Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
There are pro’s and con’s for both proprietary and open source software. It is a question of the right tool for the job. Open source is not necessarily free! I see great opportunities for levelling the playing fields in the South African IT industry, and believe that open source will enable small IT companies in South Africa to provide win-win solutions. Below are some of the key links I track regarding open source software. Note I have also included some Freeware software (free to use but source code not distributed so it is free to use but not free to modify). Most of the software below runs on both Windows and Linux as well as other operating systems…. why tie yourself to one OS? Interoperability is really key if you want the freedom to later be able to change operating systems. Corporate and Government users should be aware though that they should always vet the use of any software with their CIO’s before use. Also beware of OpenCore software where very basic core functionality is available as FOSS but everything else is a commercial release.
Wordprocessing / Documents Management / Reading
Open Office – open-source office software suite for word-processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases (recently given to the Apache Software Foundation by Oracle). It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open document format standard (ISO approved ODF) and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose. Replacement for Microsoft Office (looks similar to Office 2003) and will read / write MS Office 2007 documents. Works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
LibreOffice – a breakaway fork from OpenOffice as an alternative to OpenOffice. It is currently more up to date and active than the OpenOffice project, and has also been adopted as in the place of OpenOffice by Linux Distro’s such as Ubuntu.
Google Documents – now has a distinct MS Office 2003 look to it and the latest update has added very powerful real-time collaboration features. It’s free to use and just needs a browser to access it. Note this is not secure enough for governments as was seen recently when Google launched a separate Google Apps for Government in the US where special agreements include keeping the data within the geographic boundaries of the USA. The Google Documents folder has now transformed into a Google Drive that will allow synchronising of folders from a Windows or Mac computer (and Linux to follow).
Zoho Office Suite Online – Zoho offers a suite of online web applications geared towards increasing your productivity and offering easy collaboration. Zoho’s online office tools include a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation tool, hosted wiki, notebook, CRM, chat, projects, etc. Far more features than Google and it will be integrated into the mobile version of Ubuntu 10.04.
AjaxLaunch – site for free online Ajax based software applications (runs within browser). AjaxWrite – The look, feel, and functionality of Microsoft Word, in a completely free web-based AJAX platform. AjaxTunesplayer, AjaxXLS spreadsheet (XLS format), AjaxSketch (SVG open standards format drawing, flow charting, etc).
IBM Lotus Symphony – also a free office suite.
AbiWord – a free word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. Much simpler and quicker though than OpenOffice or MS Office.
PDFCreator – an application for converting documents into Portable Document Format (PDF) format on Microsoft Windows operating systems. It works by creating a virtual printer that prints to PDF files, and thereby allows practically any application to create PDF files by choosing to print from within the application and then printing to the PDFCreator printer.
Foxit Reader – multi-platform PDF reader which is smaller in download size and regarded as more secure than Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.
Stickies – free sticky notes software that even works on Vista. Has features such as alarms, send to friends via e-mail or network, etc.
RedNotebook – is a modern journal that includes a calendar navigation, customizable templates, export functionality and word clouds. You can also format, tag and search your entries. RedNotebook is Free Software under the GPL.
Evernote – easily capture, store and quickly access typed and handwritten memos, webpage excerpts, emails, phone messages, addresses, passwords, brainstorms, sketches, documents and more! It will install with Wine and run on Linux as well. Installs on Android and iOS.
Zotero – is reference management software. Zotero is used to manage bibliographies and references when writing essays and articles. On many major research websites such as digital libraries, PubMed, Google Scholar, Google Books, Amazon.com, and even Wikipedia, Zotero detects when a book, article, or other resource is being viewed and with a mouse click finds and saves the full reference information to a local file. If the source is an online article or web page, Zotero can optionally store a local copy of the source. Users can then add notes, tags, and their own meta data through the in-browser interface.
Libra – organise all your DVD’s, books, movies, games – also uses your webcam to scan barcodes.
Koha – an advanced open-source Integrated Library System in use today by hundreds of libraries worldwide.
Evergreen – an open source Integrated Library System (ILS), initially developed by the Georgia Public Library Service for Public Information Network for Electronic Services (PINES), a statewide resource-sharing consortium with over 270 member libraries.
Evince - a Linux document viewer for multiple document formats. It currently supports pdf, postscript, djvu, tiff and dvi. The goal of evince is to replace the multiple document viewers that exist on the GNOME Desktop with a single simple application.
Calibre – a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books. It has a cornucopia of features divided into the following main categories: Library Management, E-book conversion, Syncing to e-book reader devices (such as the Kindle), Downloading news from the web and converting it into e-book form, Comprehensive e-book viewer, and Content server for online access to your book collection. See how to Download Entire Newspapers or Blogs To Your eBook Reader With Calibre.
Sigil - a multi-platform EPUB ebook editor.
Liferea (Linux Feed Reader) – an aggregator for online news feeds. There are many other news readers available, but these others are not available for Linux or require many extra libraries to be installed. Liferea tries to fill this gap by creating a fast, easy to use, easy to install news aggregator for Gtk/Gnome. It can also sync with a Google Reader account. You could also look at Snackr scrolling RSS feed which is a free Adobe Air application that works across Windows, Linux an Mac OS X.
Ephesoft – capture solutions enable business and government organizations to maximize the value of their documents and data. Ephesoft reliably eliminates the tedious and error-prone manual steps often used to classify and separate documents, extract data elements, validate this data via other systems and then seamlessly integrate with your ERP, ECM, or workflow system. Ephesoft uses a unique approach to content classification and does not rely on templates or hard coding of forms. Will be used as part of an ECM solution for the South African government.
ICA-AtoM - stands for “International Council on Archives – Access to Memory”. It is a web-based, open source application for standards based archival description in a multilingual, multi-repository environment.
Alfresco – Alfresco is an enterprise content platform that you can use in the cloud or behind your firewall. It helps you store and share the documents that every business depends on. Alfresco is built for the portability of the tablet and the power of the cloud.
Web Development / Computer Programming / Blogging
KompoZer - a complete Web Authoring System that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing capabilities found in Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe DreamWeaver and other high end programs. KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.
Drupal - a free and open source content management system (CMS) written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. It is used as a back-end system for at least 1% of all websites worldwide ranging from personal blogs to larger corporate and political sites including whitehouse.gov and data.gov.uk. It is also used for knowledge management and business collaboration. Although Drupal offers a sophisticated programming interface for developers, no programming skills are required for basic website installation and administration.
Open Atrium - an “Intranet in a box” that has group spaces to allow different teams to have their own conversations. It comes with six features – a blog, a wiki, a calendar, a to do list, a shoutbox, and a dashboard to manage it all. It is based on the Drupal framework.
Joomla – an open source content management system platform for publishing content on the World Wide Web and intranets as well as a model–view–controller (MVC) Web application framework. It is written in PHP, stores data in MySQL and includes features such as page caching, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news flashes, blogs, polls, search, and support for language internationalization. Within its first year of release, Joomla was downloaded 2.5 million times. Over 5,000 free and commercial plug-ins are available for Joomla. I have found many small hosting services in South Africa (R25pm to R49pm and inclusive of .co.za domain name if you pay 12 months in advance) that provide cPanel which automates the creation of a Joomla website that can be easily edited via an online Articles Manager. I’ll soon be creating a page with one line instructions on how to get going quickly.
Eclipse – Java based IDE which aims to be a universal development toolkit.
Lift – an expressive and elegant framework for writing web applications. Lift stresses the importance of security, maintainability, scalability and performance, while allowing for high levels of developer productivity. Lift open source software licensed under an Apache 2.0 license. Because Lift applications are written in Scala, an elegant JVM language, you can still use your favorite Java libraries and deploy to your favorite Servlet Container. Use the code you’ve already written and deploy to the container you’ve already configured! Foursquare, Zerox, Novell’s Pulse, eBay etc are using it in high web traffic environments.
