We have to admit that the open source community brings a big contribution to the software market through its useful and original projects. Many free applications have been strong opponents to similar paid-for products for years, forcing the competitor companies to rise the quality of their products. So I’m bound to present to you a couple of these products that are still remarkable and can make the difference in their category. In randomly order:
A CD-Ripper, which can extract digital audio data from an Audio CD. Started as a project in 2001, CDex became a very reliable and simple to use CD-ripper with its latest stable version released in 2003. Since then, many are still using this old version, although the project has been restarted in 2006 and several new beta versions have been released. The application supports many Audio encoders, like MPEG (MP2,MP3), VQF, AAC encoders. CDex is supported by all 32-bit MS Windows operating systems.
A very powerful multi-track audio editor and recorder for Linux, BSD, Mac OS, and Windows. Supports WAV, AIFF, Ogg, and MP3 formats. Features include envelope editing, mixing, built-in effects and plug-ins, all with unlimited undo. The only drawback is that many opened tracks will force your PC to the limits making Audacity a real mastodon when it comes to hardware requirements. Of course, you will need to download the lame encoder first, if you want to export your work in mp3 format.
VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms. It lacks the editing power of a general-purpose editor such as Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined for fast linear operations over video. It has batch-processing capabilities for processing large numbers of files and can be extended with third-party video filters. VirtualDub is mainly geared toward processing AVI files, although it can read (not write) MPEG-1 and also handle sets of BMP images.
PDFCreator easily creates PDFs from any Windows program. Use it like a printer in Word, OpenOffice or any other Windows application that supports a printer. Every pdf file that you create with PDFCreator can be encrypted and digitally signed. You can even merge multiple files into one PDF. Besides its main objective of converting any photo or document file into pdf format, PDFCreator can also convert files into PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS formats.
FreeMind is a free mind-mapping software written in Java. The recent development has turned it into high productivity tool. It is said that the operation and navigation of FreeMind is faster than that of MindManager because of one-click “fold / unfold” and “follow link” operations. Do you want to prioritize, know where you are, where you’ve been and where you are heading, then use FreeMind.
A very popular upload/download manager among that allows you to publish or share your data with the P2P community. It’s easy to install and set-up on your home network because it uses standard UPnP and NAT-PMP networking technologies to prepare your router for torrent access. It can auto-adjusts bandwidth usage based upon your network and the Internet, so that you can play games, stream videos and use instant messaging services without having downtime moments.
FileZilla is a cross-platform graphical FTP, FTPS and SFTP client a lot of features, supporting Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and more. It features an intuitive interface in order to ease the send/receive data operations. Supports resume and transfer of large files over 4GB, features drag & drop support, configurable transfer speed limits, synchronized directory browsing, and remote file search.
A source code editor and MS Windows Notepad replacement. It comes with an optimized code that results in reducing CPU usage while running. It also supports external plugins which can perform several text editing tasks such as XHTML, XML, and brace auto close, the text to HEX converter, the C++ code re-indent, the trailing space trimmer, FTP support and the case converter. You can set the colors which are used for code highlighting and even record key-presses in order to play them back later.
KeePass Password Safe is a free, open source, portable and easy-to-use password manager for Windows. You can store your passwords in a highly-encrypted database, which is locked with one master password or key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).
Eraser is a secure data removal tool for Windows. It completely removes sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. It’s important to know that Eraser works with any drive that works with Windows. There is no need to customize the application because all the important secure drive erasure methods are supported out of the box. In order to obtain a definitive deletion, the application not only erases files and folders but also their previously deleted counterparts.