Software doesn't have to cost much, or even anything to be good. There is free stuff out there that is worth looking for. I have gathered a list of software that covers a range of areas, and it falls into one of the categories below:

  • Open Source - This is generally a community developed application, with a central organizing committee. The source code is available to anyone, they may modify it and use it as they like, and even make copies and give it to others. (And in some cases, they may even sell it...) Open Source does not mean the software is free, you may have to purchase it, but often there is a free version available. All the software listed here does have a free version available, and in certain cases, a paid version as well. Not all paid versions have additional features, but they might: Check the descriptions. Also be aware that for some of the projects listed, there are copycat sites that have similar looking sites but may charge a fee, and/or provide software that has malware embedded. 
  • Freeware - This is software that is as the name implies: free. It does have some restrictions compared to open source such as not having access to source code, may not be able to pass it on, and so forth. But it is free at the current time. 

This is my personal list. If you think I should include something else, let me know.


Office Applications

Freemind

Freemind is a “mind mapping” software program. In essence, it enables you to brainstorm and link together ideas quickly, creating “maps” of concepts similar to what you might do on a whiteboard. I find it incredibly useful when putting together ideas for new posts or planning small projects or assembling the backbone of a writing project.

http://freemind.sourceforge.net/

PDFCreator

PDFCreator creates a virtual printer on your computer that, if you print a document to it from any program, creates a PDF of that document that can be read on any computer with Acrobat Reader on it. After installing PDFCreator, all you have to do is print like normal and out comes a PDF!

http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

GnuCash

GnuCash is personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the  GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.

 

Designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

http://www.gnucash.org/

 

 

KINGSOFT Office

Kingsoft Office produces three versions of an office suite that really looks, and feels like MS Office. (Available for Windows and Android) The free version covers the basics with a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation applications. The paid versions add in things such as a macro editor and templates.

NOTE: Commercial products are available at this stie - (If looking at the prices of the paid versions just note that they are in Hong Kong Dollars (divide their price by 20 to approximate the price in US Dollars.)

http://www.kingsoftstore.com/index

 

 

Thunderbird

Thunderbird - Another open source project by  Mozilla, Thunderbird is a fast, light, secure email client that is simple to use, and also has the flexibility of using add-ons in a manner similar to Firefox with features that your won't find in other email applications. Available for the major operating systems, and in various languages.

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/

 

 

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a branch off from the OpenOffice project. Based upon the same code, and with many of the original developers, it is an active open source project. In one consolidated package with versions available for Windows, Apple, Linux, Unix, you get word processing, spreadsheet, calculator, presentations, drawing, and a data base.

http://www.libreoffice.org/

 

 

Firefox

Firefox is the open source browser that has changed the web. Add-ons allow easy customization of the visual elements and functions, and the structure is secure and compatible. Don't remember a site's address? Just type the name into the address bar. Terms typed there will return search results from your favorite search provider.

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

 

 

chrome

The chrome browser by Google is a branch of the Firefox project, and enjoys many of the same advantages: easy to customize for visual and functional aspects, fast, and secure. Versions are available for many O/S's. They even have a version for centralized management.

https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/

 

 

OpenOffice

OpenOffice was one of the early (major) open source projects that was for the non-technical user. Applications in this office suite include: Text documents, Presentation, Database, Spreadsheet, and Drawing. Available for many O/Ss, and in many languages.

A short history: It was originally started by Sun Microsystems, which was bought out by Oracle. In 2012 it was handed over to the Apache Foundation, and as of May 2012 was still in their incubation process which indicates that the infrastructure for future development of the software was still being worked on.

https://www.openoffice.org/