When it comes to equipping your PC or Mac with all of the software you need to run on it, there tends to be 3 things you can do to kit it out:
- Fork out for each bit of software, possibly costing you hundreds of pounds.
- Get a copy off a mate, or download (illegally) from a torrent site.
- Find a free alternative.
Now, you know we aren’t going to condone either #1 or #2, #3 is definitely the most frugal and legal way to equip your computer for nothing, and the range of software now available should mean you never have to pay for or illegally download a programme again.
If you want to do word processing, DVD burning, encryption etc etc etc, there’s a free app for that.
And a good starting place to find this free software is Lifehackers list of 61 free apps that we’re most thankful for. This includes not only desktop software that you install on your computer, but also web apps that can be accessed through your normal web browser, which is the way things are going in application development. Indeed, Google has recently announced its own operating system, Chrome OS (its equivalent to Windows), which is essentially a souped-up web browser which will access everything it needs online.
Anyhow, these are some of our favourites from the list:
- Firefox (web browsing)
- VLC (media player)
- Dropbox (sharing files between computers)
- OpenOffice.org (office software, Microsoft Office alternative)
- Google Chrome (web browsing)
- Gmail (email)
- GIMP (photo editing)
- Paint.NET (photo editing, drawing)
- Microsoft Security Essentials (anti-virus)
- Thunderbird (email)
- Audacity (music making)
- ImgBurn (DVD burning)
- Picasa (photo gallery)
- Skype (communication tool)
- Foxit Reader (PDF reader)
- TrueCrypt (encryption)
- AVG (anti-virus)
- Google Reader (RSS reader)
- Google Earth (atlas)
- Google Calendar (calendar)
What are your favourite bits of free software? Let us know in the comments below.
photo credit: See-ming Lee ??? SML
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