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This Ubuntu variant runs from a CD and creates a secure environment for working with sensitive data. It's not meant to be installed permanently on a hard drive; instead, you use it when working with data that you don't want to be stolen or in order to prevent others (like a government entity) from monitoring your online activities.
The self-proclaimed "best little Linux operating system available anywhere," lightweight VectorLinux aims to be very fast and very stable. It includes tools that will be popular with advanced users but it also has an easy-to-use graphic interface for newbies.
Like Lubuntu, Xubuntu is a lightweight version of Ubuntu. It uses the Xfce interface, which is clean, modern and easy to use. It also runs well on older hardware.
Formerly known as "Minislack," ZenWalk is a lightweight distribution that focuses on fast performance and support for multimedia. It includes some special features that appeal to programmers, and the desktop version can also be tweaked to function as a server. Note that the website is organized like a forum, so it can be a little tricky to navigate.
Built specifically to attract former Windows users, Ubuntu-based Zorin is probably the Linux distribution that's the most similar to Windows. It includes a unique "Look Changer" that switches the desktop to look like Windows 7, XP, Vista, Ubuntu Unity, Mac OS X or GNOME 2, and it includes WINE and PlayOnLinux to allow users to keep using their Windows software.
Designed for cultural and arts organizations, Artful.ly offers business management software with modules for ticket sales, accounting, donor and sponsor information, fundraising and marketing and more. The same software is available online with a subscription. Operating System: Linux
Cryptohaze brings together three different tools for auditing passwords: two Muliforcers and a Rainbow Tables tool. It runs on most types of systems, including those with Atom processors and those without a GPU. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
John the Ripper excels at detecting weak passwords, but you'll need a list of common passwords to use with it. A paid pro version is also available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
If you need to recover a password that has been lost or forgotten, Ophcrack can usually do the trick. It relies on both rainbow tables and brute force techniques. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Encryptr can function both as a password manager and as an e-wallet. Built on the Crypton framework, it stores encrypted sensitive data in the cloud, decrypting data only on your devices. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android.
Protect yourself online by using this browser add-on to generate and remember highly secure passwords. Unlike some other password managers, this one uses two-factor security: you choose any file to act as your private key when accessing a site, providing you with an extra layer of protection. Operating System: OS Independent.
Instead of writing down your passwords or, even worse, using the same one over and over, use a password safe. KeepPass stores unique passwords for every service or site in an encrypted database that you access with a single master password. Operating System: Windows.
KeePass is one of the most popular open source password safes available. Developers have ported the app to all of the major mobile operating systems. Operating System: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
This variation of the original KeePass supports Linux and OS X, as well as Windows. It also includes a password generation utility. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Instead of saving your passwords in a vault, MasterPassword generates secure passwords on demad using an algorithm based on your name, the site and your master password. The benefits of this approach are that you never have to worry about syncing and you don't have to trust your passwords to a cloud provider. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android
Downloaded more than 4 million times, this Password Safe installs in just minutes. The desktop version is free or you can purchase the portable version for use on a thumb drive. Operating System: Windows.
Using easy-to-guess passwords is just as bad as using the same password all the time. PWGen creates strong passwords for you, so you won't be tempted to use "password" or "123456." Operating System: Windows
Encrypt your passwords and other "secrets" in a secure database. There's also a PC Version called PCSecrets that allows you to access the data from your computer and enables easy data transfer to a new device. Operating System: Android
This cross-platform password manager runs on Android as well as desktop operating systems. It claims to be simpler to use than some other password safes. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android.
