The best free and open source software in 2022
The IT market is dominated largely by proprietary software. The latter are certainly effective, but their code is jealously guarded by their designers. The alternative solution lies in free and open source software. They promote a philosophy of sharing and community support.
Many of them are unfortunately unknown to the general public. In this folder, we present you a wide selection of free software that will replace as well - or better - the proprietary versions installed on your machine. Enjoy !
Surfing and web security
Difficult to miss out on web browsing. It has become an essential component of our digital daily life. And guess what ? The most famous browsers are free !
Can't miss this giant. Supported by the Mozilla Foundation, Firefox has acquired its credentials in the free world for years. Launched in 2004, this browser has been able to face giants like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge with valor. The udders of his success ? Lightness, modularity and performance. While this last point has often been maligned, regular updates and a new renderer have greatly improved things. The free browser is therefore a hell of a competitor, whether on PC or mobile.
Very complete, Firefox supports the latest web technologies like HTML5 and cross-platform synchronization. But what we appreciate above all, is its great modularity. The American browser offers access to hundreds of extensions and themes that allow you to customize it, whether it's its interface or its features.
Another web browser ? Indeed, but this one is definitely worth a visit. Brave was born in 2016, so he is still very young. To say it all, quite a few of its features are still in the experimental state. But he was able to acquire a large audience under his wing by betting everything on security and his management of advertisements downright atypical. By default, Brave blocks all ads and other often abusive trackers. If this is more of a good thing for the user, it is less so for websites that only live on this income. The browser therefore offers with its Brave Rewards system to let users choose how high they want to pay the sites they deem worthy of interest.
Other than that, the operation of Brave is relatively classic. It is based on Chromium and therefore allows to download many extensions while offering rather complete settings. Fully open source, this browser is definitely worth a look against the aging giants of the Net.
Developed in the 90s by a trio of computer engineers, Tor will not see the light of day until 2003. The browser is just the tip of the iceberg, with Tor relying primarily on its "onion routing" to pull the pin. This technology is the heart of the browser that uses it to secure your connection from end to end by passing it through different "nodes" scattered around the world.
Tell yourself: Tor is not the browser you'll want to use for all your searches. The connection speed will depend on the number of users connected to the network. For many, the slowness inherent in the technology used will make Tor a back-up browser for the most sensitive activities.
This aspect aside, Tor is used like any browser and should not disappoint Chrome, Brave and other Opera regulars. Of course, it will be possible to rummage through the settings to customize their preferences in terms of security, but the majority of users will do very well with the default configuration.
This vault allows you to store and generate in a single file - secure AES-256 bits and Twofish-all your passwords. These can be linked to a web page, commented on and even attached to an external file. The whole thing works in a fully customizable tree structure.
Very lightweight, KeePass does not even require installation. If needed, it can be stored on a USB stick and taken with you everywhere. In the end, you will have only one password to remember : that of this very good manager who will clearly simplify your life !
Watching movies, listening to your favorite music: that's also the strength of free. The most widely used multimedia software in the world is also free, thus ensuring the support of a large community.
Fans of movies, series and music of all kinds, do not miss VLC. In its austere aspect, this French reader launched more than 15 years ago is one of the most effective on the market. Created by Parisian students, it stood out from the competition with a simple but smart idea: natively embed the codecs necessary for reading. No need to spend hours on the Net looking for the audio or video codec capable of reading this or that format !
Very light, VLC Media Player therefore knows how to play movies, music, but also brilliantly manage subtitles. The small media player, thanks to its free orientation, benefits from access to a plethora of extensions and skins produced by the community. What it does not offer natively, you will probably find on the web.
The icing on the cake is that VLC is cross-platform. So you can use it on your PC as well as Mac but also on your Android or iOS smartphone.
Based on the excellent Amarok, Clementine is a music player and library manager. Not greedy in resources, this free software is perfect for any owner of a large digital audio library or simply for lovers of good sound.
Do not be put off by its very easy to use interface : Clementine is a hyper complete software. In addition to managing your locally stored music, this player is able to connect to many more or less famous music services like Spotify or Soundcloud. It even offers options to convert your music to the best known formats or even import songs from Google Drive.
Nothing stands up to him. Coupled with a software for editing tags and information like MusicBrainz Picard , Clementine thus becomes indispensable in the daily life of any music lover who wishes to free himself from proprietary software. Our free player even offers a rather original option with remote control via Android smartphones. Great for controlling your music from the couch !
Imagine a customizable media center, full of features, yet simple to use. All this being free and open source. It does exist, it's called Kodi and it's downright THE must-have software for multimedia fans.Kodi is a bit of the Swiss army knife of multimedia. Movies, series, music or even photos do not resist him. This control center classifies any digital content in seconds, retrieving information, subtitles and covers from the Net. The monumental base of extensions allows everyone to create a tailor-made experience.
The latest versions of Kodi go even further as the media center becomes able to manage video game emulators. Even streaming services are supported. Extended to mobile devices and Android TV, Kodi is the must-have free software for anyone wanting an efficient and easy-to-use media center.
You can't miss GIMP when looking for free and open source graphic editing software. Gnu Image Manipulation Program - that's its real name-can certainly put off at first with an interface to say the least austere and a little confusing...
But don't be fooled by the rough look of this app. It is a real small gold mine for both beginners and advanced users. From the simple removal of red eyes on a family photo to the creation of animated images, almost nothing stands up to him. All the tools needed for editing such as layers, brushes or brushes are available in the very complete interface of GIMP.
If something is ever missing, then a large library of extensions - called plugins-will delight graphic designers of all hair. If Photoshop is out of your budget, then GIMP will be a viable alternative on most points.
