Wednesday, March 05, 2008

PC Magazine's The Best Free Software

PC Magazine has compiled a great list of 157 free software tools you probably shouldn't live without.

Why spend money when you can get what you need for nothing? Every one of the programs listed is free, and in many cases better than software costing hundreds of dollars.

The top picks
    Adobe Reader This simplest of Adobe's PDF programs lets you do just about anything PDF-related (besides create new ones), including online collaboration. It includes a host of features to aid users with disabilities. AIM One of the most widely used pieces of free software ever, AOL Instant Messenger offers a ton of capabilities. Personally I prefer Trillian its free and works with almost all IM services. Audacity Whether you're recording or editing, Audacity is all about audio in practically any format. Firefox This PC Mag Editors' Choice Web browser has been on top of the heap since version 1.5 came out in late 2005. Look for FireFox 3 to be released soon! GIMP The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) does most of what Photoshop does; the Gimpshop project ( even makes it look like Photoshop. GIMP is a great tool with many of the features and functions that Photoshop has, you can even use photoshop brushes and actions. iTunes When you're attached to the top media player in the land (iPod), success is a given. iTunes continues to build sales and refine its organization of songs, video, games, podcasts, and more. OpenOffice You can spend a lot for Microsoft Office or nothing for this suite with full-function word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentations, even an equations editor. Skype You'll pay to call regular phones, but if you sign up all your friends, Skype provides easy (and even international) calls and video-conferencing for nothing. Thunderbird Mozilla's no-cost e-mail alternative is extensible, fast, and easy to master. And a wealth of free add-ons means there's not much this program won't do, from calendars to encryption. Ubuntu Linux This Linux-based OS comes with many of these Hall of Fame products (Firefox, preinstalled. WinAmp Windows After a decade of playing music, the "skinnable" WinAmp has several versions, including one with full CD ripping and burning.

The rest are broken down page by page into the following categories:

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