Winner of a Black Duck Rookie of the Year award, XPrivacy allows users to limit the categories of data that Android apps can access. If an app requires permission to access contacts or location data in order to run, XPrivacy will feed it fake data so that the app keeps functioning while protecting the user's privacy. Operating System: Android
This Java-based app functions like a "Swiss army knife for PDF files," allowing users to combine, split, reorder, watermark or rotate pages. In addition, it provides encryption and digital signature capabilities. Operating System: OS Independent
This helpful tool allows users to create PDFs or image files from almost any printable file format. It also includes encryption and document merge capabilities. Paid and free versions are available. Operating System: Windows
If you need to alter an existing PDF file, this tool does the job. It allows you to insert, change, delete or highlight text and edit graphics. Operating System: Windows, Linux
The "SAM" part of this project's name stands for "split and merge," and just as it suggests, it allows users to divide existing PDFs into separate documents or combine multiple PDFs into one document. It's especially useful if you just need to reorder the pages in a PDF. The paid enhanced version adds encryption and metadata editing capabilities. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
The free Adobe software isn't your only option for reading PDF files. The Sumatra PDF reader offers similar functionality with a lighter footprint for faster performance. Operating System: Windows
If you have your own Web server, you can use Coppermine to manage and share your photo collection with the world. It stores photo information in a MySQL database and allows you to organize your photos into online albums, upload photos, view slideshows and much more. Operating System: OS Independent
This powerful image manager for the KDE desktop aims to meet the photo organization needs of professional photographers. Key features include photo import, tagging, auto-transformations, a light table and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
The official photo manager for the Gnome desktop, Eye of GNOME supports a wide variety of image file formats. It offers a basic set of capabilities that allow you to browse your images, view properties and metadata, and print your photos. Operating System: Linux
Also for Gnome, gThumb includes an image browser, viewer, organizer and editor. Advanced features allow image import, slideshows, converting among file formats, removing duplicate images, creation of Web albums and more. Operating System: Linux
Another photo viewer for KDE, Gwenview makes it easy to browse and view images, while also offering some basic editing capabilities. It displays image properties and meta information, and it can also play videos and animations. Operating System: Linux
Also for KDE, KPhotoAlbum aims to make it possible to find any photo on your drive in five seconds or less. It offers automated tools for annotating, categorizing, searching and viewing your pictures. Operating System: Linux
This project offers batch processing of raw photo files. It boasts "the most details and least artifacts from your raw photos thanks to modern and traditional demosaicing algorithms." Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This photo manager for the Gnome desktop makes it easy to import, organize, edit and publish your pictures. It offers basic editing features like cropping, rotation, red-eye removal, saturation, tint and temperature, and it integrates with Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and YouTube. Operating System: Linux
This utility can be used on its own or as a Gimp plug-in. It allows users to manipulate and view raw images and convert them to other formats. Note that like the other tools for working with raw images, you'll need to have some expertise to use this app. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Step is an interactive physics simulator that allows students to explore classical mechanics, particles, springs, gravity, coulomb forces, collisions, sound waves and much more. It also includes an equation solver and a unit conversion tool. (Note that in order to use Step on Windows, you'll have to download KDE for Windows.) Operating System: Windows, Linux
This website offers tools to help you write your own poem or to collaborate with other poets on an open source creation. You can save your lines for your own reference or for others to use in creating new works. Operating System: OS Independent
With more than 15 million uses, AdBlock Plus is one of the most popular add-ons available. It allows you to block all advertisements (and their related tracking cookies) or just "unacceptable" advertisements that don't meet the criteria specified by the app developers. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
The We Are Hidden group packaged together this set of privacy tools for Linux users. It includes Proxy Chains, Putty, Tor, True Crypt and more. Operating System: Linux
This Firefox add-on protects against Flash cookies (a.k.a. "Super Cookies") that websites can use to track your activities even when you have cookies disabled. Note that if you play any online Flash-based games, you will need to have this add-on disabled in order to save your scores and game progress. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Want to see which sites and organizations are tracking your online activity? This experimental add-on for Firefox can show you. Note that because it's still in the early stages of development, Collusion can sometimes slow your browsing. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Cookie Monster offers more detailed control over which sites can and cannot leave cookies on your system. It also makes it easy to see and manage the cookies already on your system. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This secure communication app offers encrypted instant messaging, e-mail, file sharing and IRC. It also has the ability to authenticate users and supports emoticons. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
A collaboration the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this Firefox and Chrome plug-in accesses sites via https instead of http whenever possible. As a result, it encrypts most of your communications with many websites. Operating System: OS Independent
LBE claims to be the "most powerful privacy protection software for Android." It blocks malware and unwanted traffic as well as giving users more control over which data apps can access. Note that in order to use it, you'll need a rooted phone. Operating System: Android
Used by the U.S. government, this project turns any PC (or Mac) into a secure computing node. When you plug in a USB drive containing LPS into your system, it enables secure, private Web browsing and prevents the system from downloading any malware. Operating System: OS Independent
Orbot allows Android devices to access the Internet via the secure, private Tor network. In order to provide truly anonymous communication, it sends encrypted messages through several servers to make the traffic impossible to trace. Operating System: Android
If you are accessing a P2P network, you can use PeerBlock to prevent your computer from connecting with "known bad" computers, such as those serving spyware. It comes with a default list of blocked addresses or you can create one of your own or use a list created by other PeerBlock users. Operating System: Windows
Places is a platform for sharing messages, photos and files securely. It encrypts information end-to-end so that only the intended recipients can view it. The source code is available, and for now, the beta service is completely free although the company does intend to add paid services in the future. Operating System: OS Independent.
