Best of best Open Source Tools for everyday use

When we talk of Open Source tools of trade, end-users are often confused which is the best tool to minimize the efforts in day to day common applications. Our FOSS expert editor talks right from simple text editors to complex development environments in this article.

There are dimes a dozen Open source tools for productivity in common business applications such as text editing, presentations, spreadsheet, browsers and development environment. Each has its ups and downs. Choosing the right tools according to your need is where the key lies!

Text Editors:

1. Vim
Vim is seen as the best text editor in the world. Yes, it is even ahead of Microsoft Word. If you become familiar with all the functionality of Vim, then you can do wonders using it. It is the fastest text editor.

2. Notepad++
Notepad++ give user the feel of an extended GUI with tabbed editing. It is lightweight and most preferable for beginners.

3. Bluefish
Bluefish is a powerful editor targeted towards programmers and web-designers, with many options to write websites, scripts and programming code. Bluefish supports many programming and markup languages, and it focuses on editing dynamic and interactive websites.

4. Emacs
Supported and developed by FOSS legend Richard M Stallman, Emacs is called to be brother of Vim, with
some advanced function for editing and coding.

Word Processors:

Note thatOpenOffice is now maintained by Oracle Corp.      

1. LibreOffie Writer 
LibreOffice Writer is the open-source word processor component of the LibreOffice software package and is a fork of Writer. The best part is it has backward compatibility and can edit and save documents that can later be opened in MS Word. Fully compatible with popular OpenDocument Format (ODF).

2. OpenOffice Writer Writer is the word processor component of the software package. Writer is a word processor similar to Microsoft Word and Corel's WordPerfect, with some of their features.

Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice writrer support Word's DOC, DOCX, RTF and XHTML.


LibreOffice Impress
The LibreOffice Impress comes by default with LibreOffice package. It has similar GUI and functionality
like Power Point  and users find it easy to migrate fro Power Point to LibreOffice Impress. It is the default office suite in many different Linux distributions, such as Fedora, Linux Mint, openSUSE and Ubuntu Impress
It is fully compatible with presentation prepared in Microsoft  p In addition to being able to create PDF files from presentations, it is also able to export presentations to SWF files allowing them to be played on any computer with a Flash player installed.


LibreOffice Calc
 This ships with LibreOffice suite and like other tools is similar to MS Excel. has many features not available in Excel.
Can converts spreadsheets directly to PDF. Calc
Calc is similar to Microsoft Excel, with a roughly equivalent range of features. Calc is capable of opening and saving most spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel file format. It provides a number of features not present in Excel, including a system that automatically defines series for graphing based on the layout of the user's data. Calc is also capable of writing spreadsheets directly as PDF files.

Gnumeric is a spreadsheet program that is part of the GNOME Free Software Desktop Project.


Firefox is said to be the emperor of Open Source Browsers. It is the most widely used browser thanks
to numerous useful plugins.It is very fast and secure.  

Developed and maintained by Google, Chromium is the next vibe in Browsers platform. It also comes with numerous extensions.

It is developed by Opera Software with over 200million users worldwide. Opera does not come packaged with any desktop operating system. However, it is the most popular desktop browser in some countries.

Audio / Video Players:
Due to patent encumbrances, the DCMA, and other licensing silliness, it's either illegal or legally murky for vendors and open source projects to ship codecs to play DVDs or some video and audio codecs.

Banshee is Open Source's answer to i-Tunes. Banshee uses the Gstreamer backend for media playback, so any formats that Gstreamer can handle should work fine with Banshee. 

2. VLC
Be it windows ot Linux, when it comes to popularity and compatibility VLC is the winnner. If you want a powerful multiplatform video player, check out VLC from VideoLAN. VLC is is a player and "framework" that can handle most audio and video formats you'd want to use, and it also works with DVDs and CD's. The words multi-platform and VLC are synonymous.

3. Amarok.
Amarok is a powerful music player for Linux and Unix, MacOS X and Windows with an intuitive interface. It makes playing the music you love and discovering new music easier than ever before - and it looks good doing it!

Image viewer / Editors:


Chat Mesengers

1. Pidgin
Pidgin (formerly named Gaim) is a multi-platform instant messaging client, based on a library named libpurple

The following protocols are officially supported by libpurple 2.9.0, without any extensions or plugins:
Email Client:

1.Mozilla Thunderbird
It is an e-mail and news cross-platform client software package by Mozilla Foundation. Thunderbird can manage multiple e-mail, newsgroup and RSS accounts and supports multiple identities within accounts. Features like quick search, saved search folders , advanced message filtering, message grouping, and labels help manage and find messages.

2. Claws Mail
Claws Mail is a free, GTK+-based, open source email and news client. It is very light lightweight. Like Firefox , the wide variety of plug-ins for this email client makes it very flexible and secure.

3. Zimbra Collaboration Suite
Zimbra is a client and server platform for messaging and collaboration. The web client integrates email, contacts, shared calendar, VoIP, and online document authoring in a rich browser-based interface. This is more like MS-Exchange and Outlook combo.

This list goes on and on...

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