Free and open source software
Below are links to various sites that provide free and open source software tools for you to enhance your computer system.
What is free and open source software?
All of the free and open source software listed below is available free of charge. In other words "free, as in free lunch". In addition, much of the following software is "free, as in free speech". These two concepts, although distinct, are often confused. For an in-depth discussion of free and open source software see Christopher Smart's article "What is FOSS" or this Wikipedia article.
Free CD/DVD writing software
Free email clients and calendaring
- Mozilla Lightning
Lightning brings calendaring to the popular email client Mozilla Thunderbird. Lightning is tightly integrated with Thunderbird, allowing it to easily perform email-related calendaring tasks.
- Mozilla Thunderbird
Get the acclaimed email client from Mozilla. Versions of Thunderbird are available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux.
Free file archiving and compression
A file archiver with a high compression ratio. Available for Microsoft Windows.
7zX is a file archiver with high compression ratio. Available for Apple macOS.
- Stuffit Expander Mac
allows you to access StuffIt files, uncompress Zip archives, decompress tar, gzip and bzip archives, and more. Available for Apple macOS.
UnRarX allows you to expand rar archives and restore corrupted or missing archives using par2. Available for Apple macOS.
Free file creation, editing and viewing
AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. Versions are available for Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS and GNU/Linux.
- Adobe Flash Player
For viewing web pages with Adobe Flash content. Versions are available for Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows. The version of Flash Player installed on your system can be tested here.
- Adobe Reader
For viewing Adobe Acrobat PDF files. Versions are available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux.
- Apache OpenOffice
"The Free and Open Productivity Suite." If you are using an unlicenced copy of Microsoft Office on your Windows computer and want to clear your conscience then try switching to OpenOffice - you'll probably love it. If you have installed OpenOffice then you should possibly also install Java listed below.
For recording and editing sounds. Versions are available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux.
A 3D graphics creation program for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux and FreeBSD.
- CutePDF Writer
Create professional quality PDF files from almost any printable document. Requires Microsoft Windows.
For photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. GIMP is written and developed under X11 on UNIX platforms but basically the same code also runs on Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS.
LibreOffice is a powerful office suite – its clean interface and feature-rich tools help you unleash your creativity and enhance your productivity.
LibreOffice includes several applications that make it the most powerful free and open source office suite on the market.
Based on Apache OpenOffice, NeoOffice is a fully-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs) for Apple macOS.
PDFCreator easily creates PDFs from any Windows program. Use it like a printer in any Windows application.
Scribus is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to GNU/Linux, Unix, Apple macOS, OS/2 and Windows desktops with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK colour, separations, ICC colour management and versatile PDF creation.
A powerful general purpose text editor for Apple macOS.
Free FTP software
- Core FTP
This free, secure FTP client for Microsoft Windows gives you a fast, easy, reliable way to update and maintain your website via FTP.
With an easy to use interface, connect to FTP (File Transfer Protocol), SFTP (SSH Secure File Transfer), WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning), Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace Cloud Files and even Google Docs. Versions are available for Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows.
Both a client and a server are available. FileZilla is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Versions are available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux.
An open source free SFTP client and FTP client for Microsoft Windows.
Free firewall appliance software
A GNU/Linux firewall distribution geared towards home and SOHO users. IPCop lets you take an old PC and convert it into an appliance that will secure your home network from the internet and also improve the performance of web browsers.
- SmoothWall Express
An open-source firewall that includes its own security-hardened GNU/Linux operating system and an easy-to-use web interface. The SmoothWall GPL project was founded in the summer of 2000 by Lawrence Manning (Principle Code Author) and Richard Morrell (Project Manager). Their goal was to create a GNU/Linux distribution that could convert a redundant PC into a hardened internet firewall device.
Free software from Apple
- Apple Downloads
Lots of free downloads directly from Apple to enhance your Mac, PC, iPhone and iPad.
Free operating systems
CentOS is an Enterprise-class GNU/Linux Distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise GNU/Linux vendor. CentOS conforms fully with the upstream vendors redistribution policy and aims to be 100% binary compatible.
ClearOS is an operating system for your Server, Network, and Gateway systems. It is designed for homes, small to medium businesses, and distributed environments. ClearOS is commonly known as the Next Generation Small Business Server, while including indispensable Gateway and Networking functionality. It delivers a powerful IT solution with an elegant user interface that is completely web-based. Simply put, ClearOS is the new way of delivering IT.
