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==Firefox==
 
==Firefox==
 
+
*'''What it is''': web browser and PDF reader
    File Name: Firefox_Setup_58.0.2.exe
+
*'''Licence''': Mozilla Public License
    What it is: web browser and PDF reader
+
*'''Why you want it''': The current version of the best free software browser available today. Provides far better security than using Internet Explorer, is W3C standards compliant and displays websites better. It includes a built-in PDF reader as well.
    Licence: Mozilla Public License
+
*'''Caveats''': Windows XP and newer only are supported. There is a beginners user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
    Why you want it: The current version of the best free software browser available today. Provides far better security than using Internet Explorer, is W3C standards compliant and displays websites better. It includes a built-in PDF reader as well.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: Windows XP and newer only are supported. There is a beginners user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    My 2017 review
 
    My 2014 review
 
    My 2013 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==GIMP==
 
==GIMP==
 
+
*'''What it is''': image editor
    File Name: gimp-2.8.22-setup.exe
+
*'''Licence''': GNU Lesser General Public License V3+ and GNU General Public License V3+
    What it is: image editor
+
*'''Why you want it''': Great free image editing application, similar to Photoshop, but has many better features.
    Licence: GNU Lesser General Public License V3+ and GNU General Public License V3+
+
*'''Caveats''': GIMP requires Windows 2000 or newer; it will not work on Windows 9x/ME and NT 4. The interface is a bit different from Photoshop, but works well. They have a very complete user manual on-line.
    Why you want it: Great free image editing application, similar to Photoshop, but has many better features.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: GIMP requires Windows 2000 or newer; it will not work on Windows 9x/ME and NT 4. The interface is a bit different from Photoshop, but works well. They have a very complete user manual on-line.
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    My December 2007 review
 
    My July 2007 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==InfraRecorder==
 
==InfraRecorder==
 
+
*'''What it is''': CD and DVD burning
    File Name: ir053.exe
+
*'''Licence''': GNU General Public License 3
    What it is: CD and DVD burning
+
*'''Why you want it''': Easy to use free software CD and DVD burner.
    Licence: GNU General Public License 3
+
*'''Caveats''': None
    Why you want it: Easy to use free software CD and DVD burner.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website] *[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    Caveats: None
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==Inkscape==
 
==Inkscape==
 
+
*'''What it is''': vector image creator
    File Name: inkscape-0.92.msi
+
*'''Licence''': GNU General Public License
    What it is: vector image creator
+
*'''Why you want it''': Easy to use free vector graphics image creation application, similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
    Licence: GNU General Public License
+
*'''Caveats''': None. They have very complete documentation and tutorials on-line and also at FLOSS Manuals.
    Why you want it: Easy to use free vector graphics image creation application, similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: None. They have very complete documentation and tutorials on-line and also at FLOSS Manuals.
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    My 2008 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==jEdit==
 
==jEdit==
 
+
*'''What it is''': text editor
    File Name: jedit5.4.0install.exe
+
*'''Licence''': GNU GPLv2
    What it is: text editor
+
*'''Why you want it''': A very complete text editor that has many plug-ins and customizations available. Includes syntax highlighting for writing code and html.
    Licence: GNU GPLv2
+
*'''Caveats''': Spell checking must be enabled as a plugin.
    Why you want it: A very complete text editor that has many plug-ins and customizations available. Includes syntax highlighting for writing code and html.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: Spell checking must be enabled as a plugin.
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    My 2014 review
 
    My 2007 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==KeyPass==
 
==KeyPass==
 
+
*'''What it is''': secure password management utility
    File Name: KeePass-1.35-Setup.exe
+
*'''Licence''': GNU GPLv2+
    What it is: secure password management utility
+
*'''Why you want it''': Keep your passwords in a secure database so they won't get stolen. Works with all browsers, including Firefox.
    Licence: GNU GPLv2+
+
*'''Caveats''': None.
    Why you want it: Keep your passwords in a secure database so they won't get stolen. Works with all browsers, including Firefox and Midori.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: None.
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==LibreOffice==
 
