Essential, Free Software

I am a technology professional committed to the development of sustainable solutions that deliver results.

Essential, Free Software

You'll need more than your operating system to be productive. To assist, I've compiled and will regularly update this list of freely available must have applications.

Feel free to contact me with your recommendations and please note, I do not receive commission and am not otherwise compensated for these recommendations. If you are the manufacturer of one of these software and want to shower me with donations, please feel free to do so. Just note, it won't change my opinion.

For Windows

The following applications are free and available for Windows XP. In most cases, the applications also work with Windows Vista and Server.

  • 7-Zip — An open source archiver with very high compression ratios. (Used for files on this site.)
  • CutePDF Writer — A tool to create PDFs from almost any printable document.
  • Picasa — A photo editing and organization software with handy and effective imge cleanup and filtering tools.
  • RoboForm — A password manager and web form filler. Free for up to a certain number of "passcards" and then it becomes a paid app.
  • Google Earth — Only the coolest satellite imagery tool on the planet. Lets you fly anywhere on Earth and view satellite imagery.
  • FileZilla — An open source FTP client. An open source (and free) server version is also available.
  • VLC Media Player — An excellent multimedia player for audio and video formats. Comes with the most essential codecs for viewing the latest high compression videos (e.g. Xvid, DivX, MP4, SWF, etc.).
  • MediaMonkey — An excellent iTunes alternative. Much better at managing large collections of music and conducting batch edits. Works with iPods and other media devices.
  • GIMP — A photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring tool.

Please note, I personally recommend that you use a paid antivirus and firewall solution. Not only are they more robust, but they have support, are more frequently updated, and have a vested interest in delivering and maintaining and effective product. I list my favorite paid antivirus, firewall, and web browser applications on this site.

And if you're really adventurous and want to try a completely free operating system, I highly recommend uBuntu1 — a great entry into Linux for first time Linux users coming from Windows. 

Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office 

  • OpenOffice — An open source office productivity suite that contains document, presentation, spreadsheet, draw, and database applications.
  • Google Apps — Google's document, presentation, spreadsheet, calendar, email, and chat solution.