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The 40 best free software applications

Everything you could ever want... for free

The web is a treasure trove is free software. But will stay true and serve its purpose? Or crash and burn your expensive system? We've rounded-up the best genuine free software and services the web has to offer.

Ubuntu (Gutsy Gibbon)

Ubuntu 7.10 stands out as the best because of its user-friendly and comprehensive nature. Installing it is fast and easy with the help of the graphical installer, unlike other Linux versions which are complicated at most times. The interface looks good with a desktop that is clean and tidy, no desktop icons, and a default theme that is easy on the eye.

Other than the basics - utilities, graphics, office suite, a variety of multimedia applications, free games, etc Ubuntu 7.10 also packs in lots of killer features like Compiz Fusion (generate cool desktop effects), Fast User Switching (allows multiple users to switch while staying logged in), Bulletproof X (a mode that will be used if X fails to start up), Gnash (a free version of the flash player), etc. And if you still want to use Windows OS, some settings can be ported over easily.

Ubuntu 7.10 'Gutsy Gibbon' desktop Linux review.

Fedora 8.0

Fedora is another impressive Linux distribution with a ton of features. The look and feel of the OS is really impressive with a polished, professional look. The desktop looks very nice, with its unique new theme "Nodoka" and its default wallpaper changes colours depending on the time of the day.

It is packed with a slew of exciting features such as Pulse Audio (new Linux Sound System), Codec Buddy, Online-Desktop, Compiz and Gnome 2.20, etc. Pulse Audio features the ability to have different volumes for each running application, interrupting music playback for a VoIP call, and "hot" switching of playback streams between devices on USB headsets. Online Desktop is a new Gnome application to integrate popular online applications into the Gnome desktop.

Click here for our Fedora Linux distribution review.


Make videos go Blip Blip

For most people, video sharing is almost synonymous with YouTube. Agreed, it has the widest possible audience, but did you know there are better alternatives on the internet? Sites such as Blip TV provide better quality video, allow downloading of the original file and also share advertising revenue with you on a 50-50 basis. It lets you upload video via its website, FTP, or a utility called UpperBlip. You can also upload a clip from your mobile phone by attaching the video in an email. Blip.tv has a number of HTML code options when it comes to embedding videos into your web site or blog, giving users more flexibility. Also, it lets you make available video optimised for iPod and cell phone playback. There is also the option of creating your own thumbnails or the website will do it for you.

The website even allows you use Creative Commons licences that let you decide whether you want attribution, restrict commercial use, or allow modifications and reuse under specified terms. There is a 100MB size limit per file, but no restrictions on video duration (YouTube has a 10 minutes / 100MB restriction per video).

DivX Stage6's also gets high marks thanks to the excellent video quality it offers. As expected, you need to convert your videos to the DivX format before uploading, which is one extra step in the process. But once done this reduces the file size significantly without affecting the quality. Viewers will be required to download the DivX Web Player plug-in, but thankfully this takes only a couple of minutes on a 256kbps connection. Stage6 is currently the only service hosting 720p (high-def) videos for free. DivX specifies 450kbps as the minimum bandwidth required for viewers to be able to stream this.

See also:

The 10 best video-sharing websites

NEXT PAGE: The best free software on the net for transforming your desktop.

  1. Free security software
  2. More free security software and office applications
  3. Email tools
  4. Web browsers and internet tools
  5. Photo-sharing freebies
  6. Free photo editors
  7. Audio-editing tools
  8. Open-source operating systems and video tools
  9. Desktop software utilities
  10. System tools
  11. Social-networking solutions
  12. More video tools
  13. Home entertainment freebies
  14. Blogging fun
  15. For the best free software, visit PC Advisor Downloads

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