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Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without? 531

An anonymous reader writes "Whenever I install a fresh operating system on my computer, I immediately grab a handful of programs that I simply must have. After that, I generally wait and install other pieces of software as I need them. My list of known, useful programs has dwindled over the past few years as projects died, ownership transferred, and functionality changed. At the same time, I've begun to have use for certain types of software that I've never needed before. It can be time-consuming and risky to install and evaluate every single option. So, I'm curious: what pieces of software do you find the most useful and reliable? Don't feel the need to limit yourself by operating system, platform, or hardware. If you're so inclined, a brief description about what makes the software great would be helpful, too."
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Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

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  • Search Software (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:27AM (#46380779)

    For Windows, I always install Agent Ransack. My job requires I work with a file type that doesn't lend itself to the standard file search. Agent Ransack really excels at finding needles in haystacks. I also use Beyond Compare on every work PC. After that, it USED to be the gchat app from google, but with them moving to Google talk / hangouts, I've changed over to Pidgen.

  • Total Commander (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:31AM (#46380801)

    Unable to use an computer without it, runs fine under wine ..

  • by Kr1ll1n ( 579971 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:33AM (#46380811)

    Notepad++ on Windows
    TextMate on OSX

  • Ninite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:36AM (#46380829)

    Pick your programs, install them all silently, with good defaults, and check(and install) updates for all with very effort.

  • Good web browsers. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:37AM (#46380841) Homepage

    Firefox and Opera are on my list of good ones so far.

  • by DadLeopard ( 1290796 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:38AM (#46380847)
    That would be Thunderbird, followed by Calibre and Skype. I don't care for Evolution, so Thunderbird which is nice and simple to use! Calibre since I have a Sony Reader which uses epub format, since Calibre can convert just about any eBook format to just about any other one, as long as they are not DRMed, it also keeps my eBook library nicely organized. Skype is because one son lives 800 miles away and another 6,157 miles away right now, and Skype works with MS, Apple and Linux OSes so we can keep in touch and see each others faces once in a while!
  • My List (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hrrrg ( 565259 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:55AM (#46380963)

    Adobe Lightroom - does 95% of what I would do with photoshop, works on raw images and simplifies my workflow tremendously. I almost never use photoshop anymore.

    Ubuntu, Windows 8.1, Libreoffice, Adobe Reader, - self explanatory.

    Firefox with Adblock plus and Better Privacy and HTPS Everywhere installed.

    KeepassX - Password manager. Multiplatform, much less buggy than Keepass2 (note to develepers: please take it out of alpha status!)

    F.Lux - warms up the color of your monitor in the evenings so that it doesn't interfere with your circadian rhythm, hopefully improves sleep. (hey - it's free!)

    Videolan (VLC) - excellent video player (despite the crappy name)

    Sandboxie (paid $$) - Sandbox your browser and various other programs

    FastOne Image Viewer - excellent, free sildeshow software

    Secunia PSI - makes sure your programs are kept up-to-date

  • by bigal123 ( 709270 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @10:04AM (#46381023)

    This list is part of a much longer list that I maintain and sometimes publish.

    * 7-ZIP -- Create/Extra ZIP and many other other file compression formats, very powerful. Note can open some installer EXE and MSI files (see Microsoft Orca for more MSI options) (free, open source, Windows, there may be Linux/Mac variants). []

    * CCleaner -- System optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. (free, closed source, Windows) [] **Alternate Tool** BleachBit -- Free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn't know was there. (free, open source Linux/Windows) http://bleachbit.sourceforge.n... []

    * Greenshot -- Good Screen Shot tool with simple annotation options. (free, open source, Windows) http://greenshot.sourceforge.n... []

    * IrfanView -- Image Program View, convert, crop, optimize, sideshow, batch Processing etc (free noncommercial, closed source, Windows) []

    Instantbird -- Multi Protocol Instant Messaging (IM) Client - AOL, MSM, Yahoo, etc (free, open source, Linux/Mac/Windows) **Alternate Tool** Pidgin - Multi Protocol Instant Messaging (IM) Client - AOL, MSM, Yahoo, etc (free, open source, Linux/Mac/Windows) []

    * KeePass Password Safe -- Good Quality secure password manager, stores passwords encrypted. (free, open source, Windows Linux/Mac with Mono) []

    * LibreOffice -- Power-packed Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production. Excellent replacement for other Office Suites, can open many different and sometimes odd file types -- (free, open source, Linux/Mac/Windows) []

    * FireFox -- Web browser for more security then Internet Explore (free, open source, Linux/Mac/Windows) [] []

    * SpeedCrunch -- fast, high-precision and powerful cross-platform desktop calculator (free, open source, Linux/Mac/Windows) [] & []

    * UltraEdit -- Probably the absolute best most powerful text editors around, edit huge files, FTP, column mode, and more (shareware, closed source, Win/Mac/Linux) [] **Alternate Tool** Noteppad++ -- Good Text / Source Code Editor replacement for Microsoft Windows Notepad/Wordpad (free, open source) http://notepad-plus.sourceforg... []

    * VLC Media Player -- One of the best media players out there. Highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. (free, oen source, Linux/Mac/Windows) []

  • The rundown (Score:4, Informative)

    by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @11:16AM (#46381365)
    Qt 4 Designer

    I'm running Bohdi Linux (E17), a few favorite built apps and functionality:

    Enlightenment File Manager
    Configure secondary monitor workspaces as tiling (awesome - could not live without - and one of the primary reasons I run Enlightenment) primary tiling workspace dedicated to Chrome, Terminology, and Gedit
    Of course it's Enlightenment so I spend the next two-days configuring all of the fine details.
  • Re:Search Software (Score:4, Informative)

    by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @11:31AM (#46381475)

    If I'm stuck using a Windows box, first thing I install is MKS Toolkit []. That gives me a decent shell, vi, and grep - which will find anything in any file. No need for special search tools.

    (And yes, I know about Cygwin; MKS is vastly superior to Cygwin, since everything just works in a standard DOS shell, it doesn't require it's own special environment).

  • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @01:04PM (#46381967)

    I find WinDirStat a much superior file/directory size analyzer - it offers a tree view with details that is continuously updated as the directories are scanned in a breadth-first order, with indicators for which directory trees haven't yet been fully scanned, allowing for useful analysis to be performed almost immediately instead of waiting for the scan to complete. Then, when the scan is finally finished, you also get a graphical "pillow view" overview of the entire file system, color-coded by file type.

    Everything is another great search tool - it only works on NTFS drives, but typically takes only a minute or so to scan a large drive for the first time, seconds to update it's database on subsequent launches, and lists all files whose name contains your specified word fragments literally as fast as you can type. Hit "a" and you will be faced with a list of hundreds of thousands of files before you can type a second letter. It also supports regex if word-fragments are insufficiently powerful for your needs.

  • Requisite software (Score:4, Informative)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @06:36PM (#46384009) Homepage Journal

    in the modern GUI realm, Omni Outliner. I have it under OSX and on the iPad. I use it *constantly* for all manner of information.

    In the shell, midnight commander. first thing I do when I open a shell is "mc" or "sudo mc" and off I go.

    Aside from those, the components of c and c++ application creation (can be compiler and linker only, mc has a nice editor and I don't require a debugging environment though I'm happy to use 'em when they are available), and Python. Without these, there would be little point in me even owning a desktop or laptop computer.

    Coming in dead last, a web browser.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva