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Free Software Applications: Programs for Daily Computer Tasks

Updated 2012-01.

Summary: The objective of this table is to give a list of what Free Software programs can be used to do common computer tasks. The audience is people who are new to using free software ("linux newbie"). The list is far from complete. I hope this helps you get started. For the linux programs, I have usually listed the default program for the Ubuntu Linux distribution first, when applicable, to help you compare with the other options. If you find the software on the linux machine is useful enough for you, then you might consider creating a Linux Home File-Server.

Task Windows[1] Linux
Accounting ($ Quicken), ($MS Money) GnuCash
Burn a CD or DVD Windows Media Player, iTunes, Realplayer, Winamp, ($ Nero) Nautilus Burner, Brasero, K3B, ($ Nero)
Convert Sound Files ? (no research) SoundConverter Convert Format or Change Bit Rate
Databases for Desktops ($ MS Access), OpenOffice Base OpenOffice Base, KOffice Kexi
Desktop Publishing ($ Pagemaker), ($ Publisher), Scribus Scribus
Diagram Drawings ($ Visio), OpenOffice Draw, Dia OpenOffice Draw, Dia, KOffice Kivio
DVD Player ($ Various), VLC Totem, VLC
Email[2] Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Gmail[3], Yahoo Mail[3] Thunderbird, Gmail[3], Yahoo Mail[3], KMail, Evolution
File Browsing (local) Windows Explorer (Computer, My Docs, etc.) Nautilus (Places, Home Folder, Computer), Konqueror
FTP Files Filezilla Filezilla, gFTP
Internet Browsing Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Konqueror, Epiphany
Manage Computer Software Updates[4] Windows Update for O/S only. All other applications separately. Synaptic Package Manager (Update Manager) for entire distribution.
mp3 Edit ID3 Tags Windows Media Player, Winamp Easy Tag, Ex Falso
Music Player: CD & mp3 Windows Media Player, iTunes, Realplayer, Songbird, VLC, Winamp Decibel, Rhythm Box, VLC, Amarok
Photo Browsing & Slide Show Windows Explorer, Flickr[3], Picasa[3], ($ Camera Software) Nautilus, gThumb, F-Spot, Geeqie, GwenView, Flickr[3], Picasa[3]
Photo Editing Advanced Drawing ($ Photoshop, etc.), GIMP GIMP
Photo Stitching Panoramic Photos ($ Various), hugin hugin
Presentations for Offices ($ Powerpoint), OpenOffice Impress OpenOffice Impress
Project Management ($ MS Project), OpenProj, GanttProject Planner, OpenProj, GanttProject
Programming Editor[5] PSpad, Eclipse, jedit, emacs Bluefish, Eclipse, jedit, emacs
Rip a CD to mp3, etc. Windows Media Player, iTunes, Realplayer, Winamp Asunder, RipperX
Spreadsheets ($ Excel), OpenOffice Calc OpenOffice Calc, gNumeric, KOffice
Vector Drawings ($ Visio(?)), OpenOffice Draw OpenOffice Draw, Inkscape, Dia
Video RSS Feeds Miro Miro
Video Multimedia Player Windows Media Player, VLC, MPlayer, Miro, iTunes, Realplayer Totem Movie Player, Miro, VLC
Write a formatted Letter or Paper[6]. ($ MS Word), OpenOffice Writer, Abiword OpenOffice Writer, Abiword, KOffice
Write a plain text[7] note. Notepad, Wordpad gedit, Kate, emacs

Here is some useful information for Ubuntu (Debian-based?) linux users: Ubuntu multimedia: mp3, DVD, etc.

CC License Ubuntu OpenOffice GIMP Graphics Geany Editor Firefox Play Ogg what's this?