Freeware Alternatives.

    So, here are the results of a lengthy and continuous effort to select the best, quality
freeware programs that supplant the need for the standard, more pricey, software.
You might be wondering what is the rationale for this quest.

    A similar collection can be found on "The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities". Many
of the needs are the same, but the programs I have chosen to meet them are different.
Additionally, there are some important categories that are absent from that list, the
most noticeable of which is the one for CD/DVD authoring related programs.

    If you yourself have any freeware that you like to parade around, that you swear by,
or that you otherwise adore, please drop me a line so that everyone can enjoy it, too.

Summarized Version
Instead of using:
  • Windows
  • Nero, Roxio Easy CD Creator
  • UltraEdit, EditPlus, SciTE, Notepad, ...
  • Procomm Plus
  • Microsoft Frontpage
  • ICQ, AIM, Yahoo!, MSN Messenger, ...
  • Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro
  • Adobe Acrobat Writer
  • Ulead DVD Workshop, Roxio's VideoWave
  • Linux »
  • CDBurnerXP Pro 3 »
  • PSPad »
  • Tera Term Pro »
  • Nvu »
  • Miranda IM »
  • The GIMP »
  • PDFCreator »
  • DVD Author GUI, DVDStyler »


    There is an ongoing debate concerning the usability, stability and security of
the Linux operating system versus those of Microsoft's Windows. I will not address
these issues here. Linux can be considered a free alternative to Windows, but
suffice it to say that both operating systems have something to offer.

    For that reason, I have chosen to compromise. I work with both Slackware Linux
and Windows - dual booting on the same PC. In order to prevent much unneccesary
rebooting, I also use VMWare's emulation to boot my Windows partition from inside
my Linux one and vice versa.

CDBurnerXP Pro 3

    When it comes to general purpose CD and DVD burning, CDBurnerXP Pro 3 is
prime choice. Despite its threatening name, CDBurnerXP Pro 3 offers advanced
capabilities and a dreamy interface, while avoiding the bloat that is so common
in similiar applications (you know who you are).

    CDBurnerXP Pro's features include direct disc copying, creating and burning
ISO images, ripping audio CDs, burning audio CDs and creating bootable discs.
A more complete list of features can be found on the pages linked to below.

    Latest Version:
    File Size: 4.39Mb
    Installed: ~14Mb


    Nothing can transcend the simplicity of Notepad. But for advanced text editing,
PSPad comes close. With PSPad, you can work on multiple files simultaneously,
utilize syntax highlighting for many a programming language, specify an external
compiler, record macros, compare text files, run a spell checker and perform
advanced search and replace (for all files in a directory, for instance).

    I also use it for its hex editing functionality and its ability to manipulate HTML
pages - TiDying them up, compressing them, and safely picking their colors.
The program is loaded with many more useful features, but manages to
maintain an easy to use interface. A more complete list of features can
be found on the pages linked to below.

    Latest Version: 4.5.0 (2183)
    File Size: 3.03Mb
    Installed: ~8.5Mb

Tera Term Pro

    For simple serial port communications, it is possible to make do with the
application that is bundled with Windows (HyperTerminal). However, Tera
Term Pro not only offers a nicer GUI and telnet capability, but also posseses
a powerful scripting language that enables intricate automation.

    Tera Term Pro Web is an independent revision to the original program. It
adds the ability to connect with SSH, and the ability to monitor and control
the Telnet, SSH and serial connections remotely, via a web interface!

    Latest Version: 3.1.3
    File Size: 949Kb
    Installed: ~1.9Mb


    Nvu offers a professional interface for WYSIWYG web design, similar to that of
Microsoft's Frontpage. Nvu addresses the basics of web design and does so well.
It also supports CSS and allows for automated publishing. All in all, Nvu is a, good,
free solution to help create web pages without worrying about their code.

    There *are* some complimentary features that are missing. Namely, these are
report generation, integrated todo lists and site navigation overview. These can
be performed by other freeware applications. Still, you certainly get your money's
worth :-) on this open source cutie.

    Latest Version: 1.0
    File Size: 6.57Mb
    Installed: ~21Mb

Miranda Instant Messenger

    "Miranda IM is a multi protocol instant messenger client for Windows."
Miranda IM is very lightweight, flexible and extendible. It is *the* answer for
those who simply want universal text messaging without having to endure the
nefarious installations of ICQ, AIM, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger.
It can even fit onto a floppy.

    The drawback to this approach is that while a certain messaging network's
client always remains up to date, an integrated client such as Miranda is one
step behind. This means that certain advanced features, such as voice chat,
are often unavailable.

    An upside to its design, however, is that Miranda IM is highly extendible.
This means that you can use the same comfortable interface with many
other protocols, such as chat, NET SEND, and Jabber.

    Latest Version:
    File Size: 993Kb
    Installed: ~4.2Mb


    The GNU Image Manipulation Program is the only professional open source
image editor that I am aware of, and it is a very good one at that. I am not an
expert in computer graphics - I just use it for photo touch ups and website

    Latest Version: 2.2.10
    File Size: 7.67Mb (plus 3.6Mb for required GTK+ and 21.4Mb for optional help files)
    Installed: ~19.1Mb