Best Freeware for Ubuntu Linux and for Windows XP

In this page, I list freeware that appear to be very useful — at least to me.

For Ubuntu, you need to make sure you have enabled universe and multiverse repositories.



ZoneAlarm (Windows) is a dynamic, application-level personal firewall.

Firestarter (Linux) is a visual firewall program.

sudo aptitude install firestarter

To start Firestarter automatically, alter the /etc/sudoers file and add Firestarter as a startup program.

Open a terminal from the menu "Applications" -> "Accessories" -> "Terminal" and paste the line below:

$ export EDITOR=gedit && sudo visudo

Add this line at the very end of the /etc/sudoers file:

username ALL= NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/firestarter

Replace username with your Ubuntu login name, and save your changes.

Next, so that the firestarter GUI will start each time you login, go to "System" -> "Preferences" -> "Sessions", and create a new "StartUp Program" by clicking "New". Put Firestarter as the name, and enter in the "command" textbox field:

sudo /usr/sbin/firestarter --start-hidden

Now, Firestarter will appear on your system tray each time you login. However, by default, each time you configure and close Firestarter, it will disappear from your system tray again! To prevent this undesirable default behavior, enable Firestarter's "Minimize to tray on window close" feature:

  • Open Firestarter from "System" -> "Administration" -> "Firestarter".
  • Click the "Preferences" button and the make sure "Interface" is selected in the left pane.
  • Check the check box to the left of "Minimize to tray on window close".
  • Click the "Accept" button.


Note – If one application can't connect as it should (like SMB access), check first that these accesses are not blocked by the firewall.


WinPatrol (Windows) monitors your computer from Adware, Spyware, Worms, Trojans Horses, Browser Helper Objects and other Mysteryware.

Spybot - Search & Destroy

Lavasoft Ad-Aware

Virus Protection

AVG Free Edition (Linux, Windows) is a free version of Grisoft's anti-virus programs.

Avira Antivir.

(@url :file-name "")


Password Safe (Linux, Windows) is a a program that manages encrypted password databases.

sudo aptitude install pwsafe

Offline Password & Registry Editor contains all the things needed to edit the passwords on most NT systems – and, it just works!


Cygwin (Windows) is a Windows port of many of the popular Unix software tools, including the Bash and tcsh shells.

Extra packages:

  • Admin/cron – Cron for the management of regular background processing;
  • Archive/unzip – Utility for unpacking zip files;
  • Archive/zip – File compression and packaging utility compatible with PKZIP;
  • Devel/autoconf – Automatic configure script builder;
  • Devel/cvs – Concurrent Version System;
  • Devel/libiconv – Encoding system conversion library and utilities (under Linux, you can also use utrac to convert between different encoding systems);
  • Devel/make – The GNU version of the 'make' utility;
  • Devel/subversion – A version control system;
  • Net/openssh – The OpenSSH server and client programs;
  • System/procps – Utilities for monitoring (processes of) your system;
  • System/psmisc – Utilities for managing processes on your system;
  • Text/enscript – A free replacement for the Adobe's enscript program;
  • Utils/diffutils – A GNU collection of diff utilities;
  • Utils/unison – Synchronize collections of files on different hosts;
  • Utils/wdiff – Compare two files word by word;
  • Web/tidy – A program to clean up and correct messy HTML pages;
  • Web/w3m – A text based Web browser and pager.
  • Web/wget – Utility to retrieve files from the WWW via HTTP and FTP;

These could be interesting as well (but I did not install them yet):

  • Devel/binutils – The GNU assembler, linker and binary utilities;
  • Devel/gcc-core – C compiler;
  • Devel/gcc-g++ – C++ compiler;
  • Devel/gdb – The GNU Debugger;
  • Devel/mingw-runtime – MinGW Runtime;
  • Libs/w32api – Win32 API header and library import files;
  • Net/inetutils – Common networking clients and servers;
  • Shells/rxvt – VT102 terminal emulator for both X and Windows;
  • System/ping – A basic network tool to test IP network connectivity.

After installation, you need to add C:\cygwin\bin to your PATH. Update your environment variable via "Start" -> "Settings" -> "Control Panel" -> "System" -> "Advanced" -> "Environment variables".

