If you use the Internet in any capacity, then you’ve probably noticed by now that it has a lot of cool stuff. And some of that cool stuff is easily accessible, even though you’re technically supposed to pay money for it. Wow! What’ll they think of next? Of course, you really shouldn’t download stuff without paying for it, because 1) Stealing is wrong, and 2) The sites that let you download said content for free can be kind of skeevy and might do bad things to your computer. There’s good news, though: there are tons of useful programs on the Internet that can be downloaded freely and safely.
Here are five of the best free software downloads that should be on your PC.
Avast! Anti-Virus – Arr. If ye be surfin’ the web, ye need a shipworthy anti-virus. Avast! is one of the most popular free anti-viruses on the Internet, and its fame is well-earned. The program is easy to use, it downloads updates automatically, and even makes surfing the web safer by letting you know about suspicious sites before you even click on them. It’s all yours for zero dollars.
OpenOffice – If your PC doesn’t have a legitimate version of Microsoft Office installed on it, you should definitely consider OpenOffice, an opensource alternative. It’s extremely lightweight, and it can do almost anything that Office can—for free. If you’re familiar with Word, you shouldn’t have a problem making the switch to OpenOffice’s word processor.
Nuke Anything – No, Nuke Anything will not let you download a functional “Big Red Button.” It’s actually a FireFox extension that allows you to be very specific about the text and images you want to print from a webpage. Given how much ink and paper gets wasted even when you want to print a simple text email, Nuke Anything is a must-have for the environmentally-conscious PC owner.
Audacity – Audacity is a simple but extremely useful sound editing program. If you like to record podcasts, or if you just like to mess around with sound files, you’ll get a lot of use out of this little guy.
Gimp – Photoshop is the gold standard for image editors, and a legitimate copy can cost hundreds of dollars. If that’s out your range, consider Gimp. It’s free to download, and many of its functions are on par with Adobe’s series. Whether you need to do some professional editing or a simple resize, Gimp is a good program to have on-hand.
Looking for more great free stuff (who isn’t)? Visit:
112 Best Free Downloads at PCWorld
Nine Sources for Free Downloads at About.com
30 Best Free Mac Programs to Download at TechRadar