Best open source software

Here’s my picks:

  • Debian GNU/Linux. One of the oldest distros around and definitely among the best, many others are derived from it. First released 24 years ago. I now use Debian on my desktops daily, generally with XFCE desktop environment.
  • Xubuntu Linux. After trying a few variants of Linux and Ubuntu this was the one I used the most until recently and is still very well worthwhile. It is basically Ubuntu with XFCE as the desktop environment and compared to Cinnamon that runs on Linux Mint, it is very economical on system resources, you will appreciate this whether you run low end or high end hardware.
  • Qgis. A great GIS package and a great FOSS package. I’ve been using it since 1.8 (the current stable release is 2.18 but there is a 3.0 due early next year) and have frequently used the development masters for day to day work on my maps project.
  • Gimp. A brilliant graphics package every bit as good as Photoshop, yet completely free and open source. A well deserved reputation earned as a piece of high quality and well supported software.
  • Inkscape. The other piece of high quality graphics software, whereas GIMP works with rasters, Inkscape works with vectors. It can open one of my maps produced in a PDF file and edit every element in the map easily. I haven’t yet had occasion to use Inkscape in a production environment but it is standing by for any time in the future that I might have to heavily customise any maps for special purposes.
  • Firefox Developer Edition. This adds on to the basic functionality of the regular Firefox release. It runs e10s out of the box and also has many tools provided to aid web development. Whilst I don’t use these tools much myself, FFDE (formerly Firefox Aurora) is a great general purpose web browser.
  • Disk Usage Analyser (Baobab). Every so often you can run out of disk space, this package does a great job of analysing disk usage and helping me to keep on top of managing my computer’s home drive free space.
  • LibreOffice. I haven’t made much of this other than Writer but the capability looks to be very good. I must spend some time digging more into what you can do with this software suite.
  • Thunderbird. One of the best email clients ever written, its strength lies in its common heritage with other Mozilla projects, which includes the ability to be customised and added on to with extensions. The calendar which can work with Google Calendar is an example of this.
  • Youtube-dl. If you have ever installed some dodgy “youtube downloader” only to find your PC was taken over by spyware, you’ll appreciate this great command line package. Very easy to use, it is also hugely customisable with dozens of switches and settings.
  • Kodi. I have a couple of my computers running this software in use every day for playing video clips, ripped DVDs and extracted CD tracks etc. It is designed to be used with a multimedia keyboard and has a wide range of plugins and extensions available.
  • Simple Screen Recorder. A great and easy to use package for capturing your screens. Does not have any technical limitations or put any watermarks into your video clips.
  • Bluefish Editor. A great text editor, I mainly use it to hand code the HTML on my web site. It has all the usual stuff like syntax highlighting, code completion, colour coding etc etc.
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