As for other programs that are in your free program bank, these are not free. When downloading from the respective website, a lot of other programs are included without this being reported on the website.
RESPONSE. You are absolutely right that much of what is free is paid for in ways other than money. When it comes to freeware, there are basically five different options.
1. Open source. Some people think that information should be free as a matter of principle. Many programs are therefore developed without profit and use so-called open source code. The idea is that everyone should help develop the programs.
The office suite Libreoffice is one such example. Firefox and Thunderbird (as you mention) are other programs developed by a non-profit foundation.
2. Commercial Freeware. Many commercial players release free software – and of course they have an ulterior motive. Microsoft and Apple for example, makes free software – and hopes that it will entice us to run Windows or Mac computers.
3. Lean programs. Another model for free software is slimmed-down special versions of paid software. CCleaner Free is, for example, a free cleaning program while CCleaner Professional is a more feature-rich variant that costs money. The manufacturer’s hope is that those who get the free version will want to pay for a little more finesse.
4. Advertising funded programs. It is common for free programs to be advertising-funded. In other words, you can use it if you watch advertising. This is especially common on mobile phones and everything Google does, for example, is based on being able to expose us to advertising that is tailored based on our interests.
5. Bundled Programs. Sometimes you are offered a regular program along with your free program. You who, for example, download Adobe Acrobat Reader (to read pdf files) receives an offer to also install McAfee’s security software. However, all serious players allow users to opt out of the add-on.
Alongside real freeware there is something called shareware. These are regular paid programs that you can test for a limited period. When PC for All writes about freeware, we don’t mean shareware.
In our program library Laddaned.nu we only include those where the user can opt out of any additional programs. However, it happens that software manufacturers change their schemes, and if we find out, we will remove that software. We are of course grateful for tips if anyone finds such a program.