Use apt-cyg, an install tool for Cygwin similar to Debian apt-get. For example, use apt-cyg packageof <commands or files> to locate parent packages.

Run /usr/sbin/makewhatis as the first thing after starting the first shell so you can have proper man pages.

Update as well your cron file with crontab cron where cron is a file containing (for example):

5 5 * * * nice updatedb --localpaths='/cygdrive/c /cygdrive/z' --prunepaths='/cygdrive/c/cygwin /cygdrive/c/RECYCLER'

Run cygcheck -s to produce diagnostic system information.


Firefox (Linux, Windows) is a fully customizable Web browser.

Install the following best Firefox extensions:

  • Mouseless browsing
    • Caret browsing (turned on by pressing F7) inserts a cursor into the text of the page and is very useful for highlighting and copying text.
    • Right-clicking can be done using Shift-F10.
    • Highlight Focus highlights textfields, selectboxes and textareas when getting focus with an configurable background (pick #FFFF95).
    • Mouseless Browsing enables you to browse the web entirely with the keyboard.
    • keyconfig???

    Here are the shortcuts I use most often:

    • Control-T (new tab)
    • Alt-D pops you in the address bar, and Alt-D, Tab puts you in the search box
    • Alt-Left (Broswe Back) and Alt-Right (Browse Forward)
    • Control-Tab (next tab) / Shift-Control-Tab (previous tab)

    Hit-a-Hint is the best keyboard browsing extension (compared to Mouseless Browsing and Numberfox). But it still needs a lot of work.

  • Appearance
    • FireGestures enables you to execute various commands and user scripts with five types of gestures.
  • Bookmarks
    • Netvouz buttons gives quick access to your Netvouz home page, and to the Netvouz bookmark submission form.
  • Download Management
    • Link Alert changes the cursor to indicate the target of a link…
    • UnPlug lets you save video and audio which is embedded on a webpage --- it's a video download tool.
  • Language Support
  • Privacy and Security
    • BetterPrivacy is a Super Cookie Safeguard which protects from usually not deletable LSO's. It blocks longterm tracking on Google, YouTube Ebay and many other domains.
    • SwitchProxy Tool lets you manage and switch between multiple proxy configurations…
  • Search Tools
    • SearchStatus displays the Google PageRank, Alexa rank and Compete ranking, along with fast keyword density analyser, keyword/nofollow highlighting, backward/related links.
    • CustomizeGoogle enhances Google search results by adding extra information (like links to Yahoo,, MSN etc) and removing unwanted information (like ads and spam).
    • TinEye Reverse Image Search allows you to search for an image to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.
  • Tabs
    • NewTabURL selects default URL when new tabs are opened: "Blank page", "Home page", "Current page" or a user defined URL.
  • Web Development
    • It's All Text! for editing textareas using the external editor of your choice (such as Emacs).
  • Adblock
  • BugMeNot
  • Clear Cache Button
  • Colorful Tabs
  • ColoUnREaDTabs
  • ConQuery
  • DOM Inspector
  • Fast Video Download (excellent!)
  • Firebug
  • GetJetableMail
  • Google Toolbar
  • gTranslate
  • HTML Validator
  • iMacros
  • Image Download
  • NoScript
  • RealPlayer Browser Record Plugin
  • Unhide Passwords
  • Web Developer
  • YSlow

How to load Web sites faster in Firefox? Type about:config in the address bar and change the following settings:

network.dns.disableIPv6                       true
network.http.pipelining                       true
network.http.proxy.pipelining                 true
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests           32

Lastly, right-click anywhere and select "New" -> "Integer". Name it nglayout.initialpaint.delay and set its value to 0 (zero). This value is the amount of time (in milliseconds) the browser waits before displaying the page.

Web monitoring

WebMon (Windows) is a Web page update monitoring program – it saves you time and keeps you updated by automatically checking pages (or parts of them) to see if they have changed.

