The free desktop
What's a free desktop?
The idea of a free desktop is simple: replace costly software with free or cheap alternatives.
I felt the need to write this article when I saw this auction on ebay(now gone). While the text is in italian, you can clearly see that this guy is selling the download link to a famous open source image editing program.
In the spirit of competition, I am now offering you the same software, plus more for free!!!
With this article, I hope to discurage as more people as possible from getting pirated software, since I hate hate hate pirated software.
Read on, and you'll see that you don't need any super-costly software, because, almost always, there is a free or cheap alternative to it.
This article is clearly not complete, if you find some great software you would like me to add to the list, just drop me a line.
Software classificationI have provided a classification of software in order to find more quickly what you need.
The categories are:
- Office (word processing, spreadsheets...)
- Graphics - 2D (image processing and vector drawing)
- Graphics - 3D (modeling and rendering)
- Developers (tools for software developers)
OpenOffice.org is THE open source alternative to MS office and is nearly as complete. It features a text editor, a spreadsheet, a simple drawing program, and a presentation program.
It can also read MS Office documents and write PDF files, and another nice thing is that the openoffice file format is much smaller than that of MS office.
More informations about its features can be found on this page.
Graphics - 2D
The Gimp is THE open source alternative to Adobe photoshop. While the user interface of the Gimp is a bit different the one of Photoshop, it is based on similar concepts. It supports Layers, channels,
a variety of customizable brushes, and most of the tools featured in photoshop. It can read and write almost any graphics format. The biggest difference from its commercial counterpart is the absence of "layer effects" and CYMK support, wich makes it ideal for web graphics but
not totally geared to print, while still obtaining good results.
Sodipodi is a vector drawing program, similar to Corel Draw or Macromedia FreeHand. It's interface is very similar to that of The Gimp. At the moment it has some bugs, so remember to save often!.
Graphics - 3D
Wings 3d is a great 3d modeling application. It's by far the easiest 3d program I have had the pleasure to work with.
Thanks to its minimal yet powerful interface, il lets you create in minutes things that take hours in other applications. It does not integrate a renderer, but has an exporter for POV-ray. The only real problem I see with this application, is that it does not support animation.
UV Mapper Classic is an UV editor for 3D models. It is used to edit texture coordinates for .obj files. The author of UVMapper also sells the Professional version at 59 US$.
Pov-Ray is a 3d renderer, the program that transforms your cylinders and cubes in a piece of art
Daz|Studio is the free counterpart for Poser. The program is free, however if you wish to render something more than the default nude woman, you'll have to buy some assets from the DAZ store or create your own.
Blender 3d modeling/animation/rendering suite, all in one! It works very well, but you need to know how to make it work! Personally, I have dropped it in favor of a combination of Wings3D, UVMapper and POV-Ray, but I have seen some stunning artwork made by blender users.
Audacity is an open source sound editor.
ModPlug is a free tracker. You can use it to create your own musics. It's similar to the old good FastTracker
Dev-C++ is free C/C++ IDE based on MinGW, the open source C/C++ compiler. It features syntax highlight, debugging and a limited intellisense. It can replace MS Visual C++ 6.
MinGW Developer Studio is another free C/C++ IDE, very similar to Dev-c++. It seems that its developer, Parinya Software is vanished from the web.
SharpDevelop is the free C# IDE, intended to replace Microsoft Visual Studio.NET.
PHP designer 2005 is a free PHP IDE. A very good piece of software, with syntax highlight with support for support for php/css/html/xml, tabbed style, and intellisense .
Xampp is a low-weight and easy to use distribution of Apache with PHP and MySql. A must-have for anyone working with PHP.
- free for personal use
Antivir is free antivirus. It's as good as other more costly programs like Norton Antivirus or McAfee.
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