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List of FOSS

August 25, 2023

Greatest Free and Open Source Software

Quite often people hear or use software that is free of charge (freeware). Here I want to present great software that is additionally Open Source. This additional requirement is important to me as I like to have insight in the software and be able to use parts of it for own purposes. Some people think that software that costs nothing is also not worth anything. I hope I can contribute to a mind change.

Computer graphics

Gimp Alt text https://www.gimp.org
Gimp is a raster image editor. It supports a large set of formats and has many professional functions to process images. Gimp is a bit tedious to learn at first. But once you got the basics, it is really great. The desktop publishing or color management is not so good yet but is on a good track. What I like is its plug-in and scripting extensibility. This is a tool that satisfies all needs for private purposes. If you want to work with color calibrated devices and have hard requirements regarding CMS then you'll have to invest money and get a commercial application. The Little CMS component is however sufficient for printers and monitors on the end-user market.
Blender Alt text https://www.blender.org
Blender is probably one of the most amazing piece of software you can get for free on the market. It was once commercially sold by NaN (Not a Number), a dutch company. This one got into financial trouble. The creditors agreed to license Blender under GPL in exchange of 100.000$. So nearly overnight, a great 3D rendering and modeling software became available as Open Source and free software. Before that time there was no real good free alternative to 3d Studio, now you have Blender!
Scribus Alt text https://www.scribus.net
Scribus is a Desktop Publishing Tool that reaches a high degree of accuracy for printing tasks. I used it to create a photo book of 40 pages (with pictures of south africa during our wedding trip). It was a hard task to learn it, but I could not realize it to my satisfaction with click & place software you get from the cheaper publishers.
Inkscape Alt text https://www.inkscape.org
If you need a tool for vector graphics, give it at least a try. I needed some time to get into efficient workflows to create images, the settings are quite overwhelming.
povray Alt text https://www.povray.org
Raytracing is what you like, then povray is a powerful raytracer that renders scenes very nicely, with a high degree of physical correctness. However it doesn't come with any decent scene editor, so google for some editors and use it as an engine only.
gthumb Alt text https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Gthumb
gThumb is an image viewer and browser for the GNOME Desktop. It also includes an importer tool for transferring photos from cameras.


audacity Alt text https://www.audacityteam.org/
Great tool to record and edit sound files. It is fast and extensible. It supports a lot of formats and allows to filter or apply effects on sound tracks. Here is a list of features from the audacity wiki: https://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Audacity_Wiki_Home_Page.
A very nice, versatile and powerful video player.
A remote desktop utility that also works fine over slower connections.
vokoscreenA screencast tool
A non linear video editor
ffmpeg based video transcoder aiming at ensuring a correct transcoded result for target devices
A lossless video cutting tool that supports many formats (including TS - transport streams)
Easy to use, quick to learn, and surprisingly powerful video editor.
Free, open source, cross-platform video editor.
Flowblade supports all the media that in general can be accessed in a Linux system when the FFMPEG library is working as the backend.


VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2.
Application virtualization software: "Docker provides a simple and powerful developer experience, workflows and collaboration for creating applications."
Manage containers, pods, and images with Podman. Seamlessly work with containers and Kubernetes from your local environment.


Firefox is the greatest browser. Why? Are you kidding! Have a look at the large set of extensions and plug-ins, it is fully skinnable, fast and aims at standard compliance. The acidtests are stress tests to see how well your browser understands and handles CSS. Maybe it is not the fastest (Opera is actually faster) nor the most standard compliant, but it is widely used, fast enough, extensions are easy to manage and is robust.
Thunderbird is an EMail client. It has made incredible improvements since version 3. Searching through a big amount of EMails is now so fast. Configuration is eased with automatic settings for many providers. I must say that I was impressed by the new version in terms of usability and scalability. I kept all Emails I wrote since over 5 years and it runs fairly smooth.
Pidgin is a chat program which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.


Libre Officehttps://www.libreoffice.org
Sun made a great work in creating a robust office suite, Open Office. After Oracle's aquisition of Sun a large part of the Open Office developers, due to political reasons, founded Libre Office to provide the community with up-to-date versions of the free Office Suite. The interoperability between MS Office products is not working perfectly but at least you can read MS Word and MS Excel files under Linux.
A good mind mapping tool that fits most needs. It is maybe not yet so feature rich as commercial counterparts, but definitively give it a try.


7zip Alt text https://www.7-zip.org
7-zip handles all usual compression formats and makes it a central tool if you need to handle many different formats.
Wireshark Alt text https://www.wireshark.org
Professional network protocol analyzer. Can be used to record data exchange on the network and filter out the results. Definitively a must have if you are developing network tools.
Tool to make screenshots easily to different formats. Definitively more convenient than Alt+Print-Scr and converting to png. Cropper allows to perform many tasks in just one step.

Cryptography & Security software

A nice and feature rich password safe tool. Helps to organize passwords and associated data as well as to transfer safely the data into web formulars
Similar to KeePass but written in C++. I prefer it over KeePass as it tends to be more reactive and creates less friction on use under Linux.
VeraCrypt is a free open source disk encryption software for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. Brought to you by IDRIX (https://www.idrix.fr) and based on TrueCrypt 7.1a.
GnuPG is a complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard as defined by RFC4880 (also known as PGP). GnuPG allows you to encrypt and sign your data and communications; it features a versatile key management system, along with access modules for all kinds of public key directories. GnuPG, also known as GPG, is a command line tool with features for easy integration with other applications.

Source code management

Bazaar Alt text https://bazaar-vcs.org
Since I started projects on launchpad, I started using Bazaar as a source code management software. It has all advanced features present in modern VCS like Git and is quite easy to use. What makes the difference between Bazaar and Git is its scalability. With git, when you clone you get a copy of the complete repository. With Bazaar you can choose how deep your local copy is. There is much more to say, just try it out, it is free!
GIT Alt text https://git-scm.com
Distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. Every Git clone is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full revision tracking capabilities, not dependent on network access or a central server. Branching and merging are fast and easy to do.
Subversion Alt text https://subversion.apache.org
Centralized version control system widely used now. It has many professional features like merge tracking and is since 2010 living as top level apache project.
If you want a distributed version control system built upon subversion.


Eclipse Papyrus is an industrial-grade open source Model-Based Engineering tool. Eclipse Papyrus has notably been used successfuly in industrial projects and is the base platform for several industrial modeling tools.
Visual Studio Code is a lightweight but powerful source code editor which runs on your desktop and is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. It comes with built-in support for JavaScript, TypeScript and Node.js and has a rich ecosystem of extensions for other languages (such as C++, C#, Java, Python, PHP, Go) and runtimes (such as .NET and Unity).


rsyncLow level file sync