//Best Open-Source Software to Try [Updated: 2019]
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Best Open-Source Software to Try [Updated: 2019]

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Open-source software feels like an anomaly in today’s corporate tech world. The idea that a community of developers are happy to work on a piece of software – usually for no money – for literally years seems ludicrous, and speaks to the passion that people have for making technology for the benefit of everyone. Open-source devs, we salute you!

So to honor these tireless workers who quietly make our day-to-day computer experiences that much better, we’ve decided to write up a multi-platform list of what we deem the best open-source software you can get in 2019.

Do note that there are tons of open-source software out there, and we can’t possibly cover all of them. That said, here are what we think are the best for the end user. Opinions may differ though.

LibreOffice

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

The king of open-source office platforms is still going strong. After all these years, LibreOffice is getting update after update that make it not just the best open-source option, but one of the best office suits outright.

LibreOffice

With its traditional interface, and wealth of software including equivalents to Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, Powerpoint and Access, this is probably the most useful free open-source package you’ll find.

LibreOffice has excellent compatibility across myriad formats – from Microsoft’s proprietary formats to the more obscure ones – and is constantly evolving (one of my favorite small additions last year was the inclusion of a dynamic word count at the bottom of the screen).

Krita

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

For the creatives out there (the Kritatives?), this is possibly on of the best kept secrets on the internet. Which is strange, because it’s free and open-source! Krita is a wonderfully in-depth digital painting and graphics editing tool that’s a great for both those trying their hand at digital art and full-on professionals.

Krita

It uses a layer-based system, and despite its complexity it has a very accessible UI and puts much less load on your system than, say Photoshop.

From the broadstrokes to the fine details like colour management, Krita is such a robust tool that you’ll be amazed how it’s offered for free.

Notepad++

Platforms: Windows

Experienced PC users won’t need to hear again about why Notepad++ is so useful. It’s a brilliant tool for coders, with all the expected features like syntax highlighting, a number of markup languages, and one of the cleanest interfaces around.

Notepad++

For gamers who like dabbling around in their games’ .ini files to improve graphics and performance, it’s impossible to go back to regular Notepad after this, because Notepad++ automatically organises all the data into clearly numbered rows.

It also has an excellent tab system, which lets you work on multiple files at once, and remembers the tabs you had open, so you can pick up where you left off even after rebooting your PC.

TestDisk & PhotoRec

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

TestDisk & PhotoRec

Data recovery doesn’t get colder, more clinical, or more efficient than this. TestDisk looks much the same today as it did when it was first released over twenty years ago, and it is still one of the best tools for recovering whole partitions of lost or deleted data in various formats. PhotoRec does much the same job but zeroes in on recovering photos and similar digital media.

Both of these tools work from a command-line interface, which may be off putting for those who prefer a more user-friendly look. But the file system support here is very impressive, and once you learn which commands do what, this pair remains one of the most efficient options for data recovery.

stud.io

Platforms: Windows, Mac

stud.io

Most of the best open-source software has had years to refine itself, so we’ve made an effort to look for some more recent tools that have made a splash as well. One of our favourites is the LEGO-building software, stud.io. It’s incredibly intuitive and will have you digitally constructing models from your wildest imaginings immediately.

One of its neater features is that it can track down where to buy all the bricks you used in your virtual model in real life, linking you to the stores that sell them and letting you order them straight away.

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