Open the "Tools" -> "Preferences" menu, and adapt its default "Automation" settings in order to:

  • Run WebMon when Windows starts
  • Automatically check all web pages when WebMon starts

Web privacy

Privoxy is a non-caching web proxy with advanced filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy, modifying web page data, managing HTTP cookies, controlling access, and removing ads, banners, pop-ups and other obnoxious Internet junk.

sudo aptitude install privoxy

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world.

sudo aptitude install tor

See Be Anonymous: Tor and Privoxy on Ubuntu.


K3b (Linux) is a comfortable, feature-rich and easy to handle CD/DVD burning application.

sudo aptitude install k3b

For Windows, see CDBurnerXP.


sudo aptitude install gnucash gnucash-docs


SpeedCrunch (Linux, Windows) is a fast, high precision and powerful desktop calculator.

sudo aptitude install speedcrunch


To prevent from having to pack/unpack some file whose format isn't recognized by the system, install a bunch of packing software:

sudo aptitude install zip unzip unace rar unrar p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils aish uudeview mpack lha arj cabextract file-roller

7-Zip (Windows) provides better compression ratios than the ones provided by PKZip and WinZip, and has the ability to cut archives in multiple volumes.

While you are at it, disable displaying zip files as folders by typing in a DOS prompt:

regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll


Aspell (Linux, Windows) is an independent spell checker.

sudo aptitude install aspell-fr aspell-es aspell-nl

For Windows (downloaded via LyX):


WordWeb (Windows) is a free English thesaurus and dictionary, and can be used to look up words from within almost any program in just one click. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia.



FileZilla (Linux, Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.

sudo aptitude install filezilla filezilla-common filezilla-locales




Install googleearth.


gcolor2 is a simple color picker.

sudo aptitude install gcolor2

GIMP (Linux, Windows) is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It serves for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

sudo aptitude install gimp

GIMPShop is an image editor that is similar to the popular Adobe Photoshop. Specifically, GIMPShop is a version of The GIMP that has been edited to make it more like Photoshop.

sudo wget
sudo dpkg -i gimpshop_2.2.11-1_i386.deb

ImageMagick (Linux, Windows) is a software suite to create, edit, and compose bitmap images. It can read, convert and write images in a variety of formats (about 100) including GIF, JPEG, JPEG-2000, PNG, PDF, PhotoCD, TIFF, and DPX. Use ImageMagick to translate, flip, mirror, rotate, scale, shear and transform images, adjust image colors, apply various special effects, or draw text, lines, polygons, ellipses and Bezier curves.

sudo aptitude install imagemagick

The exiftags (Linux, Windows) utility parses a specified JPEG file or, by default, its standard input, looking for a JPEG APP1 section containing Exif (Exchangeable Image File) image meta-data. The properties contained in these data are then printed to the standard output. Digital cameras typically add Exif data to the image files they produce, containing information about the camera and digitized image.

sudo aptitude install exif exiftags exiftran
sudo dpkg -i picasa_2.2.2820-5_i386.deb
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yorba/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo aptitude install shotwell

By default, photos are copied to your library directory (the Pictures directory in your home directory). The Import From Folder dialog contains a checkbox "Copy files to Pictures photo library"; if you clear this checkbox then photos will not be copied.

sudo aptitude install html2ps

Inkscape (Linux, Windows) is a Vector Graphics Editor, similar to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, that strives to be SVG Compliant, open source, responsive and extensible.

Also, it allows to transform a bitmap into a smooth, scalable image, by calling Potrace (which is now integrated in Inkscape).

And there is Inkscape to TikZ exporter, an excellent Inkscape extension for exporting SVG paths as TikZ/PGF paths (for use with LaTeX).

sudo aptitude install graphviz graphviz-doc

Dia (Linux, Windows) is a diagram creation program inspired by the commercial Windows program Visio, though more geared towards informal diagrams for casual use. It has several shape packages for different needs: flowcharting, network diagrams, circuit diagrams, etc. Il y a un export eps, pdf, svg, …


KompoZer (Linux, Windows) is Nvu's unofficial bug-fix release, i.e. a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. It rivals programs like FrontPage.

sudo aptitude install kompozer

HTML Tidy is an HTML syntax checker and reformatter.

sudo aptitude install tidy tidy-doc


Install Skype.

