Essential Free Software For The Mac

A new Mac buyer recently asked me for the best starter set of software for a new Mac. I am very Apple — which means I have an iPhone, a Mac, an Apple TV and an iPad, so I like things that let me work across all my devices seamlessly. For all office work I highly recommend Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps — they are very very good, are free, and work everywhere (except the Apple TV). You won’t find a note-taking app in my list because I’m using Apple’s inbuilt Notes. I also use Mail, Calendar and Address Book — all default apps. And I can’t even begin to talk about how good iMovie is for video editing (I have been editing video since 2005, and while my professional video editing days are behind me, I love how easy iMovie makes life for me).

Anyway, here’s my list (and I would recommend installing in this order):

Essential Software:

Onyx
System Cleaner
Run it once and then set it up to auto-execute on a weekly/monthly basis. It will clear your system of un-needed files.
http://www.titanium.free.fr/onyx.html

Dropbox (iOS + OSX)
Cloud Storage
I used only free storage for around a year, now I pay for a Terabyte of storage. I cannot imagine life without Dropbox.
https://www.dropbox.com/install

Cyberduck
FTP Client
And not just FTP, supports S3, Azure etc.
https://cyberduck.io/

Transmission
Torrent Client
My favorite way to download files — uTorrent is a very good alternative, but for some reason I’ve always preferred Transmission.
http://www.transmissionbt.com/download/

The Unarchiver
File Compression
Zip, Rar and almost every other file compression format is supported
https://itunes.apple.com/app/the-unarchiver/id425424353?mt=12&ls=1

VLC
Media Player
Plays every media file out there. I use it instead of Quicktime.
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

Handbrake
Video Format Transcoder
This is what I use to convert video files into formats supported by iTunes so I copy stuff over to my phone/ipad.
https://handbrake.fr/downloads.php

Brackets
Text Editor
If you code, you’re going to love this. If you like text-editors, you are going to love this.
http://brackets.io/

Gimp
Photoshop Replacement
As powerful as Photoshop and ridiculous overkill for most people.
https://www.gimp.org/macintosh/

Pixelmator (Especially, if Gimp feels like too much)
Image Editing
Powerful image editing — most of you will be happy with this.
http://www.pixelmator.com/mac/

Inkscape
Illustrator Replacement
Ridiculously good. Seriously.
https://inkscape.org/en/download/mac-os/

Pocket (iOS + OSX)
Article Reader / Saver
My favorite way to save articles I live/love — I have a pocket button in my browser, the app on all my devices and I love it. And I love the clean interface it gives me to read articles.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocket/id568494494?mt=12

Reeder (iOS + OSX)
RSS Reader
Old school 🙂 Still use an RSS Reeder and send almost everything I like to Pocket to read later.
http://reederapp.com/

Monolingual
Removes unwanted language files (saved 3+ GB of space when I ran it recently)
https://ingmarstein.github.io/Monolingual/

The Freedom Box — the future of social media, the Internet and personal freedom

Eben Moglen, the famous free software attorney (wikipedia entry), talks about the world we live in today where we are tracked, measured and monitored in real time, in the video below. A world, where we are no longer anonymous.

He talks about many of the things that have bothered me for a while now. Let me give you a simple example: I wanted to attend the Triggr event in Noida, India today (Saturday, June 18, 2011). When I went to register for the event, I was asked to sign in via Twitter.

These are the things Triggr wanted to do:

The permissions that Triggr wanted from my Twitter account

Reading Tweets from my Timeline is fine, seeing who I follow is okay as well, since that is public information. But follow new people, update my profile, posts tweets, and the show-stopper: access direct messages till June 30th!

I didn’t register, and I didn’t attend.

Facebook has data about 700 million individuals. So, Facebook knows who we are, where we live, who are friends our, what we like, what we want, what we think…

Watch this video:

Eben Moglen is trying to give the internet, and our lives, back to us.

Track the Freedom Box Foundation here: whose goal “is to write free software that enables widely distributed social networking that runs on tiny automated individual home computers.”