor's own website where you can find out more information either about the software and its features or about the company writing the software.
All the software listed on this site can be downloaded for free. You can browse and download as many software titles as you wish. Please note that none of the software shown on this site is provided by SoftwareLode and we can take no responsibility for the software's function or performance. All software support requests should be directed to the actual software vendore. To contact the software authors, please either use the provided links to the vendor website or any contact information provided with the downloaded software.
Free Software Downloads - the advantages of being able to download software for free
The biggest advantage in a free software download is literally being able to freely download software so that you get to try out the software for no cost before you buy it. Usually, though not always, you get a free trial period of about 30 days. This allows you to try out all the features of the software and make sure it does what you want and is actually worth purchasing. This model of software distribution is known as "shareware". Unlike purchasing a boxed software item from a high street shop, you can give copies of the software to your friends and colleagues so they can try the software for free too.
Note that SoftwareLode also lists many so-called freeware programs. A freeware title is a totally free software download - you can download it and use it for as long as you like without making a purchsing. Each software listing indicates whether a program is distributed as shareware or freeware. The freeware/ shareware indication will be correct as of the time the software listing was last updated with the vendor-provided details.
If you decide to buy a shareware package, you will need to make the purchase directly from the software vendor. During the trial period, the software might have some limitations enforced. Sometimes nag screens or dialogs are displayed encouraging you to purchase and reminding you how long your trial period has left to expire. When you purchase the nag screens and any feature limitations will be removed - check the vendor's purchase information for details.
Who writes Shareware Programs?
Traditionally, shareware was written by ISVs (Independent Software Vendors). These tended to be small, one or two man software companies. These days though, even large software companies are occasionally distributing software under a shareware license.
Don't automatically associate ISVs or shareware authors with poor-quality software. Many of the packages will be developed by full-time software professionals working for their own company. Sometimes packages are also written by software programmers as a second line of income outside their normal day job working for a larger software organisation. Usually shareware programs are of very high quality - after all the vendor needs to be sure that you the customer will purchase after having tried out the software for a decent amount of time during the trial period.
Who writes Freeware Programs?
I guess the question could be rephrased as - who writes software for free? Freeware authors are often the same kind of people as shareware authors.
Although freeware authors get no money directly from sales of their software, they might gain benefits in other ways. For example, the author might be testing out an early version of a software title - to see if there's any interest from potential customers or to begin building a brand awareness in preparation for a later launch of a commercial software package. Sometimes software authors will distribute a simple, less capable version of their software as freeware to entice customers. When customers have been using the free software for some time, their needs may grow and the vendor will be hoping that the customers purchases the bigger, more capable version of their software.
Where do the Software Titles on SoftwareLode come from?
All software listed on SoftwareLode, together with all the programs details, download links and screenshots are obtain from PAD (Portable Application Description) files. PAD files are written by the software authors/ vendors and submitted to sites like SoftwareLode. PAD files are XML/ text files hosted on the author's own websites. SoftwareLode periodically polls the PAD files for all the listed software in order to keep the program details reasonably up to date. If we detect missing PAD files or broken download links we email reports to the contact email addresses given in the PAD files. If PAD file errors persist for a number of successive polls, we remove the program listing from our website.
If you are a software author wishing to list a program on SoftwareLode, please click on submit a PAD file to get your software listed.
Note that we've spent a great deal of effort on the management software for handling new software submissions. No software is listed unless we believe the submission is a bonafide software package that may be of use to people. We love to accept software titles which link back to software development company websites. We check the details of ALL submissions. We routinely decline submissions of titles linking back to non-software related websites, e.g. insurance, loan or credit-related websites. We don't accept submissions of things like toolbars which have recently grown a reputation as spam. We usually, though not always, accept screensaver submissions as long as the submission links back to a screensaver site or the screensaver is of good quality.
When making a PAD file submission bear in mind that we have three ways of handling a submission: accept, decline or blacklist. The two options we almost always use are accept or blacklist. So if one title is submitted that gets blacklisted, all future submissions from that site will be automatically rejected by our submission management backend software and the editors won't even see the submitted details. We reserve the right to reject any title we deem unsuitable. Note also that there is no manual submission interface for SoftwareLode - we only accept PAD files. If you get a rejection message followed by error messages when making a PAD file submission, you will need to make the highlighted corrections before resubmitting.