==LibreOffice==
 
+
*'''What it is''': complete office suite, including word processor and desktop publisher, spreadsheet, database, slide show, vector drawing application and math formula writer.
    File Name: LibreOffice_6.0.1_Win_x86.msi
+
*'''Licence''': GNU General Public License V3, with new contributions under the Mozilla Public License
    What it is: complete office suite, including word processor and desktop publisher, spreadsheet, database, slide show, vector drawing application and math formula writer.
+
*'''Why you want it''': Free complete office suite that is better than MS Office and is derived from OpenOffice.org. Has some unique features, such as it can save documents as PDFs. You can save in native open formats or in MS Office formats such as ".doc" and ".xls".
    Licence: GNU General Public License V3, with new contributions under the Mozilla Public License
+
*'''Caveats''': The minimum system requirements are:
    Why you want it: Free complete office suite that is better than MS Office and is derived from OpenOffice.org. Has some unique features, such as it can save documents as PDFs. You can save in native open formats or in MS Office formats such as ".doc" and ".xls".
+
**Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or newer
    How to install it: Click on the ".msi" file and follow the instructions.
+
**Pentium-compatible PC (Pentium III, Athlon or more-recent system recommended)
    Caveats: The minimum system requirements are:
+
**256 Mb RAM (512 Mb RAM recommended)
        Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or newer
+
**Up to 1.5 Gb available hard disk space
        Pentium-compatible PC (Pentium III, Athlon or more-recent system recommended)
+
**1024x768 resolution (higher resolution recommended), with at least 256 colours
        256 Mb RAM (512 Mb RAM recommended)
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
        Up to 1.5 Gb available hard disk space
+
*[  Application home website]
        1024x768 resolution (higher resolution recommended), with at least 256 colours
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
 
 
==Midori==
 
 
 
    File Name: midori_0.5.11_32_.exe
 
    What it is: web browser
 
    Licence: GNU Lesser General Public License 2.1+
 
    Why you want it: A good lightweight and simple W3C standards compliant, WebKit-based browser.
 
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
 
    Caveats: Midori does not remember passwords unless used in conjuction with KeePass.
 
    My 2015 review
 
    My 2014 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==Stellarium==
 
==Stellarium==
 
+
*'''What it is''': desktop planetarium.
    File Name: stellarium-0.17.0-win32.exe
+
*'''Licence''': GNU General Public License
    What it is: desktop planetarium.
+
*'''Why you want it''': Amazing graphics, better than almost all the commercial software available. Allows you to explore the night sky and plan your telescope viewing sessions.
    Licence: GNU General Public License
+
*'''Caveats''': None.
    Why you want it: Amazing graphics, better than almost all the commercial software available. Allows you to explore the night sky and plan your telescope viewing sessions.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: None.
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    Ruth's 2007 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==Sumatra==
 
==Sumatra==
 
+
*'''What it is''': PDF reader.
    File Name: SumatraPDF-3.1.2-install.exe
+
*'''Why you want it''': Extremely light weight and fast PDF reader. Unlike Adobe Reader, Sumatra opens in a fraction of a second, without having to wait for all the splash screens and credits to scroll by.
    What it is: PDF reader.
+
*'''Caveats''': None
    Why you want it: Extremely light weight and fast PDF reader. Unlike Adobe Reader, Sumatra opens in a fraction of a second, without having to wait for all the splash screens and credits to scroll by.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: None
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    My 2008 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==Thunderbird==
 
