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.

See my Open Letter to South African BEE / SME Vendors

Do I Really Need Microsoft Office at Home?

Open Source is Secure and Mature

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. LibreOffice will assist with word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, charts, drawing, flow charts and more.

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 light weight word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. Much simpler and quicker though than OpenOffice or MS Office.

LyX – a document processor that encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents (WYSIWYM) and not simply their appearance (WYSIWYG).

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. Encrypt your files with AES and up to 128 Bit. Digitally sign your documents to verify you as author and protect the file against modifications.

PDFedit – a free open source pdf editor and a library for manipulating PDF documents. PDFedit lets you edit text, delete and renumber pages, add markup, etc.

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.

PNotes – sticky notes for Windows with nice skins.

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. Note this is free to use but not open source software.

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,, 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.

WIKINDX – a free Virtual Research Environment (an online bibliographic and quotations/notes management and article authoring system) designed either for single use (on a variety of operating systems) or multi-user collaborative use across the internet.

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.

Cuneiform – an OCR system. In addition to text recognition it also does layout analysis and text format recognition. There is also a Windows version.

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 bulk scanning 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 (ECM) 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.


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.

OPALS (OPen-source Automated Library System) – one of the most highly rated library automation solutions available. It provides Web-based access to information databases, library collections and digital archives.

VuFind – a library resource portal designed and developed for libraries by libraries. The goal of VuFind is to enable your users to search and browse through all of your library’s resources by replacing the traditional OPAC.

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 and 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.

Ghost – a fully open source blogging platform.

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 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.

Discourse – discussion forum platform.

Eclipse – Java based IDE which aims to be a universal development toolkit.

Ruby on Rails – designed for rapid application development using Agile methodologies, Ruby on Rails offers “Web development that doesn’t hurt.” It’s used by the developers behind thousands of apps, including Twitter, Basecamp, Github and Groupon.

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.

Evolutility – an open source generic web UI for database applications. With it you can create small web apps like an Address book, a To do list or even a Wine Cellar without writing any code.

Game Editor – is the open source game design software that gives you the power to create the games of your dreams, and, unlike other game creation tools, gives you the chance to get and change the source code of the game creator and design and develop 2D games for personal computers as well as mobile devices.

jQuery Mobile – a HTML5-based user interface system designed to make responsive web sites and apps that are accessible on all smartphone, tablet and desktop devices.

jQT – a Zepto/jQuery plugin for mobile web development on the iPhone,
Android, iPod Touch, and other forward-thinking devices.

NetBeans – quickly and easily develop desktop, mobile and web applications with Java, HTML5, PHP, C/C++ and more. NetBeans IDE is FREE, open source, and has a worldwide community of users and developers.

PhoneGap – a free and open source framework that allows you to create mobile apps using standardized web APIs for the platforms you care about. Supports 7+ mobile platforms.

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.

StarUML – designed as an alternative to Rational Rose and other commercial modeling tools, StarUML supports both the latest UML standards and Model Driven Architecture (MDA).

Archi – Enterprise architecture modelling tool which is TOGAF compliant. Runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Mercurial – a cross-platformdistributed revision control tool for software developers in use by Mozilla, Symbian OS, OpenOffice, etc.

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.

Firebug – integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of web development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page. Inspect HTML and modify style and layout in real-time, use the most advanced JavaScript debugger available for any browser, accurately analyze network usage and performance of web applications.

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.

Cassandra – is the right choice when you need scalability and high availability without compromising performance.  Its users include Netflix, eBay, Twitter, Urban Airship, Constant Contact, Reddit, Cisco and many others.

Apache CouchDB – is a database that uses JSON for documents, JavaScript for MapReduce indexes, and regular HTTP for its API.

MongoDB – (from “humongous”) is an open-source document database, and the leading NoSQL database.

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.

CitrusDB – is open source customer service and billing software. It is used by many different service providers, including internet service, subscriptions, consulting, and telecommunications.

CiviCRM – is web-based, open source, Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software geared toward meeting the needs of non-profit (NGO) and other civic-sector advocacy organizations.

ConcourseSuite – a dedicated Enterprise-Class CRM Solution with a single, easy to use web application. An open source Java-based application with a standards-based plug-in architecture, ConcourseSuite can scale to the largest enterprise, yet delivers the ease of use and low cost required by small and medium-sized businesses.

