Something to always watch for: crapware installers. To make ends meet, many creators of otherwise great free software, or the services that offer the programs for download, bundle in things you don't want. Worse, the installation routine obfuscates the steps, so you provide the unwanted program tacit permission to be installed. For more about how to spot and avoid this problem, see How to Clean Crapware From a New PC, and check out the Uninstaller section of this very free software collection.
Copyrights are a method of protecting the rights of the creator of certain types of works. In most countries, software you write is automatically copyrighted. A license is the authors way of allowing use of their creation (software in this case), by others, in ways that are acceptable to them. It is up to the author to include a license which declares in what ways the software may be used. For a proper discussion of copyright see https://www.copyright.gov/.

The BSD-based operating systems, such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD, do not have their own formal definitions of free software. Users of these systems generally find the same set of software to be acceptable, but sometimes see copyleft as restrictive. They generally advocate permissive free software licenses, which allow others to use the software as they wish, without being legally forced to provide the source code. Their view is that this permissive approach is more free. The Kerberos, X11, and Apache software licenses are substantially similar in intent and implementation.

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GIMP has a very different interface from Photoshop, and some people scratch their heads over its workflow. But generally speaking, GIMP is a lot simpler to use. It’s also free to download, and the software is regularly updated. GIMP has come along way since its clunky inception, and more and more Photoshop users are making the switch, or even cutting their teeth with this zero-cost alternative.
Quora has been quite a successful strategy for us lately. Both Mustafa (from our marketing team) and I have been getting consistently high views on our answers, which translates into some pretty decent traffic. Even better, that traffic is really high quality, because people are usually well and truly into their research phase when they read answers on Quora.
One of the most popular synchronization services ever: simply put files in your Dropbox folder on the desktop, they get uploaded to the cloud, and are instantly synchronized with any other PC on the account. Files are also accessible via apps or the Web. If you delete a file by accident, you can use the site to get it back. You get 2GB of free online storage, which you can bolster by sharing on social media and downloading the mobile apps.
Printing to a printer locally can be a hassle sometimes. Over a network it doesn't get better, and over the Internet? Get ready to tear your hair out at the roots and use the blood as ink—it's faster. Unless you've got PrinterShare installed. Put the software on a PC connected to a printer (or on the network with one), set up an account, and then any PC should be able to see the printer(s). You can even print right from the Web. Sadly, the mobile versions are premium only.
Eric narrowly averted a career in food service when he began in tech publishing at Ziff-Davis over 25 years ago. He was on the founding staff of Windows Sources, FamilyPC, and Access Internet Magazine (all defunct, and it's not his fault). He's the author of two novels, BETA TEST ("an unusually lighthearted apocalyptic tale"--Publishers' Weekly) an... See Full Bio
Consider OneDrive the most flexible and all-encompassing sync and back-up tool going. It's the official cloud storage for users of Microsoft Office and Windows 10 (it's built right into the OS). OneDrive throws in 5GB of free online storage; you earn extra by referring friends or backing up smartphone cameras. If you subscribe to Office 365 Home, that storage jumps up to 1TB.
A hacked webcam is the stuff of horror movies: Most desktops sit in bedrooms or living rooms, and there are lots of intimate moments that a stranger could see. Laptops move around, and a stranger can watch your entire day transpire, anywhere the device is opened up. Worse, you may not have any idea that your computer’s camera is being used as an invasive periscope. Hacked webcams are notoriously hard to diagnose.

If you've got a Microsoft account, you have access to Outlook.com, the successor to Hotmail and Live mail and our Editors' Choice for Web-based email. There's still the Outlook program itself for Windows and Mac—it comes with Microsoft Office—but this free option is a perfect, minimalist, consumer-based webmail, complete with OneDrive integration. Interesting features include Sweeps, so you can, for example, delete all messages from one sender at once, and built-in chat—including Skype video chat. The version for iOS is particularly great.


