Free, Gratis and Practically For Nothing


My main regular feature in Amiga User International was on public domain and shareware software, a very useful source of all kinds of programs back in those days (and still today).

The usual title was something along the lines of ‘Free, Gratis and Practically For Nothing…’ but that varied a little over the years and my first reviews of such software were mixed in with similar reports by other AUI correpondents.

Of course, with no public internet, it was much more difficult to obtain such software back then, and the usual suppliers were semi-pro ‘PD Libraries’, who, advertising in the home computer magazines of the day, would sell compilation discs of programs at modest prices (the software itself being technically given away free), or you could sometimes download such software from ‘bulletin boards’ – mostly enthusiast-run dialup servers.

With telephone call charges far more expensive than they are now, and no nationwide cheap rate services, using bulletin boards could be expensive, but it was fun, and exciting!

The software I reviewed was a mix of programs provided by PC libraries (who would get a credit at the end of the article) or found by me on bulletin boards.

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