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  1. #1
    submessenger's Avatar
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    submessenger's Ultimate Free Software List

    This is something that I've published for years, for my friends and close associates. You all are neither, but I kinda sorta like you all, so thought I would share.
    Quote Originally Posted by JRR Tolkein
    I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.


    The list varies, from time to time, but I do my best to keep it updated.

    OPERATING SYSTEMS:
    Yes, there are other operating systems than Windows or MacOS. I currently have four in my list - if you're looking for a way to make that old PC better, or just want to be free of corporate shackles, here are the best options:
    1) Ubuntu Linux LTS - Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian GNU/Linux (arguably the free-est of the free) which is published by a major corporation. You can opt to pay them whatever you want, including nothing. The environment is highly refined, and relatively easy to comprehend for newcomers to alternative operating systems. If this is your first foray into Linux, you should start here.
    2) Kali Linux - another derivative of Debian GNU/Linux, Kali is a complete operating environment for security professionals. Casual users may feel daunted, or that they've stumbled into something illegal.
    3) Debian GNU/Linux - daddy to the above two options, Debian is a solid platform in its own right.
    4) FreeBSD - not for the untechnical beginner, but FreeBSD is literally borne from the DNA of UNIX. Desktop users will probably have some issues, as FreeBSD has traditionally been more of a Swiss army knife, than a purpose-built environment, as the above. But, if you install from a RELEASE and add the KDE desktop package, you will have a completely functional system. Fair notice, I've been a FreeBSD evangelist for around 2 decades, and still prefer it over the above options, in many scenarios.

    PRODUCTIVITY:
    OK, you have a shiny, new operating system, and can't get anything done. Don't sweat it. There are two widespread and common options, and they both play nice -more-or-less- with Microsoft's Office and Google Docs:
    1) LibreOffice - Libre is an offshoot of the flailing OpenOffice.org suite, below. In recent years, I've found it to be easier to use and more reliable than the traditional OpenOffice.org. Includes analogs for all the major Microsoft Office programs, and then some.
    2) OpenOffice.org - OpenOffice has a long and sordid history. Started off as StarOffice by some German corporation, was later acquired by Sun Microsystems, which was picked up by Oracle, but now it's part of the Apache Software Foundation. It is the granddaddy of alternative office suites. As previously mentioned, LibreOffice is a fork of this suite of applications. For the record, Apache Software Foundation is most famous for its web server software, which is allowing you to read this post.

    NETWORKING:
    As Sun was fond of saying, the network is the computer. Well, what's a computer, these days, without the ability to network? There are a couple of major players, here, that are more-or-less free from your AppleMicrosoft Corporate Overlords.
    1) Chrome - The king is dead, long live the king. Chances are, you already have this little piece of demonic code installed. Google's Chrome browser, for me, has gone from a curio to my de-facto browser. Packed with features, including faster JavaScript/ECMAScript execution than any of its competitors; a wide variety of installable platforms; and, copious amounts of cruft available through plugins, extensions, and "apps," Chrome is the current King of browsers.
    2) Chromium - yeah, it sounds like Chrome. I wouldn't quite call it a prince, Chromium is more like Fredo Corleone - it does work, but maybe Google should just have Al Neri take it fishing. Chromium is the complete open-source version of its brother, Chrome. So, it lacks in some areas.
    3) Firefox - before Chrome came into its own, Netscape Foundation's current entry to the browser market was THE way to go. One advantage of Firefox over Chrome, in my experience, is that you can relatively easily compile the entire program from source code, assuming you have the correct tools and the gumption to do so.
    Brief afterword: as of right now, Netflix runs on Chrome binary releases on Linux; Hulu runs on Firefox. If you want both services on your free and alternative OS, as of right now, you'll need both browsers.