Mono – an open source implementation of the Microsoft .NET Framework. It most powerful feature is that Mono allow the execution of .NET application on almost any platform – including (but not limited to) Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris.
mojoPortal – Create accessible, standards compliant web pages and content right in the browser. Out of the box, mojoPortal provides dynamic database driven web site(s) with an XHTML compliant Content Management System and community features like Blogs, Forums, Image Galleries, etc.
ArgoUML – a leading open source UML modeling tool and includes support for all standard UML 1.4 diagrams. It runs on any Java platform and is available in ten languages. Also see Dia further down this page.
Archi – Enterprise architecture modelling tool which is TOGAF compliant. Runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Git – a distributed revision control system with an emphasis on speed. Git was initially designed and developed by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development. Also used by Digg, GNOME, Amarok, GIMP, MeeGo, OpenSUSE, Linux Mint, VLC, etc
WordPress - an open source CMS, often used as a blog publishing application powered by PHP and. It has many features including a plugin architecture and a templating system. Used by over 300 of the 10,000 biggest websites, WordPress is the most popular blog software in use today.
Apache httpd – has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April 1996, and celebrated its 15th birthday as a project this February in 2010.
JBoss Application Server – the most widely deployed open source application server on the market. As a certified J2EE platform it supports all features of J2EE 1.4 including additional services such as clustering, caching and persistence. JBoss is ideal for Java applications and Web-based applications.
FitNesse – a web server, a wiki, and an automated testing tool for software. It is based on Ward Cunningham’s Framework for Integrated Test. FitNesse is designed to support acceptance testing rather than unit testing in that it facilitates detailed readable description of system function. FitNesse allows users of a developed system to enter specially formatted input (its format is accessible to non-programmers). This input is interpreted and tests are created automatically. These tests are then executed by the system and output is returned back to the user. The advantage of this approach is very fast feedback from users.
Speedtracer – a tool to help you identify and fix performance problems in your web applications. It visualizes metrics that are taken from low level instrumentation points inside of the browser and analyses them as your application runs. Speed Tracer is available as a Chrome extension and works on all platforms where extensions are currently supported (Windows and Linux).
Bugzilla – A Perl based software bug tracking system which can also be used for help desk support. Used by the Mozilla Foundation, creators of FireFox.
MySQL – Increasingly growing market shares caused by a good reputation and of course the fact that it is completely free of charge – makes MySQL the most widely deployed open source database. For most web hosting companies MySQL is the default database that comes with their products.
OpenOffice Base – Maintain your databases or create new ones. Base either connects to your existing database engine – or your can use its built-in HSQL database. For beginners Base offers wizards to help create forms and reports. This is an open source equivalent to MS Access.
PostgreSQL – an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS) available for many platforms including Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Windows and Mac OS X. Considered one of the most advanced open source databases on the market – PostgreSQL is a tough competitor for the top commercial database products. Features include replication, hot backups, advanced optimizer, multi-byte character encodings and has no limits for its database size. Instagram, Sony Online Entertainment and Skype make use of PostgreSQL.
SQLTools – an open source tool for Oracle database development. It is a small and light weighted tool which also aims at being fast and responsive. SQLTools’ powerful editor has many features to enhance your work with the Oracle database.
jHelpdesk - a simple, flexible and extremely easy to use software for supporting company’s helpdesk team.
OneOrZero - a powerful enterprise ready suite that includes a help desk, knowledge base, time manager and reporting system supported by a highly configurable and extensible Action & Information Management System that allows you to ‘build your own system’ on the fly.
Help Desk Software – (also Freehelpdesk) is feature-rich help desk system designed from the ground up to meet the demands of help desk staff and their users. It is a Web-based system that can accept new calls from your users directly into the system. Calls can be tracked and searched to enable faster response times.
OTRS (Open source Ticket Request System) – has features to manage customer telephone calls and e-mails. The system is built to allow support, sales, pre-sales, billing, internal IT and help desk functions to react quickly to inbound inquiries. OTRS is a Web-based help desk and ticket system that provides a set of features to help service organisations to manage requests more efficiently. As a framework, it is the basis of OTRS::ITSM, an ITIL-compliant IT service management solution.
GLPI - Open-source solution for IT asset management and service desk.
Also see another comprehensive list.
Firefox Browser – free replacement browser for MS Explorer. Very quick and very customizable. More compatible than Opera and some other browsers, at reading “difficult” pages.
Webmon – Freeware webpage bookmark monitor. Not as slick as Check&Get but works with Explorer and Netscape.
E-Mail and Collaboration
Thunderbird – application that carries a similar interface to MS Outlook and that is easy to use. Additionally, you can use Lightning to integrate Mozilla’s Sunbird calendar application with Thunderbird and even lnk to your Google Calendar.
Zimbra – use at home as an alternative to Outlook or even as a corporate replacement for Microsoft Exchange Server. Mail-for-Exchange will connect on most phones to sync with the mail, calendar and contacts on your phone. Has instant chat as well as integrated Twitter and Facebook. The State IT Agency (SITA) in South Africa has adopted Zimbra as their standard e-mail collaboration tool. Note if using the desktop client, go for the latest version 2.0 Beta client.
Funambol – FOSS that enables you to synchronize data between mobile devices and backend data sources, and to perform push email.
Alfresco – Alfresco is the Open Source Alternative for Enterprise Content Management (ECM), providing Document Management, Collaboration, Records Management, Knowledge Management, Web Content Management and Imaging. The State IT Agency (SITA) has adopted this product as their ECM platform and is currently adapting it for use by the South African Government.
Nuxeo – a comprehensive free software / open source Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform. It has been designed to be robust, scalable and highly extensible, by using modern open source Java EE technologies. It currently covers the following functions of the ECM spectrum: Document management, Collaborative Work, Business process management (workflow), Compliance, Records management, Digital asset management (DAM).
Joget Workflow – a people-driven, form-based workflow management system. This stand-alone application can manage and automate processes that are unique to each organization, creating added value. The system serves as a platform for users to design, deploy and run different types of workflows for different types of organizational processes. Workflow designers can create dynamic workflows that can be updated anytime. Each activity can be mapped with a form to capture the user’s input, while serving as a plug-in for system integration.
Google Wave – FOSS service from Google and allows good document collaboration. See also Google Documents for document collaboration. Google has given notice that it will discontinue this project at the end of 2010.
KnowledgeTree – KnowledgeTree has powerful document collaboration features, including document alerts and subscriptions, workflows, RSS Feeds and Tag Clouds.
Freeplane – an application for an organizational technique called mind mapping. Occupying the middle ground between an editor and a diagramming tool, Freeplane allows the user to add content quickly and produce structured content that can be manipulated as easily as a diagram. It is useful for knowledge management and project management.
FreeMind – premier free mind-mapping software written in Java. As with other mind mapping software packages, FreeMind allows the user to edit a hierarchical set of ideas around a central concept. The non-linear approach assists in brainstorming new outlines and projects as ideas are added around the mind map. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
LifeRay – Liferay Portal is an enterprise web platform for building business solutions that deliver immediate results and long-term value. Get the benefits of packaged applications and an enterprise application framework in a single solution. Liferay Social Office is a social collaboration solution for the enterprise. This full virtual workstation streamlines communication, saves you time, builds group cohesion, and raises productivity. The best part is that you won’t need any IT intervention–all you have to do is install and log in.
Elgg – A powerful open source social networking platform. Looks very much more like Facebook and has activity streams and group discussions.
CubeTree – free enterprise collaboration suite that integrates social networking features like profiles and microblogging with tools like wikis, blogs, etc.
Identi.ca – A social microblogging service similar to Twitter, built on open source tools and open standards (based on Status.net). Allows users to send text-based posts up to 140 characters.