In the free software world, Inkscape is the king of vector drawing. While it does not reach the same level as paid proprietary software, it still remained of excellent quality. Its open source side ensures wide compatibility with many platforms: Windows, GNU / Linux and macOS.
Designed to comply with the standard established by the W3C, Inkscape therefore allows working on SVG, XML and CSS formats. Its comprehensive interface remains affordable even for novices. The tools are intended to be simple to use and numerous enough to carry out most of the tasks that one expects from a vector drawing software.
Inkscape also has the advantage of managing graphic tablets, which allows you to do calligraphy with touch pens. Proof of its success, this software is used to render maps of the OpenStreetMaps free project. The designers of Inkscape are counting on a collaboration with Xara to improve their baby in the coming years and raise it to the level of the giants of the sector.
Let's leave aside graphic creation to focus on the subtle art of audio. Once again, the free world is a real pool of quality software, but Audacity clearly stands out from the lot. Launched in 2000, this software was until recently distributed under the GPLv2 license. Since its acquisition by the Muse Group, the software is no longer considered free, at least in the versions that will follow the acquisition. Even if project forks like Tenacity are beginning to emerge, their distribution as well as the installation process is quite complex for neophytes, however, there is no doubt that we will talk about it in the future.
Audacity is for people who want to create and edit audio tracks. It allows - among other things - multitrack recording, voice transformation or even their elimination from a song. The addition of extensions gives it even more possibilities and improves the management of the most popular audio formats.
Like most open source software, Audacity suffers from a somewhat austere interface. It is however multiplatform and will seduce any audio lover who will take the time to invest a little to tame it. Once taken in hand, it proves to be as effective as the big business names in the sector, while being free and carried by a large community.
Images and audio, it's done. But what about the video ? One of the best free and open source solutions is ShotCut. It is a video editor that puts everything on the simplicity of handling. It does not forget to be effective, especially thanks to a wide range of features such as video stabilization or overlay.Launched in 2004 and distributed under the GPL license, ShotCut will be especially suitable for beginners who want to add a little spice to their videos without taking their head. The simple and functional interface allows you to add effects to the videos, but also modify the sound tracks. Many formats and codecs are supported.
If it does not reach the quality of the biggest commercial software, ShotCut is however a free software not to be missed. Its consumer orientation makes it ideal for beginners in video editing, whether you use Windows, macOS or GNU/Linux.
3D modeling and rendering software, Blender was not born free. But the closure of his publishing company allowed him to be reborn thanks to the library community. Since then, this excellent software has been supported by the Blender Foundation.
Let's be clear, Blender is not for beginners. To rub it, you'll have to roll up your sleeves. But the game is well worth the candle. This software is one of the most famous in the world of 3D creation. It was also used to create the famous video Big Buck Bunny. Modeling, animation , video editing: it's a real Swiss army knife. Blender can even be used in creating video games !
What he does not know how to do natively, he is able to learn thanks to the many plug-ins available on the Web. Building on its success, Blender has been forked for several other open source projects. You can download it on Windows as well as GNU/Linux or macOS.
Created your videos with ShotCut and mixed the audio tracks on Audacity ? Now comes the final step: broadcasting on your favorite media. For that, nothing better than Handbrake free software. It is a hyper full video converter compatible with Windows, GNU / Linux and macOS.
No need to be an expert to use Handbrake. Its interface is intended for beginners as well as connoisseurs of transcoding. Basic mode just requires choosing the output format from a wide range of presets. The software then adapts to the rest. Hard to make it simpler !
Of course, it is always possible to go further by manually choosing all the settings : codec, bitrate, resolution, audio track... The options are very numerous, allowing to create custom videos for DVD or other media. Updates remain quite rare, but nevertheless regular. In short, we can only recommend this very good free software.
As we have seen since the beginning of this folder, free software meets almost every need. But what about productivity ? Can the free accompany us to work ? Spoiler: the answer is yes !
With the ever larger size of the data, it becomes necessary to be able to compress it in order to save a little disk space. 7-Zip is the ideal software for this task, but also for archiving files.
Based on an LGPL license, 7-Zip is not totally open source. Indeed, a small part of its code remains proprietary. However, it remains widely distributed on Windows and macOS where it uses a graphical interface. A GNU / Linux version exists at the command line : p7zip. The archives created on these platforms are of course compatible with each other. They can also be used on other software such as WinRAR for example.
This handy little software supports many formats such as ZIP, 7z, RAR, TAR or BZIP2. It is able to perform very efficient compressions/decompressions as well as quality archiving. Even better, 7-Zip can protect your archives with encrypted passwords thanks to the AES-256-bit protocol.
Is it still necessary to present LibreOffice? If you don't want to use Microsoft's Word, Excel and other PowerPoint tools, this free office suite has been the best alternative for years. This is a fork of OpenOffice which, unlike its forebear, enjoys very sustained development and regular updates.
The open source office suite provides users with tools equivalent to those of Microsoft. We therefore find a spreadsheet, a word processor or a slideshow presentation software. Although LibreOffice uses its own file format, it is still compatible with other proprietary solutions on the market. So you can edit a Word document without any problems thanks to LibreOffice Writer.
Signal is a secure instant messaging system that is completely free and all clients are open-source. The result of the merger of RedPhone and TextSecure in 2015, the service enjoyed unprecedented adoption following yet another scandal surrounding the data collection of its competitor WhatsApp in early 2021.
As we explained, Signal inherits the functionality of RedPhone and TextSecure, respectively an encrypted VoIP application and an encrypted instant messaging application. Regulars of WhatsApp, Telegram and consort will therefore be pleasantly surprised to find many features there, including voice messages or group chats.
To continue to operate freely, the service relies on donations made to the Signal Foundation which operates on the same model as other NGOs such as the Wikimedia Foundation.