Software that is free to use

This page lists various software.  All of the packages are free to use, that is: there is no charge for individuals to use them. Many of the websites say that individuals are free to download and use the packages. In some cases, there may be charges to institutions. Some of the packages are also open, that is, they are free to use and the source code is freely available so anyone can make modifications to the programs if they wish to.  At the bottom of this page, I list a few sites that have information about what "free" means.

Please note: I've only used a few of these software programs a little bit, so I can't say much about how good they are, whether they crash, have viruses, or much else about them.  If you use them, please let me know how well they work.  If there are any major problems, I'll take them off this list.  I'm sorry to add the usual disclaimer that, while I don't expect any problems with them, if you use any of these, I can't be responsible for any problems that may occur. Also, I'm not necessarily recommending any, just providing info and links.


Unesco free software portal
_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html   info about and links to free software.   Find lots of stuff here. You can search for many of the software listed here, and see how popular or well rated they are.

The Free Software Foundation    The directory   has lots of software, but probably lots of technical stuff. The GNU project   also links to the same directory.

Open Source Alternatives   lists open source alternatives to commercial software.

Idealware   provides candid Consumer-Reports-style reviews and articles about software of interest to nonprofits.

International Free and Open Source Software Foundation    actually, I'm not sure what this is, whether it has software or not. But it seems like an interesting organization.

PC World had this list  "10 open-source alternatives for small business software"    This article is from August 2013. Another article is  how to declutter your computer   from November 2013

Check out PC Mag  software reviews   and click on "free" for some reviews of free software

Free Country   has pages for word processors and office suites   and free security stuff, and all sorts of free stuff. is listed here    

Gizmo's free software    has for example  
   Gizmo is listed here  

Office suites, word processors,

This recent Earthlink newsletter   lists some free suites and stand alones, includin OpenOffice, NeoOffice, ThinkFree, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, AbiWord, Ajax13 and others.

Abiword    free word processor, good for basic stuff, according to reviews in pc world and msnbc. These reviews are linked to from the abiword site. Abiword also runs on any platform, e.g., windows, linux, mac, etc.
    Abiword is from Gnome Office  which also has Gnumeric   mentioned below in the spreadsheet section.

IBM® Lotus® Symphonytm   documents, presentations, spreadsheets. Based on open office.  Also here   Then you need to click on "Product Support" and
   Announced here   and "Download"
   reviewed here    a C|Net story posted on Sept 18, 2007
   and here,2817,2338820,00.asp   best free software of 2009

NeoOffice   a fully-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs) for Mac OS X
   listed here,2817,2338820,00.asp   best free software of 2009

OpenOffice   OpenOffice is another office suite.  Based on staroffice. OpenOffice 2.3 is now (sept 2007) available. Pretty good, almost comparable to MS Office suite. One main advantate (besides being free) is you can save to pdf.  Get more info on the support page,   with forums, faqs, tutorials, etc.
    Hmmm, Open Office 2.3 was posted to on Sept 18. On Sept 21, there had been 880,000 downloads. Popular! Five stars rating from, and 4 1/2 stars from users/reviewers.
    StarOffice is no longer available for free from Sun, but it is from

Open Office has a good review here,2817,2332502,00.asp   from pcmag

The Open Office forum is here   I have a lot of trouble copying data from calc to impress, but one person said how to do it here   

Open Office add on stuff   includes stuff for the writers, spreadsheet, etc. Some of this is statistical analysis.
Open Office tutorial   brief tutorials of many topics in OO

OxygenOffice Professional   This "is an enhanced version of free what is a multi-platform office productivity suite. OxygenOffice Professional contains more extras like templates, cliparts, samples, fonts and VBA support."

LibreOffice    Apparently when Oracle bought Sun, who supports Open Office (OO), a lot of OO people were unhappy with possibly problematic support and future of OO, so they left to create LibreOffice. So LibreOffice looks a lot like OO, for now, many of the same features and funtionality. However, the people at LibreOffice seem to be developing their package more.

See the story and some comparisons here  

Kingsoft office   There appears to be a free version at cnet, see below, but I don't see it at the kingsoft website.
    Highly rated by cnet editors   and positively reviewed here  

Siag Office - A Free Office Package for Unix   I found this through the Unesco free software portal. Spreadsheet, word processor, file manager, etc, for unix.

EditPad    text editor.  Listed as editpad lite on the site.  Easy to use.

Web based suites or word processors/spreadsheets stuff  
article from 2010 about zoho, but also says thinkfree is fading  
Review of zoho, google and thinkfree, from 2007.
reviews several, including thinkfree and zoho.  
review of google docs, zoho and thinkfree

google suite   docs and spreadsheets.
  see support here   including a tip on making motion charts here    
  google fusion tables   for sharing and animating data, putting data on maps, etc
Reviewed here,2817,2032344,00.asp   from 2006, in general, very good review
and this,2817,2209724,00.asp   from 2007.  PC mag likes it.
But also, check google.doc's terms of services   because it seems to say that you, the creator, have copyright of any material you create and post, but they, google, have the right to publish and redistribute anything you save on their hosted server. Other on line services may have similar policies.

