Free software

When buying a new computer today, you will either get an empty computer or a computer that has only the operating system on it. To make the computer functioning as you want it to, you will have to install a large number of software, such as: Multimedia software (graphics, audio, video...), Utility software, Security software, Office software (word processor, spreadsheet...), Internet software, Programs from the field of your work, etc.

The total costs for all these software are often higher than the price of the computer. Fortunately, today there are free alternatives to almost all the software that you are planning to use – even to the professional applications, such as CAD (Computer-aided design), ERP (Enterprise resource planning), OS (Operating system)...

Free software are available most often via internet, and it is a pity not to use them just because you are used to some commercial software that you have at work, or the shareware version that you might have installed.

The quality of free software is very high today – its quality and the number of available free software will surely continue to grow in the future. One of the biggest advantages of the free software – and any commercial program rarely has it – is the large community of users who are willing to assist you in implementing the program through various forums, blogs, etc... We are telling you this based on our own experience, because we are using a number of free software in our work. The help from various forums, free tutorials and video tutorials really helped us a lot to use many free software features, and without it our website would not have looked and functioned as it does.

The main goal of this free software category on our website is to introduce you to some quality free software that you can use. We have divided this category into several sub-categories, where you will find classified programs with basic information about their purpose, functionality and the link to the home page of website from where you can download them:
 

- CAD / CAM / CAE / PDM software.

- Application software

- Online technical calculators

- Online technical databases


Like any other software, the free software also has a license with the declared use of the program. There are many free software licenses.

In order to be declared as free software, the program should meet the 4 freedoms:

Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it to do what you wish.
Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour.
Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

To you as a user of the free software, the freedoms 1 and 3 that are saying about the availability of source code are not so important, because you only want to use the program for some commercial or non-commercial purposes, but they are very important for the development of free software and for the education of a large number of programmers. Growing number of the free software programs, their quality and the entire free software community has become one of the most positive things that happened in the world of computers in the past few years. The most common types of licenses that are declaring some program as free software are:
 
- GNU General public license or simply GPL license
- Open source license
- Public domain license
- Creative Commons licenses

Most people are only interested in using the programs, and so they are satisfied with a less free type of the license that usually go with programs offered by companies that own the program. Today there are a large number of programs owned by some company, but these programs can be used for free only if you agree with the license that the manufacturer of the software stated. For example, such programs are: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Google Chrome, Skype, etc.

You can easily get some free software on the internet, because today there are specialized websites on which you can find many information and links for downloading free software classified by the categories. The best websites for downloading and also informing about the free software are:
 

- Sourceforge.net

Free software directory

List of free and open source software packages (Wikipedia)


When informing yourself about the license for some free software, it would be best to visit Wikipedia and its link Free software license. Before each use of some free software – especially for commercial purpose, you should carefully read the complete license.

You will often come across some program that you will think it is the free software, because the program is declared that way, but after you read the information about it you will realize that it is actually shareware, trial or demo version. These kinds of programs are probably free for use for a certain period of time and after the expiration of that period of time you will have to pay for the program.

In the demo version of the program some of the key function will be disabled. Often the functions of the demo version will allow you to see how the program works, but you could not do anything more with the achieved results.

Trial versions of the programs usually allow the full functionality, but they either have limited number of program starting or limited time of use. After the certain period of time the program will be disabled or it will be converted into a demo mode.

The shareware version of some program is very similar to the trial or demo version. It allows user to test the software just for a limited period of time. The only difference is that at the end of a trial period software will continue to work. This does not mean that you can legally use the software, but that the software owner considers you are honest and that you will pay the price of software if you liked the program.

We hope that we have helped you to choose some free software for your needs and we hope you will let us know if you found some good free software not included in our list.