Software with unnecessary code which slows the function of the host software, steals resources from the host computer, and violates privacy of the user.
No one well informed in their right mind would run software that only displayed privacy violating internet ads. Similarly no one sane and well informed would want software to embed internet ad rendering code surreptitiously or directly.
Software is payware or not-payware. There is no middle ground held by malware. The COST of using adware is violated privacy, less processing power, and less bandwidth. Adware is SELF EVIDENTLY NOT freeware nor free in any sense of the word.
Malware is software that violates the user in one or more ways.
ALL adware is malware BY DEFINITION
Anyone claiming otherwise is ignorant, evil, or delusion.
real-freeware includes Open Source, a complex movement that offers code out of selflessness.
ALL software on android market claiming to be freeware but rendering internet ads IS adware and by definition malware.
ALL installers using opencandy adware IS MALWARE -- and especially nefarious as it runs with admin rights.
A close relation to spyware.
A program that either downloads itself to your machine without permission, or bundled with other software, that secretly spies on you in order to direct advertising at you.
Can be removed with Ad Aware or Spybot Search and Destroy
Software that is in some way supported by advertisement, allowing it to be used at a lower cost, usually free. Though not always true, it is commonly believed that adware is malware or a form of spyware. Adware is usually software with a practical purpose, while spyware usually originates from individuals or organizations seeking pure advertising profit at the expense of the user.
AIM won't stop showing me advertisements, damn adware.