OpenCRX – an open CRM solution that meets the needs of organizations requiring multifunctional, enterprise-wide coordination of sales generation, sales fulfillment, marketing and service activities to customers, partners, suppliers or intermediaries.

Orange Leap – A good option for non-profits, Orange Leap aims to make managing contacts, particularly fundraising contacts, much easier.

Sugar Community Edition – boasts millions of users, including personnel at Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Men’s Wearhouse, ThyssenKrupp System Engineering and others.

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.

Google Chromium (FOSS version) and Chrome Browsers from Google – both now support built-in Adobe Flash and numerous Extensions.

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. Telkom SA also uses Zimbra for its web based mail solution for clients.

Zarafa – a replacement for MS Exchange. Zarafa’s open source groupware combines the usability of Outlook with the stability and flexibility of a Linux server. Not only is Outlook supported natively, but users can also use WebAccess, which has the same look and feel as Web 2.0 Outlook, all ActiveSync-compatible mobile devices and BlackBerry handhelds via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Funambol – the leading mobile cloud sync solution . The software in this repository is the open source version which consists of a sync server, clients/apps/sdks for mobile devices and computers, and connector software to interface with other systems. The open source version syncs PIM data such as contacts (address books), calendars (agendas), tasks and notes.

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. Ephesoft is often used in conjunction for bulk scanning of paper based documents.

Magnolia – open source content management system which offers instant mobile websites and multi-channel publishing. It’s used by thousands of organizations, including the U.S. Navy and Texas State University.

Plone – a widely used content management system. It has a reputation for excellent security features and can be used to create mobile Websites.

pimcore – offers Web content management, product information management, asset management and rapid application development. Increase engagement with customers and users. Deliver rich & compelling digital experiences. Push content to any channel, any device, at any time.

Owl Intranet Engine – lets you create a knowledgebase or FAQ site.

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.

Bonita BPM improves business operations by connecting people, processes, and information systems into easily managed applications.  With advanced BPMN 2.0 functionality, easy-to-implement connectors, and ultra-scalable Java engine. Bonita BPM makes the job of building process-driven business applications faster than ever!

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.

MindTouch – enables the creation of social help websites, and it’s used by customers like PayPal, Mozilla and Intuit.

BuddyPress – Social Networking, the WordPress way. Easily create a fully featured social network inside your powered site.

Elgg – A powerful open source social networking platform. Looks very much more like Facebook and has activity streams and group discussions. – combines wikis, social networks, blogs, file sharing repositories, micro blogs, discussion boards and other communication applications into a unified enterprise collaboration solution.

Group Office – an enterprise CRM and groupware tool. Share projects, calendars, files and e-mail online with co-workers and clients.

IGSuite – an innovative web-based groupware application suite providing some of today’s vital business applications such as customer relationship, resource and content management in an integrated solution with an easy to use, consistent look and feel across all applications in the suite.

InterTwinkles – a platform built from the ground up to help small democratic groups to do process online. It provides structure to improve the efficiency of specific communication tasks like brainstorming and proposals. It helps a group through decision-making processes.

CubeTree – free enterprise collaboration suite that integrates social networking features like profiles and microblogging with tools like wikis, blogs, etc. – A social microblogging service similar to Twitter, built on open source tools and open standards (based on 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

DimDim – an open source web meeting product with features like Application, Desktop and Presentation sharing with A/V streaming and chat. No attendee installation – all features are available through a web browser. Dimdim can be integrated with Moodle.

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.

SimpleWebRTC – video and audio conferencing tool using functionality built into modern browsers (no need to install extensions). A good example of a working implementation is Talky.

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.


(See also some secure messaging apps under Instant Messagers – Telephony section)

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.

Kali Linux – an advanced Penetration Testing and Security Auditing Linux distribution with over 300 penetration testing tools.

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 hard disk 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. An alternative is also Rohos Mini Drive which does not need admin privileges to open the encrypted USB drive on other computers.

MyDLP – can block credit card numbers, social security numbers, or sensitive files from being transmitted through e-mail, printers, the Web or removable devices.

OpenDLP – a free and open source, agent- and agentless-based, centrally-managed, massively distributable data loss prevention tool released under the GPL. Given appropriate Windows, UNIX, MySQL, or MSSQL credentials, OpenDLP can simultaneously identify sensitive data at rest on hundreds or thousands of Microsoft Windows systems, UNIX systems, MySQL databases, or MSSQL databases from a centralized web application.