==Thunderbird==
 
+
*'''What it is''': e-mail client.
    File Name: Thunderbird Setup 52.6.0.exe
+
*'''Licence''': Mozilla Public License
    What it is: e-mail client.
+
*'''Why you want it''': Highly customizable e-mail application with many useful features, such as advanced search and tabbed e-mail. Much better usability and security than MS Outlook or Outlook Express.
    Licence: Mozilla Public License
+
*'''Caveats''': None. There is a beginners user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
    Why you want it: Highly customizable e-mail application with many useful features, such as advanced search and tabbed e-mail. Much better usability and security than MS Outlook or Outlook Express.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: None. There is a beginners user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    My 2007 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==VLC==
 
==VLC==
 
+
*'''What it is''': media player.
    File Name: vlc-3.0.0-win32.exe
+
*'''Licence''': GNU General Public License V2+ (player) and GNU Lesser General Public License V2.1+ (engine)
    What it is: media player.
+
*'''Why you want it''': VLC is the best media player available and will play pretty much every type of audio and movie file. It has a simple interface, useful features like a graphic equalizer and is very easy to use.
    Licence: GNU General Public License V2+ (player) and GNU Lesser General Public License V2.1+ (engine)
+
*'''Caveats''': None. There is a beginner's user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
    Why you want it: VLC is the best media player available and will play pretty much every type of audio and movie file. It has a simple interface, useful features like a graphic equalizer and is very easy to use.
+
*[ Wikipedia page]
    How to install it: Click on the ".exe" file and follow the instructions.
+
*[  Application home website]
    Caveats: None. There is a beginner's user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
+
*[ Direct link to Windows download page]
    My 2008 review
 
    Wikipedia page
 
    Application home website
 
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==

Revision as of 13:06, 14 February 2018

Since 2008 NCF has been giving out copies of the Best Of Free Windows Software DVD to help members learn about some of the great free software available and let them give it a try. The DVD is mostly aimed at users on dial-up for whom downloading large application files is difficult.

With fewer NCF members now using dial-up and most with unlimited DSL service it makes sense for people to just the software download directly. An additional factor is that few laptops or even desktop computers come with optical drives that can use CDs or DVDs these days.

This page explains some of the most popular free software for Windows and gives links to to download the applications directly.

Audacity

  • What it is: audio recorder and editor
  • Licence: GNU General Public License V2+
  • Why you want it: It enables you to record any sound that can be fed into your sound card, as a digital file, microphone or analog input, edit and save in a wide variety of formats.
  • Caveats: Only works if you have a sound card installed. Windows Vista and newer are supported. For Windows 10 you will need to have proper drivers to run your audio devices. There is a beginners user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
  • Wikipedia page
  • Application home website
  • Direct link to Windows download page

Avidemux

  • What it is: video editor
  • Licence: GNU General Public License
  • Why you want it: A simple linear editor that enables you to edit videos, splice clips together, add transitions and save as ".avi" or ".mpeg" files for uploading to You Tube or other video hosting services. Compared to more complex non-linear video editors that require high-powered computers to run, Avidemux will run on much older hardware.
  • Caveats: Starting with version 2.6.10 Avidemux will no longer run on Windows XP. There is documentation available on how to use this application but it is a bit incomplete. There is a far better manual on FLOSS Manuals.
  • Wikipedia page
  • Application home website
  • Direct link to Windows download page

ClamWin

  • What it is: Anti-virus scanner
  • Licence: GNU General Public License
  • Why you want it: Free software virus scanner.
  • Caveats: ClamWin is pretty good and improving all the time, but unless you are using MS Outlook it does not do e-mail scanning. It can be set to update itself daily and also to do a complete scan each day. It is suggested that it be used as a secondary or back-up virus scanner, perhaps using a freeware scanner like AVG Free as your primary virus protection.
  • Wikipedia page
  • Application home website
  • Direct link to Windows download page

FileZilla

  • What it is: File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client
  • Licence: GNU General Public License V2
  • Why you want it: If you design websites then this FTP client will enable you to upload them and manage your uploaded files.
  • Caveats: If you don't create websites then you won't need this. Windows XP and newer only are supported.
  • Wikipedia page
  • Application home website
  • Direct link to Windows download page

