Public Domain Software


The public domain software, as the name suggests it, is software that is given to the public, that is software belonging to the public domain: to everybody and nobody in particular. Usually this kind of software can be found for free download available on the internet and you can use it freely and even modify it as long as you don't start selling it and getting money for this. This is some software that is offered to the public and nobody claims its intellectual ownership. Even if we are not talking about material things here to be owned, but rather about abstract things, they can still be owned by somebody: their creator.

According to the Berne Convention (The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works) that was held in 1886, an authot immediately gets ownership for their works and nobody can copy, alter, print or do something similar with their work without their consent. So any kind of software is onwed by the person who designed and wrote it, the one who has intellectual property over the software. It is just like in the case of a person who buys a computer with all its components, but does not buy an operating system. He can't use that operating system because it is owned by somebody else (Microsoft company in this case). However this poor person can use the operating system only if he buys this right from the owner. So this intellectual property that is represented by the operating system can be sold like any other merchandise, as it has an owner and will soon have another one who has to pay for it just like in the market place.


Well, some authors give up this right and place their software to be downloaded for free from the internet. The software is now in freeware regime and can be called public domain software. Actually the term itself "public domain software" has created a lot of controversies, as some people wondered if Public domain software is the same with open source software. I am not a laywer to know very much about poperty, but i know that much: if I want to download the latest version of Nokia software for example I can do that for free by simply accessing the official web site of the company where I can find the above mentioned software. Well, I download it and i use it on my mobile phone, I even build new ringtones according to the personality of every person in my phone book. But that particular software is not "public domani software" as it still belongs to Nokia company. It updates it when it is improved and has new better features. But if the software is offered to us for free we can say it is open source software or freeware, but never "public domain software" as its owner did not give its ownership up.

Well, we could talk about this topic for a whole week and still have something to add. the main idea is that some people offered their work to the public, which is a grand gesture, and we should all be thankful for that because otherwise our use of the computer would be much more limited.


I was curious to find out what kind of software I can see in the public domain. Well, there is a lot of software available, belonging to different fields of activity and interest, but I guess you can find some interesting stuff even if you are not an expert or professional. For example here you can find the Public domain photos 1.0.

The most comprehensive and huge collection of public domain software I could find on the internet is actually a government web portal called ERIC (Education Resources Information centre) that offers and gathers useful software to all the people, software that you can use especially in education.You can sort all the software available on this portal by relevance, publication date, title (A-Z or the other way round), author, etc. There is also a search engine to help you find your way in this huge portal containing a lot of software.


Another example is www.cfd-online.com that offers this time software belonging to a certain field of activity, with the following contents: fluid dynamics (selected codes), general numerical software, vizualisation (organizations and companies), Mesh generation, Commercial CFD packages. Each of these sections has its own subsections with the inherent public domain software.

www.softpedia.com is also a very good provider of public domain software as I found 48 such software here. I will not list all the software found here, but I will tell you some of the topics of this software: a movie finder, a suite of software for building and distributing digital library colections, some software used for testing the quality of random numbers, a log keeping software for travellers, a free Windows software to configure the AppleAirport Base Station and so on.


So, the list of public domain software is quite impressive. Maybe you will not find all software attractive and useful to you , but some other people certainly will. And the fact that we , people, share our most intimate thoughts and ideas with other people without asking for anything in return is the proof that we are not selfish and we share because we live in a community and think of all the people in the community , not only of ourselves. This is what makes mankind develop so quickly and advance in all the fields of technology.


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