Software and extensions have become an integral part of computing. However, since some of the software are priced so high that most people don’t even bother buying them and look for alternatives instead. And this is where the inexpensive, or rather free, software come into the picture.
Not all of such free software are worthless, contrary to the common prevalent notion. Instead, there are many such free options that are so utility-based that it’s hard to believe that they don’t cost a penny.
Open source is a slightly different category than the general software due to its development. The term “open source” itself means any software that has its source code available for download, use, share and edit and there are just no restrictions or copyright to it. Basically, open source software have various licenses that offer users with different degrees of freedom since they are aimed at collaboration and experiments.
Here is a list of the best free software that work perfectly and fit in the utility genre perfectly.
Krite is a free alternative to the expensive graphics editing tools available for a long time. Krita is available for Mac OSX for free.
OpenToonz is an open-source 2D animation software and is free to use for everyone, whether it is for personal or commercial purpose.
IrfanView is one of the most popular freeware and is available for non-commercial use. It is a simple-yet-powerful alternative to MS Paint. It supports multiple languages.
Gimp is a worthy cross-platform photo editor that is available for Windows, Linux as well as MacOS. GIMP offers a lot of sophisticated tools to the illustrators, photographers and graphic designers to complete the task in a great way.
Pixlr is definitely a generation ahead of its time with its easy editor that can edit professional photos in the quickest way possible. It is available as aweb app as well as a mobile app.
Inkscape lets the users draw freely with flexible drawing tools and create some amazing vector graphics. It has a very broad file format support.
Paint.net is a free photo and image editing tool for the Windows OS. It has a wide variety of useful tools and a host of special effects.
Medibang is a super light digital painting software that can be used for comic creation too. It is available on Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS.
FreeCAD lets the users create their own 3D models on several projects, especially with geometric shapes. It is open-source and extremely flexible to use.
It is a free and open source software in the genre of 3D graphics designing and is yet so professional. It can be used to make visual effects, 3D models and much more.
MagicaVoxel is a free-to-use 3D rendering tool that is available on both Windows and Mac. It does not even require a commercial license for the users.
MakeHuman is an absolutely free open-source computer software that is used to make 3D graphics rendering. Being open-source, it is developed by artists, community developers, etc.
Fusion360, a product of AutoDesk, is a free-to-use 3D modelling software and is great for generative design, rapid prototyping, simulation and many more such features.
Sketchup is a computer programme that is purely made for 3D modelling. It has a wide range of drawing tools that can be used for architectural applications, landscape designing and interiors.
SolidWorks has been developed by Dassault Systèmes and presents the designers and engineers with 3D modelling tools. It is available for the Microsoft Windows operating system.
DaVinci Resolve is a very professional video editing tool that comes free of cost but includes some handy features like 8K editing, visual effects and colour correction.
HandBrake is an open-source free tool to transcode videos to different formats. It is developed to convert videos from every format to almost any format.
Source Filmmaker is slightly different than what people normally expect from a video editing tool. It can capture and edit clips and works from inside a game engine.
VLC player first came into existence way back in 2001 and has been among the best-rated media players that are available on multiple platforms, like Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux.
SM media player is a cross-platform application that has inbuilt codecs to support almost every video file format available out there.
Kodi is a digital media player that is designed to appeal the best in large screen devices. It is an open-source application and is available for free.
Plex is a desktop-based media application that runs on almost all operating systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux. The server allows users to access the media content from almost everywhere.
PotPlayer is one of top-notch media players for Windows operating system and has a very minimalistic interface for extremely smooth user experience.
Algodoo is developed to give the users a big chance to play with physics. Users can use simple drawing tools to construct, design and explore physics at its best.
Open Broadcaster Software (or simply, OBS) is a free and open-source software to stream and record programme. It is available for MacOS, Windows and Linux.
Streamlabs OBS is a very reliable broadcasting software made for live streaming. It helps the users to stand out while they go live on platforms, such as Twitch.
Chapter and Verse is a very vital free software that can help to create chapterised audiobooks for iTunes, iPods and Quicktime. It has multiple format support.
Calibre is a free, cross-platform and open-source tool for e-books. It lets the users organise all the e-books in the form of virtual libraries and allows to edit and display too.
