This article is from the Introductory Macintosh FAQ, by Elliotte Rusty Harold firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
If you can't find shareware you're looking for at one of
the above sites, archie will help you find it. If you have a
MacTCP connection to the net, you should use Peter Lewis's
graphical archie client Anarchie, available from
Otherwise try telnetting to your nearest archie server or
sending it an email message addressed to archie with the subject
"help." Archie servers are located at archie.rutgers.edu (126.96.36.199,
America), archie.mcgill.ca (188.8.131.52, Canada), archie.au
(184.108.40.206, Australia), archie.funet.fi (220.127.116.11,
Scandinavia), and archie.doc.ic.ac.uk (18.104.22.168, the U.K. and
the continent). These sites index the tens of thousands of files
available for anonymous ftp. Login as "archie" (no password is
needed) and type "prog filename" to find what you're looking for or
type "help" for more detailed instructions. For instance you would
type "prog Disinfectant" to search for a convenient ftp site for
Disinfectant. If the initial search fails to turn up the file you
want, try variations on and substrings of the name. For instance if
you didn't find Disinfectant with "prog Disinfectant", you might try
"prog disi" instead.
If you have access to the World Wide Web the Virtual Software
is often quicker to respond than archie although it doesn't index
as many sites.
Most common payware is stocked by MacWarehouse and featured
in their catalog which you can request from MacWarehouse at
(800) 622-6222. Apple brand software not stocked by MacWarehouse
and not available on ftp.support.apple.com is often available from
APDA, the Apple Programmers' and Developers' Association. Call
(800) 282-2732 in the U.S., (800) 637-0029 in Canada, (716) 871-6555
elsewhere, for a catalog. Finally most third party programming
tools with too small a market to be advertised in the MacWarehouse
catalog are advertised in every issue of MacTech along with
information on how to order.
Please check the above catalogs and archie personally BEFORE
asking the net where you can find a particular piece of software.
These sources provide answers much more quickly than the net.