Right, in the last few months I have heard from -

* one person who Adobe stole a couple of hundred dollars from for junk he didn't need and could have got for free - and is blocking every effort he makes to get a refund

* another that I introduced to the world of torrent downloads who had all sorts of nightmares playing LEGALLY obtained videos, NONE OF WHICH were even remotely pornographic in nature

* and numerous people who couldn't open Tom Arcaro's survey presentations because they were on Office 2007 format

So, because no one else has done so (and as a selfless public service to the community because I am an all-round philanthropist and humanitarian), here is a list of useful and legally free applications. If you pay for software you hate children, burn a hole in the ozone layer, are a fascist bigot and probably believe in god. All of it runs on Windows and most of it has ports for MacOS and *nix.

OpenOffice.org (OOo) - Will read just about any document you throw at, including all of the latest MS Office. You are not likely to find anything you can do in Office that you can't do with it either. Word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentations and more.

PDFcreator - If you can print it, you can make a PDF from it. For free. Hear that Adobe ? FREE.

VLC media player - multimedia player that will play anything, including CDs, DVDs and embedded video .flv files (you need to steal them first). And if it can't play it, it's pretty safe to assume the file contains malware. This is the shit.

Graphics - Simple media viewing and manipulation, IrfanView. Intermediate, Paint.NET. Advanced, gimp. Gimp is for propellor heads, extremely steep learning curve, but pound for pound it is as good as any commercial graphics application.

Comodo Personal Firewall - Aside from consistently winning the review stakes, this is the only personal firewall I've ever seen that was designed entirely for a) function, and b) the user in mind. Basic things that all the commercial vendors ignore. Simple things like giving you listings of all active processes and connections, and maintaining a list of all new files that have come onto your system since you last checked. Really simple basics. It rocks. Their antivirus component not so - it's not something I would rely on. I use AVG myself, not necessarily because its best, but its the first free one I've tried that's passed very test I've thrown at it, and it does have quite a high false positive rate. Which is why you need Jotti - upload a file and it will run it through around 20 different scanners.

Notepad alternatives - Notepad2 and Notepad++. I just like these because I like to do a lot of editing the old fashioned way.

NVU - intermediate WYSIWYG web authoring

This is by no means all of the free stuff I use, it is just the free stuff I consider to be "best of..." and useful to pretty much everybody. I'm sure you folks can contrubute a lot more.

Tags: alternative, free, richard stallman is god, smash the state, software

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I had a problem with VLC player about a year or two ago--it took over all the media filetype associations and I couldn't remember to Google instructions on how to get things back to normal. Somehow I managed to get the associations back the way I wanted them after I removed VLC player.
That's not VLC - thats Windows. You didn't pay attention to all of the boxes when you installed. Usually, under start => run => default programs you get the settings for what runs what. VLC just runs the files you throw at it. If you double click on something, it's Windows that decides what to use to run it.
An interesting list... A lot of it comes with my particular Linux distro, but thanks for posting it.

Katalyzt
Awesome list man. About the only thing I'd add security-wise would be Spybot Search and Destroy.

Comodo Firewall and Defense+ are good stuff...I'd agree the AV is a little less paranoid than AVG, but it eats a lot less system resources. So if that's a concern, you can more or less cover yourself with just CPF. (Just make sure install Ask Toolbar, SafeSurf, and the like are all unchecked when you install it.)
And Avast free home-use version for anti-virus
This is one program I was just about to get ready to research. Thanks! Does it also remove duplicate files?
I would add Blender to graphics for 3D modelling.
Does anyone know a free software for "cutting" off a piece of an avi file? I guess it is called videocapture (or maybe I'm wrong). I'd rather keep just the portion that I'm interested in and throw away the rest...

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