Firefox

  • What it is: web browser and PDF reader
  • Licence: Mozilla Public License
  • Why you want it: The current version of the best free software browser available today. Provides far better security than using Internet Explorer, is W3C standards compliant and displays websites better. It includes a built-in PDF reader as well.
  • Caveats: Windows XP and newer only are supported. There is a beginners user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

GIMP

  • What it is: image editor
  • Licence: GNU Lesser General Public License V3+ and GNU General Public License V3+
  • Why you want it: Great free image editing application, similar to Photoshop, but has many better features.
  • Caveats: GIMP requires Windows 2000 or newer; it will not work on Windows 9x/ME and NT 4. The interface is a bit different from Photoshop, but works well. They have a very complete user manual on-line.
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

InfraRecorder

  • What it is: CD and DVD burning
  • Licence: GNU General Public License 3
  • Why you want it: Easy to use free software CD and DVD burner.
  • Caveats: None
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website] *[ Direct link to Windows download page]

Inkscape

  • What it is: vector image creator
  • Licence: GNU General Public License
  • Why you want it: Easy to use free vector graphics image creation application, similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
  • Caveats: None. They have very complete documentation and tutorials on-line and also at FLOSS Manuals.
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

jEdit

  • What it is: text editor
  • Licence: GNU GPLv2
  • Why you want it: A very complete text editor that has many plug-ins and customizations available. Includes syntax highlighting for writing code and html.
  • Caveats: Spell checking must be enabled as a plugin.
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

KeyPass

  • What it is: secure password management utility
  • Licence: GNU GPLv2+
  • Why you want it: Keep your passwords in a secure database so they won't get stolen. Works with all browsers, including Firefox.
  • Caveats: None.
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

LibreOffice

  • What it is: complete office suite, including word processor and desktop publisher, spreadsheet, database, slide show, vector drawing application and math formula writer.
  • Licence: GNU General Public License V3, with new contributions under the Mozilla Public License
  • Why you want it: Free complete office suite that is better than MS Office and is derived from OpenOffice.org. Has some unique features, such as it can save documents as PDFs. You can save in native open formats or in MS Office formats such as ".doc" and ".xls".
  • Caveats: The minimum system requirements are:
    • Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or newer
    • Pentium-compatible PC (Pentium III, Athlon or more-recent system recommended)
    • 256 Mb RAM (512 Mb RAM recommended)
    • Up to 1.5 Gb available hard disk space
    • 1024x768 resolution (higher resolution recommended), with at least 256 colours
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

Stellarium

  • What it is: desktop planetarium.
  • Licence: GNU General Public License
  • Why you want it: Amazing graphics, better than almost all the commercial software available. Allows you to explore the night sky and plan your telescope viewing sessions.
  • Caveats: None.
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

Sumatra

  • What it is: PDF reader.
  • Why you want it: Extremely light weight and fast PDF reader. Unlike Adobe Reader, Sumatra opens in a fraction of a second, without having to wait for all the splash screens and credits to scroll by.
  • Caveats: None
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

Thunderbird

  • What it is: e-mail client.
  • Licence: Mozilla Public License
  • Why you want it: Highly customizable e-mail application with many useful features, such as advanced search and tabbed e-mail. Much better usability and security than MS Outlook or Outlook Express.
  • Caveats: None. There is a beginners user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

VLC

  • What it is: media player.
  • Licence: GNU General Public License V2+ (player) and GNU Lesser General Public License V2.1+ (engine)
  • Why you want it: VLC is the best media player available and will play pretty much every type of audio and movie file. It has a simple interface, useful features like a graphic equalizer and is very easy to use.
  • Caveats: None. There is a beginner's user guide on FLOSS Manuals.
  • [ Wikipedia page]
  • [ Application home website]
  • [ Direct link to Windows download page]

External links