- Debian GNU/Linux
Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. Debian uses the GNU/Linux kernel (the core of an operating system), but most of the basic OS tools come from the GNU project; hence the name GNU/Linux. Debian GNU/Linux provides more than a pure OS: it comes with over 25000 packages, precompiled software bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine. Debian is available for Alpha, AMD64, ARM, HP PA-RISC, Intel x86, Intel IA64, MIPS, MIPSEL, PowerPC, IBM S/390 and SPARC computer architectures. It is the solid base on which many other GNU/Linux distributions arebuilt including Ubuntu and GNU/Linux Mint listed elsewhere on this page.
- DragonFly BSD
DragonFly belongs to the same class of operating systems as other BSD-derived systems and Linux. It is based on the same UNIX ideals and APIs and shares ancestor code with other BSD operating systems. DragonFly provides an opportunity for the BSD base to grow in an entirely different direction from the one taken in the FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD series.
Fedora is a GNU/Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in free and open source software. Fedora is always free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. It is built by people across the globe who work together as a community: the Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is open and anyone is welcome to join.
FreeBSD is an advanced operating system for modern server, desktop, and embedded computer platforms. FreeBSD's code base has undergone over thirty years of continuous development, improvement, and optimization.
FreeDOS is a free DOS-compatible operating system that can be used to play games, run legacy software, or support embedded systems. FreeDOS is basically like the old MS-DOS, but better!
FreeNAS is an Open Source Storage Platform based on FreeBSD and supports sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems. FreeNAS uses a custom version of FreeBSD and a web-based interface to provide a fully-featured Network-Attached Storage (NAS) environment. FreeNAS offers software-based storage and backup solutions for a variety of applications, from home to enterprise.
Using a special blend of aesthetics and functionality, Korora aims to make Linux easier for new users without compromising its power and flexibility for experts. We provide a complete and easy to use computing system that "Just Works" – right out of the box.
- Linux Mint
Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories.
Mageia is a GNU/Linux-based, Free Software operating system. It is a community project, supported by a nonprofit organisation of elected contributors.
MEPIS LLC and MEPIS Linux were founded by industry veteran Warren Woodford in November 2002 to create a user-friendly GNU/Linux version that “just works” based on Debian GNU/Linux.
NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from 64-bit Opteron machines and desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices.
NethServer is an operating system for Linux enthusiasts, designed for small offices and medium enterprises. It is based on CentOS/RHEL, a widespread and popular server distribution, trusted by routine security updates, and rock solid stability.
The OpenBSD project produces a free, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based Unix-like operating system.
The openSUSE project is a worldwide community program sponsored by Novell that promotes the use of GNU/Linux everywhere. The program provides free and easy access to openSUSE. Here you can find and join a community of users and developers, who all have the same goal in mind - to create and distribute the world's most usable GNU/Linux.
- Tomato Firmware
Tomato Firmware is a free HyperWRT-based, GNU/Linux core firmware distribution for several wireless routers, most notably the Linksys WRT54G (including the WRT54GL and WRT54GS), Buffalo AirStation and Asus Routers.
A complete GNU/Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. Ubuntu GNU/Linux is available in both desktop and server editions and supports various computer architectures. Free downloads are available for Ubuntu GNU/Linux. A copy of the Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference is available here.
There are GNU/Linux distributions available which are derived from Ubuntu, changing it in various ways. These distributions include:
The Edubuntu GNU/Linux distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to schools, through its customised school environment. The current version of Edubuntu is aimed at classroom use, and future versions of Edubuntu will expand to other educational usage, such as university use;
- elementary OS
elementary OS is a free replacement for Windows on the PC and OS X on the Mac. It comes with what you'd expect, like a fast web browser and an app store with thousands of apps. Plus some things you may not expect, like free updates and no known viruses;
Kubuntu is an operating system built by a worldwide community of developers, testers, supporters and translators;
- Linux Lite
Linux Lite is a GNU/Linux distribution, based on Debian and Ubuntu. The purpose of Linux Lite is to introduce Windows users to Linux;
Lubuntu is a faster, more lightweight and energy saving variant of Ubuntu using LXDE, the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment;
Trisquel is a fully free GNU/Linux based operating system for home users, small enterprises and educational centers;
- Ubuntu MATE
Ubuntu MATE is a stable, easy-to-use operating system with a configurable desktop environment. Ideal for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops and netbooks and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor. With modest hardware requirements it is suitable for modern workstations and older hardware alike.
Xubuntu is a complete GNU/Linux based operating system with an Ubuntu base. It is lighter on system requirements and tends to be more efficient than Ubuntu with GNOME or KDE, since it uses the Xfce Desktop environment, which makes it ideal for old or low-end machines, thin-client networks, or for those who would like to get more performance out of their hardware.
