Useful Free and Open Source software

September 21st, 2006 / 1 Comment

For the empowerment of humanity, I’ve compiled a listing of free and open source programs that I use frequently, or have found helpful. I’ve tried to keep the list fairly limited, so there’s a high probability that some of these may also work well for you.

System Utilities

Keep your system in good shape by running each of these once a month.

Audio Editing and Management

  • iTunes – I prefer the iTunes interface and appreciate how it sorts my music into folders by artist (makes it easy to backup).
  • Audacity – Audio editor.
  • Mp3myMp3 – Saves as an mp3 any audio coming from your computer.

Image Editing and Management

  • Picasa – Google’s image editor and managment tool.
  • Gimp – Photoshop minus filters and layer blending options.
  • Screen Hunter HoverSnap – Copys whatever is displayed on your computer screen to an image file.

Internet Tools

  • Firefox – The original fast, free, customizable, standards compliant web browser
    • Aardvark – A firefox addition that lets you delete unwanted content (say an annoying banner add).
    • Google Preview – A firefox plugin that gives a thumbnail version of each site in google’s search results.
    • Forecast Fox – Adds weather firefox’s menu.
      [UPDATE: apparently forecast fox has a fairly significant memory leak and I have thus removed it from firefox, suggestions for a replacement are warmly appreciated.]
  • Thunderbird – An email manager developed by the same folks as firefox.
  • Mozbackup – Backup your firefox and thunderbird settings (MUCH easier than backing up windows software)
  • ZoneAlarm – Firewall utility (limits what programs are accessing your internet connection).

Web Development Tools

  • Firefox – The web browser of choice.
    • Web Developer – Tools useful for web development troubleshooting and testing.
    • Html Validator – Checks if your xhtml is valid.
    • MeasureIt – Measure screen dimensions.
    • Colorzilla – Copy a color from the screen.
  • Php Designer- XHTML, CSS, PHP editor.
  • Filezilla – FTP program.
  • Xenu – Test to see if you site has any broken links
  • HTTtrack – Copy a complete website to your hardrive.
  • TopStyle – CSS editor (lite version).

Office and Productivity Tools

  • Open Office – Sun Microsystem’s free competitor to MS Office.
  • PrimoPDF – Converts any document into a pdf, including webpages.

So that’s my list. Please be sure to leave a response if you have any other programs you think I should be aware of or if there is something in particular you don’t see but would find useful.

UPDATE: For more programs check out The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities

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