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.

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?

ODESSA – an acronym for “Open Digital Evidence Search and Seizure Architecture”. The intent of this project is to provide a completely open and extensible suite of tools for performing digital evidence analysis as well as a means of generating a usable report detailing the analysis and any findings.

The Sleuth Kit – open source digital investigation tools (a.k.a. digital forensic tools) that run on Windows, Linux, OS X, and other Unix systems. They can be used to analyze disk images and perform in-depth analysis of file systems (such as NTFS, FAT, HFS+, Ext3, and UFS) and several volume system types. Examiners and analysts can use the Autopsy graphical interface or The Sleuth Kit (TSK) command line tools to conduct an investigation.


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.

FileZilla – client and server FTP functionality.

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.

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.

KA Lite – open-source software that can be downloaded and run on any computer, turning it into a webserver for viewing and interacting with downloaded Khan Academy videos and exercises, even when no internet is available. Students can connect to the server from within the classroom, on a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

eduCommons – a content management system designed specifically to support OpenCourseWare projects like Notre Dame OCW  OCW Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, OCW Universidad de Cantabria. eduCommons will help you develop and manage an open access collection of course materials. It is built around a workflow process that guides content developers through the process of publishing materials in an openly accessible format.

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).

QGIS used in Eastern Cape Province of South Africa for basic GIS training – see their website.

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.

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.

CoFFEE – the new groupware application for digital discussions  in a live classroom situation.

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.

Àkura – a school management system that utilizes the latest technologies to facilitate a new school managerial experience for principals, teachers as well as parents.

Classis – a school information management system, which has been tailor-made to meet the needs of some of Europe’s largest international schools.  It includes bespoke assessment and tracking frameworks as well as a comprehensive suite of home school communication and messaging tools to facilitate greater parental engagement.

Schoolbag – an electronic diary (e-diary), e-portfolio and digital workspace for students. Schoolbag allows students record their homework, store their notes, record their progress, complete and submit their homework to their teachers for correction. It allows school to truly leverage the benefits of mobile and tablet devices.

Open-School – an integrated school management system which focuses on excellence and evolution in the field of Education. To achieve this O-S is flexible and innovates the new trends in education management. Open-School is a diverse, demanding, and high quality educational management system where every user can discover and realize their potential to achieve overall development.

OpenSIS – open source Student Information System. Downloaded more than 50,000 times and used by more than 12,000 schools, openSIS bills itself as “the only open source Global SIS in the world.”

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!

Mando –  lets you create an interactive whiteboard. If you have your computer connected to a camera and a projector, you can use your laser pointer to control the computer in front of the class, just as you would use a mouse at your desk. Runs on Linux.

Avogadro – an advanced molecule editor and visualizer designed for cross-platform use in computational chemistry, molecular modeling, bioinformatics, materials science, and related areas.

Jmol – an open-source Java viewer for chemical structures in 3D.

Kalzium – an application which will show you some information about the periodic system of the elements.

Step – an interactive physics simulator that allows students to explore classical mechanics, particles, springs, gravity, coulomb forces, collisions, sound waves, etc. It also includes an equation solver and a unit conversion tool.

Hot Potatoes – a suite which includes six applications, enabling you to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the World Wide Web. Hot Potatoes is freeware, and you may use it for any purpose or project you like. It is not open-source.

iTest – able to give each student a different version of a test because it can pull questions from a pre-established database. It’s available in nine different languages.

Safe Exam Browser – a webbrowser-environment to carry out online exams safely. The software changes any computer into a secure workstation. It regulates the access to any utilities like system functions, other websites and applications and prevents unauthorised resources being used during an exam.

TCExam – is computer-based assessment software aims to simplify the creation, delivery and scoring of tests.  It is web-based, platform independent, language independent (includes translations in several languages and RTL support) and conforms to W3C Accessibility and Usability guidelines to provide equal opportunity to people with disabilities, including blind users.

Anki – a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it’s a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn. Anyone who needs to remember things in their daily life can benefit from Anki. Since it is content-agnostic and supports images, audio, videos and scientific markup (via LaTeX), the possibilities are endless.

