Most useful open-source software accessible to everyone

Microsoft, Adobe and other companies charge (a lot of) money for their software. If you don’t want to pay that much, open-source tools are powerful free alternatives. We have sifted through the market and present some of the best.

Edit images with GIMP

The leading star among the free image editors is GIMP. You can change the resolution, draw, pixelate images and more. The program is beginner friendly and can be mastered quite fast. 

If you don’t want to edit photos, you can use the application only to convert graphic files format, if desired. By the way, GIMP is usually already in Linux, and you can get the free installer or the portable version for Windows.

Edit music files with Audacity

With the audio editor Audacity, you can make more out of your audio files: Among other things, you can use the program to create audio books via microphone recording, and you can extensively edit existing files (whether downloaded or produced in-house). 

For example, you can shorten content loaded into the program, change the pitch of the voice and beep out sequences that should not be heard. Alternatively, you can replace your audio to sound like a robot. 

Finally, encoding is the next step, for which you can draw from a pool of various file formats (MP3, WAV and many more). In the past, saving in MP3 format was problematic because the LAME encoder had to be retrofitted via a DLL file. Today this is no longer a hurdle, Audacity is able to encode MP3s.

Browse the web with Firefox

You can get a good Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge replacement with Mozilla’s Firefox: Besides the fast and well-customizable browser, the many extensions for it are a plus as well as open source.

Since Edge is based on Chromium in newer versions, Firefox is a real alternative for this in contrast to Chrome. Firefox uses the Gecko rendering engine and not a Chromium technology like the majority of browsers; Chrome is not open source at all.

Delete files securely with Eraser

If you move a file to the Windows Recycle Bin and empty it, the hard disk object is gone – but not really. With special software, recovery is possible in many cases. If you want to rule out possible data recovery, you need Eraser: The program removes files so thoroughly from hard disks (but not from SSDs) that they disappear never to be seen again.

Surf more securely with IP changing Tor Browser

The Tor Browser is based on Firefox in its ESR version (Extended Support Release), where the main version is up-to-date for a particularly long time. Major updates, which change many things in terms of operation, are only available about once a year. Security-related updates for the so-called ESR fork are nevertheless released promptly. 

With the Tor client, you surf anonymously, since you receive a different IP address from the Tor network. The web browser does not create a history by default. This promotes security as well as the add-on features: The integrated extensions NoScript and HTTPS Everywhere offer a certain hacker protection.