Most of the solutions or tools I've been sharing have been browser-based. I've been mindful in that way because browser-based tools (like Google or Pixlr) usually work regardless of what kind of computer you use. With these tools, you also don't have to fuss with installation or getting administrative rights to add a new program to your desktop or laptop.
That being said, there are a bevy of great free and open-source softwares out there. All open-source software really means is that the source code for that program is available for developers and users. Users can study, change, and help improve the software as they use it. Firefox is probably the most widely-used open-source software.
Here are some of my favorite free and open-source softwares:
- GIMP: This image-editing software is not quite as robust as Adobe Photoshop, but it is a great free alternative.
- Blender: Blender is another high-octane Photoshop alternative. It can used for creating animated films, visual effects, interactive 3D applications or video games.
- Scribus: Speaking of Adobe alternatives, Scribus is to inDesign as GIMP and Blender are to Photoshop. Scribus is designed for flexible layout and typesetting and the ability to prepare files for professional quality image setting equipment. It can also create animated and interactive PDF presentations and forms. Example uses include writing small newspapers, brochures, newsletters, posters and books.
- R: R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. R stacks up well against softwares like SPSS and SAS and because it's free there is no harm in trying it. R does take some time to learn the syntax as it's command based, so keep that in mind. [Intro to R from U of M stats course]
- Adium: For the Mac users, Adium is an awesome instant-messaging client. I like it because you can load a variety of accounts from GoogleChat to Facebook Chat to Jabber.