By Deane Barker on October 2, 2004

Abandonware – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Here’s a term I hadn’t heard before.

Abandonware is computer software which is no longer being sold or supported by its copyright holder. Alternately, the term is also used for software which is still available, but on which further support and development has been deliberately discontinued.



  1. Really? This was HUGE a couple of years ago. Or at least it seemed so from my perspective.

    The problem was, even though the software wasn’t being supported or sold, that didn’t mean the rights holders were content with letting it be given away for free.

    Before a lot of cracking down was done this was the place to go: http://www.the-underdogs.org/

    They still have a very large selection of author approved abandonware and freeware, but they aren’t even close to what they once were.

  2. Cellphones and portables killed the abandonware scene, IMHO. Before those, rights holders looked at their old content and thought, “Well, noone’s every going to pay for that again,” and let the rights slide. Now, they realize that they can take their Atari 2600 game, run it inside a Java-based emulator, and charge 20 cents a download to be used on cellphones.

    This sort of thing is actually why we had no Friday Diversion this week. I found a wonderful javascript/DHTML re-creation of Lemmings, and had it all lined up for the diversion. But when Friday rolled around, it was gone. Someone had griped that the author was violating IP, even though he used none of the original code. Even worse, noone was really sure who even OWNED the rights anymore, so he’s having trouble even asking for permission.

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