Free Software Guide

Directories

A number of sites have a wide assortment of free software available for download under a variety of licensing terms. While the sites listed are reputable, nonetheless, use of any of the software is at your own risk! The software in the FSF (GNU) directory is probably the most trustworthy in terms of both viruses and privacy. Untrustworthy sites get no mention here.

In April of 2003 United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) joined the Free Software Foundation's effort to catalog and publish what was formerly known as the GNU Software Directory.

FSF/UNESCO Software Directory Links to GNU/FSF projects and more
The Apache Software Foundation Apache Web Server and Web tools
SourceForge.net Massive Open Source repository,
powered by VA Software's SourceForge
Tucows Huge collection of free software and shareware

FSF Software Directory

GNU software is at the heart of all Linux distributions. It is free, source code is available, and its ability to adapt to a wide variety of platforms is second to none. The FSF/UNESCO directory catalogs all of the GNU software projects, and other free software that runs on free operating systems.

Here is a sample of some of the GNU offerings:

GCC Compiler GNU Compiler Collection
Debian Debian GNU/Linux distribution
GNU Hurd GNU's own UNIX-like kernel
GNU Emacs GNU Emacs Text Editor
Gnome Home The GNOME Desktop
GIMP GNU Image Manipulation Program
GTK+ GIMP/GTK+ Toolkit for GUI development
BASH GNU's Born Again Shell

The Apache Software Foundation

If you are interested in Web servers, Apache has something for you. The Apache HTTP Server is a Web server that supports numerous platforms. The mod_perl project adds an embedded perl module for efficient processing of CGI scripts. PHP is a server-side script language. The XML Project addresses the XML community. Their Xerces Parser is a valuable tool for validating your XHTML code, and supports any XML vocabulary, and XML Schemas. For Java-based web services, visit the Jakarta Project. Tomcat provides the glue between the Apache HTTP Server and Java servlets.

HTTP Server The Apache HTTP Server
mod_perl Embedded Perl for Apache server
Apache XML Project Xerces parser and XML tools
PHP PHP Hypertext Processor,
server-side script language
The Jakarta Project Apache Java platform projects
Jakarta Tomcat Project Tomcat Java servlet container

Software for Developers

Developers and power users might find these sites useful:

Linux Kernel Archives Linux kernels and more
Linux DistroWatch.com Catalog of a zillion Linux distributions
XFree86 Project, Inc. X11 Window System implementation
KDE Home KDE Desktop Environment
MySQL SQL Database Server
OpenLDAP Server Community Developed LDAP Software
Java Home Download Java and related Sun software
Perl.com Home of Perl script language
MacPerl Perl for the legacy Mac platform (pre-OS X)
tcsh Shell compatible with Berkeley csh
Cygwin Unix-like user environment for Windows (Red Hat)

The BSD distributions and a number of the Linux distributions can be downloaded for free. This might be feasible if you have a broadband connection. They also offer modules which often are compatible with other platforms. Most Linux applications will run on any Linux system. The commercial Unix vendors also offer a number of freebies.

Visit the Platforms page ...

Something for Everyone

Here are a few more sites of general interest:

Mozilla Mozilla Open Source Project,
Gecko layout engine, Firefox
Firefox Mozilla Gecko-based Web Browser
Thunderbird Mozilla Email Client
Camino Mozilla Browser for Mac OS X
Galeon GNOME Web Browser
(requires GNOME, Mozilla Gecko)
OpenOffice Word Processing and Office Suite
Vim Online Vi-style text editor
(used to write this document)

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Author: David Harris (djharris@cox.net) Links Validated: October 19, 2006

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