Want to set up your own proxy server? Privoxy describes itself as "a non-caching web proxy with advanced filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy, modifying web page data and HTTP headers, controlling access, and removing ads and other obnoxious Internet junk." It can protect networks or standalone systems. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This Firefox extension puts you in control of when cross-site requests are allowed. It can help you avoid tracking by marketing firms, and it can help prevent cross-site forgery attacks. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Scotty offers "a free open source proxy software for bypassing filter and censorship systems." To use it, you'll need a gateway (either your own Web server or one on Google App Engine) plus a Java executable on your local system which bypasses filters and encrypts communication. Operating System: OS Independent.
Short for "Secure Ultimate Messenger," SUM is a confidential, encrypted instant messaging program. Unlike many similar programs, it doesn't save messages on a server, providing an extra layer of security. Operating System: OS Independent.
Downloaded hundreds of millions of times, this popular add-on rates sites as green, yellow or red, depending on their reputation for security. It's available for mulitple browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Another Google language, Dart can be used to build Web apps or server-based apps. It describes itself as "class-based and object-oriented, without being dogmatic." Operating System: Linux, OS X
Enterprise Control Language, or ECL, is the language developers use for creating big data applications on the HPCC platform. An IDE, tutorials and a variety of related tools for working with the language are available on the HPCC Systems website. Operating System: Linux.
First released by Google in 2009, Go is a static language somewhat similar to C but with garbage collection and some dynamic capabilities. The Go website describes it as "a fast, statically typed, compiled language that feels like a dynamically typed, interpreted language." Operating System: Linux, OS X
Created by Microsoft, F# is a cross-platform "functional-first" programming language. The website includes a huge number of tools for learning the language and using it to write applications. Operating System: Linux, OS X
Many systems today include GPUs, which promise greater performance and lower energy use. Harlan is an attempt at a programming language designed specifically to take advantage of the capabilities of GPUs. Operating System: Linux, OS X
One of the two most popular programming languages in the world, Oracle-owned Java enables developers to write cross-platform applications. A huge array of related IDEs, libraries and related tools are available. Operating System: OS Independent. EDITOR'S PICK.
Used by World of Warcraft and Angry Birds, Lua claims to the "leading scripting language for games." Developed by a Brazilian team, the name for this twenty-two-year-old language is the Portuguese word for "moon." Operating System: OS Independent
Often used for Web development, Perl is now nearly thirty years old. It is object-oriented, procedural and functional, and it integrates easily with databases. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X. EDITOR'S PICK.
Another popular Web language, PHP powers the server side of some of the world's most popular websites. It stands for "PHP:Hypertext Preprocessor," and it is maintained by The PHP Group. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X. EDITOR'S PICK.
Another Apache Big Data project, Pig is a data analysis platform that uses a textual language called Pig Latin and produces sequences of Map-Reduce programs. It helps makes it easier to write, understand and maintain programs which conduct data analysis tasks in parallel. Operating System: OS Independent
Known for being easy to learn, Python is a dynamically-typed language that emphasizes speed and code readability. Its core philosophy is expressed in twenty aphorisms, including "beautiful is better than ugly," simple is better than complex," and "special cases aren't special enough to break the rules." Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X. EDITOR'S PICK.
