What is your Favourite Free Software?

Software I could not live without (OK I could!)

I am a big fan of Open Source and free software and these are a few of the programs that I have on just about all my computers

These are Open Source in no particular order:

Convert DVDs or other video files to MKV or MP4 files.

Video/picture manager. Personally just use it with my scanners - very good batch conversion facility

Open Live Writer
Blog writer/uploader

Watch your Youtube subscriptions ad free.

Best text editor ever especially if you use any programming or script languages

Rebox Net
Convert MKV files to MP4

OBS Studio
make demo videos from your computer or broadcast (never used that feature myself)

Make sure you really delete stuff

See what programs or files are hogging your HDD

Email reader - brilliant!

Picture editor quite complex but very good (for most things I prefer Picasa - see below

Terrific CAD software use it with my 3D printer

Excellent video editor

Torrent file sharing program

Free but not open source:

Bulk Rename Utility
Absolutely brilliant program for renaming files (definitely would not be without it

Edit/View MP3 and MP4 tags

Picasa 3
Old but good - abandoned by Google but still available from old software sites (wouldn’t be without it)

Ebook Manager - convert any book to any other type of ebook ie if you have a kindle you can get ebooks from any source - no longer restricted to Amazon.

Video player extraordinaire

BTW if you want to download any of this software just copy and paste the name into your search engine

Well those are some that I use a lot.

Do you use any of these? What are your “go to” pieces of software?

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Just the free ones:

Inkscape - A vector drawing program. The many controls/options make it hard to learn …but it’s good.

Apophysis - Fractal image maker. Good for helping to create image backgrounds.

Jarte - A cut-down word processor that has a plain text option, so making it a good Notepad replacement with a spell-checker.

PrivaZer - Computer cleaner.


I keep meaning to get Inkscape. I like the tutorial by this bloke for Gimp and he does them for Inkscape too

I keep saying I’m going to follow this tutorial but haven’t got around to it yet. Soon though :slight_smile:

3D modelling program

A complete office suite compatible with MS/Excel files

Astronomy program for charting stars, planets etc

A Mp3 player and tag editor

I remember Winamp though I haven’t used it for years (since I got Spotify basically)

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I also used some of the free software listed in previous posts while I was still working and still use LibreOffice and Thunderbird. Since I bought a new laptop as a retiree I have made it a point to use as much on-board software as possible so as to keep a smoothly running system. Haven’t had any PC problems for three years now. Free software has its limits, though. I have installed LibreOffice again in order to open Excel files and the odd PowerPoint but I realised that the Writer just can’t cope with Word (nor can Impress with PowerPoint) and finally had to buy Word again for more complex documents. Thunderbird is OK but could be designed better.

I think anyone who has been interested in or maybe even just owned a computer for as long as we probably have, will have tried nearly all the free software. Favourites are chosen after a while and that’s it for life.

I put different software on the computer sometimes but always go back to the old favourites that I’ve been using for years. Just update them when the updates are released, paid-for or free.

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I tend agree with you about Libre Office as it doesn’t have VBA which I use a lot so I need M$ Office

On the other hand Thunderbird has addins which can correct a lot of its shortcomings.

Funny thing is I am still using M$ Money which Microsoft stopped producing in something like 2003, I guess it is habit because these days, with bank apps telling you your expenditure before you even leave the shop, you really don’t need to check on your account.

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Where did you learn VBA and what do you use it for? You seem to be an advanced user then.

I learned BASIC on my Commodore 64, then Visual Basic in the 1980s along with batch files, the transition to VBA was simple and necessary for my work in a power station analysing data in real time. Just makes life so much easier when it does all the work for you.

Still use batch files all the time and VBA occasionally. My Seniors Club membership file uses many VBA routines.

I also used it to get the covid data back in the day

BTW That video was made using OBS and Shotcut as mentioned in OP. Handy program.

