Free, potent, useful, open source software is one of the best things that the Web has to offer. The great thing about the best open source software is that it’s backed up by vibrant communities who update and improve it periodically.
Here are the best open source software that stood out in 2011.
Based on Debian Linux, Ubuntu is an open source operating system that represents a perfect alternative to any OS out there. It’s easy to install, comes with great applications, free online backup service, software center, and attractive UI reminiscent of MAC OS. Ubuntu has gone a long way since its initial release about 7 years ago, and the current 11.10 version is the best yet.
LibreOffice is OpenOffice with the name changed. It’s maintained by former OpenOffice developers who broke away from Oracle. Feature-rich, LibreOffice includes Writing, Drawing, and Calc components, providing all the tools you’d expect from an office suite. Notable for its excellent auto-saving features, format support, and document recovery.
3. Mozilla Firefox
A great web browser running across operating systems and devices, Firefox boasts a plethora of excellent addons, a feature which perhaps no other browser can match. Addons improve Firefox’s usability and make it remarkably flexible. Also notable for allowing bookmarks and history syncing across computers.
4. Mozilla Thunderbird
Another cross-platform software, Thunderbird is a capable email app that just like Firefox can be enhanced by many addons. A notable addon is Personas, which lets you quickly change the skins of the interface. Thunderbird has been continually improved during 2011, becoming more solid than ever before.
When it comes to video and audio formats supported out of the box, VLC has no rival. It really plays anything and it does it flawlessly. In terms of media library handling, VLC has seen considerable improvements in 2011, but it still lags behind other similar software. All in all, VLC is the only media playback software you’ll ever need.
One of the most-used FTP clients worldwide, Filezilla is rich in features though it remains easy to use. There are other FPT clients out there which are potent enough, but Filezilla stands out because of its excellent implementation.
One of the most popular cross-platform graphics editors, GIMP can be used as a basic drawing and painting application, as well as a powerful image editor. It has good conversion and batch processing capabilities. Users familiar with Photoshop may find some features lacking, but still, GIMP is probably the best open source software of its kind.
8. Tomboy Notes
An open source notepad, Tomboy has a clean, pleasant interface which makes it instantly attractive. It lets you create notepads and add notes to them, internally link notes, and quite notably, synchronize notes online and across computers.
Supporting advanced SVG features, Inkscape is a powerful vector graphics editor that can stand in for expensive counterparts offered by Corel or Adobe. Inkscape can be particularly appealing to beginners because of its user interface and uncluttered workspace.
A complete file compression and decompression tool, 7-Zip works with all major archive formats. Unpretentious and effective, it represents a viable alternative to shareware archive managers.
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