Computers‎ > ‎


My philosophy of choosing software: Simple, free, open source, cross platform. If not, cost effective.

Favourite tools (command line)

  • tmux (terminal multiplexer, with tpm - tmux plugin manager - my ~/.tmux.conf)
  • Bash (fpp or fzf recommended)
  • Zsh + prezto / oh-my-zsh
  • git / tig (the most powerful distribution version control system that manages Linux kernel)
  • OpenSSH (ssh, sshd, ssh-add, ssh-agent, ssh-copy-id, ssh-keygen, ssh-keyscan, scp, sftp) See -> Secure OpenSSH
  • OpenSSL (openssl, c_rehash)
  • GnuPG (gpg2) / keybase
  • rsync (personal favourite file copying tool)
  • Vim (editor + Vundle.vim to manage a couple of plugins) - (moving to neovim + vim-plug)
  • ack / ag (the_silver_searcher written in C) / sift (Go) - beyond grep / ripgrep (rg written in Rust)
  • coreutils / moreutils
  • Assorted secret Ninja weapons: grep / tr / sed / awk / cut / sort / uniq / wc / watch / cat / tac / head / tail / multitail / echo / column / xargs
  • curl / wget / aria2  tcpdump / nmap / nc / mtr / traceroute / tracepath
  • pipe | (of course)
  • strace / ltrace
  • gdb
  • crash (Linux Kernel Crash Dump analysis utility)
  • pass (UNIX KISS password manager, Git + GnuPG style)
  • linuxbrew (homebrew fork for Linux, maturing...)
  • Vagrant + VirtualBox (VBoxManage)
  • Pandoc (markdown - universal document converter)
  • Ansible / Chef (solo)
  • rbenv + ruby-build (Ruby environment management)
  • Terminal Emulators {GNOME Terminal,Konsole,FinalTerm,Terminology, iTerm2, Alacritty}
  • GUI Editor: Sublime Text 3 (License purchased by company) / Atom (sometimes)
  • VPN
    PPTP (MPPE encryption is not secure, MS-CHAP v2 is weak so avoid using it athough it's easy to install and configure)
    IPsec / IKE{v1,v2} (strongSwan) - capable of delivery site to site and remote access solutions based on strongSwan.
    OpenVPN (Highly configuration, supports Perfect Forward Secrecy - Ephemeral Key Exchange, supports wide range of algorithms - OpenSSL, can bypass firewalls)
  • more to be added...

Web Apps / Software as A Service
Gmail / Google Calendar / Google Drive / Google Talk (XMPP) / Google Plus / Google Maps, Workflowy.
Google Apps (running on ;-)

Rescue Kit, your Swiss Army Knife;-)
  • System Rescue CD (based on Gentoo Linux)
  • BackTrack 3/4/5 (You know what it is, right?)
  • Kali Linux (Successor of BackTrack)
  • GParted/Parted Magic
  • CloneZilla (Open Source Norton Ghost equivalent)
  • Knoppix (Debian based)

App Launcher

Superb app launcher on Mac/Linux/Windows. I can't live without those launchers even for a single day. Besides Launchy, Executor and Find and Run Robot are good alternatives on Windows.

Search (file and folder locator)

Everything (Windows mlocate/updatedb equivalent, even better)
Locate files and folders instantly!

Main browser: Chrome on Linux and Windows, stable on Mac OS X (love the sync)

Firefox (All platforms)
Firefox Extension List:

Thunderbird  (Cross Platform) + Enigmail (GnuPG powered)
An Email client that works (just for Email!).
Recommended extensions:

Dropbox (cross platform) My referral link (both of us will get 250MB extra space)
Cross platform file synchronization tool, one place for everything if you have too many computers and synchronizing files become a headache.  Free 2GB+ space, get all your files stored and synced in the cloud. Give it a shot!

Keybase filesystem (kbfs)
The Keybase filesystem (KBFS) is a distributed filesystem with end-to-end encryption and a global namespace. The KBFS code is open source.

BitTorrent Sync / Resilio Sync (cross platform)
Cross platform file sync via P2P, fast!

Syncthing (cross platform)
Open source, trustworthy and decentralized Sync!!!

Remember The Milk (Web Service/iPhone app)
Online GTD tool, service. Keep your to do list everywhere. Provides the ability to integrate with Gcal. Kicks ass!

Evernote (Cross platform) Office OneNote (Windows)
Evernote is the excellent notebook service solution (Best I have ever seen), on Mac/Windows/Linux/Web/Mobile, all in one and it is always kept synchronized. Another good part of it is the iPhone app, use snapshot notes, come one! You can't miss it!