Diaspora – The privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network. It is a pre-Alpha release but will provide an alternative to Facebook. A profile can be created so long though at Diasp.org.
DimDim – web collaboration and web meeting service enabling people around the world to show pictures, PPTs, PDFs, screens, whiteboards, and even video as part of their conversations with no desktop client needed. The DimDim site offers a free as well as paid hosted service, but the FOSS software is avilable to download at http://sourceforge.net/projects/dimdim/. There is criticism though that the FOSS code has been neglected by DimDim in favour of their paid version and it appears that DimDim may have abandoned their open source project.
BigBlueButton – an actively supported open source video conferencing solution with no limits on webcams or participants. It integrates presentations, VoIP, and desktop sharing and will run on Windows, Mac or Linux.
OpenMeetings – free browser-based software that allows you to set up instantly a conference in the Web. You can use your microphone or webcam, share documents on a white board, share your screen or record meetings. It is available as hosted service or you download and install a package on your server with no limitations in usage or users.
Second Life – yes it can be seen as a “game” by some but you are interacting in a virtual 3D world with other real people and there is also the opportunity for online meetings complete with presentations, education, entertainment, etc. There are clients for Windows, Mac OS, as well as Linux, and also an open source client called Snowglobe. See general case studies, educational and non-profit case studies, and e-Government.
Open Wonderland – similar to Second Life but this platform is specifically focussed on online business collaboration. It is a 100% Java, free and open-source toolkit for building 3D interactive virtual worlds and you can host the server yourself. It is an early access release still.
Virtual Network Computing (VNC) – a platform independent graphical desktop sharing system that uses the RFB protocol to remotely control another computer. It transmits the keyboard and mouse events from one computer to another, relaying the graphical screen updates back in the other direction, over a network.
KeePass – free/open-source password manager or safe which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. Has more import / export options than Password Corral.
GnuPG the GNU project‘s complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard as defined by RFC4880. GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communication, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for all kinds of public key directories. Supports many different encryption schemes such as AES, 3DES, etc.
TrueCrypt – an open source security tool that allows you to encrypt all data on each of your harddisk partitions and an external storage device like an usb drive. TrueCrypt also lets you create a virtual drive on your PC, which can be considered a safe for all of your important documents. TrueCrypt uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Blowfish, CAST5, Serpent, Triple DES and Twofish.
RogueScanner – Think your home or small office wireless network is safe? Do you have any idea whether any intruders are on it?
Wireshark – the world’s foremost network protocol analyzer. It lets you capture and interactively browse the traffic running on a computer network. It is the de facto (and often de jure) standard across many industries and educational institutions.
Nmap (“Network Mapper”) – a free and open source utility for network exploration or security auditing.
Kismet – an 802.11 layer2 wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system. Kismet will work with any wireless card which supports raw monitoring (rfmon) mode, and (with appropriate hardware) can sniff 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, and 802.11n traffic. Kismet also supports plugins which allow sniffing other media such as DECT. Kismet identifies networks by passively collecting packets and detecting standard named networks, detecting (and given time, decloaking) hidden networks, and infering the presence of nonbeaconing networks via data traffic. Google uses Kismet for sniffing WiFi points for Streetview.
Snort – Snort is an open source network intrusion prevention and detection system (IDS/IPS). Combining the benefits of signature, protocol and anomaly-based inspection, Snort is the most widely deployed IDS/IPS technology worldwide. With millions of downloads and approximately 300,000 registered users, Snort has become the de facto standard for IPS.
OSSIM (Open Source Security Information Management) – its goal is to provide a comprehensive compilation of tools which, when working together, grant network/security administrators with a detailed view over each and every aspect of his or her networks, hosts, physical access devices, server, etc. Besides getting the most out of well known open source tools, OSSIM provides a strong correlation engine, detailed low, medium and high level visualization interfaces, and reporting and incident management tools, based on a set of defined assets such as hosts, networks, groups and services.
PopFile Anti-Spam – Free anti-spam software. I have not used it but it is rated as effective and learns from how you use it.
Truecrypt – Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux. An alternative is also Rohos Mini Drive which does not need admin privileges to open the encrypted USB drive on other computers.
ZManda – open source solution protects more than half a million of servers and desktops running various versions of Linux, UNIX, BSD, Mac OS-X and Microsoft Windows operating systems worldwide. Not only do they backup information, they’re into recovery as well. Alternative to iBackup.
Metasploit – provides useful information and tools for penetration testers, security researchers, and IDS signature developers. This project was created to provide information on exploit techniques and to create a functional knowledge base for exploit developers and security professionals. The tools and information on this site are provided for legal security research and testing purposes only.
OpenSignature - an open source project for the digital signature of documents. It works with all cards supported by OpenSC and focuses on adding support for cards from accredited Italian CAs. The goal of the project is to provide a first single product capable of supporting cards from multiple vendors/countries. This contrasts the approach taken by card vendors/providers whose software follows an exclusive single-vendor approach. OpenSignature thus attempts to make a major contribution to interoperability in the digital signature domain and aims to greatly facilitate the setup of public access points that are currently the objective of several projects in Italy.
Prey - keep track of your phone or laptop at all times, and will help you find it if it ever gets lost or stolen. It’s lightweight, open source software, and free for anyone to use. And it just works.
SNARE (System iNtrusion Analysis and Reporting Environment) – a series of log-collection agents to help you analyze audit log data. Agents are available for Linux, Windows, Solaris, IIS, Lotus Notes, Irix, AIX, ISA/IIS and more.
Eraser – a secure data removal tool for Windows. It removes sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns and it also erases residue from deleted files including MFT-resident files (for NTFS volumes) and directory indices (for FAT). Also allows you to schedule your data removal in advance.
Advanced Onion Router – a Windows client intended as an alternative for the Tor+Vidalia+Privoxy bundle. It is able to force a program and its plugins to use the Tor proxy regardless of its configured proxy. Tor is a project for maintaining anonymity on the Internet.
YubiRADIUS - enterprise class software for secure remote access with YubiKey two-factor authentication. The solution is based on FreeRADIUS and open source components, offered as a free Virtual Appliance and has successfully replaced legacy authentication solutions for hundreds of organizations around the globe.
ZoneMinder – the top Linux video camera security and surveillance solution. ZoneMinder is intended for use in single or multi-camera video security applications, including commercial or home CCTV, theft prevention and child, family member or home monitoring and other domestic care scenarios such as nanny cam installations. It supports capture, analysis, recording, and monitoring of video data coming from one or more video or network cameras attached to a Linux system. ZoneMinder also support web and semi-automatic control of Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras using a variety of protocols. It is suitable for use as a DIY home video security system and for commercial or professional video security and surveillance. It can also be integrated into a home automation system via X.10 or other protocols. If you’re looking for a low cost CCTV system or a more flexible alternative to cheap DVR systems then why not give ZoneMinder a try?
7-Zip – free ZIP Archiver. Being used at South African Department of Water Affairs.
PeaZip – a free archiver, available as portable and installable software for Windows and Linux (x86 and x86-64). Create 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, *PAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, ZIP Extract ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, UDF and many more file formats.
fwbackups – a feature rich open source cross-platform backup manager.
FOG – a free open-source cloning/imaging suite that is intended to be a substitute for Ghost. It can be used to create images of Windows XP, Vista and 7 PCs using PXE and PartImage. Features include memory and disk test, disk wipe, antivirus scan and task scheduling.