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Not just done but well done! I see how it can help do routine tasks. Once you got the hang of it ,you can use it for various jobs. Definitely advanced stuff, I’d say. :+1:

I am afraid VBA is a bit old fashioned now, M$ has introduced new scripting language but VBA will see me out (I hope)

It is LINUX OS & in my case Linux Mint XFCE …then the open source just follows naturally. Having spent years fixing and repairing WinShxt for so many people only to see it or them topple it within a day or two ( virii and so many other shortcomings etc etc and me getting increasing grey hair and after many "love jobs " repairing for friends, and even including getting a small city Television station back on air one Easter weekend I’d had a gutful of MS Windshyte and ceased it forever. That move allowed me to stop ripping my greying hair out and I still have it today. Yes Linux takes a little while to adapt. We are all creatures of habit BUT I can honestly say I know of NO-ONE who has ever gone backwards after a proper shift to Linux and Linux open source software. :slightly_smiling_face:

Creatures of habit puts it aptly. Linux came along after we’d got used to Microsoft. Then admin said we should all use Linux now since they’d got sick of MS glitches and problems. Linux was recommended, praised, and presented as the ultimate solution by IT and admin yet employees were left alone in trying to use Linux for all processes . A standard sentence in courses and meetings was “If you are a Linux user, then you need to…” Hardly anyone felt like spending extra time making Linux compatible with their individual applications. They kept doing what had worked best and that was MS.

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Yes Dachs, you make a very valid point & yes I have seen that happen. I was " dumped in the deep end ’ originally when Linux was for personal use very " raw ?" for want of a better description.
That has long since changed & now… well I suggest well worth a look. Any different system requires some time ( those Creatures of …) but initially definitely some open mindedness. Those who failed? to transition were always those who tried to keep one foot in both ballbarks - they will go back to what they’ve long known ( Creatures of … as we’ve said. :wink: ) Thanks for your input Dachs. :slightly_smiling_face:


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I use Linux Mint, not as much as W10 or 11 but enough to think it a good system. The latest version ‘Virginia’ is installed on a second computer. I have used it enough to have a few favourite bits of software:

Lollypop - A music player with a nice interface. It shows the artwork of albums.

BlueMail - E-mail program that can handle multiple accounts.

Inkscape - Vector drawing program.

Gimp - Image editor.

AppImageLauncher - An explanation. A Linux downloaded program might come in the form of an ‘AppImage’. This being one single file that contains the program and all the files it needs to run. Download the file, make it executable (easy), double-click to open the program it contains. The trouble is that it is not easy to make a shortcut to it that will integrate into the Start Menu.

AppImageLauncher overcomes this. When installed, it detects when an AppImage is double-clicked and offers to open the program, to move the AppImage into a new folder and put a shortcut to the program into the Start Menu.

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I have tried Ubuntu many times on old computers but even the cut down version did perform that much quicker than the version of Windows they were supplied with so eventually I abandoned it (except on one computer just to keep my hand in).

The problem with the small user base is that major software just doesn’t cater for it and just about all open source software is available for Windows anyway. As you say there is nothing wrong with it but it remains very much a niche operating system catering for the paranoid escaping from the evil clutches of M$ :wink:

Mind you just about every NAS runs on Linux.

It’s possible to use Windows but still have interest enough in computers per se to see what Linux is like, so not necessarily paranoid :slight_smile: It won’t run all that well on an old low spec. computer as many think it should. I have it installed on an Intel NUC with an i5 processor and 16GB of RAM (solid state drive).

I agree about the software situation. Linux has lots of free software and some it does provide a good equivalent to Windows software. However, there aren’t Linux versions of all the software I use, so I’ll always mainly run Windows.

Those who use a computer for Internet purposes, writing letters, sending/receiving e-mail most probably could use with Linux Mint because the installation includes everything necessary to do all that. It’s only when it comes to programs such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Xara, PaintShop Pro (and more) that Linux doesn’t compete. It can if a Windows OS is installed on a Linux virtual machine but might as well just use a Windows computer if doing that.

Linux isn’t a computer for only technically minded people as it once was. Some of the versions such as Ubuntu and especially Linux Mint have become fairly user-friendly. Even so, it will never be a mainstream OS because we’re all used to Windows computers. Nearly all computers bought new or used come with Windows installed. Why would people bother to switch to Linux when Windows is working well? …and they haven’t got a beef with Microsoft.

This doesn’t stop Linux being a capable OS in many ways though.

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