Similar to the S language and environment, R was designed to handle statistical computing and graphics. It includes an integrated suite of big data tools for manipulation, calculation and visualization. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Inspired by Perl, Smalltalk, Eiffel, Ada, and Lisp, Ruby calls itself "a programmer's best friend." While its usage has declined somewhat recently, it's still one of the twenty most popular programming languages. It's dynamic, object-oriented and designed to seem "natural." Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X. EDITOR'S PICK.
Terra is a C-like language that can interoperate with Lua, but it can also be used alone. It's useful for high-performance computing. Operating System: Linux, OS X
This Web-based project management tool includes time-tracking and scheduling capabilities. It's available in more than twenty languages, and support is available through third-party partners. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Another mature project, dotProject has been under development since 2000. Key features include an email-based trouble ticket system, hierarchical task list, discussion forum and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux
Downloaded more than 20,000 times a week, GanttProject has been around since 2003. It allows users to create tasks and milestones, organize and prioritize tasks, create PERT charts and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This application combines project management capabilities and portfolio management capabilities in a single package. It comes in personal server (free), group server (free), enterprise server (paid) and enterprise cloud (paid) versions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
A good option for development teams, openXprocess includes features designed for agile and scrum methodologies. The organization also offers paid training in agile and scrum, and paid support is also available. Operating System: Windows, Linux
Like openXprocess, Plandora is best for application or software development groups. Key features include time tracking, request management, customized reports, customized KPIs, dashboard gadgets, knowledge base, risk management, budget management, agile board, resource capacity, surveys, SVN integration, and Gantt charts. Operating System: OS Independent.
Downloaded more than 1.2 million times in more than 120 different countries, Project Libre offers an open source alternative to Microsoft Project. Users include IBM, Accenture, Giorgio Armani, Cisco, AMD, Caterpillar, Medtronic, the U.S. Department of Energy and Boeing. A cloud-based paid version is in the works. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This PPM tool has been included in Gartner's "Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management Applications." Paid support, enhancements and training are available. Operating System: OS Independent
Web-based Redmine offers Gantt charts, calendar, per-project wikis, an issue tracker, newsfeeds and more. It also integrates with most version control systems, making it a good choice for development teams. Operating System: OS Independent.
Still in beta trials, Taiga is a project management platform designed to support agile development principles. In addition to the open source download, the company also offers a hosted service that is currently free; they plan to begin charging subscription fees in January 2016. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Designed for "serious project managers," TaskJuggler claims to be "more flexible and superior to the commonly used Gantt chart editing tools." Key features include an optimizing scheduler, resource balancer, consistency checker, accounting and reporting capabilities. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Offering "real project management for real business," this Web-based tool can manage multiple projects, companies, departments and users. Key features include a modular infrastructure, built-in security, role-based permissions, project- and group-wide Gantt charts, and group calendar. Operating System: OS Independent.
