English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm looking for a word that describes the way software is released. It could be freeware, shareware, donationware, commercial, etc.

share|improve this question
Licence. (general reference...) – EnergyNumbers Feb 6 '12 at 15:40
License is with an 's' – Jef Feb 6 '12 at 15:46
Excuse me, I didn't know that. – Jef Feb 6 '12 at 15:57
Demn dem Yankees! – FumbleFingers Feb 6 '12 at 16:02
up vote 3 down vote accepted

These are all "License Terms" or "License Types". Sometimes I see these terms used to indicate "Release Type", maybe when the same piece of software has multiple versions, where the Freeware version has fewer features and no support when compared to the Commercial version.

share|improve this answer

As far as I know there is no such umbrella term yet - with syntactic or semantic implication of "how a software licensed, distributed or shared".

The closest term to what you are looking for might be "proprietary software". But, this term implies "ownership", not the way it is released. But still covers freeware, shareware, abandonware e.t.c

Please check Proprietary software

share|improve this answer
Did I misunderstand question? OP asks "a word" that describes the way software is released. – Mustafa Feb 6 '12 at 17:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.