Free Software

For most pieces of commercial software for common tasks there is an excellent free althernative; sometimes even open source. Here are a few of my favourites.

This post extends and complements several previous ones on open source software, firefox extensions and system tools.

In many cases, I have tried many alternatives, but one has stood out from the rest.

Applications

Computer Algebra Systems

wxMaxima
<http://wxmaxima.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page>

Axiom
<http://www.axiom-developer.org/>

Graph Layout

Graphviz
<http://www.graphviz.org/>

Multimedia

Audacity (audio file editor)
<http://audacity.sourceforge.net/>

AudioGrabber (CD to MP3, with access to CDDB for track info)
<http://www.audiograbber.org/>

Radio Downloader (audio stream to MP3; especially BBC)
<http://www.nerdoftheherd.com/tools/radiodld/>

TagScanner (MP3 file renamer and batch tag editor)
<http://www.xdlab.ru/en/index.htm>

Real Alternative
(excellent alternative to Real Player)
including Media Player Classic
(fair alternative to Microsoft Windows Media Player)
<http://www.free-codecs.com/real_alternative_download.htm>

Raster Images (Photos)

The Gimp
(excellent alternative to Adobe Photoshop)
<http://www.gimp.org/>

Vector Images (Drawings)

Dia (diagrams)
(partial alternative to Microsoft Visio;
*not* capable of reading *.vsd files)
<http://live.gnome.org/Dia>

Office

OpenOffice.org
(alternative to Microsoft Office)
OOo Base
(alternative to MS Access – database)
OOo Calc
(excellent alternative to MS Excel – spreadsheets;
can edit *.xls files)
OOo Impress
(poor alternative to MS PowerPoint – presentations;
can edit *.ppt files, badly)
OOo Writer
(fair alternative to MS Word – word processor;
can edit *.doc files)
<http://www.openoffice.org/>

Plus, for grammar:
<http://www.languagetool.org/>

Scribus (DTP)
(partial alternative to Microsoft Publisher;
*not* capable of reading *.pub files)
<http://www.scribus.net/>

Text / Programmers Editors

(I have yet to find a programmer’s editor that has all the features I want.)

Crimson Editor
<http://www.crimsoneditor.com/>
(<http://about.emeraldeditor.com/> in development)

SciTE
<http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html>

Internet

Firefox (web browser)
(excellent alternative to Internet Explorer)
<http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/>

Firefox Extensions:
Classic Compact Theme
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/classic-compact/>
<http://blog.environmentalchemistry.com/2008/03/firefox-theme-classic-compact.html>
British English Dictionary (spell checking for forms)
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/british-english-dictionary/>
Add to Search Bar
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/add-to-search-bar/>
<https://firefox.maltekraus.de/extensions/add-to-search-bar>
DownThemAll! (mass downloader)
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/downthemall/>
<http://www.downthemall.net/>
FEBE (firefox backup)
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/febe/>
<http://softwarebychuck.com/febe/febe.html>
FireFTP
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fireftp/>
<http://fireftp.mozdev.org/>
Fox Splitter (window splitter)
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fox-splitter-formerly-split-br/>
Searchbar Autosizer
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/searchbar-autosizer/>
<http://searchbarautosizer.mozdev.org/>
Tab Utilities (tab duplication, faviconisation, …)
[donation requested]
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-utilities/>
Uppity (navigate up)
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/uppity/>
<http://trac.arantius.com/wiki/Extensions/Uppity>
WebDeveloper
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/web-developer/>
<http://chrispederick.com/work/web-developer/>

Thunderbird (mail client)
<http://www.mozillamessaging.com/en-GB/thunderbird/>

Thunderbird Extensions:
Lightning (calendar)
<http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/>
British English Dictionary
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/british-english-dictionary/>

Configuration

Clipboard Path
<http://stefan.bertels.org/en/clipboardpath>

Programming Languages

Microsoft Visual Studio Express (C++)
<http://www.microsoft.com/express/Downloads/>

Strawberry Perl
<http://strawberryperl.com/>

Python
<http://www.python.org/>

Documentation Systems

Doxygen
<http://www.stack.nl/~dimitri/doxygen/>

MiKTeX (TeX / LaTeX; typesetting)
<http://miktex.org/>

Security

Avast (anti-virus)
<http://www.avast.com/en-gb/free-antivirus-download>

Cobian (backup)
<http://www.educ.umu.se/~cobian/cobianbackup.htm>

MalwareBytes (anti-malware)
<http://www.malwarebytes.org/>

Spybot Search & Destroy (anti-spyware)
<http://www.safer-networking.org/en/spybotsd/index.html>

Bluecoat K9 (web parental control)
<http://www1.k9webprotection.com/>

Shells

Cygwin (Linux Bash shell and Tools for Windows)
<http://www.cygwin.com/>

System Maintenance

Auslogics (defrag)
<http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/>

Process Explorer
<http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx>

Sysinternals Suite
<http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb842062.aspx>

Wireshark (network analysis)
<http://www.wireshark.org/>

Utilities

7-Zip (compression)
(excellent alternative to Winzip)
<http://www.7-zip.org/>

SumatraPDF (PDF reader)
(very lightweight alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader)
<http://blog.kowalczyk.info/software/sumatrapdf/free-pdf-reader.html>

PDF Creator
(virtual printer driver, for the creation of PDF files from any application)
<http://www.pdfforge.org/pdfcreator>

CDBurnerXP (cd writing)
<http://cdburnerxp.se/en/>

WinCDEmu (cd/dvd iso image reader)
<http://wincdemu.sysprogs.org/>

WinMerge (file and directory comparison)
<http://winmerge.org/>

grepWin (regular expression tool)
<http://tools.tortoisesvn.net/grepWin.html>

The Regex Coach (regular expression testing)
[free for non-commercial use only; donation requested]
<http://weitz.de/regex-coach/>

Source Control

Apache SVN / Subversion
<http://subversion.apache.org/>
<http://svnbook.red-bean.com/>

Virtualisation

VirtualBox (plus “Guest Additions”)
<http://www.virtualbox.org/>

Windows 7 Free Gadgets

Digital Dutch Clock (date, day and time)
<http://gallery.live.com/…>
<http://www.digitaldutch.com/clock/index.html>

Full Moon (phase)
<http://gallery.live.com/…>
<http://wobbleworks.com/2010/04/21/full-moon-3-3/>


Good software doesn’t need to advertise.

Post ends here.


One Response to “Free Software”

  1. Rob Says:

    (Updated 2 Feb 2011: added Mozilla extensions, gadgets, virtualisation, …)

    (Updated 9 Feb: added regex.)

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