SystemRescueCD – a Linux system rescue disk available as a bootable CD-ROM or USB stick for administrating or repairing your system and data after a crash. It aims to provide an easy way to carry out admin tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the partitions of the hard disk. It comes with a lot of Linux software such as system tools (parted, partimage, fstools, …) and basic tools (editors, midnight commander, network tools). It requires no installation (just boot from the CD). It can be used on Linux servers, Linux desktops or Microsoft Windows boxes. The kernel supports the important file systems (ext2/ext3/ext4, reiserfs, reiser4, btrfs, xfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs, iso9660), as well as network filesystems (samba and nfs). Tip: Actually you can also use any Ubuntu CD as well to boot a dead system in an emergency and get to the Internet to do secure banking, to check e-mail, or to use OpenOffice to type or print a document. An Ubuntu liveCD will only have basic repair utilities though. Some people also use an Ubuntu liveCD to clean boot their system for secure banking as the system is then malware and threat resistant.
Testdisk – a powerful free data recovery software! It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a Partition Table). Partition table recovery using TestDisk is really easy. Runs on Windows (NT4, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, Windows 7), Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, SunOS and MacOS X.
PhotoRec – a file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from hard disks, CD-ROMs, and lost pictures (thus the Photo Recovery name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the file system and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s file system has been severely damaged or reformatted.
dvddisaster – stores data on CD/DVD/BD (supported media) in a way that it is fully recoverable even after some read errors have developed. This enables you to rescue the complete data to a new medium.CD, DVD and BD media keep their data only for a finite time (typically for many years). After that time, data loss develops slowly with read errors growing from the outer media region towards the inside.
Unstoppable Copier – Recovers files from disks with physical damage. Allows you to copy files from disks with problems such as bad sectors, scratches or that just give errors when reading data. The program will attempt to recover every readable piece of a file and put the pieces together. Using this method most types of files can be made useable even if some parts of the file were not recoverable in the end.
Novell iFolder – an open source application, developed by Novell, intended to allow cross-platform file sharing across computer networks.
Virtualbox – a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 open source virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Virtualbox will for example allow you to run a full installation of Ubuntu in a window on a Windows machine (or vice versa) or to run say Android OS on your Ubuntu machine. It is useful for testing out an operating system without affecting your currently installed OS. VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD. A commercial equivalent would be VMware.
WineHQ – allows you to run MS Windows directly programs under Linux without an emulator or virtual machine. The Codeweaver Cross Referenced table of Linux software available that replaces various well known Windows software.
K3b – creates and burns CDs and DVDs, including ripping with DivX/XviD encoding, DVD copy, ISO burning, Video CD (VCD) creation, Audio CD creation for almost any audio file, CD-TEXT support for audio CDs, support for DVD-RW and DVD+RW and much more. Alternative to Nero Burning Rom.
Free Download Manager - a powerful, easy-to-use and absolutely free download accelerator and manager. It is open-source software distributed under GPL license and runs on Microsoft Windows systems. A major feature is its ability to resume broken downloads.
uGet – a free Windows and Linux download manager with resume functionality.
Pen Drive Linux – boot into Linux from a USB flash drive.
Bleachbit – A system tool that allows you to preview and delete unnecessary files to free up your valuable disk space, maintain privacy, and remove hidden junk. It deletes cache, cookies, Internet history, logs, temporary files, broken shortcuts, and wipes clean 70 applications and more.
Google Desktop Search – Search your computer as easily as you search the web with Google and find information in your documents, emails, web history, and more.
Greenshot for Windows – a screenshot tool, supports several image formats as well as saving part or all of a screen into a file within one second’s time.
Shutter for Ubuntu / Linux – app that allows you to take screenshots, edit them, apply various effects, upload them online and more.
WinMerge – a Windows tool for visual difference display and merging, for both files and directories. It supports Unicode and Windows Shell. It includes a flexible syntax coloring editor, Regexp filtering, side-by-side line differences and highlights differences.
WinDirStat – a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Windows. It shows disk, file and directory sizes in a treelist and graphically in a treemap, much like KDirStat or SequoiaView.
UltraDefrag – a disk defragmenter for Windows that can even defrag locked system files by running during the boot process. It processes single files or folders from the Explorer context menu and is available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.
Create Synchronicity – a backup application that synchronizes files and folders. It can schedule backups, too. It’s multilingual and lightweight at only 180 KB.
Duplicati - a backup client that securely stores encrypted, incremental, compressed remote backups of local files on cloud storage services and remote file servers. Duplicati supports not only various online backup services like Windows Live SkyDrive, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud Files, Tahoe LAFS, Google Docs but also any servers that support SSH/SFTP, WebDAV, or FTP.
Moodle – a Course Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is a Free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites. Being used at Western Cape Provincial Government Education Department.
ATutor – Open Source Web-based Learning Content Management System (LCMS) designed with accessibility and adaptability in mind. Administrators can install or update ATutor in minutes, develop custom templates to give ATutor a new look, and easily extend its functionality with feature modules. Educators can quickly assemble, package, and redistribute Web-based instructional content, easily retrieve and import prepackaged content, and conduct their courses online. Students learn in an adaptive learning environment.
Mimio Studio – interactive whiteboards and includes tools fro dynamic presentations, flash animation, etc. NOT FREE OR OSS but demonstrates the quality of software now available for Linux (and Mac and Windows).
Curriki – an online community that gives teachers, students and parents universal access to over 30,000 free and open source SOURCE K-12 educational videos, audio’s, lessons, units, curricula collaboration tools and more. Yes, it is not open source software per se, but I do feel that reducing the cost of education through “open education” initiatives is very key to bridging the digital divide and levelling the playing fields between first and third world countries so I have included this link. Related to this is also the open book production platform at Booki.
Sakai - designed by educators for educators, Sakai is an enterprise teaching, learning and academic collaboration platform that best meets the needs of today’s learners, instructors and researchers. Used in South Africa at University of Cape Town (UCT) as well as University of South Africa (UNISA) and North-West University. Internationally Oxford as well as Cambridge Universities in the UK, Stanford University in the USA and over 200 other international sites use this system.
SchoolTool – a free administrative software for schools around the world. The goals of the project are to create a simple turnkey student information system, including demographics, gradebook, attendance, calendaring, room booking and reporting for primary and secondary schools, as well as a framework for building customized applications and configurations for individual schools or states.
Open Admin for Schools - a School Administration Program. It currently has the following features: Demographics, Attendance, Discipline, Report Card System, Online Gradebook, a Transcript System to print student transcripts, a Fees System (along with Lunch program), Parent/Student Viewing scripts, etc.
Epoptes - an open source computer lab management and monitoring tool. It allows for screen broadcasting and monitoring, remote command execution, message sending, imposing restrictions like screen locking or sound muting the clients and much more! It can be installed in Ubuntu, Debian and openSUSE based labs that may contain any combination of the following: LTSP servers, thin and fat clients, non LTSP servers, standalone workstations, NX or XDMCP clients etc.
iTALC – a use- and powerful didactical tool for teachers. It lets you view and control other computers in your network in several ways. It supports Linux and Windows XP, Vista and 7 and it even can be used transparently in mixed environments!
See UK Schools List of recommended alternative software.
SchoolForge – their mission is to unify independent organizations that advocate, use, and develop open resources for education.
Network / Performance / Asset Management
Zenoss – a free open source IT operations monitoring product that provides an unprecedented level of monitoring functionality and extensibility. One application providing full featured systems management capabilities for: Asset discovery and inventory, Availability & Performance Monitoring, Event & Fault Management, Alerting & Remediation, Reporting, and Change Detection. Paid enterprise support also available. Zenoss has been deployed in over 25,000 organizations in over 180 countries.
Nagios – a powerful monitoring system that enables organizations to identify and resolve IT infrastructure problems before they affect critical business processes. Capabilities to monitor applications, services, operating systems, network protocols, system metrics and infrastructure components with a single tool. Nagios is used by an estimated 250,000 users worldwide including Amazon.com, 3Com, AT&T, Google, IBM, Verisign, Symantec, etc. Another free (but not open source) option is also the free version of Scrutinizer.