FlashQard – educational software to improve your learning process. It is designed to help you learn not only a new language but anything that can be learnt!  This aim is achieved by using the widely used method, called Leitner System, and the idea of “different card types for different purposes”.

jVLT – a vocabulary learning tool. Examples containing one or many of the vocabulary words may be specified. jVLT also can perform quizzes using a flash card system which is similar to the selective learning system proposed by German psychologist Sebastian Leitner. During a quiz, jVLT shows the examples of each word, letting you better memorize its usage.

Parley – In addition to traditional flashcards, Parley also utilizes anagrams, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, synonym/antonym and other types of tests to improve your vocabulary.

Marble – a virtual globe and world atlas — your Swiss army knife for maps. Find your way and explore the world!

Dr. Geo – to design &  manipulate interactive geometric sketches with constraints. Design sketches on workstation and share everywhere with Tablets & PC!

GeoGebra – dynamic mathematics software for learning and teaching at all levels.

GraphCalc – an all-in-one solution to everything from everyday arithmetic to statistical analysis, from betas to Booleans, from cubes to calculus, from decimals to derivatives. GraphCalc combines all the features of a professional mathematics package with the simplicity of an easy to learn windows interface.

Player Project – creates Free Software that enables research in robot and sensor systems. The Player robot server is probably the most widely used robot control interface in the world. Its simulation backends, Stage and Gazebo, are also very widely used.

TuxTyping – an educational typing tutor for kids starring Tux, the Linux penguin. This educational game comes with two different games for practicing your typing, and having a great time doing it.

See also 7 Fantastic Free Social Media Tools for Teachers

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, 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.

Apache SpamAssassin – powerful spam filtering.

ASSP – self-proclaimed “absolute best SPAM fighting weapon that the world has ever known,” ASSP sits on your SMTP servers to stop spam and scan for viruses.

MailScanner – a free e-mail security package for mail servers. It incorporates SpamAssassin, ClamAV and a number of other tools to block spam and mailware.

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.

GLPI – IT and asset management software.

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.

Ansible – a powerful automation engine that makes systems and apps simple to deploy. Used by companies like Rackspace, and Evernote.

Likewise – Securely Integrate Linux, Unix and Mac with Microsoft Active Directory.

FreeNAS – enables users to build network-attached-storage (NAS) on nearly any hardware platform of their choosing. It turns standard hardware into a BSD-based storage appliance with features like replication, data protection, encryptions, file sharing, etc.

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 CERND-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.

Pydio – a mature open source software solution for file sharing and synchronization. With intuitive user interfaces (web / mobile / desktop), Pydio provides enterprise-grade features to gain back control and privacy of your data: user directory connectors, legacy filesystems drivers, comprehensive admin interface, and much more.

AppScale – an open source version of the Google App Engine.

Cloud Foundry – an open-source Platform as a service (PaaS) sponsored and lead by Pivotal with contributions from a large ecosystem of organizations and individual developers. Cloud Foundry provides users with a choice of clouds, developer frameworks, and application services, while increasing a user’s ability to built, test, and scale applications.

Apache CloudStack – open source software designed to deploy and manage large networks of virtual machines, as a highly available, highly scalable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing platform. CloudStack is used by a number of service providers to offer public cloud services, and by many companies to provide an on-premises (private) cloud offering, or as part of a hybrid cloud solution.

eyeOS – invented the web desktop 6 years ago and it is today the leading Cloud Desktop worldwide. Headquartered in Barcelona, eyeOS is one of the biggest Open Source projects in Europe with more than 1 million downloads and communities across the globe. IBM has selected eyeOS as its preferred Open Source Cloud platform in 2010 and signed a global partnership. Gartner named eyeOS Cool Vendor in IT Operations management in 2011.

OpenShift – is Red Hat’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that allows developers to quickly develop, host, and scale applications in a cloud environment. With OpenShift you have choice of offerings, including online, on premise, and open source project options.

Scalr Cloud Management Platform – a web-based control panel for cloud infrastructure that serves as an interface between end users and the multiple cloud platforms that they use.

