(Yeah, I know, I rarely post any more. I’ll talk about that in another post. Hardy har har!)
I just had another brief flirtation with Ubuntu, on both my laptop and desktop. It’s still not quite a keeper for me, but I did discover that very nearly every cool, free, and often Open Source application available for Linux is also available for Windows.
So, even though I’ve gone back to XP for the stability and convenience and familiarity… everything but the OS is free, free, free. Both machines have identical software. Here’s the rundown:
- Browser: Firefox, naturally, with Del.icio.us Bookmarks, Google Gears, Google Toolbar, Skype Extension for Firefox, and Remember The Milk for Gmail.
- FTP: Filezilla.
- Online Media:
- File Distribution Protocols:
- Web Server: WOS Portable (for local development, personal wiki, etc.)
- Office Suite: Open Office. Awwww yeah.
- Outlining and Notes: Keynote.
- Plotting and Script Writing: yWriter and Celtx.
- Full-Screen Word Processor / Text Editor: Q10 (includes real typewriter sounds sampled from “Amelie!” Hee hee!)
- Bitmap Graphics Editor: The Gimp.
- Vector Graphics Editor: Inkscape.
- Desktop Publishing: Scribus.
- 3D Rendering: Blender, OpenFX and Google SketchUp. Granted, I haven’t played with these much, but I’m looking forward to dabbling… eventually.
- Image Viewer: Irfanview.
- Online Comics Viewer: Comicrack. (Heh — comic rack… or comi-crack, eh?)
Audio and Video Players:
- iTunes. Yeah, I know. But it’s free, it does a great job as a player, you can network your library, and if you stay away from the iTunes Music Store, you’re not dirtied by DRM. When Songbird is ready for prime time, I’ll switch.
- VLC. Plays nearly everything.
- Real Alternative. For the handful of RealAudio formats VLC doesn’t seem to handle.
- aTube Catcher, which saves local copies of streaming Flash videos for time-shifted viewing.
- Audacity, with the LAME MP3 encoder and assorted plug-ins. I’m on a podcasting hiatus right now, but I’ll be using this for all personal podcasting production when I get back on the horse.
- Skype Call Recording: Powergramo. Okay, this one, I paid for. Fifteen bucks, and it does high-quality stereo-separated flawless recording with no cables or mixers, virtual or otherwise, to hijack your process.
- First Person Multiplayer Shooters: Open Arena and Nexiuz. Yay blowing things up and killing people!
- MMORPGs: Planeshift and the very impressive Minions of Mirth. (Yes, Mirth has an upgrade for $29.00… but that’s one fee, flat… no monthly subscription. I haven’t paid it… yet. Beware of time-sucking!)
- Maps and Research: Google Earth.
- Media and Book Collection Cataloging: Libra.
- Web Site Editing: Amaya.
- Multiple Desktops: Virtual Desktop Powertoy.
- ISO / CD / DVD Utility: CDBurner XP.
- Virtual Private Networking: Hamachi
- Anti-virus: AVG Free Edition.
I hope this list can get others to try no-cost / low-cost / open source alternatives to commercial software… and if you like some of these applications, please monetarily support the developers when you can!
I’m interested in comments and feedback, too — do you use different stuff? How’s your experience with the software I’ve listed?