The best free open source Mac apps — Reality Distortion: Macs, Mac OS X, and Apple stuff

October 2, 2009 at 6:22 am (Uncategorized)

A while back I came across InfoWorld’s list of the best open source Windows software. I thought I’d redress the balance by listing the best open source apps for the Mac!

These are apps that I’ve used myself and consider to be among the best. What do you think? Are there any other open source Mac apps that deserve to be added to the list?

Internet Apps

firefox

Firefox

One of the best Web browsers out there, with all sorts of useful plugins.

thunderbird

Thunderbird

Very capable email app along the lines of Mail.app.

cyberduck

Cyberduck

Nice, easy-to-use FTP software. Just drag and drop files and folders between Cyberduck and the Finder.

kompozer

KompoZer

Decent WYSIWYG Web page editor. A bit rough around the edges but does a good enough job, and doesn’t screw up your HTML as much as some editors do!

adium

Adium

Instant messaging client that supports MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, AIM, ICQ, Facebook, Twitter and more. Looks great and is very customisable.

natsulion

NatsuLion

Nice-looking Twitter client with a cool transparent background. Easy to use (but then again, it’s hard to make a difficult-to-use Twitter app!).

Productivity

openoffice

OpenOffice.org

Fully-fledged office app, featuring word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing tool, and database.

gnucash

GnuCash

Accounting software for tracking your finances. Uses proper double-entry bookkeeping. Perfect for individuals and small businesses alike. Finally it has an easy-to-install Mac version!

Graphics and Media

gimp

GIMP

Comprehensive image editor along the lines of Photoshop. The interface is a bit quirky, and it requires X11 to work, but it’s fine for most photo editing purposes.

seashore

Seashore

A simplified, easy-to-use version of GIMP designed for the Mac. (No X11 required.)

hugin

Hugin

A powerful photo panorama maker. Bit of a learning curve, but it produces great results.

vlc

VLC

Movie player that can play virtually any video and audio format under the sun, including AVI, WMV, OGG, Real, FLV (Flash), DVDs, and lots more.

miro

Miro

A movie player that’s designed for watching Internet TV. You can subscribe to a feed then download episodes to watch at your leisure. Looks great and is easy to use.

perian

Perian

Not an app, but a QuickTime component that lets your Mac (QuickTime, Quick Look, Front Row etc) play practically all popular video formats.

handbrake

HandBrake

Very easy-to-use DVD ripper that can convert DVDs to a variety of formats. Very handy for converting for iPhone.

blender

Blender

Hugely impressive 3D modelling software along the lines of Maya and LightWave. The interface is challenging but it can do some very cool things!

audacity

Audacity

Handy sound recording/editing app. Support multiple tracks, looping, trimming, and lots more.

gawker

Gawker

Lets you create time-lapse movies using your iSight or external camera. Really easy to use and produces great results.

Miscellaneous

celestia

Celestia

Fly around in space and explore stars, planets, space stations and more. Looks beautiful and the level of detail is amazing.

stellarium

Stellarium

A planetarium app that shows you the night sky from any point on earth. It’s so good that it’s actually used in real planetaria!

electric-sheep

Electric Sheep

Screen saver that collaborates with other computers to generate stunning hypnotic animations over time. Takes a while to get going but it looks simply amazing.

virtualbox

VirtualBox

Lets you run other operating systems (such as Windows and Linux) at the same time as Mac OS X. Free, open-source equivalent to VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop.

bitnami

BitNami Stacks

These stacks are a really quick, easy way to get Web apps up and running on your Mac. You can install a basic Web server environment (e.g. Apache/PHP/MySQL) using their “infrastructure stacks”, or complete Web app stacks for running things like WordPress, Drupal or Trac.

More Free Mac Apps

Has this list whetted your appetite? Try the following:

Have fun!

Do you know of any other top-quality open source Mac apps? Please feel free to post them below!

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 at 12:21 pm and is filed under Software. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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