Part of the Linux kernel, Mdadm enables the management of Linux-based RAID arrays. It includes monitoring and reporting capabilities, as well as the ability to move data between arrays. Operating System: Linux
Raider is a bash shell script for building software RAID 1, 4, 5, 6, or 10 arrays. It's optimized for many popular Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian, Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, Mandriva, Mageia, openSuSE, Fedora, Centos, PCLinuxOS, Linux Mint, Scientific Linux, Gentoo, Slackware, Bodhi Linux and others. Operating System: Linux
This app works with the built-in RAID capabilities of OS X to monitor storage arrays. It sends email and sound alerts when it detects failures. Operating System: OS X
Salamander aims to simplify the process of installing Linux on a RAID array. The name comes from the fact that Salamander arrays can recover after a hard-drive failure, just like living salamanders can regrow limbs after one has been cut off. Operating System: Linux
Designed for home media centers and similar storage solutions, SnapRAID provides data duplication such that your array will be able to recover from the loss of up to six disks. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Top-of-the-line Bible study tools like Logos can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but BibleTime offers many of the same capabilities for free. It provides searchable access to more than 200 Bibles, commentaries and related resources. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
It already does everything else--now your computer or smartphone can help you meditate. Using something called the “binaural beat principle,” Gnaural generates audio tones designed to get you in the right frame of mind for relaxation. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Noor doesn’t offer a lot of bells and whistles, but it does let you access the text of the Quran from your PC. It includes both the original Arabic and translations. Operating System: OS Independent
Xiphos provides access to the same Biblical texts and resources as BibleTime—it just has a different interface. It also provides the capabilities for users to create their own modules such as journals, prayer lists and personal commentaries that they can share with friends. Operating System: Windows, Linux
This app provides access to the Quran and commentaries in a number of different translations. It's completely free and open source because its developers follow a very simple rule: "Never Profit Off The Prophet." Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Available through Google Play, this Android VNC client can connect to TightVNC, RealVNC, x11vnc and Apple Remote Desktop. It allows users (or help desk personnel) to remote control desktops or laptops from an Android device. Operating System: Android
Connect to your network securely using OpenVPN. It's available as a paid enterprise solution, a free download or as a cloud-based service. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, iOS.
This remote control application allows users to interact with a system in one location while using a system in another location. In addition to its telecommuting uses, it's also useful in many help desk situations. Operating System: Windows, Linux
UltraVNC offers similar capabilities as TightVNC. Key features include file transfer, video driver, optional encryption plugins, MS logon, text chat, viewer toolbar, viewer auto scaling, multiple monitor support, auto reconnection and more. Operating System: Windows
Gourmet helps you organize your recipes. It imports recipes from multiple formats, including websites, plus it generates shopping lists and counts the calories in the meals you're making. Operating System: Windows, Linux
WIKINDX combines tools for tracking bibliographic information with tools for collaboratively authoring papers. It can be deployed on a single system or on a Web server, and it knows how to format entries for the most popular style guides, including the Chicago Manual, APA and others. Operating System: OS Independent
Zotero stores research information where you found it—in your browser. It's a Firefox plug-in that automatically collects and organizes your research so that you can easily search it later. Operating System: OS Independent
Short for "Robot Operating System," ROS offers a set of open-source libraries for controlling robots. It includes device drivers, libraries, hardware abstraction and other capabilities. Operating System: Linux, OS X
Akura was designed for a "college" (which equates to a K-12 school in the U.S.) in Sri Lanka and serves many Asian institutions. It's won many awards, and it's particularly popular with religious schools. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
Popular with schools around the world, OpenAdmin has been downloaded more than 29,000 times. It's Web-based and can be used for a single school or to manage multiple schools within a district. Operating System: OS Independent.
This web-based school management system "focuses on excellence and evolution in the field of education" with an emphasis on supporting the latest trends. It comes in both a free, open source version and a paid, supported edition. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
Designed for educational institutions of all sizes, this student information system tracks demographics, grades, report cards, attendance and much more. It comes in community (free), school (paid) and district (paid) versions, and cloud-based hosting is also available. Operating System: OS Independent.
Designed for schools in the developing world, SchoolTool runs on Ubuntu and has been translated into numerous languages. The latest update can track skills, outcomes and standards, which is helpful for complying with regulations in many areas. Operating System: Linux.
Although the project was originally begun by Selventa, the Linux Foundation now manages this effort aimed at creating a programming language "representing scientific findings in the life sciences in a computable form." The BEL part stands for Biological Expression Language. The project includes a framework, an editor and a navigator. Operating System: Linux
This is another example of the open source movement spreading beyond software. It's an open science effort to find a cure for malaria. It's hosted on GitHub, and anyone can contribute. Operating System: OS Independent
This unusual project is dedicated to building the first digital life form—a virtual version of the C. elegans nematode. They have code for several projects available through GitHub, or you can contribute simply by joining in on a Google Hangout discussion. The entire project (as well as the code) is guided by open source principles. Operating System: OS Independent
Celtx bills itself as an "all-in-one system for video and movie planning." The main website primarily promotes the online service, but it is still possible to download the source code for the open source version. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
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