Thanks to the tremendous efforts of a great deal of people who freely give their time and skills, there is a wealth of free and open-source software out there. Although not always up to par with commercial solutions, they offer solutions to those who may not be able to afford the steep prices often asked for commercial software. Here I present some free and some open-source options.
When talking about free software people can sometimes forget about web browsers. In the early days, browsers were things that were purchased – something that is resurfacing on mobile devices.
So why have I chosen Chrome? There was a time when I would have recommended Firefox, if it hadn’t become slow, bloated and suffer from horrific memory leaks. As is it, Chrome is streamlined, fast and has good features and plugins.
This handy little programme (Windows only) can ‘zip’ up files and folders, making them smaller, and so easier to store and email to people.
MEDIA PLAYER – MEDIA STREAMING – AND MORE
Words can barely express how much I love VLC and all it can do. It’s a terrific media player, able to handle any media file/codec that I’ve thrown at it without so much as a whimper. It simply blows the packaged media players that arrive with your computer clean out of the water.
Not only will it do that, it will let you stream video, convert files and more. Check out their site to see what else they offer.
I was in tow minds as to whther I should include jEdit; It’s a pretty nifty editor, but I’ve found that it can be slow, at least on OSX. It’s still good and there’s plenty of useful plugins available.
It’s worth a look, in fact, if OSX didn’t have Dashcode, I’d probably still be using it.
FileZilla is a feature-rich FTP programme, letting you access and manage FTP accounts quickly and easily.
CyberDuck is another open-source FTP programme. I prefer this over FileZilla as I find the interface more user-friendly.
Ubuntu is a Linux-based operating system. It’s also a viable replacement to commercial operating systems. There are a number of different Ubuntu options available, depending on the use to which you’ll be putting it.
LibreOffice in an office productivity suite, and contains the Microsoft Office equivalents of Word, Excel etc. LibreOffice is now the leading open-source office productivity suite.
LibreOffice has been created by the former developers of OpenOffice, another free, open-source office suite package. The developers left the OpenOffice project when Oracle tried to commercialise it. Once the driving forces behind OpenOffice jumped ship, Oracle tried to give the project back to the community but it looked like it was too late. Fortunately it was taken over and revived by Apache.
These are just a selection of the wealth of open-source and free software solutions which are available for you. Depending on your needs, you may find that the software listed above doesn’t offer what you’re looking for, but there’s probably something out there somewhere.