Pidgin is a multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once.

Ekiga Softphone:



Video Player

Instead of getting "Totem cannot play this type of media (DVD) because it does not have the appropriate plugins to be able to read from the disc" messages, use Kaffeine which excels at playing video files:

sudo aptitude install kaffeine kaffeine-xine

Screen Capture

smartision ScreenCopy (Windows) is a screenshot tool.


A nice alternative to Network Manager is Wicd (Linux), a wired and wireless network manager which aims to provide a simple interface to connect to networks with a wide variety of settings.

For Windows, use


Okular (Linux) combines the excellent functionalities of KPDF with the versatility of supporting different kind of documents, like PDF, Postscript, DjVu, CHM, and others.

sudo aptitude install okular

Impressive (Linux, Windows) supports various graphical effects when used for PDF rendering: transitions, clock, progress bar, etc.

You can use pdfopt (from Ghostscript) to linearize the PDF (also known as "PDF optimization"), so that Acrobat Reader can start showing the first pages while the rest is still being downloaded, making PDF files more suitable for online browsing.

AREnable (Windows) is a small tool to enable some features in PDF files for the Adobe Acrobat Reader like commenting, adding notes, etc.

Sumatra PDF (Windows) is a slim, free, open-source PDF viewer. It has a minimalistic design, but it's small and starts up very fast. It's designed for portable use: it's just one file with no external dependencies so you can easily run it from external USB drive.

For a number of technical reasons, including the ability to process EPS files, it is recommended to use GhostWord (instead of Adobe Acrobat PDFWriter) to produce PDF documents directly from Microsoft Word and other Microsoft Office applications.

Note that some drivers can cause problems with colors and pictures, so you might consider installing the HP Color LaserJet 4500 PostScript driver, recommended for use with GhostWord.

Choose "Start" -> "Settings" -> "Printers" and double-click on "Add Printer". Choose "local printer" connected to the "File" port (i.e., the printer is not actually connected to your PC – it will just print to a file).

Another alternative is deskPDF (Windows) which allows you to create professional PDF documents from any application you are used to work with by just sending the document to print through the deskPDF virtual printer.

PDFCrack is a password recovery tool for PDF files.


Ghostscript and GSview are respectively an interpreter and a viewer for the PostScript language.

sudo aptitude install gv


You may want to add the following line to your .subversion/config:

# keep the modification time from the repository, for Makefiles, etc.
use-commit-times = yes

TortoiseSVN (Windows) is an easy to use standalone Subversion client.

sudo aptitude install git-core


RealVNC (Linux, Windows) is a cross-platform software that makes it possible to view and fully-interact with one computer from any other computer or mobile device anywhere on the Internet.


Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP add fun and functionality to the Windows experience.

  • Open Command Window Here
  • Alt-Tab Replacement
  • Tweak UI

Don't forget, as well, to turn on ClearType (Windows, see Desktop Properties -> Appearance -> Effects) to smooth edges of characters displayed on the screen…

Email checker

Mail Notification monitors your mailboxes for new mail. It is configurable (via gconf-editor): advanced users are provided with ways to run commands in reaction to events, and so on.

sudo aptitude install mail-notification

File managers

Filelight (Linux) shows your file-system as a set of concentric pie-charts.

sudo aptitude install filelight

gt5 is a little tool to find out where all the disk space is going over time, by showing all files in a directory and also calculating the size of sub-trees:

sudo aptitude install gt5


Unison (Linux, Windows) is a file-synchronization tool for Unix and Windows. It allows two replicas of a collection of files and directories to be stored on different hosts (or different disks on the same host), modified separately, and then brought up to date by propagating the changes in each replica to the other.

sudo aptitude install unison

If you have to downgrade it (because of versions difference on the client and server machines), use for example:

sudo aptitude install unison=2.13.16-9

If you don't find an older version in the package manager, pick a pre-compiled binary.