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.
gwibber 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,, StatusNet, Facebook, FriendFeed, BrightKite, Digg, Flickr, and Qaiku.
identica-screnshot – 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 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_in_a_call Ekiga – (formerly known as GnomeMeeting) is an open source SoftPhone, Video Conferencing and Instant Messenger application 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 Jitsi – open source multi-platform voice and video chat with SIP support and desktop sharing.
tox Tox – with the rise of government monitoring programs, Tox provides an easy to use application that allows you to connect with friends and family without anyone else listening in. Essentially a replacement for Skype. For Windows, Mac, Linux.
mumble Mumble – low latency secure audio chat during gaming or for secure office communications. For Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.
briar Briar – a secure open source alternative to WhatsApp. Briar is a messaging app designed for activists, journalists, and anyone else who needs a safe, easy and robust way to communicate. Unlike traditional messaging tools such as email, Twitter or Telegram, Briar doesn’t rely on a central server – messages are synchronized directly between the users’ devices. Private beta for Android.



Project Management

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.

ProjectLibre – the open source replacement of Microsoft Project!   InfoWorld just awarded ProjectLibre “Best of Open Source Software” and named ProjectLibre to the list of “Top 10 open source projects for 2013”. – first open source solution to be included in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management Applications,” Project.Net is a robust, but affordable alternative to commercial PPM software. It integrates with many BI systems, includes advanced social networking features and commercial support and services are available.

LibrePlan – a web based application, making project management available to not just the project manager, but the entire project team, and if necessary across organisations.

]project-open[ – is said to be used by over 6,000 companies worldwide. A full installation is based on over 100 open source packages including a Linux distro, Postgre SQL, TCL as it’s main language, Perl for system integration, and many more. It supports integration with 30+ packages such as OpenLDAP, OpenOffice, ProjectLibre, and others. ]po[ is an enterprise project management tool with many features, including support for Agile.

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.

Agilefant – is based on Agile methods. However, this open source project management tool also supports product portfolios, projects, sprints, and multi-team development. Agilefant offers a free and open source product that can be downloaded and deployed into your own private cloud. They also offer a SaaS solution. In 2014, they will add a paid service.

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.

Collabtive – web-based project management software.

web2Project – a Free Open Source business-oriented Project Management System (PMS) built for the future.

Todoyu – a web based collaborative project management system.

Achievo – a flexible web-based resource management tool for business environments. Achievo’s resource management capabilities will enable organisations to support their business processes in a simple, but effective manner.

dotProject – a web-based project management application, designed to provide project layout and control functions.

Xprocess – for project management and process improvement, focuses particularly on agile and priority-driven approaches. The preconfigured processes, eg. Scrum, FDD, Prince2, Unified, can be tailored. Gantt/Burndowns/target status are continually updated.

eHour – open source webbased time tracking tool for companies and organizations who need accurate information on how much time is spend on projects.

Rachota – a portable application for timetracking different projects. It runs everywhere. It displays time data in diagram form, creates customized reports and invoices or analyses measured data and suggests hints to improve user’s time usage.

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.

GeoKettle – a spatially-enabled version of Kettle. It is a powerful, meta-data driven spatial ETL tool dedicated to the integration of different spatial data sources for building and updating geospatial data warehouses. GeoKettle enables the transparent handling of the geometry data type as any other classical data type to all transformations available in Kettle. It is possible to access geometry objects in JavaScript and to define custom transformation steps. Topological predicates have all been implemented.

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.

inaSAFE – this app helps scientists and communities explore the potential impact of natural disasters in a region. To use it, you’ll need Quantum GI.

RapidFTR – RapidFTR is specifically designed to streamline and speed up Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) efforts both in the immediate aftermath of a crisis and during ongoing recovery efforts. RapidFTR is a versatile open-source mobile phone application and data storage system that seeks to expedite this process by helping humanitarian workers collect, sort and share information about unaccompanied and separated children in emergency situations so they can be registered for care services and reunited with their families.

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

OpenLayers – makes it easy to put a dynamic map in any web page. It can display map tiles and markers loaded from any source. OpenLayers has been developed to further the use of geographic information of all kinds.

World Wind – provides a rich set of features for displaying and interacting with geographic data and representing a wide range of geometric objects.