Gale is an e-research tool offered by Cengage Learning. It's designed mainly for schools and educational research, but can be quite helpful in generating sales lead lists as well. Gale publishes over 600 databases, both in hard copy and online. These databases include both business information and collections of articles on various subjects. The article lists are particularly useful when you're collecting lists of publications related to your industry.
In 1983, Richard Stallman, one of the original authors of the popular Emacs program and a longtime member of the hacker community at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, announced the GNU project, the purpose of which was to produce a completely non-proprietary Unix-compatible operating system, saying that he had become frustrated with the shift in climate surrounding the computer world and its users. In his initial declaration of the project and its purpose, he specifically cited as a motivation his opposition to being asked to agree to non-disclosure agreements and restrictive licenses which prohibited the free sharing of potentially profitable in-development software, a prohibition directly contrary to the traditional hacker ethic. Software development for the GNU operating system began in January 1984, and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) was founded in October 1985. He developed a free software definition and the concept of "copyleft", designed to ensure software freedom for all. Some non-software industries are beginning to use techniques similar to those used in free software development for their research and development process; scientists, for example, are looking towards more open development processes, and hardware such as microchips are beginning to be developed with specifications released under copyleft licenses (see the OpenCores project, for instance). Creative Commons and the free culture movement have also been largely influenced by the free software movement.
In 1983, Richard Stallman, one of the original authors of the popular Emacs program and a longtime member of the hacker community at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, announced the GNU project, the purpose of which was to produce a completely non-proprietary Unix-compatible operating system, saying that he had become frustrated with the shift in climate surrounding the computer world and its users. In his initial declaration of the project and its purpose, he specifically cited as a motivation his opposition to being asked to agree to non-disclosure agreements and restrictive licenses which prohibited the free sharing of potentially profitable in-development software, a prohibition directly contrary to the traditional hacker ethic. Software development for the GNU operating system began in January 1984, and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) was founded in October 1985. He developed a free software definition and the concept of "copyleft", designed to ensure software freedom for all. Some non-software industries are beginning to use techniques similar to those used in free software development for their research and development process; scientists, for example, are looking towards more open development processes, and hardware such as microchips are beginning to be developed with specifications released under copyleft licenses (see the OpenCores project, for instance). Creative Commons and the free culture movement have also been largely influenced by the free software movement.
Actively search for people and businesses who might benefit from your services. Check out their website, get ahold of their contact information, and start cold calling to generate leads. Few freelancers use this direct strategy anymore, and people will be surprised by your professionalism in choosing to cold call. This will help you stand out from the competition.

Comodo does much more than the built-in option in Windows. As it should, it blocks attacks from outside, and it has a malware detector that's better than some antivirus systems. It also installs the Comodo Dragon hardened security web browser. (Be careful during install, though; nice as it is, it may try to change your browser home page and search engine defaults.)
Once a pricey alternative to handling basics for PDF viewing and editing, the latest version is totally free for private and commercial use, but PDFs may get watermarked if you save them (removing the watermark requires an upgrade). They say 85 percent of the features are free, however, including the lite printer to create PDFs with other programs, form filling, multiple language support, OCR, and more.
Each directory represents a one-time investment from the agency to set up a profile. Each listing represents a possible lead generation opportunity. While there are thousands of agencies listed in those directories, businesses may have the option to set up themselves in more curated directories. For examples, HubSpot's agency directory lists only 600 agencies. 
^ Waring, Teresa; Maddocks, Philip (1 October 2005). "Open Source Software implementation in the UK public sector: Evidence from the field and implications for the future". International Journal of Information Management. 25 (5): 411–428. doi:10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2005.06.002. In addition OSS’s development process is creating innovative products that are reliable, secure, practical and have high usability and performance ratings. Users are now not only benefiting from the OSS revolution but also from the improved proprietary software development that is being forced upon suppliers in order to maintain competitive advantage.
“Free software” does not mean “noncommercial”. A free program must be available for commercial use, commercial development, and commercial distribution. Commercial development of free software is no longer unusual; such free commercial software is very important. You may have paid money to get copies of free software, or you may have obtained copies at no charge. But regardless of how you got your copies, you always have the freedom to copy and change the software, even to sell copies.
If you've got a Microsoft account, you have access to Outlook.com, the successor to Hotmail and Live mail and our Editors' Choice for Web-based email. There's still the Outlook program itself for Windows and Mac—it comes with Microsoft Office—but this free option is a perfect, minimalist, consumer-based webmail, complete with OneDrive integration. Interesting features include Sweeps, so you can, for example, delete all messages from one sender at once, and built-in chat—including Skype video chat. The version for iOS is particularly great.

This re-labeling has since attracted a lot of support (and some opposition) in the hacker culture. Supporters include Linus himself, John "maddog" Hall, Larry Augustin, Bruce Perens of Debian, Phil Hughes of Linux Journal. Opposers include Richard Stallman, who initially flirted with the idea but now thinks the term "open source" isn't pure enough.


