While you might be reading this on a mobile platform such as your tablet or phone, eventually you are going to have to boot up that computer of yours to do some serious work (or watch Netflix). For those of us who make our livings in front of our laptops and desktops, we find that often we are only as good as the applications we use. Thanks to the Open-Source community, we have access to programs that rival those that would cost us our first born young to have the privilege of “owning.”

#6 – Ghostwriter

Ghostwriter is a free distraction markdown software with some very useful features. While not the place to edit your documents, this program is incredibly useful at getting the document written in the first place and taking notes during meetings and classes without having to worry about such things as formatting and style. Its focus mode takes up your whole screen, keeping your eyes on your words as opposed to Facebook. Some other useful features are an HTML preview mode useful for bloggers and other webbies as well as Hemingway mode, which turns off functionality to your backspace and delete keys making sure you get the document out instead of writing as you go.


#5 – Krita

For our artists I present Krita, an open source and powerful painting program with features that rivals big-name software. Effects and brushes are plentiful, with more being created by other users all the time to provide a near never-ending source of new options to take your art game up a few notches. Their website also offers free documentation and tutorials to help you utilize the full breadth of what the program has to offer.


#4 – Darktable

Sticking with art, we have Darktable, an excellent program for digital photographers. This application allows you to process and develop your digital RAW images and negatives and enhance them all non-destructively. This app was made by photographers who understand the problems and issues photographers will likely run across during their photographic adventures.


#3 – Mozilla Thunderbird

For those of us who manage multiple email addresses or wish to take control of our inboxes, a desktop email client is an excellent solution to the problems you may face. Like paid programs such as Outlook, this program allows you to handle multiple email addresses, create rules and folders as well as use chat clients such as Facebook Messenger and browse news feeds.


#2 – LibreOffice

LibreOffice is an open source office suite with many programs for free such as a word processor, database creator, equation editor, spreadsheet program and even a vector drawing app. While not as feature rich as other Office suites, and will take some getting used to, its price tag of $0 and ability to do the tasks it sets out to do earns it a place on this list.


#1 – Atom

If you have a website or need to code a program, Atom is a powerful text editor with many features and a wide community adding new plugins and functionality all the time. When working with code, there are few text editors that can offer the environment and tools Atom offers. If you need to edit or create code, it’s hard to find a better program, free or paid.