In this article, we will walk you through some of the best free and open-source software for your laptop and desktop computers.
We are living in a world where everything is commercial and expensive, and computer software is no different, but some software developers provide free and open-source software that is completely free to use for personal purposes.
Open-source software is a kind of program where the developer releases the source code for free, which means you can download, modify, and distribute the software without paying any fee to the developer.
When you buy a computer or laptop, the following is the must-have free and open-source software for your machine.
Google Chrome is by far the best internet browser available right now and has around 65% market share amongst all the browsers. When it comes to library extensions, this is the biggest strength of Google Chrome.
No other browser will provide you with the same number of third-party features. The downside of Google Chrome is that it eats up lots of memory and has some privacy issues as well.
Mozilla Firefox is another great internet browser and one of the fastest around, and it consumes fewer resources. It offers some great security and privacy features; it comes as a default internet browser with a Linux Distro.
Like Google Chrome, it also has a massive library of extensions. If you want an internet browser to consume less memory and provide great security features, go with Firefox.
LibreOffice is a free and open-source software that is free to use for personal and commercial purposes. It is the best alternative to the Microsoft Office suite of software and comes as a default office application with the Linux Distro.
LibreOffice includes Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Base (databases), Draw (vector graphics), and Math (formulae editor).
Acrobat Adobe Reader DC is the best free PDF viewer for viewing, printing, signing, and annotating PDF files. It is a cross-platform application, so you can create PDF documents on one computer and view them on another.
It helps you open large files with ease, with more features available in the paid version.
VLC Media Player is a free and open-source cross-platform multimedia player that is massively popular and completely free to use, and when you have this application, there is no need to install any media player.
The biggest advantage of the VLC Media Player is that it supports almost all media extensions.
Audacity is a free and open-source cross-platform audio editor. The application lets you mix, import, edit, and combine sound files.
It also comes with editing functions to produce high-quality sound. What makes Audacity popular is its ease of use, great features, support for massive plugins, and good community support.
GIMP is the free and open-source cross-platform GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It is packed with professional-quality features such as fine-tuning snaps, creating your artwork from scratch, customizable brushes, image enhancement tools, filters, and a huge number of plugins that make this application the best alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
When it comes to free photo editing software, GIMP is the number one choice for many users. The only drawback is that it has a steep learning curve.
Inkscape It is a free and open-source cross-platform vector graphic editor that offers a rich set of features and is widely used for both artistic and technical illustrations such as cartoons, clip art, logos, typography, diagramming, and flow charting.
It is the best alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline: modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, motion tracking, video editing, and 2D animation pipeline.
It is the best alternative to Maya.
CCleaner is one of the most popular Windows clean-up tools that breathes new life into overworked computers by removing unwanted applications, browsing history, registry entries, and files to make them run faster.
It also includes some useful tools, such as a duplicate file finder, which runs in the background and consumes more memory.
In 2017, it was hacked, which put almost 2.27 million PC users at risk of malware infection. This was discovered and fixed by the CCleaner team.
7zip is a free software and open-source file archiver utility that allows users to create compressed files or extract compressed files in multiple formats. 7-zip is a very lightweight and handy tool that supports various file formats.
It has a high compression ratio in 7z format with LZMA and LZMA2 compression.
Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and open-source cross-platform email client and one of the best alternatives to Microsoft Outlook. With many add-ons and themes, it is highly customizable.
You can integrate your Google calendar schedule tasks and meetings into Thunderbird and view them on your Android email application.
It supports IMAP and POP accounts, and if you want to use a Microsoft Exchange account, then you need to buy the Owl for Exchange extension.
Shortcut is a free and open-source cross-platform video editor that helps add audio, video, and edit virtual effects.
The best part of the application is that basic features such as keyframe on time, importing video, cutting, slicing, adding transactions, titles, and effects can all be accomplished by using drag and drop or in a few clicks.
OBS Studio is a free and open-source cross-platform streaming and recording application that helps videographers capture and mix audio and video to create visuals, including text and images.
It has a slow learning curve, but once you understand how to use this application, you will love it. Especially if you want to record a lecture or screen recording.
Handbrake is a free and open-source cross-platform software for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.
At first, it looks intimidating to some users, but once you are familiar with the software, it is easy to use. It is one of the best video compressors without compromising the quality of the video.
Its features are: cropping and resizing video; restoring old and low-quality video; converting nearly any video to.mp4 or.mkv format; preserving existing subtitles; adding or removing soft subtitles; etc.
PDF24 is a collection of many useful tools for solving PDF-related problems. If you want to convert PDF documents to Word, Excel, or vice-versa, to merge and split PDF documents, to extract, move, and delete pages, convert PDF into images, and extract images from the PDF, all of this is absolutely free.
When you are dealing with PDF conversion to other file formats, then this is a very handy tool to have and many people don’t know about this software.
Irfan View is a very fast and compact image viewer and converter. A graphic design application that helps capture screens, create slideshows, batch conversion with advanced image processing of all files, support for the Adobe Photoshop filter, and many more, thanks to its old designed interface, which is easy to use.
Speccy is a free system information tool from Piriform for Windows operating systems that shows the user information about the hardware and software of the computer system.
The information details are the operating system, CPU, RAM, motherboard, graphics, storage, optical devices, audio, etc. It is very simple to use due to its user-friendly interface.
KeePass is a free, open-source password manager that helps you manage your passwords securely. You can store all your passwords in one database, which is locked with a master key. So you only have to remember one single master key to unlock the whole database.
It supports the Windows operating system and also supports macOS and Linux operating systems through the use of Mono. What makes this application great is the support for plugins that extends its functionality far beyond that of any password manager.
The only downside is that if you forget your master password, all the other passwords in the database are lost as well.
FreeCAD is a free, open-source, and cross-platform parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size.
It is not only a free open-source product but also very good 3D modeling software. Key features of FreeCAD are Open CASCADE Technology, Parametric Model, Modular Architecture, Sketcher, Rendering, etc.
Everything is a free, lightweight desktop search software for Windows operating systems that can quickly search files and folders by name.
This tool will be very useful when you want to find a file to delete, move, or use but don’t know where the file is located.
TreeSize Free is a free disk space analyzer tool that supports Windows operating systems. It helps you to find folders that are taking up the most space on your computer hard disk.
You can use this as a hard disk cleanup tool. Graphical analysis provides a quick visualization of disk space usage. It is also available in a portable version, so you don’t have to install it on your computer.
TeamViewer is one of the best free remote access programs for personal use. It enables users to access computers, network devices, or mobile devices anywhere in the world with just an active internet connection.
You can transfer files, folders, or images to the remote machine by using the file transfer tool.
EaseUS Todo Backup Free is a free and easy-to-use backup software for personal use that supports automatically backing up the system volume, hard disk, or a particular file or folder.
It supports full, incremental, and differential backup types. Its restoring functionality is also very easy to use and recovers data from the backup image file. There is a limit with the free version, but for personal use, all the existing features are sufficient.
Its key features are automatic backup, system partition backup, system backup, a simple recovery process, support for scheduled backup, and password encryption.
Recuva It is one of the most popular data recovery programs for the Windows operating system. It can recover deleted files, pictures, audio, video, and emails from internal hard disks, USB flash drives, memory cards, and portable media players.
It is available in free and paid versions. Some recovery may not be possible by using free software; you have to use a professional edition. Nevertheless, the free version is a very handy recovery tool.
Follow our post below about free and open source software for small businesses.
I hope the above free and open-source software list will be helpful. There are many software programs available for free. If you learn how to use them, then there is no need to buy expensive software for your personal use.