We get requests from people all the time who are overwhelmed by all of the free software downloads that we offer on our site. Naturally, everyone’s needs are different, so we can’t say which software will be the best or most useful for you. We can, however, say what some of our most downloaded free open-source software titles are, and that’s always a good place to start, right?
Quite frankly put, VLC Media Player is one of the best video player programs on the market, free or otherwise. It plays nearly any format of video or audio file, it is highly customizable, and, best of all, there are new features being rolled out all the time. It even does video and audio editing features if you want to get that advanced.
Plus, since it is open source, there are people working non-stop to add features that make the player better and more customizable. If you can find anything that it doesn’t do, you can either find a quick answer in their help files or find a developer in the VLC community who can make a patch to create the functionality you want. Oh, and did we mention that this is all free?
Most people don’t think about their needs for file management software until they find out that they absolutely need it. If you want to be prepared in advance and not have to scramble for a file manager that will archive your files and open a wide variety of different archive file tipes including ZIP, RAR, and ISO.
More importantly, 7-Zip has a 50% more efficient file compression capability when archiving your files. You may not be able to pack files in quite as many formats as you can unpack, but hopefully you should not need more than one format for your own archiving.
Everybody knows that Microsoft Office has become the most widely-acccepted program suite for producing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. However, the flip side of that coin is that it is able to command an increasingly large price tag. For those of us who don’t have an extra couple hundred dollars lying around, Openoffice Suite provides all of the functionality of Microsoft Office, but for free.
Better still, OpenOffice is fully compatible with Office file formats, so when your friends or co-workers try to email you something in a DOC, DOCX, XLS, or XLSX format, you don’t need Office to open that file, you can open, read, and edit the files with OpenOffice.
Just like OpenOffice is an excellent free alternative to Microsoft Office, more and more people who want to get into photo editing are turning to GIMP instead of dropping all sorts of coin on Photoshop. In some ways, GIMP is preferrable, because you can customize GIMP to include the functionality you want, excluding what you don’t.
If you are a hobby photographer, or just someone who wants to be able to make professional-grade adjustments to your own photos, GIMP is a great resource. Unless you are using advanced functionality, it usually doesn’t make sense to drop hundreds of dollars on Photoshop, so GIMP is a great introduction to photo editing that won’t cost you anything. Plus, as you get comfortable with the editing process, and need more functionality, you can add features to your existing download of GIMP for free!
Especially with all the recent concerns about security holes and exceptions, it is more important than ever to have reliable Anti-Virus software installed on your computer. ClamAV will keep your computer safe for free. Since it is open source software, developers are always working to keep it current, so you can rest assured that by the time you find out about a potential threat, it is already being addressed.
Keep your computer safe and secure, while avoiding not only the initial cost, but also ongoing annual fees that come along with most commercially sold anti-virus software.