FreeNas is a free and open-source storage tool that unifies files and block storages, which is network based. It can be installed on virtually every hardware platform.
pfSense is more like a firewall that is open-source in nature and is available for free. It has a unified load balancing, threat management and many more features.
OpenVPN is a commercially-known tool that can implement “virtual private network” in order to create a secure connection and access remotely. It is open-source and free.
Nmap can be used to discover services and hosts on computer networks. It is available on a plethora of operating systems, like UNIX, Linux and Windows.
Zipping multiple files together has never been easier. With the 7-Zip open-source tool, creating compressed archives is very simple and easy.
VS Code has been developed by Microsoft but is available on multiple platforms, like Windows, Linux and MacOS. It supports debugging, syntax highlighting and code refactoring.
Notepad++ is a source code and text editor that is available for the Microsoft Windows operating system. It has the tabbed editing feature to allow opening multiple files under one window.
Vim is an extremely sophisticated text editor that supports a plethora of programming languages and integrates many tools. It is available on the UNIX system.
Sublime Text is a cross-platform editor for source code and is built on the Python interface. It supports a wide range of programming languages too.
LibreOffice is a good option as a replacement for Microsoft Office and Google Drive. It is a free yet a very powerful office suite.
MuseScore is available for all major operating systems, like Windows, Linux and MacOS. It is a free open-source software to create sheet music for various instruments, including flute, guitar and piano.
Audacity editor is a digital audio editing tool that allows you to record voice and also edit them on an easy-to-operate timeline. The users can down the software on both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Apache is the most popular web server management software. It is managed by an open-source foundation, and can be downloaded by anyone looking to setup a website hosting server.
Linux is a popular Unix-based operating system that is open-source in nature. It is based on the Linux kernel and was first developed way back in 1991.
Ninite is an exceptional package management system that allows users to install popular apps automatically. It is available for the Windows operating system.
Mozilla Firefox is one of the best browsers for desktops and offers a host of features, including adding dedicated extensions too.
Google Chrome is a cross-platform web browser that is presently one of the best in the world. It supports Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
Oracle’s VM VirtualBox is open-source virtualisation software. It can run on Mac, Linux, Windows and also supports a huge number of operating systems.
Proxmox is an open-source server virtualisation environment that comes free of cost. It has a modified Ubuntu kernel on the Debian-based Linux.
qBittorrent is written on C++ and is a cross-platform open-source application. It is the perfect alternative to the popular µTorrent application.
Sonarr is a vital software that is great for downloads with 0% failure. It is protected with passwords and does not give any reason for the users to worry regarding their download related issues.
Radarr is an excellent option to integrate seamlessly with many contemporary downloading applications, like Deluge, rTorrent, uTorrent, qBittorrent and many more.
Sabnzbd is a very user-friendly and free binary newsreader and runs on multiple operating systems, like Mac, Windows and Unix. It has 16 localised languages.
Google Maps is undoubtedly the best navigation and map applications available out there. It is cross-platform and is available as downloadable applications on Andriod and iOS as well.
Google Earth is one of the newest additions of the tech-giant in street mapping but takes thing further with an excellent 3D view and a completely new interface.
OpenStreetMap can be defined as a collaborative project for the creation of an editable map of the Earth. It is one of the newest mapping tools out there and does not displease the users.
“R” is a programming language that can be used for statistical computing. It is free software and is widely used among data miners.
Python is a very high-level programming language which was first released way back in 1991. The source codes and installers are available for download in almost all the versions.
Unity is one of the ultimate platforms for game development. It can be used to build extremely high quality 2D or 3D games that can be deployed across platforms, like mobiles, VR and desktop.
The Unreal Engine can be used in a plethora of fighting and stealth games. It has integrated tools for the development, designing and building games, visualisations and simulations.
Godot is a cross-platform software that is compatible with 2D and 3D games development. It is free and open-source and has absolutely no royalty attached to the development.
Free software are harder to come by, but that does not mean there won’t be any. The above-mentioned options are 100% free without compromising on the quality, utility and interface. All of the software above are well segregated based on the category they belong to. So of course, if paid tools were too much for the users to buy, the free ones definitely do the trick well.
Some software categories, like browsers, 2D and 3D graphics designing, multimedia editing, media players and streaming tools are very common among the users.