    CREATIVE:
    OK, so what else can you do with a computer? How about some nifty 'shops for that forum you're always on, or maybe something more intense, like a video game or audio recording? Here's some apps to help you on the way:
    1) The GIMP - this is the program PhotoShop wishes it could be. Free, truly multi-platform, extensible, with a large user base. GNU Image Manipulation Program is the answer. There are relatively few things that you can do in PhotoShop that can't be accomplished as easily with GIMP. If you're anal-retentive, there's even a PhotoShop GUI that you can slap in front of a GIMP backend, so it's like you're using the same program.
    2) ImageMagick - sometimes, you don't want to spend all day in PhotoShop making macros. ImageMagick can help, there. IM is a command-line suite of utilities that allow you do perform all sorts of photographic edits on existing images.
    3) GhostScript - Along the lines of ImageMagick, GS allows you to do nifty transforms and edits with PDF/PS/EPS files. While you're better served creating the content initially in other programs, GS gives you a plethora of tools for translating that content into other printable formats.
    4) Blender - this is one of my personal favorites, and another true success story for the open source community. Blender started off as a free program offered by a German commercial FX house, allowing you to streamline your CG and filmed content to them for post production. When the company tanked, the community of users rallied and eventually raised enough money to purchase the source code out of receivership. Blender Foundation was formed, and the program has become the standard bearer of CGI. It's hard to think of something Blender can't do. I've used it for logos, animations, video editing, motion tracking, scene reconstruction... I used it to make waffles for the kids, last weekend. You want it. Get it.
    5) InkScape - if you've been around the print industry for a long time, you'll probably remember that staple program, Aldus FreeHand. At some point, FreeHand was acquired by Adobe, and is currently the vector-drawing portion of their Creative Suite. InkScape is the free, open source replacement for FreeHand.
    6) LibreCAD - arguably, this is part of the enhanced LibreOffice Suite, but this one is a stand-alone download. Do you work in AutoDesk/AutoCAD? LibreCAD may be your free solution. It is a little clumsy, to start, but once you're accustomed to it, you'll be whipping out floorplans in no time. For free.
    7) Audacity - did you hear that? No? Well, Audacity to the rescue. It's a full-featured audio editing program.
    8) VirtualDub - this is one of the few Windows-only applications on this list. I don't use it as often, now that I've grown accustomed to working with video in Blender, but for basic video editing, VirtualDub is a great piece of software. Totally free, I think some guy wrote it as part of a college thesis or something like that.

    MEDIA PLAYBACK:
    VLC Viewer - AKA VideoLan Client - VLC is one of those things I just always install on every computer. It's Windows Media Player on steroids. Any conceivable way you can consume audio or video, VLC probably has it built in, or has a plugin for it.

    INFOSEC APPLICATIONS:
    I have a separate list of InfoSec applications, but I really haven't kept it up since Kali Linux has matured. Only two things on this abbreviated list, pretty much everything else you can get if you install Kali.
    1) PasswordSafe - OK, here's another Windows-only application. PasswordSafe is an open-source password manager. If you don't have a different password for everything you do, you should, and PasswordSafe was a pioneer in that arena. The format of the PSAFE files is well documented, and there are applications available for multiple platforms, but I prefer to run PasswordSafe on Windows or WINE (see below).
    2) OpenVAS - not really an application for regular desktop users, but since I have this category, and since it's not on Kali by default, I thought it a good candidate to include, here. OpenVAS is the open source little brother to Greenbone, a commercial-grade network vulnerability scanner.

    ANTI VIRUS:
    1) Immunet - a cloud-based scanner from the makers of ClamAV (below). Yeah, it can slow you down a bit, but better to be safe, right? Also, totally free, unless you want to pay for upgrades.
    2) ClamAV - this is the de-facto Linux/UNIX antivirus program. Can't really say a lot about it, except that they also make Immunet and, have recently acquired SNORT, which is the de-facto penetration detection program (which, you probably don't need, as a regular home user). "They," is Cisco - you know, those guys that built all the network hardware that all the Sun boxen used to make the internet work in the first place.

    VIRTUALIZATION:
    Plans within plans within plans... There are several players in this space, but only two deserve my recognition.
    1) VirtualBox - Another of Sun's pet projects now owned by Oracle. VirtualBox is fantastic. With its commercial support, even the free editions of VirtualBox are invaluable. If you have an OS that runs on a PC, you can probably use VirtualBox to emulate that PC, in grand fashion.
    2) WINE - the Windows Emulator. WINE has been around for decades, allowing us UNIX guys to run all sorts of Microsoft applications, from Word to Internet Explorer, with more-or-less complete integration within our UNIX enviornments. I mostly use it for old DOS or Win95 games, but it does an excellent job at running PasswordSafe (above).

