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Free Software -

There is lots of free software packages out there. The systems I am most familiar with are Windows and Linux. What I am providing is not an exhaustive list of packages.
For U.K. government advice on security, see this website - Cyber Essentials


For free software that is Windows only, click here.


With Linux (I use mainly Ubuntu or lubuntu Linux), the challenge is knowing which packages your free software is in. With Linux, there are at least two databases about packages. The package database on your computer tracks what is installed and which version it is. The databases on the server(s) track information about the packages held on the server. The use of a Package Manager in Linux is particularly helpful as, in Ubuntu's case, the software is installed from servers holding repositories of free software. A package manager can also acts as a kind of safe "Google for packages to install". If you want some software to accomplish a particular task, run your Package Manager and take things from there. Also, because of the databases mentioned previously, a "Software Updater" programme can run every so often and tell the user about newer releases of currently installed software.

Free Software that runs on both Windows and Linux

  • See here for a list of popular paid-for Windows programmes and links to their Free Software equivalents that can be used on Windows and Linux.
  • Download LibreOffice from https://www.libreoffice.org/ or install the package libreoffice. Many people use it instead of Microsoft Office. LibreOffice provides tools for word-processing (Writer), spreadsheet (Calc), presentation tool (Impress), drawing and flowcharting and simple Desktop Publishing tool (Draw), database (Base) and "Maths" for editing mathematics. See here for free information.
  • For serious Desktop Publishing use Scribus. Either download it from here or install the package scribus. Try Googling for a "scribus tutorial" for more information.
  • For photo or image manipulation, download GIMP from here:- http://www.gimp.org or install the package gimp. A user guide can be found here.
  • For diagrams etc, a scalar graphics editor (that treats drawings as a series of individual shapes), see something like Inkscape. Tutorials can be found here. Or you can install the package "dia" to edit diagrams - see here for more details. For mind maps, try the package "freemind" to install it on Linux, you can download it for Windows from here.
  • For fun, free fonts see https://www.google.com/fonts
  • For a Games compilation DVD that can be booted on any PC, see the .iso here:- live.linux-gamers.net/.
  • To wipe confidential files and free up disk space, see BleachBit

Linux Live CD/DVDs (technical stuff)

Some Linuxes come on "live CDs". This means that you can start a computer with the CD/DVD inside it and have it run Linux without modifying your hard disc. A live CD/DVD is stored on a server with a filename ending in ".iso". In order to use it, you or a friend need to download the iso, use special software to put it onto recordable CD or DVD and follow the instructions.
  • If your Windows computer is heavily infected with viruses, you might want to get a friend to go to the AntiVirusLive site http://antiviruslivecd.4mlinux.com/, download the iso, use special software to put it on CD/DVD and follow the instructions.
  • Clonezilla is a live CD that is a (hard disc) partitioning and cloning programme. It needs plenty of disc space but is intelligent - it only copies sectors that have information in them.
  • dban will wipe one or more hard discs attached to your computer
  • GParted will resize, copy, move and potentially rescue files on a computer's hard disc.
  • Hiren's Boot CD is a "first aid kit" for your computer.
  • memtest86+ will help you check your PC's memory, if you suspect that your computer is faulty.
  • rescatux will fix filesystems, wipe passwords (Linux/Windows), make a user a sudoer Includes Super Grub2 Disk.
  • SystemRescue CD is a collection of many Linux packages. It is intended for use when you need to fix a problem on your computer.

Subpages (2): Linux Windows
Ian Bruntlett,
Mar 13, 2016, 7:06 AM
Ian Bruntlett,
Mar 13, 2016, 7:06 AM
Ian Bruntlett,
Feb 29, 2016, 12:11 PM
Ian Bruntlett,
Feb 29, 2016, 12:11 PM