So much free software is worthless junk slowing down your computer or even worse. What are the best free programs for Windows?  And how do you know you're not signing your whole life away when you tick that box agreeing to the End User Licence Agreement?

Before trying a new software product I'll consider what I'm going to use it for. I'd take a lot more care choosing a software product for a life support system than for casual use. Then I research:

  • documentation
  • the licence agreement
  • maturity
  • reviews and reports
  • security alerts

Here's my top three free and open source programs that I've been using for years.

I much prefer Firefox to Internet Explorer. It seems snappier, cleaner and I can add modules to make it do new tricks. It's got a great zoom facility if you want a larger font size. 22% of people use Firefox, whereas 68% use Internet Explorer. If you're using an old browser like IE6 to view AscotMatters, try Firefox. Its licence agreement is Mozilla.

I use PDFCreator every day to create PDF files. It installs itself as a new printer: when you want to create a PDF, from almost any program, you print the document to this "printer". Its licence agreement is the GPL: GNU public licence

paint.net is a free photo and image editing program. Unlike most free image editors it supports advanced features like layers and plugins. At telanova we use it to edit logos, icons and artwork. It's a compact download (less than 2Mb) that won't overload your system. Its core is open source, licensed under the MIT X11 licence, with the remainder licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 licence.

 


 

IT services and support

We supply, install, configure, manage, support and renew IT for businesses: networks, servers, firewalls, security, software, routers, internet, email etc. We're based locally in Ascot and many local companies trust us to manage their systems, including Kirk Rice, KCA, Extreme Design, Appledore, Winkfield Parish Council, Web Marketing Strategy, Abba Warehouses, Gibbs House Business Centre, Micropack Engineering, CCF Couriers, Lightacre Estates etc.

Call Warwick Grigg on 01344 989535 or email warwick.grigg@telanova.com

So much free software is worthless junk slowing down your computer or even worse. What are the best free programs for Windows?  And how do you know you're not signing your whole life away when you tick that box agreeing to the End User Licence Agreement? Here's my top three free and open source programs that I use and I'll explain why I trust the programs enough to load them on my precious computer systems.

I much prefer Firefox to Internet Explorer. It seems snappier, cleaner and I can add modules to make it do new tricks. It's got a great zoom facility if you want a larger fonts. If you're using an old browser like IE6 to view AscotMatters, try Firefox. Its licence agreement is Mozilla, a well respected licence agreement.

I use PDFCreator every day to create PDF files from almost any program. It installs itself as a new printer: when you want to create a PDF, from any program, you print the document to this printer. Its licence agreement is GPL: GNU public licence. GPL is a good benchmark licence.

At telanova we use Joomla for web sites. We use it for our own website and for the new AscotMatters launch. Joomla's a powerful CMS (Content Management System). Although it's free under the GNU public licence, it's a heavyweight product and there's a lot to learn if you want to build your own. But we've tamed the Joomla beast. Email me for free advice if you want to use Joomla for your website for business, charity, school etc.