Monday, July 20, 2009

Free Software Summer Roundup

The question of favorite free software recently came up on an IT mailing list to which I subscribe. I thought I'd share my list of favorite free software that I've found very useful.

  • 7-Zip - Don't download WinZip (that is so 1990's) or WinRAR. 7-Zip rocks! It handles all manner of archives (ZIP, GZIP, TAR, RAR, ISO, LZH, CAB, to name a few).
  • Adeona - A free, open-source program to track a lost or stolen laptop that doesn't rely on a single third party. Mac, Linux, and Windows.
  • Audacity - The best free audio editor!
  • BOXEE - Time to convert that old computer into an open, connected, social media center! "On a laptop or connected to an HDTV, boxee's free software lets you navigate all your personal movies, TV shows, music and photos, as well as streaming content from websites like MLB, Netflix, Pandora,, and Flickr from one screen with a remote." Windows client recently added.
  • Burn - A simple but powerful app for Mac OS X for burning CD, DVD, VCD and other disc formats.
  • Carbon Copy Cloner - Disk cloning, imagine, and backup for Mac OS X.
  • Evernote - Sweet note-taking app, syncs to the cloud, iPhone/iPod Touch app. Almost as good as OneNote.
  • InfraRecorder - My favorite free CD/DVD burning program for Windows. Handles ISOs.
  • Inkscape - A vector-based drawing program and great substitute for Adobe Illustrator.
  • Live Mesh - Sync 5GB of files between Windows or Mac machines with Microsoft's Live Mesh service for free. You can also access synced folders from the Live Mesh site, which comes in handy when you are away from your machines. I recommend disabling the auto start and only running Live Mesh when you need to sync files.
  • Notepad++ - My favorite text editor.
  • OpenOffice - I use Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate on Windows (purchased for $60 from Microsoft's Ultimate Steal last Sept. for the MBA program), but if you don't want to shell out any money, consider OpenOffice.
  • OpenProj - An open source replacement for Microsoft Project for Mac, Linux, and Windows. Has a familiar interface and is compatible with Microsoft Project file format.
  • - Lightweight, robust image editor for Windows. Great for quick edits when you don't want to load up GIMP or Photoshop.
  • Seashore - Image editor for Mac OS X. Great for simple image edits, but features layers, gradients, a clone tool, and other useful tools.
  • Tunnelblick - An OpenVPN client for Mac OS X.
  • VirtualBox - Robust, multi-platform virtualization software. Don't pay big bucks for Parallels or VMware Fusion.
  • VLC Media Player - VLC is my new favorite media player. I don't use VLC to manage my media library (I use iTunes for that, along with iPod syncing). I use VLC for playing videos quickly without having to launch bloated iTunes or Windows Media Player.
Firefox Add-Ons:

  • Adblock Plus - I just added ABP to FF this summer to supplement NoScript...Love it!
  • FireFTP - My favorite full-featured FTP client is a Firefox add-on! Handles SFTP, FTPS and opens on a tab in my browser. Very handy!
  • NoScript - No one should use "the Internets" without NoScript. Tell your grandparents!
  • Xmarks - Sync bookmarks and other stuff on the cloud, keeping all instances of your web browser with the same bookmarks and settings. I recommend disabling the auto-recommend features.
What are some of your favorite freebies for Mac, Linux, Windows or iPhone/iPod Touch?

1 comment:

  1. GIMP for image editing.
    IE Tab - Firefox plug-in that renders pages in FF using the IE engine.
    Handbrake for video file conversion.