"Demo-ware" instead of "crippleware" (fwd)
dowden at u.washington.edu
Thu Dec 2 11:14:52 PST 1999
I thought some of you would be interested in helping stop this new
"nickname" for ordinary software that has had some functionality removed.
You will see that many are suggesting "demo-ware".
Think carefully about who you send it to, however, since wide-spread
dissemination COULD actually encourage some people to adopt the term.
Patricia Dowden, Ph.D., CCC-Sp <dowden at u.washington.edu>
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dep't of Speech & Hearing Sciences
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 10:11:47 -0500
From: Cynthia Cress <ccress1 at unl.edu>
To: aac_intervene at aac.unl.edu, bkcaac at aac.unl.edu
Subject: New terms for "crippleware"
Here's a very simple request from a colleague to reduce the use of the
terms "crippleware" in the software industry. I forwarded the request part
alone to the whole teacher's college here, since I agree that a broad-based
response would be more effective. (My response to the alternative name
discussion is that "demoware" is more appropriate). Out of the original
request and suggestions for alternative terms came a further lengthy and
thought-provoking discussion of terminology on the RESNA listserv that I
thought you'd be interested in. It's more or less chronological below, FYI.
Dear RESNA members,
I am asking for your assistance in discouraging the rapidly
growing use of the term "crippleware" to software demos that have
had part of their functionality removed. It appears to be gaining in
popularity among webmasters of shareware and other software download
sites. Many of us in the disability community have been trying to
discourage the use of "cripple" and other negative labels for
decades. It is more than a matter of political correctness. There
is a body of research indicating that these words do have an adverse
impact on persons with disabilities, both in the way they perceive
themselves and the way in which the public views them. In essence,
it is the "self-fulfilling prophecy" scenario. I am asking that
whenever you encounter the term's use in cyberspace, drop the
webmaster a polite note explaining the problem. There are lots of
more descriptive terms that can be used for the software.
Thanks for your assistance.
Dr. Bob Chubon
Rehabilitation Counseling Program
I want to thank all the RESNA members who responded to my request for
assistance in discouraging the use of the term "crippleware." I
returned to my computer after the Thanksgiving holiday to find my e-mail
boxliterally "stuffed" with responses. There were too many to reply
to individually, so I am using the server mass mailing capability.
Many of the messages contained requests and suggestions for a replacement
term, so I have put the suggestions together in a list below for your
consideration. To help you make the decision as to which is most
appropriate, I have included the description of the software to which the
term is being applied. Many of the suggestions reflect a great deal of
thought, and others appear to have been submitted "tongue in cheek" (I
hope!). I have taken some baseline measurements of the usage of
"crippleware" on the Net, and will do a follow-up in a couple of months to
see if this campaign is having any impact. I will inform you of the
outcome. Thanks for all your help.
rchubon at sc.edu
"Software that has some important functionality deliberately removed, which
serves to entice users to purchase a fully working version with all the
The direct URL in the Hacker's dictionary:
I first heard the term crippleware in reference to application software
that was specifically designed for persons with disabilities. This was
back in the days of the Apple II and was a moniker created by users. It
was always applied in the context of programs that were not very
functional. No one ever said this, but the implied subtext was, "You are
disabled, so rather than using a regular word processor, you get to use
this one which does not work as well."
abridgedware, accessware, adverware, babyware, bait&switchware,
bareware, basicware, blockware, bonsaiware, come-onware,
condensedware, demoware, dimware, disposaware, eunuchware,
freezeware, halfware, junkware, liteware, lockware, loppedware,
lureware, miniware, nudeware, partialware, plainware, prunedware,
reducedware, sampleware, seductionware, shrunkware, simpleware,
starterware, strippedware, teaseware, testware, tetheredware,
tokenware, trialware, underware.
What terms would you suggest to replace "crippleware"? I'm sure you'll get
much more receptivity from the software world if you have some viable
alternative terms that can become part of the techie jargon.
just to start the discussion of new terms: how about "accessware" or
Because these programs are all limited in a way that makes a person trying
them out want to purchase them if they are appropriate why not just call
them demoware [NB - I also like this term best, even if it's not entirely
specific about what's being demonstrated (see comment below). Neither is
"crippleware" specific about what has been disabled, but it specifies some
limitations - Cynthia]
The terms below do not accurately reflect the content
of the term crippleware:
If you want to successfully replace the term, you need to understand it's
meaning and what it distinguishes between, then propose an accurate
substitute that fulfills the same purposes.
1. Software that has some important functionality deliberately removed,
so as to entice potential users to pay for a working version.