- Zorin OS
Zorin OS is a multi-functional operating system designed specifically for newcomers to Linux. It's based on Ubuntu Linux, so you can rely on it for rock-solid performance, dependability and support. It features our unique Look Changer program created exclusively for Zorin OS. It allows you to change the user interface at the touch of a button. Other unique programs include Background Plus, Web Browser Manager and more. Zorin OS gives you more flexibility. It allows you to use Zorin OS alongside your current operating system and run Microsoft Windows programs in Zorin OS with the help of WINE and PlayOnLinux.
- Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference
Written by award-winning author Keir Thomas, Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference is a totally unique and concise guide for everyday Ubuntu use. It is the world's most popular and widely-read Ubuntu book!
Free support software
Java software allows you to run applications called "applets" that are written in the Java programming language. Versions of Java available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux.
A free Telnet/SSH client for Microsoft Windows.
Free telephony software
Make phone, text and video calls from your computer. It's free to other people on Skype and cheap to phones and mobiles across the world. Available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux.
Free website authoring
Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website.
A content management system written in PHP and using the popular open source MySQL database system for content storage. It's completely free, totally customisable and in constant development.
Joomla! is one of the most powerful Open Source Content Management Systems on the planet. It is used all over the world for everything from simple websites to complex corporate applications.Joomla! is easy to install, simple to manage, and reliable.
The unofficial bug-fix release of Nvu. KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking website without needing to know HTML or web coding.
A complete Web Authoring System for GNU/Linux desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS users to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver.
- Open Source Web Design
To put it simply, Open Source Web Design is a collection of web designs submitted by the community that anyone can download free of charge!The Open Source Web Design project was founded in September 2000 by Francis J. Skettino. The goal was to provide the Open Source community with quality web designs to help get people's projects on the web in a way that is both organized and good looking. From personal blogs to content management systems and fully fledged businesses, OSWD has been providing free web designs for years.
Serendipity is a PHP-powered weblog application which gives the user an easy way to maintain an online diary, weblog or even a complete homepage. While the default package is designed for the casual blogger, Serendipity offers a flexible, expandable and easy-to-use framework with the power for professional applications.
TYPO3 is a free Open Source content management system for enterprise purposes on the web and in intranets. It offers full flexibility and extendability while featuring an accomplished set of ready-made interfaces, functions and modules.
WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability.
Free web browsers
- Google Chrome
Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier. Versions are available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux.
- Internet Explorer
Windows Internet Explorer for Microsoft Windows.
- Mozilla Firefox
The award-winning Web browser is better than ever. Faster, safer, and easy to use, Firefox delivers a better Web experience.
Opera delivers robust security and a far-richer feature set than any other Web browser.
Not just a Web browser but a suite of Internet tools powered by Mozilla, it includes a browser, a client for mail and newsgroups and an HTML editor. Versions are available for Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux.
Free virus protection for Mac
Mac malware is now a reality, but the days of worry-free Mac computing are far from over. Install Avira Free Mac Security and postpone the era of Mac viruses.
A free virus checker for Apple macOS.
- Norton Security
Norton Security Premium offers comprehensive protection.
- Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition
As Apple products grow in popularity, they have become attractive targets for cybercriminals. Yes, Macs can be infected by a growing number of viruses and other malware.
Free Windows spyware and virus protection
- Advanced SystemCare Free
Advanced SystemCare Free has a one-click approach to help protect, repair, clean, and optimize your PC. With over 35 MILLION downloads since 2006, this fantastic, award-winning, free PC repair software is a "must-have" tool for your computer. 100% safe with no adware, spyware, or viruses; a PC maintenance program that's incredibly easy to use.
- AVG Free Edition
The free version of AVG antivirus for Microsoft Windows.
- Avira AntiVir
Free antivirus software for private and individual users of Microsoft Windows.
Free antivirus for Microsoft Windows.
- Microsoft Security Essentials
Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home or small business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
Free virtual machines
VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.
Even more free and open source software
- Christopher Smart's website
Switch to GNU/Linux and other open source software packages. They offer a viable alternative to the expensive, proprietry software which you may now be using.
- The OpenDisc
Download individual programs or an entire CD of high-quality open source software for Microsoft Windows.
We provide links to these applications as a courtesy, and make no representations regarding the applications or any information related thereto. Any questions, complaints or claims regarding the applications must be directed to the appropriate software vendor.
Page version: 2018-07-07