Posted on January 1, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Linux Mint (F)
Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories.

SimplyMEPIS (F)
MEPIS Linux is a Debian-based desktop Linux distribution designed for both personal and business purposes. It includes cutting-edge features such as a live, installation and recovery CD, superior hardware detection and configuration, NTFS partition resizing, ACPI power management, WiFi support, anti-aliased TrueType fonts, a personal firewall, all in KDE. I love this.

FreeBSD (F)
Not a Linux distro per se, but FreeBSD offers advanced networking, performance, security and compatibility features today which are still missing in other operating systems, even some of the best commercial ones. This loaded in only 12 minutes on my system, including HD reformats!

ZenWalk (F)
A Slackware-based GNU/Linux operating system with a goal of being slim and fast by using only one application per task and with focus on graphical desktop and multimedia usage. Modular, customizable, and lets you get straight to work with the most popular apps.

EmEditor Pro
Well-designed for power, dazzling speed, and ease of use. Get this.

Wonderful in almost every way, has a Lifetime License option, and is great for writers, not just coders.

E Text Editor
Exciting, unique, powerful, and customizable. Wow.

Emacs (F, Linux)
The most powerful and customizable of the bunch, this modular IDE is many programs in one.

OpenOffice Writer (F)
The Open Source powerhouse with a universal file format, great usability, and runs on every platform. Also check out IBM’s Lotus Symphony.

Zoho Writer (F)
Zoho brings never-seen-before tools to the word processor. I love this.

Google Docs (F)
Fast, responsive, and doesn’t let you make a mistake.

LaTeX (F)
A typesetting program for technical and scientific documentation (among other tasks).

MoffSoft Calculator
Simple, powerful, flexible, customizable. Does every damn thing.

Master Converter
Now I know that kbps is a measure of bandwidth!

Visual Thesaurus
Oh god, this app will make you a word smackfu master.

Autoruns (F)
Lets you control what programs run during Windows’ system boot.

Process Explorer (F)
Shows you info about which handles and DLLs processes are opened or loaded.

VMWare Workstation
Virtualization app that allows you to evaluate software safely or use when needed.

Everest Diagnostic Utility
Incredible system diagnostics and benchmarking app.

TuneUp Utilities
Corrects problems and optimizes your system.

Find and Run Robot (F)
Rapidly find programs or documents with one key press.

Securely overwrite data when retiring a HD or prevent data from being recovered.

Eraser (F)
Wipes clean all the free space on your computer, truly erasing all deleted files.

The best photo viewer, graphic converter, and image management tool. Period.

XnView (F)
Freeware viewer and editor that holds its own against any other.

FastStone MaxView (F)
Fantastic little app for opening photos for a customizable quick views.

PicaJet FX
An image management and organization tool that is somewhat similar to ACDSee.

IrfanView (F)
A perennial crowd favorite for good reason — it works very well with any format.

PhotoFiltre Studio
Solid image editor that can do most of the tasks you’ll need every day.

GIMP Image Editor (F)
A high-end image editor that runs on multiple platforms. Excellent!

Makes digital photos better by expert noise reduction.

Screenshot Captor (F)
Incredible donationware screen capture utility that will instantly impress you.

SnagIt Screen Capture
Sets the standard for all other screen capture utilities. Takes some setup.

Multiple Image Resizer (F)
Easy, fast, accurate — that’s what I like!

Pixeur (F)
Finds and displays the RGB, Hex, and Long value of any color you select.

Panoramic photo stitching software for Windows and OS X. Incredible!

Cfont Pro Font Manager (F)
Surpasses every other font manager to make it the first choice on my list.
Well worth a donation.

Virtual printing utility that saves you a ton of paper every year.

PDF Factory Pro Damn fine and highly accurate PDF printer utility. You’ll love it.

Foxit PDF Reader (F)
Small, clean, fast, and free, Foxit renders PDF files with great speed.

VLC, VideoLAN media player
Cool cross-platform media player and streaming server. Plays everything I throw at it.

Miro Media Player (F)
Cross-platform media player to die for, even saves YouTube videos for you.

VirtualDub (F)
Extremely efficient video capture and processing program.

Video Edit Magic
Video editing tool that includes advanced features, but is easy to use.

Converts any video file format (DivX, AVI, WMV, etc.) to a DVD-compliant video.

