Best Free Software Recommendations for 2008

Posted by Steven Suwatanapongched on August 31, 2008

For almost ten years now, I still find myself fixing computers for friends. It’s not so much hardware these days as it is cleaning out viruses and installing software to handle a certain task. I don’t mind so much, but I just hope my friends learn something from what I do and explain rather than to just rely on me to fix everything for them each and every time.

Anyway, for protecting a computer running Windows, an Antivirus software is required along with receiving regular updates. Just having it installed without updating it say once a week/month doesn’t give the computer the best protection.

For installing productivity software, I often get asked, Where can I download Microsoft Office? Photoshop? Or Antivirus? The truth, my friends, is that you shouldn’t go out there and download these software illegally, you should pay for them. Actually, I’ll give a better recommendation, you should just download the freeware equivalent of them.

There is absolutely no need to risk your computer getting a virus by downloading a pay-for antivirus program illegally, to protect your computer from viruses. Somehow that logic seems lop-sided, but a surprising number of people do it anyway.

So I put together a list of software for 2008 that I recommend to friends and colleagues:

FunctionPay ($$$)Free
AntivirusNorton Antivirus and McafeeAVG Free
Compress filesWinZip and WinRAR7 Zip
Office SuiteMicrosoft OfficeOpen Office
Photo EditorPhotoshopPaint.net and Gimp

Others worthy of mention:

Friends often ask how these companies can survive by giving away free software. And to be honest, I’m not sure I have the answer to that. Part of the answer would be in donations, advertising, and even some VC funding.

Some friends even say they don’t feel comfortable not paying for software, that instead they are getting some second-rate software or that they will get constant nag screens. This may have been true 5-6 years ago, but not so for today. Those companies have either gone out of business or changed their business model. Besides, many people, including myself, have at least vouched for these software as being quite good and most importantly, legit.