(definition taken from The Jargon File at
Other terms already defined include: nagware, shareware, freeware,
vaporware, wetware, payware, careware, charityware, guiltware, shelfware,
crudware, fritterware, liveware, meatware, and psychedelicware.
I'm only familiar with the first half dozen of these terms above, but here
are the important distincitions of the term crippleware that I'd come up
with without looking at definitions. I classify crippleware as a subset
of shareware or demos in which some important feature has been
deliberately crippled in order to give me a reason to register the
product. This distinguishes crippleware from nagware, which attempts to
get me to pay by asking me about it frequently and annoyingly. Freeware
on the other hand does not attempt to get me to pay for it at all (with a
very interesting worldview at the heart of the most hard-core proponents
saying that all software should be entirely free).
So, if you want to replace the word crippleware, you need a word that
means "functionality intentionally removed", and is not already defined as
About the set of suggestions listed above:
Inaccurate, doesn't say what kind of demo, test.
Implies that the other features aren't done yet. And I wouldn't buy any
program that isn't finished, I know too many programmers.
Connotations sound like vaporware (software that the ad people talk about
but never appears, kind of like Windows 2000 right now)
Sounds like software to do computer security or encryption, or possibly to
prevent your kids from seeing bad sites on the WWW.
Implies that it locks up the computer. May be accurate for some kinds of
timed demos, though.
Implies a fully functional version with only the frills blocked out.
Often crippleware has important features (such as Save) deactivated. See
programs such as WS_FTP Lite or Adobe Photoshop lite for examples that
would fit liteware.
Possible. Most crippleware is just a tease to let you know what the
program could do. Still sounds like vaporware or something unfinished,
Okay, I guess I've been lecturing too long already (sorry). But if you
really want to be able to replace the use of the word crippleware then I
suggest that you browse the Jargon File or some other list of computer
related definitions so that you can select a word that accurately
represents the concept without offending anyone.
>OK Another opinion.
>Since the word crippleware has nothing to do with people with disabilities
>or with software for people with disabilities, it just refers to software
>that has part of its functionality removed for enticement reasons, I do not
>see what this fuss is about.
>The word cripple applied to persons with disabilities is objectionable and
>will likely remain so whether the word crippleware is used in the regular
>market or not.
>The association of the word cripple with demo versions of software that
>manufacturers or sales types are trying to flog on -line may have the
>effect of removing some of the stigma of the word "cripple" but has no
>reflection on people with disabilities ((( unless of course some of us
>still think of disabled persons as "cripples" but I would expect that
>attitude to have disappeared with the solenoid driven typewriter)))
One of the major problems with making a fuss about terminology is that you
bunch of people who aren't sure what to say and end up alienating people with
disabilities (my subjective experience). I don't care if someone comes up
and asks me, "Why are you crippled?" It's all in the tone and attitude. Much
worse for someone to ignore me and avoid interaction because they aren't sure
what to say. The Crippled Children's Society was a great blessing to me when I
was a child. I didn't care that it had the word "crippled" in it. It wasn't a
bad word back then. It was not until people started making a big deal
word that it got the current negative view (IMHO).
Something that has always bugged me is the emphasis on new terminology that is
used to refer to people with disabilities or and the person-first movement
(i.e., patient with polio, as opposed to polio patient). Many of the phrases
sound abnormal. We don't say car with blue paint, we say blue car. We try to
protect people by using terms like physically challenged or wheelchair mobile,
but adding more words further confuses people who are already confused about
I applaud the computer programmers who comfortably use the term
me, it shows that "cripple" is just a word to them that means something doesn't
work like it should and needs some intervention (enable features) in order to
function to its fullest capacity. Many of us "crippled" people (referring to
myself) are similar, in that we need to use assistive technologies, require
medical intervention, or just do things differently to compensate and overcome
our biologically "disabled features."
People often ask me what I prefer to be called, Latino or Hispanic, I laugh and
ask them to "call me Ramon but I am an American". When they ask me if I prefer
to be called disabled or handicapped, I tell them I prefer being called
crippled; I love the to see the expression on their faces. It really does
happen. What a dumb thing to ask! It is the fault of political correctness
that people would even ask such a dumb question.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. I grew up
believing this, now researchers tell me it was a lie. Words can hurt
from loved ones, but name calling shouldn't be allowed to hurt anyone, at least
not for more than a few seconds. It sure doesn't help when experts tell you
that you should expect to be adversely effected by the words. Get over it, I
I have nothing personal against the people who are proponents of "correct
terminology." I think they honestly believe they are helping. I can't speak
for all persons with a disability, or is it special needs, or impairment, or
challenges, or difficulties, but I get tired of it. Of being told how to refer
to our clients (or is it consumers this year). We can't change attitudes by
changing terminology. It just causes more division.
