I love the Open Source/Free software movement. It has provided me with some incredibly powerful tools to solve problems, not to mention hours of fun tracking down and playing with this stuff.
The following is a list of some of my favorite open source or free software tools. I’m always looking for more so please post your own favorites as comments and, assuming it makes my Geek-o-meter twitch, I will update the list as time goes on.
- Ninite – Install and update lots of great free software in one step. Shown first because it includes many of the options below
One of the beauties of Android is it is much more customizable than “that other mobile OS”. This is great for people like me, but probably not so good for the people that just want to pick something up and not have to think about it at all. Horses for courses.
- Textra SMS – Textra expands on the basic text functionality with some very cool and useful features such as individual text sounds and LED colors for people or groups and (my favorite feature) the ability to set a time and date when a text will go out. I’m always thinking of sending things late at night or early in the morning. Now I can do it without bothering people at strange times of the day.
- WhatsApp – It took me a while to install this, but I wish I had done it earlier. It’s just like iMessage…but for everyone. Traveling overseas and need to send a message w/o cell coverage? No problem.
- AirMap – I fly drones often. AirMap is one of the coolest tools I have found to help ensure that I am doing it legally.
- Visual Voicemail (AT&T) – Provides a simple way to listen to voicemail without dialing numbers and (most importantly) conversion of the voicemail to text, so you don’t even need to listen to it unless you want to.
- Android Pay – I find myself using this more and more these days. Although the fact that the snack machine in work accepts this is probably contributing to some weight gain!
- Smart AudioBook Player – Keeps my audiobooks organized and lets me pick a playback speed. +20% makes things go much quicker without losing anything!
Productivity / Communication
- Libreoffice– Free and Open Office Suite – Compatible with all major office suites including MS-Office
- Join.me: – Free alternative to Webex or Livemeeting. Beautifully simple to use and no ads. I have to admit I was impressed.
- Skype – Free audio / video communication
- MindMeister – Online Mind Mapping (multi-edit – great for collaboration)
- OpenProj – Can’t afford MS-Project? This is a good alternative.
Picture / Audio / Video
- GIMP – Amazingly powerful image editor for people that can’t afford PhotoShop
- DaVinici Resolve – Professional level video editing that competes with products such as Final Cut Pro and Adobe Creative Suit. It has a steep learning curve and requires a powerful PC and graphics card, but it can do amazing things with your videos if you take the time to learn
- LightZone – Excellent tool for providing fast and powerful color correction to your photos
- GoPro Studio – Easy to use video editing with some advanced features such as speed control and templates
- Irfanview – Powerful image tool allows for batch manipulation such as image resizing
- Audacity – Audio Recorder and Editor. Includes multi-track mixing and background noise reduction
- CamStudio – Screen Recording Software. Create videos of your screen actions with voiceover. Great for training materials.
- ToonDoo – Create cartoons the easy way – no drawing skill needed
- AVGO Free DVD Ripper – Easily rip DVD to AVI, MP4, MKV, H264, iOS and Android.
- Handbrake – Convert video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.
- CCleaner – PC Optimization and Registry Cleaning. If your PC is running slowly, this is a great tool to fix that
- JDiskReport – Graphical disk space analysis – Find out where all your disk space went!
- ImgBurn – Burn discs including software installation and audio discs from a wide variety of sources.
- Auslogics Duplicate File Finder – Find and eradicate duplicate files on your PC.
Developer / Web Design
- Ubuntu – Linux – Linux is the free operating system behind the majority of web sites, and a great alternative to Windows/MAC OS, particularly on older PCs
- WordPress – Open Source CMS System (a great way to create your website)
- Joomla – Open Source CMS System (another great way to create your website)
- TOAD – SQL Tool For Application Developers
- MySQL Database – The database behind a huge percentage of web sites
- VMWare Player – Run multiple Operating Systems on one PC with ease
- Jira – Bug and Task tracking tool. Not free but at $10 for a 10-user license it practically is.
- Talend – Open Source ETL and Data Integration Software