Google Drive has morphed over the years to become the official place where you store your cloud files for use with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (Drive's online and mobile equivalents to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). But it also doubles as a sync service on the desktop, a la Dropbox or OneDrive, storing any kind of file, with apps for access to those same files on mobile devices. Throw in the office suite aspects and the 15GB of free space online (shared with other Google services), and you've got a real winner, worthy of a 5-star rating.
There are thousands of free applications and many operating systems available on the Internet. Users can easily download and install those applications via a package manager that comes included with most Linux distributions. The Free Software Directory maintains a large database of free software packages. Some of the best-known examples include the Linux kernel, the BSD and Linux operating systems, the GNU Compiler Collection and C library; the MySQL relational database; the Apache web server; and the Sendmail mail transport agent. Other influential examples include the Emacs text editor; the GIMP raster drawing and image editor; the X Window System graphical-display system; the LibreOffice office suite; and the TeX and LaTeX typesetting systems.
Ubuntu updates yearly, once majorly and once with just fixes. But each iteration brings new tools and developments. Last year the Linux distro even made the leap to tablets; that after trying to power smartphones in 2015. The latest version for desktops and laptops comes with a full suite of software (including LibreOffice), access to thousands more (and many free—just look for the penguin icon throughout this story). It's the Linux of choice here at PCMag, for it's one that is easy to master by just about any user.

Certain kinds of rules about the manner of distributing free software are acceptable, when they don't conflict with the central freedoms. For example, copyleft (very simply stated) is the rule that when redistributing the program, you cannot add restrictions to deny other people the central freedoms. This rule does not conflict with the central freedoms; rather it protects them.


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FileHippo is a pretty solid repository of freeware and shareware apps to be found for Windows and Mac. On the Windows side, you can find updates to third-party utilites by running this utility, which replaces its old Update Checker. It compares what's available on FileHippo.com against what's installed on the PC and helps download the latest version (via FileHippo.com, of course).
Although the term free software had already been used loosely in the past,[11] Richard Stallman is credited with tying it to the sense under discussion and starting the free-software movement in 1983, when he launched the GNU Project: a collaborative effort to create a freedom-respecting operating system, and to revive the spirit of cooperation once prevalent among hackers during the early days of computing.[12][13]
If you want to use Microsoft Office on Windows and Mac desktops, it'll still cost you at least $69.99 a year for Office 365 Personal—and it's probably worth it for the power those programs wield. But it's not 100 percent necessary: the Web versions of Word, Outlook, OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel, Sway, and others all live for free at Office.com. You'll have to sign up for a Microsoft account to store files online using OneDrive (5GB are free). But there's no lack of free options if you can live without the full-test versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The economic viability of free software has been recognized by large corporations such as IBM, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems.[63][64][65][66][67] Many companies whose core business is not in the IT sector choose free software for their Internet information and sales sites, due to the lower initial capital investment and ability to freely customize the application packages. Most companies in the software business include free software in their commercial products if the licenses allow that.[18]
Freedom 1 includes the freedom to use your changed version in place of the original. If the program is delivered in a product designed to run someone else's modified versions but refuse to run yours — a practice known as “tivoization” or “lockdown”, or (in its practitioners' perverse terminology) as “secure boot” — freedom 1 becomes an empty pretense rather than a practical reality. These binaries are not free software even if the source code they are compiled from is free.

The best thing about some of these companies is that you don't have to "Like" them on Facebook, send messages on Twitter, or complete surveys. With the companies I've listed first, simply sign in, input your mailing information, and wait for the free sample to show up in your mail). It will take less than 15 minutes sign up and up to six weeks for samples to arrive.

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