Throughout my computing experience since 1993, I have faced, searched, installed, tried, loved, hated, and uninstalled quite numerous software. Maybe, the number will cross thousand. The list includes pirated, licensed, shareware, freeware and what not. Their domain includes Windows *, Linux *, HP-UX 9i but (bad)luckily not Mac OS or NeXT platforms. I am sorry Mr. Jobs.
As the sold software including licensed and shareware involve the factor of direct cash, they have a lot many guys (and obviously nice gals) to talk about their greatness. As a relatively poor guy, I could never love them. Rather I loved those ones which I can use legally free. Along with that point, here comes Linux, Java etc.
There is a great misconception in mass people, even some tech peoples, that the free software are “obviously” of inferior quality. That perception is inherently wrong. For example, web servers, research facilities, including NASA, just can’t rely on purchased Windows for their mission-critical applications, rather most of them are using Linux variants. Not only for techies, now Linux (especially, Ubuntu) is quite user-friendly for mass people, even for your grandma.
Anyway, bragging Linux isn’t point of this post. Rather I would like to share with you some of the awesome free software for everyday use that I just love.
General browsing: Google Chrome
It just started a new era for Internet browsers. Unmatched blitz-like speed with no-compromise safety is its main beauty. For giving a test result for this blog, I have done a little test. For loading msn.com and yahoo.com on my brand new laptop, Chrome(v.10) took approx. 3 seconds each whereas our-old-hero Firefox (v.4) took 7 seconds each. What about your browser? How many hours you wasted just on waiting for the webpage to load?
Operating system: Ubuntu
Where pirated software are reigning, you may have no headache about purchasing price of operating systems. But when the question comes about legality, such as in the case of government agencies, business or education institutions, they just can’t use illegal one’s. And Windows means a boat-load of cash along with almost no everyday software. Where much-better performer Ubuntu comes for free with its cool features and sexy user interface and also with a great lot of everyday software including OpenOffice.org. Oh! my personal experience about Ubuntu? Just awesome !
Email service: Gmail.com
Reading PDF files: Sumatra PDF Reader
Extremely fast to load PDF files and extremely light on memory, where on the other hand, the default Adobe Acrobat Reader work like a memory hog.
Managing zip files: 7Zip
Very smart and supports almost all archive files. It also has a nice integration (with the Right-click-menu on Windows Explorer). It’s very fast rather than the built-in compression-handler of Windows.
Advanced Text Editing: Notepad ++
(E)Mailing: Mozilla Thunderbird
Fast and furiously smart email client. Though some unused glossy features of Microsoft Outlook isn’t present with that, but I am impressed.
Backup of whatever files: DropBox
Though free 2GB space isn’t that much, but quite enough for personal documents and important pictures. And continuous, seamless and hassle-less device-independent file syncing service and its performance is just amazing.
Some of us daily need to resize image files easily. But only hope was Microsoft Paint. Another was crack-licensed ACDSee. But loading a full-fledged software for such a trivial task was a common but great pain.
ImageResizer is their lighthouse of hope. Open-source, free, lightweight, just add a option to right-click menu. Just right-click on the image and select “Resize Pictures”. Select what size you want, and see the magic of making tiny-sized-okay-quality image.