Icinga – an enterprise grade open source monitoring system which keeps watch over networks and any conceivable network resource, notifies the user of errors and recoveries and generates performance data for reporting. Scalable and extensible, Icinga can monitor complex, large environments across dispersed locations. With iPhone as well as Android mobile app support as well. NOTE: Icinga’s project is probably more active than Nagios.
Opsview - an open source network, server and application monitoring tool. It is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2. Opsview uses Nagios as its monitoring ‘engine’ and incorporates Nagvis, NagiosGraph, MRTG, NMIS into a single tool. Opsview provides a web user interface that allows system administrators to access monitoring views and configure monitoring settings.
ntop - a network traffic probe that shows the network usage, similar to what the popular top Unix command does. ntop is based on libpcap and it has been written in a portable way in order to virtually run on every Unix platform and on Win32 as well. ntop users can use a a web browser (e.g. netscape) to navigate through ntop (that acts as a web server) traffic information and get a dump of the network status.
OpenNMS – the world’s first enterprise grade network management platform developed under the open source model. The goal is for OpenNMS to be a truly distributed, scalable platform for all aspects of the FCAPS network management model, and to make this platform available to both open source and commercial applications.
Squid – a proxy server and web cache daemon. It has a wide variety of uses, from speeding up a web server by caching repeated requests; to caching web, DNS and other computer network lookups for a group of people sharing network resources; to aiding security by filtering traffic. Although primarily used for HTTP and FTP, Squid includes limited support for several other protocols including TLS, SSL, Internet Gopher and HTTPS. Squid web site claims that if working in front of the server application, it can improve performance by up to four times. Squid is especially efficient in case of (probably unexpected) high traffic to one or several particular pages, as in this case near 100% of caching can be achieved. Used by YouTube and Microsoft Windows Update (for resuming partial downloads) and it is also the standard used on the South African government networks operated by SITA, where the SquidGuard plugin is used as a URL redirector to enable the use of blacklists.
Frox - a transparent ftp proxy which optionally supports caching (either through an external http cache (eg. squid), or by maintaining a cache locally), and/or running a virus scanner, on downloaded files.
Calamaris – parses the logfiles of a wide variety of Web proxy servers and generates reports about peak-usage, request-methods, status-report of incoming and outgoing requests, second and top-level destinations, content-types, and performance. Parses logfiles from Squid, NetCache, Inktomi Traffic Server, Oops! proxy server, Novell Internet Caching System, Compaq Tasksmart or Netscape/iplanet Web Proxy Server and generates a report.
OCS Inventory NG – powerful inventory and package deployment system for Microsoft Windows, Linux, BSD, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, HP-UX, Mac OSX.
Vyatta Open Networking – an open source router/firewall/VPN product for Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and IPv6 networks. A free download of Vyatta has been available since March 2006. The system is a specialized Debian-based Linux distribution with networking applications such as Quagga, OpenVPN, and many others. A standardized management console, similar to Juniper JUNOS or Cisco IOS, in addition to a web-based GUI and traditional Linux system commands, provides configuration of the system and applications. Commercial engagements are available via integrated hardware appliances and a subscription-based business model which includes software updates, technical support, and training. The Vyatta system is intended as a replacement for Cisco IOS 1800 through ASR 1000 series Integrated Services Routers (ISR) and ASA 5500 security appliances, with a strong emphasis on the cost and flexibility inherent in an open source, Linux-based system running on commodity x86 hardware or in Xen or VMware virtual environments. Vyatta also provides a Cisco Replacement Guide on its website which shows various Cisco products and the comparable Vyatta/x86 solutions.
PacketFence – Free and Open Source network access control (NAC) system. Boasting an impressive feature set including a captive-portal for registration and remediation, centralized wired and wireless management, 802.1X support, layer-2 isolation of problematic devices, integration with the Snort IDS and the Nessus vulnerability scanner; PacketFence can be used to effectively secure networks – from small to very large heterogeneous networks. In use at government as well as many educational institutions.
Ganymede - a portable and customizable network directory management system, released under the GNU General Public License. Ganymede is designed to manage network directory services such as NIS, DNS, Netinfo, and LDAP.
Chef – an open source systems integration framework built to bring the benefits of configuration management to your entire infrastructure. Chef works by allowing you to write recipes that describe how you want a part of your server (such as Apache, MySQL, or Hadoop) to be configured. These recipes describe a series of resources that should be in a particular state – for example, packages that should be installed, services that should be running, or files that should be written. Chef then makes sure that each resource is properly configured, only taking corrective action when it’s neccessary. The result is a safe, flexible mechanism for making sure your servers are always running exactly how you want them to be.
Likewise – Securely Integrate Linux, Unix and Mac with Microsoft Active Directory.
Apache Directory Server – an open source LDAP directory server implemented in java. It provides an excellent back-end database for managing users, network resources and more. The architecture is made for plugable components – allow the Apache Directory Server to be used for and interface to almost any other system. Examples of these could be DHCP and DNS. All communication with the Apache Directory Server takes place via JNDI standard.
Private Cloud Computing
Eucalyptus - delivers private cloud software that enables enterprises and government agencies to establish their own cloud computing environments, using the hardware and software infrastructure that is in place without modification.
Enomaly – a programmable virtual cloud infrastructure for small, medium and large businesses. ECP can help you design, deploy and manage virtual applications in the cloud and in the process significantly reduce administrative and systems workload. In use by France Telecom, Orange, Bank of China, Best Buy and others.
OpenNebula – an open-source toolkit to easily build any type of cloud: private, public and hybrid. OpenNebula has been designed to be integrated with any networking and storage solution and so to fit into any existing data centre. In use by CERN, D-Grid Resource Center Ruhr and others.
AbiCloud – open source infrastructure software for the creation and integral management of public & private clouds over heterogeneous environments. It offers scaling, managing, automatically and immediately provisioning servers, storage, networks or applications. Not only are all major hypervisors fully and simultaneously supported, Abiquo allows conversion of virtual machines from one hypervisor to another in any combination, completely eliminating vendor lock-in with a single drag and drop operation.
OpenStack - is a global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds. The project aims to deliver solutions for all types of clouds by being simple to implement, massively scalable, and feature rich. The technology consists of a series of interrelated projects delivering various components for a cloud infrastructure solution.
ownCloud – gives you universal access to your files through a web interface or WebDAV. It also provides a platform to easily view & sync your contacts, calendars and bookmarks across all your devices and enables basic editing right on the web. Installation has minimal server requirements, doesn’t need special permissions and is quick. ownCloud is extendable via a simple but powerful API for applications and plugins.
Instant Messengers / Telephony
Pidgin (was called GAIM) – A multi-protocol instant messaging (IM) client that runs on Windows and Linux. Connects to most of the IM’s from this single program. Supports AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MySpaceIM, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, Yahoo!, Zephyr and even MXit.
Yoono – free (not open source) application that allows you to connect to all your social networks and instant messaging services – in one place. Get all your friend updates, update your own status, and easily share stuff with your friends. Runs on Windows, Mac or Linux. Connects to Facebook, MySpace, Google Talk, Flickr, FriendFeed, etc.
Nimbuzz – a one stop IM that lets you call, chat, message, and send files on the go, for free. It combines all your buddies from Skype, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, AIM, Google Talk, Facebook, and more. One login, one contact list, all accounts. If your buddies are offline, let them know you’re trying to get in touch by sending them a “Buzz”. It will start Nimbuzz Mobile on their mobile phone. It can also retrieve the location of your buddies. It runs under Windows (and on Linux using Wine), on iPhone and most Java enabled mobile phones. NOTE: Buzz function has likely been discontinued but there is a push option for iPhone, Blackberry and Android.
Gwibber – open source microblogging client for Linux. It brings the most popular social networking web services to your desktop and gives you the ability to control how you communicate. You can reply and interact with Twitter, Identi.ca, StatusNet, Facebook, FriendFeed, BrightKite, Digg, Flickr, and Qaiku.