List of Open Source GIS projects at

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 –  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 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.
RawStudio – an open-source program to read and manipulate RAW images from digital cameras. Rawstudio will convert your RAW files into JPEG, PNG or TIF images which you can then print or send to friends and clients. You can also upload photos directly to Picasa, Flickr and Facebook galleries.
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.
Pinta – Pinta is a drawing/editing program modeled after Paint.NET. It’s goal is to provide a simplified alternative to GIMP for casual users. Can run on Windows, Mac and Linux.
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 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.
PiTiVi – As long as it is supported by the GStreamer Multimedia Framework, PiTiVi will handle any format you throw at it.
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,, Dreamhost (dreamobjects) and get all the web interface to manage it via Openphoto.
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.
Synfig Studio – a free and open-source 2D animation software, designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork. It eliminates the need to create animation frame-by frame, allowing you to produce 2D animation of a higher quality with fewer people and resources. Synfig Studio is available for Windows, Linux and MacOS X.

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.

TuxGuitar – lets you create and playback tab scores. Features include multi-track display, auto-scroll, effects and import/export to popular audio file formats.

GNU Solfege – ear training app has exercises designed to teach students to identify intervals, chords, scales and rhythmic patterns. It also includes some theory and sight singing activities.

Impro-Visor (short for “Improvisation Advisor”) – a music notation program designed to help jazz musicians compose and hear solos similar to ones that might be improvised. The objective is to improve understanding of solo construction and tune chord changes.

Phonascus – a totally free program for studying music theory that allows you to focus on specific skills and exercises, on both theory and aural training.

ScoreDate – helps musicians to learn music reading. It is suitable for any skill, from beginners to professional users. From slow training to first sight reading.

XBMC – an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OSX, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet. It evens runs on a Raspberry Pi!

eSpeak – a compact open source software speech synthesizer for English and other languages, for Linux and Windows.

Simon – is an open-source speech recognition program and replaces the mouse and keyboard. It is designed to be very flexible and allows customization for any application where speech recognition is needed.

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.

KMyMoney – personal finance manager (like Quicken) for Windows, Linux, OS X.

GnuCash – Personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

TurboCash – features stock control, general ledger, accounts receivable and payable, reporting and analysis capabilities.

JStock – makes it easy to track your stock investment. It provides well organized stock market information, to help you decide your best investment strategy.

iTrade – provide a charting and trading system for your stocks.

jBilling – claims to be “world’s leading open source enterprise billing solution.” It’s particularly good for subscription-based billing, and notable customers include Deutsche Telecom, Constant Contact and Rackspace.

Simple Invoices – a free, open source, web based invoicing system. – For mid-sized arts organizations, entrepreneurial
go-getters, data geeks, and web software nerds. Manages ticket sales through cash or credit cards, manage donations, online RSVPs for free events, etc.

Mifos – aims to help microfinance institutions do a better job of providing loans to poor people around the world.

Octopus – next generation microfinance MIS.

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).

Odoo (formerly 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.

Openbravo – ERP for retailers, distribution, manufacturing, etc. With 3m+ downloads and 1,000s of organizations using Openbravo solutions every day, Openbravo is a world leader in the Open Source enterprise software space.

Opentaps – ERP solution used by Toyota, Honeywell, and other well known companies.

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.

WaypointHR – an HR database for managing employee records and personnel information.

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.

Orange – Open source data visualization and analysis for novice and experts. Data mining through visual programming or Python scripting. Components for machine learning. Add-ons for bioinformatics and text mining. Packed with features for data analytics.

D3.js – a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. D3 helps you bring data to life using HTML, SVG and CSS. D3’s emphasis on web standards gives you the full capabilities of modern browsers without tying yourself to a proprietary framework, combining powerful visualization components and a data-driven approach to DOM manipulation.

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.

Floreant POS – a platform independent free Point of Sale (POS) application that greatly benefits Restaurant business simplifying order management, automation of kitchen and keeping control of cash.

LemonPOS – an open source Point of Sale software targeted for micro, small and medium businesses. MySQL is employed for data management and storage, and can be used a single database with many POS terminals on a network.

Openbravo POS – flexible and mobile point of sale, interactive customer assistance, store operations, merchandise management, etc.

POSper – the Open Source Point Of Sales Software for small businesses. POSper is designed for use with touch screens and offers ease of use combined with all the features you would expect from a fully fleshed cash register system.

uniCenta – POS forked from Openbravo POS.