    GAMES:
    1) Steam - not so much a game as a distribution platform, but it has a lot to offer. Note that not all games on steam will run on all operating systems.
    2) TORCS - this is the ultimate race car simulator. I note it here not for its graphics or gameplay, but for its superior physics.
    3) FlightGear - similar to, but better than TORCS. FlightGear is the open source flight simulator. If you're looking to get into the genre, this will do it. There are third-party sceneries availble for free download which rival others in the pay-for-play marketplace. The physics are spectacular, so if you can get past a cockpit that doesn't quite look like it should, you'll be amazed. There are plugins to put you onto the VATSIM network, for real air traffic, and FG has its own flight sim network, as well.
    4) 0AD - this is an ongoing project to enhance and expand on the old Microsoft Age of Empires franchise. While still a work in project, it is highly playable in its current guise.
    5) OpenSIM - this is the server piece to a number of VR environments similar to SecondLife. There are a number of viewers, out there, which is the client piece you'll need to connect, but with OpenSIM you can run your own sims right in your house.
    6) Minecraft - well, "true" Minecraft itself isn't free (unless you use something like Mineshafter.info (which, if you're going to not bother paying is the best option, imo)). Minecraft is just a java app, so it will run pretty much anywhere.
    7) Blob Wars - Metal Blob Solid. Get it, play it. Ultimate platformer, super fun, and fun to replay.

    I left out a lot of links, but I will come back and fill them in. I'll update this list, periodically, if there's enough interest. Feel free to share your own, below.

  2. #2
    goodlun's Avatar
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    infosec:
    PTF & SET
    gophish
    WireShark
    The Dude

    Entertainment
    MAME
    Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
    –George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence

  3. #3
    submessenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodlun View Post
    infosec:
    PTF & SET
    gophish
    WireShark
    The Dude

    Entertainment
    MAME
    MAME's a great addition. I'll put it up there, later.

    WireShark and SET are on Kali by default. I guess maybe I should dust off my complete infosec list, for a different thread.

  4. #4
    goodlun's Avatar
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    gom player
    7 Zip
    FFmpeg 2.8
    Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
    –George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence

  5. #5
    goodlun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by submessenger View Post
    MAME's a great addition. I'll put it up there, later.

    WireShark and SET are on Kali by default. I guess maybe I should dust off my complete infosec list, for a different thread.
    True, I would include Wireshark outside of Kali as it is useful for many things, where as SET probally not.
    I actually have come to prefer Ubuntu with PTF over Kali.
    Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
    –George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence

  6. #6
    submessenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodlun View Post
    gom player
    7 Zip
    FFmpeg 2.8
    7Zip is another great addition, that should have been on my list to begin with. It seems I'm missing an entire "utility" section.

    FFmpeg is good, but often troublesome. I've had it work as many times as fail, and I know one of the regular contributing coders.

    No experience with GOM, I'll have to check it out - especially with some broken files, sounds like that's its forte.

  7. #7
    submessenger's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Wireshark is a great tool, true, but I think its audience is limited. It is on my infosec list forever (originally as ethereal).

  8. #8
    goodlun's Avatar
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    CCleaner
    Stinger
    LXC (Linux Containers)
    phpmyadmin
    xampp
    FileZilla
    clonezilla
    Dban
    Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
    –George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence

  9. #9
    submessenger's Avatar
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    CCleaner - don't need it unless you're in the habit of fucking up your computer worse than it already is. Limited utility. I like their Recuva tool, though, it's installed by SOP on all my dozers.
    Stinger - I don't trust McAfee
    LXC (Linux Containers) - no experience with it to comment
    phpmyadmin - **** hosts that won't let you SSH and/or use remote mysql CLI
    xampp - I consider this a developer tool, I have a developer list but it's way out of date
    FileZilla - that's supposed to be on my networking list, under Firefox, not sure how I missed c/p
    clonezilla - no experience, personally. when I get the thing, dd and/or dd_rescue are my cloning apps of choice. Occasionally I'll use a hardware duplicator.
    Dban - #cat /dev/random | dd of=/dev/sd? either that or an engineering hammer, depending on if I want to keep the drive.


    I've found chntpw to be damned useful, though. Also, just grabbing the registry and using offline tools to crack the password after extracting the hive. Again, all stuff on the Kali dist...

    (edit) for more general user type stuff, I like Pidgin for IM, that should go on my networking list

  10. #10
    goodlun's Avatar
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    This site, no seriously this site is the best free tool around for anyone that does any sort of build outs
    https://ninite.com/
    Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
    –George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence

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