Best Free Software

Mainly because I'm fed up with sites that list dozens of programs for every imaginable category, when all I want is to find the best one, I decided to create this page. Your opinion is welcome :-). Ideally this page is the only one you visit when looking for the best piece of free software, no need to browse for hours and try lots of stuff, just get the program that's listed here. Yes, there are no links, to find a piece of software type its name in Google. Some of this software is only available for Linux and Mac OS X, a lot of it also for Windows.


Best web browser: Firefox (but check out the very fast Chrome)
Best bittorrent client: Azureus
Best chat client: CenterIM (Pidgin has become bloatware) (for Mac: Adium, and Growl plugin)
Best usenet news reader: Pan
Best web server: Apache
Best online store: Opencart

Operating System

Best operating system (linux distro): CentOS (dropped Fedora after 10+ years, because of #@#! gnome 3)
Best small operating system: Slax (fits on USB key)
Best virtual machine software: VirtualBox


Best sound editor: Audacity
Best music player: Xmms
Best commandline audio processing:
sox (general processing)
normalize (volume normalization)
id3tag (edit MP3 tags)
Best CD burning frontend: K3B
Best PVR/Media system: MythTV
Best CD "ripper": cdparanoia
Best MP3 encoder: lame
(best front-end for these last two: grip )
Best image viewer: Xnview (compact: Qiv)
Best photo editor: Gimp
Best photo organizer: KPhotoAlbum (Picasa is better except for its tagging options)
Best image converter: ImageMagick
Best image metadata editor: Exiftool
Best paint program for children: Tuxpaint
Best vector drawing program: Inkscape
Best video editor: OpenShot
Best video tool: Avidemux
Best video player: Mplayer
Best video converter: Mencoder (and Transcode, really)
Best CD/DVD burn quality tester: qpxtool
Best screensaver: electropaint (on the SGI)

User Interface

Best window manager: Enlightenment
Best joystick to keyboard/mouse mapper: QJoyPad


Best calendar program: Ical
Best word processor: Abiword
Best spreadsheet program: Gnumeric
Best CHM file viewer: Gnochm
Best RSI break reminder: Xwrits (for Windows: prevrsi, for Mac: Coffee break)


Best general editor: Emacs (as "IDE", try ECB, for a coding color scheme, try zenburn)
Best code formatter: astyle
Best scripting language: Perl
Best database software: MySQL
Best programming system (IDE): Bluefish
Best debugger: DDD ( Totalview !, not free unfortunately)
Best memory checker: Valgrind


Best graph plotting program: Gnuplot (online: Jpgraph )
Best scientific word processor LaTeX

System/general tools

Best keyboard tester: XKeyCaps
Best text file comparer: xxdiff
Best MBR/boot sector analyzer: BootMaster
Best disk fragmentation visualizer: Davl
Best Data recovery program: Testdisk
Best partition table editor/resizer: parted (best front-end: qtparted)

Network tools

Best network mapper/port scanner: Nmap (best front-end: Umit)
Best traffic monitor: iptraf
Best packet analyzer: wireshark
Best wireless network detector/sniffer: kismet
Best wireless signal strength monitor: kwifimanager

3D Graphics

Best 3D modeller: Blender
Best ray tracer: Povray


Best GPS transfer/converter: Gpsbabel

Patrick Min
Last modified: Sat Feb 8 17:12:17 CET 2014