ThinkFree    free office suite, MS compatible.
   Listed here  positive mention, but article from 2007
   and here   along with google docs
   and here   as a computer tip.
   and here  

Zoho   also office suite.
    Listed here   .
    Listed here   positive review, but from 2007

Zoho and Thinkfree are listed here  

editgrid   on line free service for delivering data on demand

Web browsers, ftp, etc

Lesser knows webtools   story about browsers. Mentions Mozilla, Avant, Maxthon, others.    lists free html wysiwyg editors. Freecountry is listed at these sites
Kent State   resources page
U Hawai'i 's   Info Tech page

Web Dwarf   free program for web page, wysiwgy web editor. Almost 500,000 downloads at and good user reviews.  

Maxthon browser    free. mentioned here   high ratings, almost 600,000 downloads   University of Memphis web developers page

Avant  home page is here   Also free, and can be found at, here   rated very high and over 20 million downloads.

Opera   also free download and rating here   rated very high, over 9 million downloads.

Google chrome   the newest, from google.

IZArc   create and read compressed files of various formats. This program is rated very well at and

Mozilla     Mozilla is no longer being developed, the new all in one application is seamonkey     which has browser, email, html editing, and so forth. Mozilla also has firefox   a free browser, pop up blocker, other stuff.    

Flashpeak   has many freeware programs, such as slimbrowser, blazeftp and intelliEdit.  Slimbrowser has a good review here   from cnet, and a good user and editor rating. Over 5 million downloads.

NVU    4 stars, 364,000 downloads as of March 2010, web authoring program.

pagebreeze   html editor with wysiwyg and html

Operating Systems

cnet reviews   lists OS systems, prices, brief reviews. Ubuntu has a good review, but it's not for everyone.   describes bunch of OS systems, including Ubuntu, which says it's for laptops, desktops.

Freebyte's Guide to... Free and non-free Operating Systems   lists a bunch with brief technical descriptions.  I, a non techie, don't understand a lot of it.

pcmap,2806,2362,00.asp   brief reviews, mostly windows and commercial stuff, but also ubuntu

review   December 2008 review of Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSUSE.  Says all are easy to install. Ubuntu is the best for beginners.

PC world   review of Ubuntu and Fedora, from June 2008.  Both good, Ubuntu better.

Guide to linux   using Ubuntu as an example. Jan 2009.

Running linux in windows   how to.

Ubuntu    "Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need - a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging and much more."

Easy Instalation guide to Ubuntu.   from December 2008

How To Install Ubuntu On Any PC   "In this walkthrough, senior editor Robert Strohmeyer walks you through the steps needed to install Ubuntu--a popular distribution of the Linux OS--on a PC. This fast, simple operating system runs well on limited system resources, boots quickly, and is very easy to operate."

Fedora   another free linux based OS.


Scribus   opensource professional page layout, desktop publishing.
  Scribus is listed as part of a class, introduction to linux, at the National Cancer Institute at Frederick, here  
  and listed in this presentation from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Social networking and other new technologies. See the Feb 2008 minutes  

J   "a modern, high-level, general-purpose, high-performance programming language. ... J is particularly strong in the mathematical, statistical, and logical analysis of data. "   (I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I've seen it mentioned many times.)
    This page   has some tutorials.   image and photo editing software

gimp   another image manipulation package

Project managers

GanttProject    project management

PHProjekt   is a modular application for the coordination of group activities and to share informations and document via the web.

OpenProj   desktop replacement of Microsoft Project.

Saving files on line

There are a whole bunch of sites to which you can upload and save files.  Some examples are

Mozy   up to 2 gig free
Mediafire   free to upload and save files.  But they say this is meant to share, not save.
Adrive   50 gb free,   reviewed here  

One review is here    with useful info

gspace, described here   lets you use your gmail account to upload and save files. I've used this. Seems pretty easy to use. Large files look funny on the gmail accounts, broken into several parts. Get a seperate gmail account just to back up stuff so it won't interfere with your regular email.

Free web hosting, yet another google thing.

Transfer big files via email

This page   lists a bunch of free services, and says you can do it via google docs too.
   the services it lists are,,, and  

This page   also lists

Working together on projects

Activity info   "ActivityInfo is an online humanitarian project monitoring tool, which helps humanitarian organizations to collect, manage, map and analyze indicators."

Open Knowledge Pad   share documents

Open Science Framework   share data, papers, etc

Not free but cheap

CoffeeCup HTML Editor 2008   highly rated. 3 million downloads as of March 2010. $50, 5 stars.

SiteSpinner 2.7c   also highly rated. 360,000 downloads as of March 2010. $50, 5 stars.

Namo WebEditor Professional   465,000 downloads as of March 2010, $100, 4 stars.

GoBeProductive    not free but $50, so cheap. Mentioned here  along with others.
  but according to this review   possibly from 2011, it can't import recent ms office docs

What is free software? Sites that explain what free means and/or lists free software.

Free Software Foundation    

GNU   especially see this page  

Open Source Alternative to Commercial software  

International Open Source Network,    

International Free and Open Source Software Foundation    actually, I'm not sure what this is, whether it has software or not. But it seems like an interesting organization.

Doesn't work now. Will fix

 International Open Source Network,   stuff about open source. See FOSS general, then software. I think the portal to software is here