Amazon-owned comiXology is well known as the store for purchasing digital comics from just about all the major funny-book publishers; its free apps, going by the simple name "Comics," are how you read them. The app is a wonder, making page-by-page or panel-by-panel reading a delight, especially on a comic-book-page-sized tablet. The synced view means you stop on one device and pick up at the next one in the same spot. Pair it with comiXology's unlimited reading subscription option, or buy new comics the same day they appear in stores. For comic book nerds, it's a must. (Windows users will have to stick with the Web interface, as the Windows Store app has been scuttled.)
Microsoft is no longer supporting this software, but it still works if you download it from a third-party site. If you've got basic video-editing needs on the desktop, and want a fun way to man-handle all the clips into a final form, then you're set. (If you fear outdated software, try Microsoft's Movie Moments, for 60-second productions. Or wait for the long-promised Windows 10 version of Movie Maker, but who knows when that's coming.)
Skype is synonymous with video conferencing. Now run by Microsoft, there's a reason our Editors' Choice review says it's "a highly polished, hugely functional service that runs on every platform you can think of and offers more communication options than any of its competitors." (Skype did, however, kill support for apps on smart TVs.) For free, you can make unlimited video calls between Skype users, even with groups of users. Plus, the translation ability is straight out of science fiction.
This could be the most high-end free software ever: it's the very tool used to render the images you see in Pixar's movies. That's because RenderMan was developed by Pixar in-house for that purpose, but became free for non-commercial use. It's not going to do you much good without other software such as Autodesk's Maya for creating 3D models. But budding artists and filmmakers will want to take note. You'll need a 64-bit system to run it.
The obvious choice of Office tools if you are a firm believer in open source, LibreOffice was a fork from the original OpenOffice years ago (itself an offshoot of StarOffice). Inside are word processor, spreadsheet, and presentations programs, a vector graphics editor, a math formula editor, and a database. It's a little more awkward to use than the desktop version of Microsoft Office, but you can't beat the price. Grab the LibreOffice Viewer app for Android to look at files.
Amazon-owned comiXology is well known as the store for purchasing digital comics from just about all the major funny-book publishers; its free apps, going by the simple name "Comics," are how you read them. The app is a wonder, making page-by-page or panel-by-panel reading a delight, especially on a comic-book-page-sized tablet. The synced view means you stop on one device and pick up at the next one in the same spot. Pair it with comiXology's unlimited reading subscription option, or buy new comics the same day they appear in stores. For comic book nerds, it's a must. (Windows users will have to stick with the Web interface, as the Windows Store app has been scuttled.)
Directories pop up across the internet for a number of different industries. A mortgage lender should ensure they are listed on Trulia's marketplace. If you are trying to grow your plumbing business, consider adding you listing to Thumbtack. It may prove worthwhile to invest in getting your business on a curated listing page, like the kind that Product Hunt specializes in producing. No matter the industry, marketers should investigate if online directories exist that cover their fields. Adding a listing to an online directory may only take a few hours and may end up producing leads for years.
Most free software licenses are based on copyright, and there are limits on what kinds of requirements can be imposed through copyright. If a copyright-based license respects freedom in the ways described above, it is unlikely to have some other sort of problem that we never anticipated (though this does happen occasionally). However, some free software licenses are based on contracts, and contracts can impose a much larger range of possible restrictions. That means there are many possible ways such a license could be unacceptably restrictive and nonfree.

Often used in good faith by people who refer to what Free Software stands for, the term "Open Source" - originally defined to mean the same thing as Free Software in terms of licenses and implementation - has seen inflationary usage. Nowadays, it is regularly used for everything between Free Software and the highly proprietary "Governmental Security Program" (GSP) by Microsoft2.
Online marketplaces and listing sites can produce a steady stream of leads. While the effectiveness of directories varies by industry, marketers can get a jump on their competition by optimizing a listing or being the first to get listed. For example, in the digital agency industry, an agency has several different places to list their services: Digital Agency Network, Clutch and Agency Spotter are all collections of agencies.

You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands on expensive advertisements to get your business noticed on the web. A much more powerful option is leveraging word-of-mouth. Encourage other people (your friends, family, clients, business associates) to talk about your business online and recommend it to others. News will spread about your freelance services much more effectively.

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