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This directory was made to help you find quality alternatives to for-profit, feature-poor, or low-quality software. Most of this software is open source, but all of it is free (as in "free beer"). We have recommended most of this software to our customers where it seemed to fit their needs, and we even make regular use of most of it ourselves in our business. If you know of an excellent piece of software that isn't included, let us know!

Free Software Equivalent software What it's used for Summary
CCleaner None System cleanup/maintenance tool If you want to clean the junk off of your computer that accumulates during regular use, this tool is for you. We've removed as much as 12 GB (12,000 MB!) of junk from well-used computers with CCleaner, and we highly recommend it.
avast! Antivirus Norton/Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, AVG Antivirus, antispyware, security package Our security software of choice, avast! has a 100% free home edition available and beats out so many other security packages that you pay for, it's ridiculous to run anything else. It catches lots of nasties, gets updated daily, runs boot-time scans (most don't do that), and best of all, it doesn't slow most computers down at all, unlike its competition. GET IT NOW.
OpenOffice.org Microsoft Office Integrated office suite OpenOffice.org includes many of the types of applications expected in an office suite, including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and more.
GIMP Adobe Photoshop, Jasc Paint Shop Pro Professional image editor GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) has the same general features found in programs such as Adobe's Photoshop. GIMP is not an "end-all be-all Photoshop replacement," but for 100% free software that is less memory-intensive as the comparable Adobe products, the flexibility and power of GIMP is staggering and it can easily hold its own against Photoshop.
Pidgin Internet Messenger AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Trillian, Digsby Instant messaging client with multiple protocol support If you have a lot of separate messengers running when you start your computer, you should definitely try Pidgin. The number of built-in protocols it supports is staggering. Plugins extend the functionality to support additional protocols and features, such as the MusicTracker plugin which changes your status to your currently playing song, or the protocol plugin for the free dating site OkCupid, letting you receive IMs and new mail notifications in the messenger. Combine all of this with an excellent logging facility to record all your conversations to one place, "psychic mode" to warn you when someone types to you before they send their first message, a "markerline" option that shows you where the last line you read in a conversation is when you leave it and come back, and much more...and there's simply no reason not to give it a try.
Inkscape Adobe Illustrator Vector graphics editor Inkscape is a vector graphics editor. Vector graphics are images that consist of a series of drawing instructions instead of a grid of dots (called "raster" or "bitmap" graphics). The big advantage of making images as a set of drawing instructions is that the images can be scaled without loss of quality, from the size of a business card to the size of an Interstate highway billboard. Tritech's logo in the top-left corner is a raster image that was rendered from the original vector graphic. We could put our logo on the side of a box truck without it looking jagged or blocky because we created the original as a vector graphic. Having access to a free cross-platform vector graphics program like Inkscape is an invaluable resource for any graphic artist.
FileZilla CuteFTP, WS_FTP File transfer protocol client FileZilla sports many of the features found in CuteFTP, including access to protocols such as Secure FTP (SFTP). The interface is easy to understand and use.
Mozilla Firefox Internet Explorer, Safari Internet browser While not technically the type of software you pay for, Mozilla Firefox is superior to Internet Explorer in every way, including security, usability, and extensibility. It is the browser of choice for people who are sick of getting infected so easily while browsing the Internet.
Mozilla Thunderbird Outlook Express, Windows Mail Internet E-mail client Thunderbird beats Outlook Express for the same reasons that Firefox beats Internet Explorer, plus one: it sports junk mail filtering that "learns as it goes." Thunderbird separates perceived spam into a "junk" inbox to keep it out of your "regular" inbox. The themes and extensions available are enormous, and it has features that are not in Outlook Express such as color-coded message tagging, search folders, and message filter rules.
Evolution | [WinXP version] Microsoft Outlook Business-scalable E-mail and calendar application Evolution has been nicknamed "the Outlook killer." Evolution is a free-software solution that serves the same purposes as Microsoft Outlook. It can connect to Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise servers, supports calendars (both local and department-wide calendaring), LDAP capabilities, and much more. It is such an awesome replacement for Outlook that a lot of time and energy was put into developing a Windows XP port of Evolution, so Windows-based companies could enjoy the benefits of using Evolution as Linux-based companies have for years.
Audacity Adobe Audition Audio file editor Audacity is essentially a free audio manipulation program. It supports multiple tracks and a variety of effects, as well as importing and exporting to many common audio file formats.