The opinions are my own and in no way express those of my employer Goodwill
Industries, or ATEC, nor those of other members of the disability community (if
there is such a thing).
Ray, Al, Zeke, and others, I truly appreciate your support for people with
disabilities demonstrated by the fact that you have dedicated your professions
to help us, I just disagree on some things. Who knows, maybe I am totally off
Response to previous message:
> We can't change attitudes by changing terminology. It just causes more
In my (humble) opinion, I sincerely believe that you can change attitudes by
changing terminology. Words are important, because we think in words. When we
change the words we change the way we think.
My learning how to use "person-first" terminology might not have changed
else in whole world, but it has definitely changed ME- (and how I view
people and work with them.)
(BTW, I am not talking about all the different PC catch-phrases. I am just
talking about using person-first terminology, seeing the person first,
before the disability.)
> Something that has always bugged me is the emphasis on new terminology
> used to refer to people with disabilities or and the person-first movement
> (i.e., patient with polio, as opposed to polio patient). Many of the phrases
> sound abnormal. We don't say car with blue paint, we say blue car. We
> protect people by using terms like physically challenged or wheelchair
> but adding more words further confuses people who are already confused about
It might be a little more cumbersome to say "He has a developmental disability"
rather than, "He's developmentally disabled"- but it seems infinitely more
On a personal level, I can see that thinking in "person-first" terminology has
profoundly affected my relationship with my brother who has a developmental
disability. I can see very clearly that my attitude has been changed- I'm
more able to focus on the "George" in George, rather than focusing on my
brother's disability and various behaviours.
I don't feel that people-first terminology is an issue of "protecting"
people - I think it's simply more accurate.
Sometimes I'll hear professionals use phrases like "She's a Downs kid". I
think when someone uses language like that, not only does it harm the
child- it also harms themselves: it changes their relationship with the
child, keeps them from totally relating to the child as a child.
In any case, I feel glad that we are able to have discussions like this on the
"Crippleware" has everything to do with clueless young (probably male)
programmers who haven't a conscious bone in their body about how vocabulary
serves to perpetuate and reinforce social images and behavior. Maybe they
know that "cripple" shouldn't be used to refer to people with disabilities,
maybe they don't know. I'll bet you that they don't care. I'll even guess
that the person who thought it up felt he was being cute or provcative,
thumbing his nose at social convention. That goes for currency amoung young
But we can't just write it off as a software sideshow. "Cripple," even
when just used to discuss missing code, still evokes images of disability,
someone who is missing a leg, unable to walk, unable to see--missing,
unable, limited, dependent. The more such language is used, even
peripherally, the longer it remains to permeate the culture . . .filtering
directly down to the teenagers who are learning a lot more about computers
and demo programs than about disability rights and pride.
Negative language and sterotypes regarding disability have not gone out
with the IBM Selectric. Just as racist or sexist attitudes and language
have not disappeared, although significant progress has been made on all
That, in my humble opinion, is what all the fuss is about.
Thanks for putting out your views for discussion.
[This one got another response that reminded him that generalizing about
the cluelessness of computer programmers was also stereotyping and unfair
to the group]
I can think of two reasons why the people-first terminology is different (we
hope) from talking about a blue car. First, when we talk about the blue
car, we are saying that the color of the car is the defining characteristic
of the car. When we talk about a person with a disability, we don't
generally want to think of the disability as being the defining
characteristic of that person. I am more than being near-sighted, or having
attention deficit. You need to look beyond those characteristics to
Also, it is important to recognize that the person with, say, polio, may not
be a patient. My cousin had polio some 40 years ago, and was indeed a
patient for most of her youth. However, for the past 20 years or so, she's
been a geologist working at Sandia Labs, who happens to also have functional
limitations secondary to polio. She is not now, and hasn't for many years,
been a patient. She's not being treated for her polio any more.
OK, I'll jump into the fray.
Greg, offensive language is in the eye of the beholder. You and I can sit
back and say whatever we want, but if it is offensive to someone, and if
there is a less or non-offensive option, then it should be used. All the
comments you are getting offer different pieces of a somewaht complex
puzzle, and I think is indicative of being offensive (even when it's not
ment to be).
Let me put it another way. You would't call it jewware, unless you were a
racist(people of jewish desent have been inappropriately stereotyped as
being frugal, skimping on necessities and these type of programs are not
complete). You would be foolish to call it niggerware, unless you are a
biggot (people of african american desent have been unjustly stereotyped as
less than a full person, and the softeware you are discussing is not the
"full" program). So why use a term that is offensive to some people with
I don't know of person that would be offended by "demoware", and would
encourage the use of this term over one that is obviously of concern to some
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