IM: Adium (Mac) Pidgin (Windows/Linux) + OTR MUST be used for Forward Secrecy (PFS) / Keybase Chat / Slack (work) / WeChat (non-sensitive personal)
IM+ Pro (iOS/Android)
All-in-one IM client with OTR support.

Linux like environment for Windows, has 90% of the GNU CLI goodies commonly used on UNIX/Linux. For people who are addicted to Linux command line interface ;-D

Gow - GNU on Windows (Windows) in cmd.exe

Chocolatey on Windows
The missing package manager for Windows, like APT for Debian/Ubuntu, pacman for Arch Linux, YUM for Fedora/CentOS, Zypper for openSUSE.

Dexpot/VirtuaWin/Desktops/Virtual Desktop Manage (Win)
Workspace, virtual window manager. I can't bear with a stupid single desktop design for Windows. So I use VirtualWin and Desktops from Sysinternals. However, no need to do that on Linux or Mac. It's amazing to use hot keys to switch workspaces. Apple 'stole' Workspace from GNOME/KDE/XFCE/CDE/JDE (or other desktop environment I am not familiar with) and make it even better in Leopard.

System Stats

  • conky (Linux)
  • XRG (macOS)
  • iState Menu

Clipboard Manager

  • Mac OS X
    ClipMenu (freeware) Copied (via MAS)
  • Linux
    xsel / xclip
    Klipper (KDE)
  • Windows
    Ditto (freeware)

Backup Tools
Silverkeeper/SuperDuper!/CCC/rsync/Time Machine/Mozy (Mac OS X)
Microsoft SyncToy 2.0 
Syncback (Freeware)
Back in Time (Linux)
rsync (GUI - grsync/gadmin-rsync)

Desktop Virtualization
VMware Workstation (Linux/Windows)
VMware Fusion (Mac)

VirtualBox Free, open source acquired by Sun, now acquired again by Oracle! (Linux/Mac/Windows/Solaris)
Best with Vagrant + Chef Solo ;-)
Parallel Desktop (Mac)
VMware Server Freeware (Linux/Windows)

SSH Server

  • Linux / Mac OS X
  • Windows
    OpenSSH for Windows
    CopSSH / Bitvise SSH Server

How to encrypt your network communications via SSH Tunnel?
How to fuck GFW?
Please check the article here: SSH Tunnel

Terminal multiplexer - tmux (best of best, ditch screen;-)

Windows/Linux DejaVu Fonts DejaVe Sans Microsoft YaHei
Mac OS X... NOT necessary...

Input Method (Chinese)
fcitx / fcitx-sunpinyin / fcitx-googlepinyin
iBus + ibus-pinyin + ibus-sunpinyin2 (scim + pinyin is not very good)
Mac OS X
SunPinyin for MacOS  2.0 (freeware) IMKQIM/QIM (shareware) FIT (freeware)
Google IME
Sogou Input Method

Mindjet MindManager (Mac/Windows) FreeMind/Xmind  (Mac/Windows/Linux)
Dump your mind, GTD(Get Things Done) tool.

Hamachi (Mac/Linux/Windows)
LogMeIn Hamachi is a flexible VPN service that enables anyone to easily connect multiple internet-enabled computers into their own secure virtual network. This is the ultimate solution to manage multiple computers at home and office. Wonderful!

TeamViewer (Linux/Mac/Windows)
Remote control, web meeting for free.

Windows Live Folder Share (Windows)
Remote file sharing and access, works like .mac (MobileMe).

Windows Live Writer (Windows) MacJournal (Mac OS X, paid apps)
Blogging client, the best ever blog client tool I have ever seen. I can't believe it is from Microsoft Windows live team, and it's FREE. Remember to download a copy of Windows Live Writer backup to backup settings, drafts and entries if you don't want to do it manually like me. It's free, I still believe that Microsoft can deliver good stuff as long as they want.

Windows Live Mail (Windows)
Wonderful mail client from Windows Live pack. Perfect support for hotmail/live/msn account. Try this if you don't like Gmail and Thunderbird

Media Player

  • SMPlayer (Linux/Windows)
    QT front-end for mplayer
    VLC (macOS/Windows/Linux)
    Kmplayer (Windows only, listed in the hall of shame by ffmpeg)
  • mplayer (Linux)
  • mplayer OS X extended (Mac OS X)
  • Movist (Mac)
  • SPlayerX (macOS/Windows)
  • MPlayerX (macOS)


  • Linux
    scrot (CLI), Shutter (formerly Gscrot, good for GNOME users), HotShots (KDE)
  • Mac OS X
    OS X built-in (cmd+shift+3, cmd+shift+4, cmd+shift+4+space = window), Instantshot!/Skitch/Dashboard Widget
  • Windows
    PicPick/EPSnap (freeware)
    Snagit/HyperSnap (Shareware)
    Take Screenshots on the fly.

