Greatest Software Ever?

This site posted a list of what they thought was the greatest software ever written. I decided I’d come up with a list of my own personal favorite free (or nearly free) programs.

10. Trillian (Instant Messaging) – I used to use IM a lot more, but when I do it’s always through Trillian. My contacts are fragmented all through AOL, ICQ, and MSN and Trillian lets you connect to each of them as if they were one network. File transfers don’t always work through it, but overall it’s great.

9. Toad (Database interface) – At work I access an Oracle database all the time and Toad is an awesome lightweight program for running SQL queries.

8. putty (SSH client) – The only SSH client you’ll ever need, although it never seems to save my color preferences.

7. Adblock Plus extension for Firefox – Firefox’s ad blocking extension makes the web so much better.

6. Google Maps – Everyone used mapquest for so long it was amazing that google was able to come out with something so much better. The best part is overlaying street names on the satelite photos. I use it all the time.

5. iTunes – It says a lot for iTunes that I used it for over a year before I got an iPod. I’ve had love/hate relationships with a lot of MP3 players and organizers, but iTunes does it right. It has all the features you want: smart playlists, volume evening, ratings, sort by anything and everything, burn mixes to CD, etc. I wish I could have more advanced smart playlist logic, but it’s still better than anything else out there.

4. Gimp (Photo/Image editing) – I used to own photoshop 5, but I haven’t bothered to upgrade since I found Gimp for Windows. Sure, the interface isn’t as slick as Photoshop but it’s a fantastic image editing program for FREE.

3. Mozilla Thunderbird (Email) – I got so fed up with Outlook Express I actually wrote and used my own mail client for a while. Then my computer crashed and I lost a lot of the code. I started re-writing it, but then I found Thunderbird and gave up. It has everything you like about OE without all the viruses.

2. Editpad Lite (Text Editing) – A friend showed me this replacement for Notepad a long time ago and I haven’t used much else since. One testament to its greatness is that many times I’ll show it to someone once and from then on I’ll see them using all the time. It’s a lightning fast text editor that lets you do multiple tabs, word counts, and line numbers. I use it every day and its speed makes my life easier.

1. Mozilla Firefox – When Netscape first released their source code everyone thought there would be a competitor for Internet Explorer right off the bat. Not so. It took years before the Mozilla foundation had something worth using, but when they finally did it was pretty neat. The Mozilla suite (email, newsgroups, browser, and IRC chat client) worked great, except the annoying problem that if the email client crashed so did the browser. Some kid decided to strip the browser out by itself and Firefox was born. I give credit to Firefox for taking the web back to users in allowing us to block ads, manage cookies, and circumvent annoying technologies using many of the awesome extensions out there available like AdBlock, Greasemonkey, Bugmenot, Web Developer, etc.

Honorable mentions: Audacity (sound editing), ptkdb (gui based perl debugger), PrimoPDF (ultra simple PDF converter).


2 responses to “Greatest Software Ever?”

  1. TextPad is a pretty cool editor too. When coding, it colors tags, keywords, etc. There are plugins for every language: screenshot. There’s a free trial version.

  2. I’ve tried textpad. In fact, a lot of people I knew in college used it, but I really prefer editpad.