Identi.ca – Identi.ca is a micro-blogging service. You can use it to write short notices about yourself, where you are, and what you’re doing, and those notices will be sent to all your friends and fans. The software also implements the OpenMicroBlogging protocol, meaning that you can have friends on other microblogging services that can receive your notices. You can take your data and the source code and set up your own server.
Asterisk – a software implementation of a telephone private branch exchange (PBX) originally created in 1999 by Mark Spencer of Digium. Like any PBX, it allows attached telephones to make calls to one another, and to connect to other telephone services including the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.
Ekiga – (formerly known as GnomeMeeting) is an open source SoftPhone, Video Conferencing and Instant Messengerapplication over the Internet. It supports HD sound quality and video up to DVD size and quality. It is interoperable with many other standard compliant software, hardware and service providers as it uses both the major telephony standards (SIP and H.323).
Jitsi – open source multi-platform voice and video chat with SIP support and desktop sharing.
GanttPV – freeware project scheduling software to replace MS Project. Runs on Windows and Mac OS.
OpenProj – free, open source project management solution. OpenProj is a replacement of Microsoft Project and other commercial project solutions. OpenProj is ideal for desktop project management and is available on Linux, Unix, Mac or Windows. It even opens existing Microsoft or Primavera files. OpenProj shares the industry’s most advanced scheduling engine with Project-ON-Demand and provides Gantt Charts, Network Diagrams (PERT Charts), WBS and RBS charts, Earned Value costing and more.
Open Workbench – is an open source desktop application that provides robust project scheduling and management functionality. Already the scheduling standard for more than 100,000 project managers worldwide, Open Workbench is a free and powerful alternative to Microsoft Project.
KPlato – a project management application. It is intended for managing moderately large projects with multiple resources.
Redmine – more than just multi-project management. It offers more of a collaboration portal as well with project wiki’s and forums, subprojects, issue tracking, time tracking, document sharing, repository browser, diff (blame) viewer, Atom feeds to keep stakeholders updated, etc.
NavalPlan – soon to change to LibrePlan - a web based project planning tool for users based on some concepts: company and multi-project overview, criteria assignments, tasks tagging, resources management, resource allocation (specific and generic), company load control, external integration, etc.
web2Project - a Free Open Source business-oriented Project Management System (PMS) built for the future.
Todoyu - a web based collaborative project management system.
GIS / Navigation
OpenStreetMap – is a project aimed squarely at creating and providing free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them. The project was started because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive or unexpected ways. Many mobile phone apps now also make use of free OpenStreetMap mapping.
Ushahidi Platform – allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email or web and visualize it on a map or timeline. Their goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response. An example of use in South Africa was to map xenophobic attacks perpetrated against non-South Africans. Other uses are for mapping election monitoring, swine flu outbreaks, the Haiti post-earthquake crisis response, crime maps, etc. A free hosting platform can be found at Crowdmap.
Mapnik – a Free Toolkit for developing mapping applications. It’s written in C++ and there are Python bindings to facilitate fast-paced agile development. It can comfortably be used for both desktop and web development. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Geomatica FreeView – a flexible data viewing tool supporting over 100 raster and vector formats for loading, viewing, selection, and enhancement. FreeView is useful for any geospatial data viewing application, and is freely distributable. FreeView includes a modern interface with many useful display tools, including fast roam and zoom, image enhancements, numeric values display, and attribute table display.
Quantum GIS (QGIS) – a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) licensed under the GNU General Public License. QGIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). It runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, and Windows and supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats and functionalities. Quantum GIS provides a continously growing number of capabilities provided by core functions and plugins. You can visualize, manage, edit, analyse data, and compose printable maps.
GRASS – is free Geographic Information System (GIS) software used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization. GRASS is currently used in academic and commercial settings around the world, as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies. GRASS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation.
OSGeo – The Open Source Geospatial Foundation, or OSGeo, is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. See also the FreeGIS.org.
List of Open Source GIS projects at http://opensourcegis.org/.
Graphics / Video / Photo Editing
GimpShop - GIMPshop is a modification of the free/open source GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), intended to replicate the feel of Adobe Photoshop. Its primary purpose is to make users of Photoshop feel comfortable using GIMP. See also Wikipedia for more info. See online tutorials for GIMP.
GIMP – is a free software raster graphics editor. It is primarily employed as an image retouching and editing tool. In addition to free-form drawing, GIMP can accomplish essential image work-flow steps such as resizing, editing, and cropping photos, combining multiple images, and converting between different image formats. GIMP can also be used to create basic animated images in the GIF format. It runs on GNU/Linux (i386, PPC), Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista), Mac OS X, Sun OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD.
DraftSight – a professional-grade, open 2D CAD product for users who want a better way to create, edit and view DWG files. DraftSight is easy to use and is available for professional CAD users, students and educators to download and activate for free. Based on advanced architecture, DraftSight has a small footprint, should take less than a few minutes to download, and runs on multiple operating systems, including Windows XP®, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Dia - Dia is roughly inspired by the commercial Microsoft Windows program ‘Visio’, though more geared towards informal diagrams for casual use. It can be used to draw many different kinds of diagrams. It currently has special objects to help draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams.
yEd Graph Editor – a powerful desktop application that can be used to quickly and effectively generate high-quality diagrams. Create diagrams manually, or import your external data for analysis. A replacement for Microsoft Visio.
Digikam - an advanced digital photo management application for Linux, Windows, and Mac-OSX. It does so many things like tagging, advanced editing, geotagging, uploading to Flickr, Facebook, etc.
RawTherapee – free RAW converter and digital photo processing software. Windows and Linux.
Darktable – a virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers: it manages your digital negatives in a database and lets you view them through a zoomable lighttable. it also enables you to develop raw images and enhance them. Runs on Linux and Mac.
Fotoxx - a free open source Linux program for photo editing and collection management. Navigate a large image collection with a thumbnail browser, click on images to view or edit. Import cameraRAW files and edit with 16-bit color. Save edited images as TIFF-8/16, PNG or JPEG with adjustable compression. Edit the whole image or a selected area, with smooth edge-blending. Edit functions have live feedback using the full window. Add tags, dates, star-ratings, comments and captions to images and search using these criteria plus image file names. Fotoxx uses your image files wherever they are. All user-supplied image data (tags, comments, ratings) is saved inside the image files in a standards-compliant manner (EXIF, IPTC), and can be shared with other photo programs.
Avidemux – provides Windows, Mac, and Linux users with an easy-to-use open source tool for DVD/DivX converting and editing. Avidemux also has scripting support for automation and even offers DVD authoring with the addition of the open source software, dvdauthor. Alternative to Adobe Premiere.
Inkscape – Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. See Wikipedia article on Inkscape. Alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
MyPaint – a fast and easy open-source graphics application for digital painters. It lets you focus on the art instead of the program. You work on your canvas with minimum distractions, bringing up the interface only when you need it. Can run on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Pencil – an animation/drawing software for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. It lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation (cartoon) using both bitmap and vector graphics.
Krita – a Linux creative sketching and painting application based on KOffice technology. Whether you want to create art paintings, cartoons, concept art or textures, Krita supports most graphics tablets out of the box.
Scribus – an Open Source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp 4/eComStation and Windows desktops with a combination of “press-ready” output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, Spot Colors, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.
Miro – will play every video format you’ve ever heard of, and many you’ve never heard of as well. That may be the least of its features, though. Where this player really shines is in its capability to find and play videos. You’ll be able to subscribe to video RSS feeds, podcasts, and video blogs, download and save videos from YouTube, find TV shows, and play high definition, full screen videos. You can even download BitTorrent files from directly within it. Alternative to Windows Media Player.
MediaCoder – free universal batch media transcoder that will convert media files between formats, shrink files with little quality loss, extract audio from video files, or manage multimedia.
Super – a free tool to convert (encode) or play any Multimedia file.
