In January the ten free software products that I deemed best were documented. The list included; Notepad++, WordPress Content Management System, FileZilla FTP, Mozilla Firefox, Google Picasa, XAMPP, Windows Live Mail, Microsoft Security Essentials, FeedReader RSS Reader and Moodle Learning Management System. There are however other equally brilliant software that is free to install and use. So here is the list of five more of the best freeware/open source/creative commons etc. licensed software (in no particular order):
7-Zip is the best file archive and compression software available … and it’s free! Whether you compress or archive in ZIP, gzip or any other format (7-Zip also comes with its own compression format called 7z) this software is a ‘must have’. Many compressed files that have become corrupt and I have been unable to open with other compression utilities have been successfully uncompressed by 7-Zip. This software also offers leading compression ratios.
Google Desktop Search
For computer productivity there are few tools which match the ease of use and productivity gains that this free PC and network search application brings. Most of us use Google to search the Web and using Google Desktop Search is exactly the same except that it returns all documents, files, emails etc. that contain the search term entered. I use Google desktop very often and it makes finding information on a computer very simple; no need to remember where files are kept or use the very slow and inaccurate search functionality supplied with Windows. Download Google Desktop Search and give it a try; per all Google products it is simple to uninstall should you not find it useful.
Need to read or burn CDs, DVDs, HD DVDs or Blu-Ray? Look no further than this great free software. What I particularly like about ImgBurn is that files may be copied or burned as an image and that image may then be reconstructed to the original folders and files or copied as am image using ImgBurn. If you backup your DVDs with DVDShrink then ImgBurn is a ‘must have’.
Microsoft Office has ruled the office productivity suite software market for a long time. In the past few years two worthy free of charge competitors have made inroads into the Microsoft Office dominance. OpenOffice and Google Docs have made the battle for the office suite a three ‘horse’ race. OpenOffice is most like the Microsoft Office Suite in look and feel and is developed as an Open Source project. OpenOffice.org claims that there have been over 100 million downloads of OpenOffice in just over a year. Google Docs is developed by Google and is hosted by Google (as opposed to OpenOffice and Microsoft Office which are installed on the users local PC). Google Docs has limited free use and charges for high usage. Microsoft isn’t sitting by idly watching their market share minimise as a basic version of Microsoft Office 2010 will be offered Online free of change.
The next few years are going to be critical for both MS Office and OpenOffice; MS Office will need to find a means of fending off the momentum of Google Docs and OpenOffice will need to use all it’s efforts in remaining relevant in consumers minds as the MS Office vs. Google Docs battle heats up.
Some Enterprise Google Docs users include; SalesForce.com, City of Los Angeles, Cap Gemini and Faculty of Management Studies (Delhi University)
Some Enterprise OpenOffice users include; French Tax Agency, Banco Do Brasil, The Guardian newspaper (U.K.), Sumitomo Electric Industries (Japan)
Paint.net started as a College project and has developed into a very capable free image editor. Microsoft is now the custodian of this great software and continues to develop it; initially it was assumed that Paint.net would be the replacement for Microsoft Paint which comes with every version of Windows. Microsoft Paint.net is now far more than an advanced Paint replacement with some advanced and very useful features. This software is now mentioned as a ‘lite’ alternative to the very powerful but expensive Adobe Photoshop. With Plugins being developed by the community the base software may be extended in all sorts of ways. Paint.net is easy to use, powerful, reliable and best of all free.
Secunia PSI (Personal Software Inspector) checks whether any updates are available for your installed software. No longer is it necessary to manually check whether software updates are available as Secunia PSI lets you know when updates are available and where to download the update. The security advantages of using Secunia PSI are enormous as vulnerabilities evident in software may now be patched in a far shorter time than without this product. This software also advises as to the severity of the threat of any unpatched vulnerabilities. Secunia PSI runs in the background and is non-intrusive except when a patch needs to be installed at which time a popup advises of the need.