The best free software (Hall of Fame)

Adobe Reader (Windows | MacOS | Linux | Mobile)
This simplest of Adobe’s PDF programs lets you do just about anything PDF-related (besides create new ones), including online collaboration. It includes a host of features to aid users with disabilities.

AIM (Windows | MacOS | Linux | Web)
One of the most widely used pieces of free software ever, AOL Instant Messenger offers a ton of capabilities.

Audacity (Windows | MacOS | Linux)
Whether you’re recording or editing, Audacity is all about audio in practically any format.

Firefox (Windows | MacOS | Linux)
This PC Mag Editors’ Choice Web browser has been on top of the heap since version 1.5 came out in late 2005.

GIMP (Windows | MacOS | Linux)
The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) does most of what Photoshop does; the Gimpshop project ( even makes it look like Photoshop.

iTunes (Windows | MacOS)
When you’re attached to the top media player in the land (iPod), success is a given. iTunes con tinues to build sales and refi ne its organization of songs, video, games, podcasts, and more. (Windows | MacOS | Linux)
You can spend a lot for Microsoft Office or nothing for this suite with full-function word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentations, even an equations editor.

Skype (Windows | MacOS | Linux)
You’ll pay to call regular phones, but if you sign up all your friends, Skype provides easy (and even international) calls and videoconferencing for nothing.

Thunderbird (Windows | MacOS | Linux)
Mozilla’s no-cost e-mail alternative is extensible, fast, and easy to master. And a wealth of free add-ons means there’s not much this program won’t do, from calendars to encryption.

Ubuntu (Linux)
This Linux-based OS comes with many of these Hall of Fame products (Firefox, preinstalled.

WinAmp (Windows)
After a decade of playing music, the “skinnable” WinAmp has several versions, including one with full CD ripping and burning.


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