SyncBack (Windows) helps you easily backup and synchronize your files to the same drive, a different drive or medium (CDRW, CompactFlash, etc), an FTP server, a Network or… a Zip archive. To go fast, it compares the source and the target before starting the copy.

sitecopy (Linux) is for easily maintaining remote web sites. The program will upload files to the server which have changed locally, and delete files from the server which have been removed locally, to keep the remote site synchronized with the local site with a single command.

Beep Generation

Control the PC speaker within shell scripts, notifying the user when something interesting occurs.

sudo aptitude install beep

Check that the PC speaker is not muted!

System Tray

With AllTray (Linux), you can dock any application with no native tray icon (such as terminal programs) into the system tray.


See Emacs.


See LaTeX.

Scribus (Linux, Windows) is a program that brings professional page layout with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout. It supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation. It rivals programs like Publisher, and is useful for making marketing fliers and brochures.

FontForge (Linux, Windows) is an outline font editor that lets you create your own postscript, truetype, opentype, cid-keyed, multi-master, cff, svg and bitmap (bdf, FON, NFNT) fonts, or edit existing ones. Also lets you convert one format to another.

sudo aptitude install fontforge


wine (not an emulator!) vlc amarok (lyrics) musicbrainz krecipes (recettes)

System Utilities

Virtual CD-ROM drives

Alcohol 52% mounts ISO images in a virtual CD-ROM drive.

Daemon Tools is "ad-supported", but it's possible not to install the "ad" program (unselect it when installing).

System Utilities

Process Explorer (Windows) provides much more insight into the way Windows and applications work than Task Manager does (per-process CPU and memory graphs). It also shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.

EVEREST Home Edition (Windows) is a system information, system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for home PC users. It offers accurate system information and diagnostics capabilities, including memory benchmarks, hardware monitoring, and low-level hardware information.

WCPUID/XCPUID (Windows) is a program that displays the CPU information of your personal computer. Shows Frequency, Multiplier, Chipset Info, etc.

Macro scripting

Under Ubuntu: xbindkeys. Under Kubuntu: Input Actions.

AutoHotkey (Windows) allows you to automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks.


The hotkeys Win+G and Win+W are configured (in the file `=c:/Program Files/AutoHotkey/AutoHotkey.ini=') to launch GNU Emacs and Mozilla Firefox, respectively.

<example> </example>

Search tools

Tracker Search

Tracker is a desktop search application which allows you to quickly search your documents, photos, music, and other files. It is now included in Ubuntu Gutsy.

To customize the settings for Tracker, you have to type in "tracker-preferences" from a terminal. This opens up another window with option tabs for "General", "Performance", "Files", Ignored Files" and "Emails" tabs.

These changes go in the file ~/.config/tracker/tracker.cfg.

sudo aptitude install poppler-utils
sudo aptitude install tracker-utils untex wv


Before Gutsy, I was using namazu.

sudo aptitude install namazu2 namazu2-index-tools nmzmail

mknmz --output-dir /var/namazu/index /home/sva/

Edit /etc/namazu/namazurc:

Index         /var/namazu/index
Replace       /home/sva/  file:///home/sva/

Automatic making index:

Create ~/bin/mknamazu:

echo "Running mknmz, please wait..."
cd /var/namazu/index/
echo $(date) >> cron.log
mknmz /home/sva/ > mknmz.log
# removed option -q to mknmz
echo "$(date)... done" >> cron.log
cd -

and make a link to it:

sudo ln -s /home/sva/bin/mknamazu mknamazu

Add permission

chmod 755 mknamazu

Show the current configuration

mknmz -C

Media types

sudo aptitude install wv xlhtml texlive-extra-utils ppthtml

Go and check for the required commands for skipped media types on

Change the maximum sizes in /etc/mknmzrc:

$FILE_SIZE_MAX   = 30000000;
$TEXT_SIZE_MAX   =  10000000;

To be able to load local links in Firefox, edit/create a user.js file in your Firefox profile directory and put this in it:

user_pref("capability.policy.policynames", "localfilelinks");

where localhost is the URL of your Namazu Web Server.

If you don't know where your Firefox profile directory is, then look

Maybe you have to remove those preferences from prefs.js to get it to go away.

Otherwise, you can also use the "LocalLink" Firefox extension.