VeraCrypt TrueCrypt (Cross platform)
Cross platform open source Encryption tool to secure all your important data, flexible (create a file encryption container and put your files in ;-). Strongly recommend for daily use, big brother is watching you.

pass (the standard unix password manager) / qtpass (cross-platform Qt frontend for pass)
Password manager the git + gnupg way.

Keepass (Windows) keepassx (Mac/Linux) KeePassXC (cross platform keepassx fork which supports YubiKey) LastPass (Personal + Enterprise linked) with YubiKey support
Keep your passwords safe in KeePass. *NIX OS please use KeepassXC.

FTP / SFTP Client

  • Filezilla (FTP + SFTP) (Mac/Linux/Windows)
    Cool open source project, rated as best FTP client on Lifehacker. And now it's cross platform, which is fantastic. What's more, it supports SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol), perfect equivalent for WinSCP under all OS.
  • Cyberduck (Mac)
    Free FTP Client on Mac. The icon is cute and my wife likes it. Also supports SCP.
  • Flow (Mac shareware)
  • FlashFXP (Windows)
    I paid for this shareware because I have been using it since 2000. It's life time upgrade and support. The author is a good guy. FlashFXP is the best FTP client I have ever seen on Windows. And I keep all my site info there. There is a tool to convert site files between FlashFXP/Filezilla/CyberDuck. FlashFXP supports Site To Site FXP.
    WinSCP (Windows)
    SCP client for windows only. Probably the best choice if you run Windows and transfer files to a *NIX host via SCP/SFTP. Of course you can run in WINE, but not sure if it works 100%.

Sysinternals suite (Windows)
Powerful tools for Windows users.

Office Suite (Windows/Linux) LibreOffice (Mac)
Free Office Suite, cross platform. Kick the shit out of Microsoft Office.

It's commercial software, normally bundled with your Mac. But I think most of the users are willing to pay for it. Most of the time.

Skype (Mac/Linux/Windows/iPhone)
Most popular VOIP client on any OS. Chat with your buddies with AES encryption and free PC to PC call, as well as cheap PC to phone international calls.
Note: Skype for iPhone works over 3G/GPRS once you jailbreak and install VoIPover3g package.

CDBurnerXP (Windows) ImgBurn (Windows)
Embrace freeware, abandon chunky Nero.

K3b (KDE Burn Baby Burn)
Famous CD/DVD burning software for Linux, KDE. Can be used under any DE/WM, as long as you installed the dependencies.

HFS (HTTP File Sever) (Windows) Runnable via WINE on Linux. Python built-in SimpleHTTPServer;-)
Woof (UNIX/Linux) Simply exchange file with this Python script.

SIP Client
X-Lite (Mac/Linux/Windows)

XAMPP (all platform)
Portable Apache httpd, MySQL, PHP, Perl combo, easy to install and uninstall. Available on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, bingo for testing, debugging and troubleshooting!

Transmission (Mac/Linux) with WEB UI
rtorrent (Linux/Mac/Windows - Cygwin)
μTorrent (Windows/Mac)
aMule (Mac/Linux) with WEB UI
emule (Windows)
mldonkey (Linux/Mac)

Media Center

XBMC / Kodi / OpenELEC (Raspberry Pi)

GIMP (Linux/Mac)
Paint.NET (Windows)
Photoshop (commercial software) available on Mac/Windows, runnable on WINE under Linux.
PicPick (Windows)

QQ (Mac/Linux/iPhone/PalmOS) TM2009 (Windows)
Sometimes file transfer and remote assistance via QQ/TM is perfect. MSN sucks!!! I also like the file sharing/hosting in QQ mail, 1G per file and you can keep it as long as you like. I have to say, it's good! Tencent is getting bigger and more internationalized.
As we all know, QQ is not a safe IM tool to use. So avoid using it whenever possible.

Note: Skype and Messenger for Mac does not understand the proxy script PAC/DAT file. For Skype we have to specify the http proxy manually in system prefs. Messenger for Mac just doesn't work behind a proxy, idiot! SHIT!  Messenger for Mac 7.0.2 fixed the proxy bug.

To be continued...

More useful links: Links