MPEG-1,2 encoder that can convert and compress your video file in high quality.

GSpot Codec Info App (F)
Allows you to see what codecs you need installed to watch a video.

ProShow Gold
Allows you to create stunning and professional slide shows.

AudioGrabber (F)
Useful tool for CD-ripping and producing MP3s.

Exact Audio Copy (F)
Advanced tool for CD-ripping and producing MP3s.

Audacity audio editor (F)
Solid cross-platform audio editor that makes editing easy.

DVD Shrink (F) Tool for fitting a DVD-Video disc on a single DVD.

Allows you to decrypt CSS-encrypted DVDs and remove their region codes on the fly.

ImgBurn (F)
Enables you to burn CD/DVD images with ease.

IsoBuster Pro
Powerful utility that can extract, create, edit, and convert CD/DVD image files.

Powerful utility that can extract, create, edit, and convert CD/DVD image files.

MagicScore Maestro
Music notation software for musicians. Great for collegers.

Windows scripting utility to create your own macros and hotkeys. Get this. Learn this.

KompoZer (F)
An excellent HTML/CSS editor built on the NVU architecture. Works on Linux as well.

Microsoft Expression Web
Much better than its given credit for being, and damn easy to use.

WordPress (F)
Besides being the best blogging platform, WordPress serves well as a CMS, with broad features that will grow with you.

SilverStripe (F)
One of the most promising CMS apps to come around in years. Build and manage websites, forms, manage contacts without going through email, and auto resampling. Wow!

Opera browser (F)
The most accurate CSS browser ever built, to a fault, and my personal favorite.

Mozilla Firefox (F)
Wildly popular browser that is extensible, customizable, and updated frequently.

Allows you to monitor changes in any website, while doubling as an RSS reader.

Great FTP client that has set a new standard for all.

PADGen (F)
Creates perfect PAD files (Portable Application Descriptions) for your programs.

AM-DeadLink (F)
Detects dead links in your browser’s bookmarks or favorites folders.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth (F)
Also detects dead links in your website’s external links.

XSite link extractor (F)
Load and parse any webpage into a simple structured view, seeing every link.

Top-of-the-line newsreader that downloads anything via Usenet.

Pan Newsreader (F)
A Linux (GNOME) newsreader that is a lot like XNews. Easy, fast, and it works well.

The proven best Usenet server you’ll find. Get the Unlimited account, too.

The master of all archive tools, WinRAR can do almost everything.

QuickPAR (F)
Utility for creating, checking, and extracting Parity Volumes (PAR files).

NetLimiter Pro
Limits your download/upload bandwidth speed during peak times per app.

PowerPost-A&A (F)
An app for consistently and intelligently posting files to Usenet.

FastStone MaxView (F)
Fantastic little app for opening photos for a customizable quick views.

SFV Checker
Tool that ensures your multi-volume file archives are complete and accurate.

File Splitter and Joiner (F)
Allows you to quickly split and rejoin large text or binary files.

Miranda IM client (F)
A flexible, modular open-source multi-protocol instant messenger.

XYplorer File Manager
Best all-around customizable file manager with great support, customizable keyboard shortcuts, scripting, and incredible search capabilities. XYplorer also offers both a free, older version and a Lifetime license option if you prefer at a fraction of the cost of Directory Opus.

Bulk Rename Utility (F)
A well-designed fast, easy renamer with all its functions on one screen.

Super Flexible File Synchronizer
Advanced, full of high-end features, and is the class of the category. Comes in Linux, Windows, and even Mac versions.

The master of all archive tools, WinRAR can do almost everything.

7-Zip (F)
Powerful open source archiver that lets you move to 7z format if you choose. Great for splitting files, too.

Image utility for creating, editing, and converting CDs/DVDs.

Teleport Pro
High-end, easy-to-use tool for getting (leeching) data or entire websites. Launch up to ten simultaneous retrieval threads, access password-protected sites, filter files by size and type, search for keywords, and much more. It has the most fully-featured webspider available, and it handles today’s more complex websites flawlessly.

Download photos, music, movies, and walk away.

CCleaner (F)
Removes unused and temporary files from your system.

TrueCrypt disk encryption (F)
Keeps your secrets secret and tell snoops to bugger off.


