Shareware is produced by accomplished programmers, just like retail software. There is good and bad shareware, just as there is good and bad retail software. The primary difference between shareware and retail software is that with shareware you know if it's good or bad before you pay for it.
As a software user, you benefit because you get to use the software to determine whether it meets your needs before you pay for it, and authors benefit because they are able to get their products into your hands without the hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses it takes to launch a traditional retail software product. There are many programs on the market today which would never have become available without the shareware marketing method.
The shareware system and the continued availability of quality shareware products depend on your willingness to register and pay for the shareware you use. It's the registration fee you pay which allows us to support and continue to develop our products.
"This software is owned by XYZ Incorporated. The XYZ company grants to the user a nonexclusive license to use this software solely for its internal business purposes. The user may not commercially distribute, sublicense, resell, or otherwise transfer for any consideration, or reproduce for any such purposes, the software or any modification or derivation thereof, either alone or in conjunction with any other product or program. Further, the user may not modify the software, other than for its own internal business use."
"THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED TO THE USER ''AS IS.'' THE COMPANY MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO THIS SOFTWARE AND/OR ASSOCIATED MATERIALS PROVIDED TO THE USER ........."
If you try out a freeware program, and decide that you'd like to use it on a regular basis, you then just send a postcard to the development team or programmer.
To put it in the words of Jeff Beckley (who probably invented Postcardware):
"... Postcards that have something to do with where you live are an especially good choice, as I like to see all the interesting places that the software is being used. Humorous or unusual postcards are a favorite of mine, and you never know when I may decide that someone's postcard was interesting enough to make them a tester for the commercial version..."
Anything that is not copyrighted is in the public domain. The four rights intrinsic to copyright no longer are held by a creator or owner.
Therefore anyone has the right to arrange, reproduce, perform, or publish any item which is no longer under copyright.
Public domain programs (or parts of them), can be freely incorporated into new works without paying royalties on the original material.