This is a guest post by Cathy Pierce. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Open-Source software is more popular than ever because many Open-Source programs are now on-par with purchased software. To get even more bang for your buck (so to speak, since all of these Open-Source programs cost only a few clicks of your mouse) here are some of the top Open-Source programs that have a variety of uses.
• Open Office — Probably the best free Open-Source alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite, Open Office includes Writer (a word processor), Calc (an Excel-like spreadsheet program), Impress (a Powerpoint-like presentation program), Base (an Access-like database program) and more. In addition to having its own native file formats, Open Office also can recognize and open any MS Office file format.
• Notepad++ — Created as the souped-up programmer-targeted alternative to Microsoft Windows’ Notepad program, Notepad++ is great for editing source code, creating Cascading Style Sheets, or typing out the occasional good old .txt file.
• Miranda — Miranda is a an all-in-one instant messenger application that lets you combine contact lists from all of your other IM applications, even Facebook, and IM them through the Miranda interface. It’s a small and efficient program that saves your chat history to your hard drive for added security and can be customized with skins.
• Audacity — A great audio editing and recording program. Audacity lets you record live audio, convert cassette tapes and records into MP3 format, change the speed and pitch of recordings, blend sections of different recordings together to make your own sound mixes, edit numerous file types including MP3, WAV and AIFF and more.
• GIMP and GIMPshop — GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a powerful image-editing, painting, drawing and photo-manipulation program that boasts the same kind of power as Photoshop. In fact, if you download the add-on, GIMPshop, the menus will rearrange and some features will rename themselves so that those comfortable with Photoshop can effortlessly convert right to GIMPshop.
• TightVNC — TightVNC allows you to view and remotely control another person’s computer through yours. You see their desktop as if it belongs to your computer and can move the mouse and use the keyboard to make changes that affect that computer even though it’s far away from you. TightVNC is great for tech support, administration, accessing your home computer’s software from another location and more.
• Cabos —A free alternative to Limewire, Cabos allows for peer-to-peer file sharing. It uses the Gnutella network and enables fast downloading. Use it to get the latest music or movies out.
• GnuCash —Keep track of where your money is going with GnuCash. It’s free accounting software that implements a double-entry bookkeeping system. Use it for large or small business, or even personal, accounting needs.
• AssaultCube – All work and no play isn’t the way to live. Escape the daily grind with this multi-player first-person shooter game. Turn your home office into an arcade for a few minutes.
These are just a glimpse of the hundreds of free Open-Source programs out there for you to download and make good use of. While these programs are useful for a variety of things each, there are also many great programs aimed at doing one particular task well. Since Open-Source is free, you’ve got the power to try as many different programs as you like until you find the one that works best for you
Cathy Pierce is a business professional turned stay-at-home mom. She loves her kids, good TV and the Web. Follow her on Twitter @mrscathypierce.