Monday, January 30, 2012

Jeff's List of his favorite FOSS Applications

People like stuff that is free. People like lists of things. Today I am going to put these two things together with the following list of my favourite FOSS (free open source software) applications.

Web Browser: Firefox

Platforms: Linux, Windows and OSX

I know Chrome/Chromium have gained a lot of popularity in the past year, but I still like Firefox most as my primary web browser. My two pmain reasons for this are the fact that it generally renders text "nicer" than most webkit-based browsers and the fact that it integrates with most Linux desktops more fully than Chromium does.

IRC Client: Xchat

Platforms: Linux and Windows

Xchat is a fairly straight forward GTK IRC client. It supports a variety of features, but also is clean enough to simply let me get right into the chat room I want without much configuration.

Instant Messenger: Pidgin

Platform: Linux, Windows and OSX

When it was first created it was known as "gaim", but today many know the popular GTK instant messenger client as "Pidgin". Supporting a number of messenger types including AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, MSN and many others - Pidgin is a very versatile messaging client.

Torrent Client: Transmission

Platforms: Linux and OSX

Transmission is fairly light bit torrent client that has both GTK and QT interfaces. It is stable and fairly feature rich while staying out of the user's way. It supports many commonly used torrent features such as setting download/upload speed limits and prioritising downloads.

FTP Client: Filezilla

Platforms: Linux, Windows and OSX

The swiss army knife of FTP clients Filezilla supports many common transfer protocols including FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and FTPES.

PDF Viewer: ePDFViewer

Platform: Linux

ePDFViewer is a very simple and light weight PDF viewer that utilises the GTK and poppler libraries.

Office Suite:  Libre Office

Platforms: Linux, Windows and OSX

Libre Office is a full featured office suite that provides a word processor, spreadsheet editor, presentation creator and much more. It is written in C++/Java and was forked from a little over a year ago.

Video Editor: Openshot

Platform: Linux

Easily one of the best open source projects to be started in the last couple of years. Openshot is a non-linear video editor that is written in mostly in python and GTK. The interface is clean and generally makes finding whatever function you are looking for fairly easy.

Video Ripping: Handbrake

Platforms: Linux, Windows and OSX

Ever have a video DVD you purchased and wanted to backup in case you lose or scratch the disc? Handbrake is the perfect tool for this task. It will simultaneously rip and encode a variety of media formats to a variety of other different media formats.

Disc Burning: XFBurn
Platform: Linux

Part of the XFCE software collection XFBurn is a to the point disc burning software based on libburnia. In case you hadn't noticed by now I am a fan of "simple and clean" software and XFBurn is no exception to this rule.

Media Player: VLC

Platforms: Linux, Windows and OSX

VLC is a multi-media player that is written in QT. It's most valuable asset is the fact that all of it's many multi-media codecs are self contained - meaning it can play nearly any media format right after installation without the need for installing system wide codecs packages.

Now, take note that I mention these are my favorite applications - not that they are always the best application for every possible task. Odds are there are others that are just as good (or better) in some situations than the ones I listed. One of the best things about FOSS is the ability to choose what you want to use. So try lots of different software and find which applications work best for you.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. You forgot Bodhi, everyone's favourite Linux distribution :)

  2. libreoffice written in java?!??!

  3. I was so hoping to find oss4 or pulseaudio in that list.

  4. LibreOffice is NOT written in Java. Some small parts of it are, and they're working on eliminating those. From the Wiki page for (which is probably less interested in eliminating Java):

    "The following areas of 2.0 depend on JRE installation:
    The media player on Unix-like systems
    All document wizards in Writer
    Accessibility tools
    Report Autopilot
    JDBC driver support
    HSQL database engine (used in Base)
    XSLT filters
    BeanShell, the NetBeans scripting language and the Java UNO bridge
    Export filters to the Aportis.doc (.pdb) format for the Palm OS or Pocket Word (.psw) format for the Pocket PC
    Export filter to LaTeX
    Export filter to MediaWiki's wikitext
    A common point of confusion focuses on the need for the Java API JavaMail in mail merge to generate emails in StarOffice; however, as of version 2.0.1, uses a Python-component instead."

    1. Edited to say C++/Java as it does use some Java.

  5. I have to disagree about Firefox. Chrome is much easier to install and update, and Firefox is a resource hog.