OpenUnderwriter – The robust, feature rich quote and buy system for insurers and brokers everywhere. No license fees. No restrictive contracts. No risk


  Flightgear Flight Simulator – an open-source, multi-platform, cooperative flight simulator development project. It will also display 3D if coloured glasses are worn.
  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.
opencity-0.0.5-mainstatusbar OpenCity – a full 3D city development simulator game project.
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.
openttd 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.
simutrans Simutrans – an open-source transportation simulation game available for Windows, Mac, Linux and BeOS. Your goal is to establish a successful transport company and build the necessary infrastructure to transport passengers, mail and goods between cities, factories and touristic attractions by land, air and water.
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”). See also Stunt Rally.

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
rigsofrods Rigs of Rods – a vehicle simulator licensed under the GNU General Public License version 3. What makes Rigs of Rods different to most simulators is its unique soft-body physics: vehicles, machines, objects, etc. are simulated in real-time as flexible soft-body objects, giving the simulation an extremely accurate behavior which entirely depends on the physical construction of the vehicles or objects you create. The Linux PPA can be added as follows: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:aapo-rantalainen/rigsofrods.



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).
Spring 1944 Spring: 1944 – a WWII themed game based on the open source Spring Engine. Their goal is to create four fully functional sides (US, Germany, USSR, Britain) with period-accurate units and strengths. Realism is a primary design goal, second only to creating a game that is fun and accessible to play.
True Combat TrueCombat – a FREE tactical-teamplay oriented, modern-world combat simulation first person shooter (FPS) modification for the Quake III, Enemy Territory and Call of Duty 4 engines.
play0ad 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.
Planeshift PlaneShift – a Role Playing Game immersed into a 3D virtual fantasy world, completely made and maintained by volunteers! Passionate RPG gamers gathered to create an open and freely available game. You will have no surprises of premium content which will limit your gameplay or unbalance the game. There are no limitations in skills, ranks, abilities, items you can gain with your free account. There are no time limits or additional constraints.
PySolFC – a collection of more than 1000 solitaire card games.
Red-Eclipse-Trailer_2 Red Eclipse – a fun-filled new take on the casual first person arena shooter, built as a total conversion of Cube Engine 2, which lends itself toward a balanced gameplay, with a general theme of agility in a variety of environments.
Rocks’n’Diamonds – arcade style game for Unix, Mac OS X, Windows and DOS in the tradition of: “Boulder Dash” (C 64), “Emerald Mine” (Amiga), “Supaplex” (Amiga/PC), “Sokoban” (PC). Also a network playable option available.
Supertuxkart-0.8.1-screenshot-2 SuperTuxKart – a Free 3D kart racing game, with many tracks, characters and items for you to try.


Scrabble 3D

Scrabble – this program extends the conventional idea of Scrabble with Scrabble3D – adding a third dimension. Of course classic games using a 15×15 board or Superscrabble using a 21×21 board can be played too and you may configure any field setting yourself. This freeware application allows you to play against the computer, local players or via the internet.
Pengu Spy – another spectacular collection of games that run on Linux.


Operating Systems

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 at 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.

Boxee – a cross-platform freeware home theater PC (HTPC) program with a 10-foot user interface and social networking features designed for the living-room TV.

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.

CamStudio – able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs).

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.

OpenTripPlanner – an open source platform for multi-modal and multi-agency journey planning. It follows a client-server model, providing several map-based web interfaces as well as a REST API for use by third-party applications. OTP relies on open data standards including GTFS for transit and OpenStreetMap for street networks.

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.

GNU Health – a free Health and Hospital Information System with the following functionality: Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Hospital Information System (HIS), Health Information System.

FreeMED – an opensource electronic medical record and practice management system which has been developed since 1999.

GNUmed – its goal is to produce and to make available free (as in liberated) open source software to help providers better document, understand, plan, and manage their patients’ health, and health care delivery, at longitudinal points of care.

MEDILIG – Medical Life Guard: An EHR/EMR cross-platform software for the design, implementation, and use of autonomous, open, database models for multilingual medical knowledge management systems from primary care to continuing care.

OpenEMR – a Free and Open Source electronic health records and medical practice management application that can run on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and many other platforms. OpenEMR is ONC Complete Ambulatory EHR certified and is one of the most popular open source electronic medical records in use today.

Office Manager – encompassing office management healthcare software for medical practices, doctors groups, DMEs, retailers, etc. It does User/patient management, point of sale, scheduling, sign-in, inventory, insurance claims, accounting, etc.