The Great Software List is an advocate of great software along with notable Open Source software. It is composed of high quality programs that share most or all of the following features:

(1) Ease of use based on a well-designed user interface;
(2) A generous array of keyboard shortcuts (preferably customizable);
(3) Customizability where applicable; and
(4) Affordability.

In my experience, most software programs are missing two to three key features or options that would make them significantly better. This page is provided so that you don’t have to spend weeks finding the perfect program. The Great Software List stands in praise of small software, and why it has become important. Offer developers your honest, critical feedback. Support great Open Source and Freeware programs by donating to their developers. Perhaps one of the best software apps I’ve come across is the XYplorer File Manager by Donald Lessau, who combines the best of both worlds by offering a true Lifetime license to XYplorer, but providing a donation page for those of us who donate small amounts each month to independent developers.

Although there are often two or more apps within each broad category, each app is worthy and it’s better to let the user decide which may be best for them. All screenshots are captured using Screenshot Captor by All programs were tested on a 64-bit Intel Quad-core chip under either a GNU/Linux distro or Microsoft Vista. I don’t have a Mac, never had one, never will. It’s just not my style.

Check the list, and if you know of other great software, or if you want feedback on your own, let me know. I’m terribly derelict with email. Otherwise, developers please use the simple award PNG above for your website. The content of this site is constantly changing as apps come and go, even across versions, so come back at least once a month to see what’s new. Ratings are good for each year that your software is listed.

Here is a more expansive discussion of these points, along with what makes software great and why this site exists. And these time-tested tips cover suggestions for both users and developers. And finally, for an example of great genetic code writing, go here! I support their inspirational work to say the least.


— Open Standards and Free Libre Open Source software (FLOSS). We need both, so advocate and promote both.
— GNU/Linux, especially to new users who shouldn’t have to experience Microsoft’s crazy horseshit.
— The OASIS OpenDocument (ODF) format.
— Great software by purchase, registration, donations, and upgrading.
— Great software by advocating, blogging, supporting, teaching others it to others.
— Developers with informative bug reports and critical feedback.
— 1-year license options and 30-day trial periods (some software has to have time to grow on you).
— Developers who make it easy and cheap to donate frequently to their work. Impulse donations!
— Users who provide honest criticism, praise or feedback in forums, reviews, and blog posts.
— Helping others solve their software problems in forums and newsgroups. These people are the heroes!
— Fast-loading, lean software that uses memory efficiently.

— Software piracy — it kills the small developer more than anyone else.
— Snarky, selfish, mean, bitchy, needy, greedy, miserly users.
— DRM (Digital Rights Management), the RIAA, Trusted Computing — all that fascist crap.
— Spyware, Adware, or Product activation and validation devices, phone-home schemes.
— Closed, proprietary, redundant, or incompatible file formats (Let’s just say it: Microsoft.)
— Slow-loading, memory-hogging software (Adobe, this has your name written all over it.)
— Feature-bloated software or slow, buggy software.
— Programs that neglect user customization, notably a lack of keyboard shortcuts.
— Complex, noisy, or senseless user interfaces in applications.
— Complex and restrictive EULAs.
— Obvious, frivolous, and invalid patents that crush creativity and encourage a litigation.

CONTACT Zaine Ridling at:

If your app is listed, then this PNG is for you!

27 JAN 2008
PTgui photo stitch software

F broadly designates either FLOSS,
freeware, or donationware apps.
I thank these guys for their software tips!
Aram – (tinjaw on
Robb Sauerhoff
Simon Allison
Scott Youngman
Ken Reeder, PhD

Top 10 Tips for Users
Top 10 Tips for Developers

Linux Outlaws
Linux Reality
Cranky Geeks
IT Conversations

resource roll
The Great Software List blog
Make the Switch to GNU/Linux
Veign Software Blog
Coding Horror
Slyck News
Fonts in Focus
Dot What!? File Extension Search
File Extension Source

OSALT (Open Source Alternative) (FLOSS alternatives)
The Linux Alternative Project
Linux Equivalents to Windows (Linux)
DistroWatch (Linux)
FreeSource (Windows)
Freeware World Team
OSSWIN Project
Shell Extension City
Tech Report
Tom’s Hardware

Shareware Industry Conf.
Assoc. of Shareware Pros
Software Marketing Res.

© Access Foundation 1995-2008


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