There are a lot of good software packages on the market and the general consensus appears to be that if you want good software, you need to shell out a lot of money. This is not always the case.
I’m a firm believer in FREE and Open Source Software (FOSS) and in that spirit, I’ll share some of the programs that I’ve used.
Word Processor and Other Office Programs
OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.
Graphics, Video and Audio
GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.
Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.
ZS4 Video Editor, the new incarnation of Zwei-Stein Video Editor, is advanced video editing and compositing software with over 150 built-in video effects.
ZS4 runs on Windows, Linux and OSX and is free to download and use.
Blender is used to: model • shade • animate • render • composite • interactive 3d
Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.
Audacity® is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.
Unison is a file-synchronization tool for Unix and Windows. It allows two replicas of a collection of files and directories to be stored on different hosts (or different disks on the same host), modified separately, and then brought up to date by propagating the changes in each replica to the other.
Pidgin is an easy to use and free chat client used by millions. Connect to AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and more chat networks all at once. Supported chat networks:
* AIM * Bonjour * Gadu-Gadu * Google Talk * Groupwise
*ICQ * IRC * MSN * MySpaceIM * QQ * SILC * SIMPLE
* Sametime * XMPP * Yahoo! * Zephyr
WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.
More simply, WordPress is what you use when you want to work with your blogging software, not fight it. And just for the record, this entire website is using WordPress.
I’ve been using Kubuntu for about six years and can recommend it if you’re tired of spending money and supporting Micro$oft or Apple. Take a look at the sample screen shots and list of features and if it looks like it would work for you, download the free CD image.
If anyone can recommend similar FOSS applications that they’ve found useful, please let us know about them.