Handbrake – HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.
Broadcaster StudioPRO – capture any video file on your hard drive or any live streaming video playing in an Internet browser or media player / viewer. StudioPro then let’s you record and save from those sources in a variety of file formats and compression qualities. Original domain at http://www.brothersoft.com/broadcaster-studio-pro-56267.html seems unavailable.
Blender – a 3D animation suite that provides one tool that provides full multiresolution sculpting capabilities with 2D bitmap/3D procedural brushes (Paint, Smooth, Pinch, Inflate, Grab) supporting symmetry. And, that’s just the beginning of Blender’s capabilities. This open source software is free to download and use. Alternative to TruSpace.
Cinelerra – does primarily 3 things: capturing, compositing, and editing audio and video with sample level accuracy. It’s a movie studio in a box.
Kdenlive – an intuitive and powerful multi-track video editor, including most recent video technologies. Kdenlive supports all of the formats supported by FFmpeg (such as QuickTime, AVI, WMV, MPEG, and Flash Video), and also supports 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios for both PAL, NTSC and various HD standards, including HDV.
Kino – a non-linear DV editor for GNU/Linux. It features excellent integration with IEEE-1394 for capture, VTR control, and recording back to the camera. It captures video to disk in Raw DV and AVI format, in both type-1 DV and type-2 DV (separate audio stream) encoding.
LiVES – mixes real-time video performance and non-linear editing in one professional quality application. It will let you start editing and making video right away, without having to worry about formats, frame sizes, or frame rates.
OpenShot – An open source, non-linear video editor for GNOME, built with Python, GTK, and the MLT Framework. Screenshots, documentation, and tutorial videos.
Hugin – a software package for the creation and processing of panoramic images.
Novacut – is a real-time collaboration video editing software which aims to compete with existing video editors include AVID, Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro, and of course Lightworks.
Openphoto – is an open source application with for photo sharing. You can store your photos on all the popular storing places like Amazon S3, Dropbox, box.net, Dreamhost (dreamobjects) and get all the web interface to manage it via Openphoto.
Sound / Audio
Audacity – free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.
VLC Media Player – The cross-platform open-source multimedia framework, player and server… it plays everything.
Muse – a MIDI/Audio sequencer with recording and editing capabilities written originally by Werner Schweer now developed and maintained by the MusE development team. MusE aims to be a complete multitrack virtual studio for Linux.
Rosegarden - a well-rounded audio and MIDI sequencer, score editor, and general-purpose music composition and editing environment. Rosegarden is an easy-to-learn, attractive application that runs on Linux, ideal for composers, musicians, music students, and small studio or home recording environments.
Mixxx – free, open source DJ software that gives you everything you need to perform live mixes.
MusikCube – freeware MP3 player with support for removable storage devices.
Songbird – an open source player and a platform committed to “playing the music you want + from the sites you want + on the devices you want.” Songbird thereby challenges the conventions of discovery, purchase, consumption and organization of music on the Internet. Alternative to iTunes.
Rhythmbox – an integrated music management application, originally inspired by Apple’s iTunes. It is free software, designed to work well under the GNOME Desktop, and based on the powerful GStreamer media framework. The latest version recognises iPhones as well.
Floola – a freeware application to efficiently manage your iPod or your Motorola mobile phone (any model supporting iTunes except iPhone and iPod touch). It’s a standalone application that can be run directly from your iPod and needs no installation under Linux (any GTK2 distro), Mac OS X (10.3.9 or newer!) and Windows (98 or newer, including Vista). It allows adding youtube and myspace videos with a single click. Now it even makes it possible to keep your Google calendars synched!
Amarok – open source music player for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.
Rockbox – an open source firmware for mp3 players, written from scratch. It runs on a wide range of players including iPods.
MusicBrainz Picard – the next generation MusicBrainz tagging application. This new tagging concept is album oriented, as opposed to track/file oriented like the ClassicTagger was. Picard is written in Python, which is a cross-platform language, and makes use of cross-platform libraries – this allows the same code to run both on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
Sound Juicer – Sound Juicer is a clean, mean, and lean CD ripper for GNOME 2. If your computer is connected to the Internet, it will automatically attempt to retrieve track information from the freely-available MusicBrainz service.
Finance / Business
HomeBank – free software. Use it to manage your personal accounts. It is designed to easy to use. Analyse your finances in detail using powerful filtering tools and graphs. Runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and even Nokia Tablet. Great if you plan to later move to Linux or Mac and you can continue using the same application without being locked in.
GnuCash – Personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.
WatchOCR – OCR server for PDFs. Based on Knoppix, WatchOCR uses cuneiform, and exact image to create text searchable PDFs from image only PDFs. Using the web interface, WatchOCR can be remotely configured to monitor a watched folder for newly scanned PDFs for OCR conversion. Leveraging the power of a liveCD distro, WatchOCR is the fastest way to get an OCR service up and running for your network.
SugarCRM – customer relationship management (CRM).
OpenERP – claimed to be a complete and the most feature rich ERP and CRM system, as well as the most popular open source one. Among the features are management accounting, financial accounting, inventory management, sales and purchase management, tasks automation, Human Resource Management, marketing campaigns, help desk, and point of sale.
OrangeHR – a flexible and easy to use solution for small and medium sized companies free of charge. By providing modules for personnel information management, employee self service, leave, time & attendance‚ benefits and recruitment companies are able to manage the crucial organization asset – people. The combination of these modules into one application assures the perfect platform for re-engineering and aligning your HR processes along with the organizational goals.
Jaspersoft Business Intelligence (BI) – over 10 million downloads already of this popular BI tool with 11,000 commercial customers worldwide. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms 2010 predicts that growth of open source BI platforms will grow faster than adoption of commercial platforms.
Pentaho – offers a comprehensive open-source BI platform available on-premises, in the cloud or via SaaS. Also a recommended BI tool in the Gartner report. Both Pentaho and Jaspersoft “scored higher in the customer support question than any of the mega vendors” according to Gartner!
SpagoBI - the only entirely Open Source Business Intelligence suite. It covers all the analytical areas of Business Intelligence projects, with innovative themes and engines.
AM Statistical Software - funded by the US National Center for Education Statistics and supports over 100 file import formats and is used in US research.
Rattle used at academia, research and governments already for data mining, as well as for teaching data mining in Australia. They talk here about vendors wanting to lock clients into a proprietary format so that it is difficult to change vendors later. This product emphasises open standards.
PSPP is particularly aimed at statisticians, social scientists and students requiring fast convenient analysis of sampled data. It is a free replacement for the proprietary program, SPSS. PSPP can perform descriptive statistics, T-tests, linear regression and non-parametric tests. Its backend is designed to perform its analyses as fast as possible, regardless of the size of the input data.
Accounting-123 – South African based free and open source version of Cubit ERP, and is web based (Cloud), ERP Accounting and integrated payroll, point of sale, business management and more. The system is intended multiple users using the system in the cloud, over the Internet and is suited for small and medium companies. The once proprietary 12 year old software is now free to the thousands of existing satisfied customers as well as the world.
Spree - a 100% open source e-commerce platform powered by the popular Ruby on Rails framework. It was designed to make customization and upgrades as simple as possible.
Magento – open source e-commerce platform used by over 100,000 merchants including Samsung and Nespresso.
Flightgear Flight Simulator – an open-source, multi-platform, cooperative flight simulator development project.
LinCity – a free city-building simulation game, which puts the player in control of managing every aspect of a city’s socio-economy. A unique feature is a choice between two ways for winning:
* reaching sustainable development
* evacuating the entire population with spacecraft.
OpenBVE – license-free, open source, free of charge train driving simulator. This program includes detailed per-car simulation of the brake systems, friction, air resistance, toppling and more. In 3D cabs, the driving experience is augmented with forces that shake your simulated body upon acceleration and braking, as well as in curves. Besides that, openBVE features a 3D positional sound system best enjoyed with surround speakers, train exteriors and timetables for the current run.
Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe – an open source clone of the Microprose game “Transport Tycoon Deluxe”, a popular game originally written by Chris Sawyer. It attempts to mimic the original game as closely as possible while extending it with new features and runs on Windows and Linux.
Speed Dreams – is a fork of the famous open racing car simulator TORCS, aiming to implement exciting new features, cars, tracks and AI opponents to make a more enjoyable game for the player, as well as constantly improving visual and physics realism. Speed Dreams is a highly portable multi platform car racing simulation. It is used as ordinary car racing game, as AI racing game and as research platform. It runs on Linux (x86, AMD64 and PPC), FreeBSD, MacOSX and Windows. The source code is licensed under the GPL (“Open Source”).
VDrift is a cross-platform, open source driving simulation made with drift racing in mind. It is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v2. It is currently available for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Windows. Currently the game features:
- Simulation-grade driving physics
- Tracks based on famous real-world tracks
- Cars based on real-world vehicles
- Competition against AI players
- Mouse/joystick/gamepad/wheel/keyboard support
Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory - Formerly a expansion pack, Enemy Territory is now a free multiplayer add-on featuring multiplayer support for as many as 64 players. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory challenges gamers to the ultimate test of teamwork and strategy. Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac (separate downloads).
0 A.D. - (pronounced “zero-ey-dee”) is a free, open-source, historical Real Time Strategy (RTS) game currently under development by Wildfire Games, a global group of volunteer game developers. As the leader of an ancient civilization, you must gather the resources you need to raise a military force and dominate your enemies.
Pengu Spy – another spectacular collection of games that run on Linux.
Ubuntu Linux – the most popular Linux distro. Full GUI, full multitasking, easy package installer, free. Bonus is that it will run on older hardware and may delay having to upgrade to new hardware to run Windows 7. It also has a Netbook Remix version especially for netbook computers (hint: Run the Remix version with the standard desktop to get a normal view with movable windows versus the Remix version which has everything running full screen).
Linux Mint – third most popular Linux distro. An Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It also adds a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration tools, and a web-based package installation interface. Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories.
CentOS – a community-supported, mainly free software operating system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It exists to provide a free enterprise class computing platform and strives to maintain 100% binary compatibility with its upstream distribution. CentOS stands for Community ENTerprise Operating System.
Vinux Linux – especially for visually impaired users.
Android – an operating system for mobile devices such as cellular phones, tablet computers and netbooks. Android was developed by Google and based upon the Linux kernel and GNU software. It was initially developed by Android Inc. (a firm later purchased byGoogle) and lately by the Open Handset Alliance. According to NPD Group, unit sales for Android OS smartphones ranked second among all smartphone OS handsets sold in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010.
Jolicloud – interesting option for a netbook OS.
Qimo 4 Kids – Qimo is a desktop operating system designed for kids. Based on the open source
DoudouLinux - is specially designed for children to make computer use as easy and pleasant as possible for them (and for their parents too!
Ubuntu Linux desktop, Qimo comes pre-installed with educational games for children aged 3 and up.
Television / Broadcasting
FreeGuide – FreeGuide is a TV guide program. It allows you to find programmes you are interested in quickly, and ignore the rest. Works well on Linux but the Windows apps seems to have some problem. Note for SA channels you should download my fixed config file and copy it over the existing one under your Linux home directory in /home/yourloginnamename/.freeguide/xmltv-configs. To ignore certain channels you need to open this file with a text editor (eg. gedit) and put a # at the beginning of any lines to ignore. The days option at the bottom of the file can be 1, 7 or 14 days. After saving the file, just click on download listings in the Freeguide program to update your listing. To clean out any existing days that are already downloaded you could delete all the “days” files in .freeguide directory and then download the listings again.
LinuxMCE – is a whole home automation suite that controls everything from lighting, air conditioning, cameras, media entertainment system, telephony, security and much more. It is best to view the FAQ athttp://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Frequently_Asked_Questions to get a better idea of what all it can do.
MythTV – a free home entertainment application with a simplified “10-foot user interface” design for the living-room TV, and turns a computer with the necessary hardware into a network streaming digital video recorder, a digital multimedia home entertainment system, or Home Theater Personal Computer. It can be considered as a free and open source alternative to Tivo or Windows Media Center. It runs on various operating systems, primarily Linux/Mac/FreeBSD.
WebcamStudio For GNU/Linux creates a virtual webcam that can mix several video sources together and can be used for live broadcasting over Bambuser, UStream or Stickam. On this virtual webcam, you can broadcast your desktop, your webcam, a movie, some text, IRC channels, RSS Feed, animations, images or all of them at the same time.
UStream – the leading live interactive broadcast platform. Anyone with an internet connection and a camera can start engaging with their family, friends or fans anytime, anywhere. Millions of Ustream users view and broadcast a wide variety of content, from high school sporting events to red carpet movie premieres. Notable Ustream broadcasts include major political events, concerts, conferences, movie premieres, talk shows, sporting events, interactive games, and personal milestones.
Sunlight Labs – a non-profit, non partisan Washington, DC based organization focused on digitization of government data and making tools and websites to make it easily accessible. Sunlight Labs is an open source community of thousands dedicated to using technology to transform government. They focus on transparency – the idea that government can be more effective, more honest, and more accountable when it makes data about its process, operations, and influences available to the public.
South African Government OSS Site – this site has sometimes had some timeouts….
Open Voting Consortium – a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and delivery of trustable and open voting systems for use in public elections.
Medical – a free, centralized Health and Hospital Information System that provides the following functionality: Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Hospital Information System (HIS), Health Information System. See how open source software might best be used in the UK healthcare sector.
VISTA – an open source medical records system. It keeps track of all of information concerning a patient’s care – no matter where in the country they go. Medications, pharmacies, doctor visits, dates, diagnosis.
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Sweet Home 3D – a free interior design application that helps you place your furniture on a house 2D plan, with a 3D preview. Runs under Windows 98 to Vista, Mac OS X, various Linux systems and Solaris.
FreeCAD - a general purpose Open Source 3D CAD/MCAD/CAx/CAE/PLM modeler, aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits in a wider range of uses around engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties. It is a feature-based parametric modeler with a modular software architecture which makes it easy to provide additional functionality without modifying the core system.
Archimedes – a computer aided design (CAD) solution focusing on architectural design. While the current version of Archimedes may not be mature enough for all – this project is very promising. It already has many of the most common and advance drawing features you will find in a commercial CAD solution. An alternative for AutoCAD.
Gramps – a Free Software Project for Genealogy, offering a professional genealogy program, and a wiki open to all. It is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists. GRAMPS currently runs on Linux, MAC OS X, and Windows. Guides for installation on BSD and Solaris are available.
Why Open Source – This paper provides quantitative data that, in many cases, open source software / free software is equal to or superior to their proprietary competition. The paper examines market share, reliability, performance, scalability, scaleability, security, and total cost of ownership; it also comments on non-quantitative issues and unnecessary fears.The Simple Dollar – 30 Essential Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Windows.
Harvard Business Review - Open Source Software Hits a Strategic Tipping Point
Free Software Foundation – a non-profit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all free software users.
Open Source Living – collection of open source software commercial version is easier to install and configure though.
FLOSS Weekly – FLOSS all about Free Libre Open Source Software. Join hosts Randal Schwartz and Leo Laporte every Saturday as they talk with the most interesting and important people in the Open Source and Free Software community.
Translate.Org.Za – Translation project in South Africa that enables OpenOffice and Firefox, amongst others, to be available in South African languages.
SourceForge.Net – Massive repository of open source projects.
Wikipedia – Very comprehensive list of Free and Open Source Software Packages also grouped by categories
Osalt.com – another repository of alternative software.