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Commercial computer applications can be prohibitively expensive. Luckily there are plenty of free and open source programs to help you save money. This guide covers some of the best free and open source programs currently available online.

For your Security: ClamWin


ClamWin is a free antivirus available for Windows 8 and all previous versions. It is a complete antivirus facility which keeps up to date with the latest virus signatures, offering a virus scanner and integration with Microsoft Outlook. This is a very simple program to use and provides excellent detection rates for all kinds of viruses and spyware. One of the few things this software does not include is an automatic file scanner, which means you must scan files manually yourself.

For your Video: VLC / Media Player Classic


With so many free media players available, it is a mostly a case of you choosing the one that suits you best.

Media Player Classic is great if you want simplicity. It is very lightweight and undemanding, which is why it performs so well even on really old computers, and it can be customized with toolbars to suit your video needs. It is only available for Windows.

VLC media player is powerful and fast with supreme potential for customization, available across practically every operating system. VLC media player supports most codecs with no need to download extra codec packs, including DivX. This is definitely a good option if you want an excellent all-round player that supports HD video codecs and high quality audio files.

For Video Creation: VirtualDub / DVDStyler


VirtualDub is a video capture and processing application for Windows. Mainly used with AVI files, VirtualDub is great for general capture and cleaning up video. DVDStyler allows you to create professional-looking DVDs for use on almost all types of DVD player. It supports many different file types and media formats – not just movies.

For Your Photos: Gimp


GIMP is a cross-platform image manipulation program. It can be used for painting and drawing, editing and retouching images, advanced image manipulation and even animation, and with the addition of plug-ins it can give you the same number of features as any professional piece of software.

GIMP is developed on UNIX though the program can still be used on Windows and Mac OS X. You must have knowledge of compiling for installation on UNIX-type operating systems. GIMP themselves do not provide a Windows installer for GIMP but Windows installers are available with third-parties.

For Music Editing: Audacity


Audacity is a fully capable, lightweight audio editor written in C++. Available across many platforms this audio software can be used for recording, importing and exporting, manipulation and editing. 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit samples are supported, and sample rates up to 384,000 Hz are supported with high resolution devices. Many different types of audio file can be manipulated including MP3, WAV, AIFF and Ogg Vorbis.

For your Office: OpenOffice / LibreOffice


Apache OpenOffice uses a code-base that stretches back over twenty years. This means you can expect the same level of quality and functionality as Microsoft Office without paying anything whatsoever.

LibreOffice was created by many of the same people who worked on OpenOffice, and much of OpenOffice’s code base has been used to create it. Available with easy installation for every major operating system, LibreOffice is a professional-grade suite that provides professional-grade results. It is compatible with all major file formats such as .docx for easy importing and exporting to and from Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

From scholars creating the best UK essays at Cambridge University to businesses that offer writing services reviews, both of these applications are trusted by tens of millions of active users throughout the world.

OpenOffice and LibreOffice come with Writer (Word), Calc (Excel) and Impress (PowerPoint), as well as a drawing program for creating 3D illustrations and a math program for creating graphical mathematical equations. They aren’t quite as robust as Microsoft’s suite, but as open source software improvements are being made all the time.

For your Mail: Mozilla Thunderbird


Thunderbird is an award-winning email, news and RSS application from Mozilla. It is regarded by many as the best email client you can get, and with a vast range of features Thunderbird makes your email activities much easier, faster and safer. There is control over junk mail, message grouping, privacy protection and global inbox support. You can integrate the Thunderbird platform with RSS, and with comprehensive mail migration it is very easy to transfer existing accounts from other clients.

For your 3D Graphics: Blender


Blender is a free 3D computer graphics and modeling package which can be used for all kinds of 3D digital art and design. You can use it for 3D modeling, shading and rendering, as well as animation, for visual projects or even entire games and applications. The graphical engines are very robust and powerful for excellent results with the latest textures and resolutions. This program is easily extensible and customizable with support from a large online community, and you can create your own solutions with code that is conveniently accessible through python.

For your CAD Systems: BRL-CAD / DraftSight


BRL-CAD is a powerful Constructive Solid Geometry solid modeling system that can be used for a large number of CAD purposes, including 2D/3D geometry design and editing and ray tracing. It is used for many industrial and academic applications for the design and analysis of products and machinery.

DraftSight is a 2D CAD application for the creation, viewing and editing of DWG files. This is a great problem for getting to grips with two-dimensional CAD and the Basic version is free for life.

Both of these free CAD programs are of a professional standard. BRL-CAD comes with a larger set of features and is better for intermediate and advanced users.

Bottom Line

These programs can help you achieve what you want to achieve without paying the price. They can also help to save you time and provide you with new opportunities in your personal and professional life.

Posted by Emily Lucas

Emily Lucas is an experienced freelance writer and blogger for many sites, including Her areas of interests are very wide, but mostly she writes for educational websites and blogs. Her aim is to share creative ideas with young audience and provide useful tips for education and private life.

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