These are pointers to programs that someone feels work well for their intended purpose and deliver value with minimal pain. They are either free or relatively inexpensive. Some may, however, require more than basic user-level skills to use effectively. Other recommendations are welcome!
A graphics viewer on steroids. Free for personal use. Windows only, though -- sorry!
Like home office software, but not the price of the most popular one? Try LibreOffice (preferred offshoot from OpenOffice). It's free, and includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation software, and more! The download is huge (more than 100 MB), but if this is what you need, I recommend it. It can read and write MS Office-formatted files for the most part.
Instant Messaging (IM -- e.g., AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, etc.) has become a multi-million user service, in many cases free to end users. Trillian (available both in free and priced versions) supports five of these systems in one skinnable interface and product -- the three mentioned above, plus ICQ and IRC. Windows only, though -- sorry!
Opera is a very fast, standards-compliant browser with a nifty feature set. It now is free. Versions are available for multiple operating systems.
Firefox is from the folks who brought you Mozilla (Netscape). As part of the Open Source "movement" it is completely free. Versions are available for multiple operating systems.
Netscape is no more (or at least it's not supported). Long live SeaMonkey! Want a complete browser suite like Netscape used to be? As part of the Open Source "movement" it is completely free. Versions are available for multiple operating systems.
This is not a word processor. But it is a very slick text editor, and completely free. Windows only, sorry.
Need to run an FTP client or server? You could do worse than this one. It's also open source and free.
Skype is free Voice Over IP (VOIP) software. Put a headset (earphones and microphone) on an Internet-connected computer, and you can have audio calls with anyone else in the world similarly equipped (including Skype) for free. Add web cameras, and you can hvae free video calls too. The quality is excellent. Yes, Skype also sells services -- but those are for using it to communicate with people with regular phones. Skype-to-Skype is free so long as you have Internet connectivity.
Page last updated on June 1, 2011.
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