OpenMRS – a software platform and a reference application which enables design of a customized medical records system with no programming knowledge (although medical and systems analysis knowledge is required). It is a common platform upon which medical informatics efforts in developing countries can be built.

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.

OSCAR EMR – a proven Electronic Medical Record (EMR) designed to help improve health care from individual to population health levels while reducing costs. OSCAR, which currently supports over 1.5 million patients across Canada, offers an extremely versatile, browser-based, EMR with high clinical functionality and advanced research capabilities.

THIRRA – short for “Telehealth and Health Informatics in Rural & Remote Areas,” THIRRA is an IDRC-funded project that provides EHR capabilities and also allows government officials to track outbreaks of infectious diseases. It’s currently being used in Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Ultimate ER – brings small practice providers the tools they need to improve their lives.

ZEPRS – Zambia Electronic Perinatal Record System (ZEPRS) is being used by clinics and the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia to improve patient care. The University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Center for Research in Women’s Health (CRWH), RTI, and the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) developed ZEPRS with local medical expertise and project engagement from the Lusaka Urban Health District, Central Board of Health and funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

OpenClinic GA – an open source integrated hospital information management system covering management of administrative, financial, clinical, lab, x-ray, pharmacy, meals distribution and other data. Extensive statistical and reporting capabilities. 17 implementations in Rwanda, 5 in DRC, 4 in Mali and 5 in Burundi covering hospitals with 5 up to 700 users. Country specific localizations for Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Uganda, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Follow-up OpenClinic implementations on

Bika LIMS – combines web content management and workflow processing for a one-stop ISO 17025 ready web-based LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System). One of the development sponsosr is the Department of Trade and Industry in the Republic of South Africa.

3D Slicer – offers DICOM file viewing, interactive segmentation, volume rendering and other capabilities. It can work with images from MRI, CT, US, nuclear medicine, and microscopy.

AMIDE – a competely free tool for viewing, analyzing, and registering volumetric medical imaging data sets.

ANTs (Advanced Normalization Tools) – helps doctors and researchers make maps of brains.

BioImageXD – a free open source software package for analyzing, processing and visualizing multi-dimensional microscopy images. It’s a collaborative project, designed and developed by microscopists, cell biologists and software engineers from the Universities of Jyväskylä and Turku in Finland, Max Planck Institute CBG in Dresden, Germany and collaborators worldwide.

OsiriX – downloaded more than 1,000 times every day, OsiriX claims to be “the most widely used DICOM viewer in the world.”

Open Source Malaria project – is trying a different approach to curing malaria. Guided by open source principles, everything is open and anyone can contribute.

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.

DanceCues – can help you plot out your best dance moves ahead of time. It’s suitable for professional choreographers and makes it much easier to create cue sheets than using a word processor.

iDiet – diet management software that will help people choose, customize and follow their diet. Several supported diets ( eg. Atkins, Summer Fresh,The Zone, Weight Watchers, Body for Life etc ) with details for every one of them.

Gourmet – helps you organize your recipes. It imports recipes from multiple formats, including websites, plus it generates shopping lists and counts the calories in the meals you’re making.

Open Source Poetry – an experiment in uniting the principles of open source development with the whimsy of collaborative poetry. It’s easy to participate. Make a selection from the navigation bar to begin a poem or view saved poems. Then either write or select a line and save it. Then another and another until you’re satisfied with your poem.

BibleTime – a completely free Bible study program, built for Linux, Windows, FreeBSD and Mac OS X. BibleTime contains over 200 free Bible texts, commentaries, dictionaries and books, provided by the Crosswire Bible Society via the SWORD programming library. See also Xiphos.

Noor – a program written in Python for viewing Quran.

Gnaural – an opensource programmable auditory binaural-beat generator, implementing the principle described in the October 1973 Scientific American article “Auditory Beats in the Brain” by Gerald Oster. Binaural beats can facilitate meditation.

Celtx – Create scripts, storyboards, breakdowns, schedules, budgets, and cast & crew reports for your production. The desktop software source code is available to download from the site.

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.

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.

The Ultimate Guide to Open Source Software – see.

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.

SourceForge.Net – Massive repository of open source projects.

Wikipedia – Very comprehensive list of Free and Open Source Software Packages also grouped by categories

South African Linux news feed using RSS provided by Tectonic – another repository of alternative software.

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