This Saturday is Software Freedom Day, an annual, global event which is dedicated to the celebration and promotion of free and open source software. Groups from all over the world are organising parties and other events to mark the day. Free software definitely feels like it’s on the up. With the collapse of attempts to introduce software patents in Europe (for the moment), as well as the news that Dell and other PC manufacturers are now selling computers bundled with Ubuntu, there’s no doubt that free and open source software is more popular than ever.
While I have a computer at home equipped with Kubuntu, I’d be crazy not to recognise that the vast majority of PC owners use Windows. But even if you’re a Windows fan who can’t or won’t make the move to an alternative OS, you can still take part in – and enjoy – the very best free and open source software available. Here’s a pick of some of my personal favourites.
- Open Office – the most popular completely free office suite
- Ares Galaxy – connect to P2P networks with this safe, stable, free-of-spyware client
- Songbird – still in development, this app is a media player and web browser in one
- Pidgin – open source chat client for AIM, MSN etc (formerly known as GAIM)
- Firefox – despite some problems with memory leaks, this remains my favourite browser
- Kubuntu – and finally, why not go the whole hog and try Linux? You’ll never look back
- Check out Softonic’s Freeware section, packed with tons more totally free software