Looking for Mac bargains these days has never been easier. Open Source is taking off and Mac users benefit with a box load of excellent applications for OS X, all priced at the Open Source rate. Free. As in ‘beer.’
Most of us know a little about Open Source. The little we know is that the applications, Mac, Windows, Linux, whatever, are free, and the development is handled by many contributors.
The most popular of the Open Source applications is Mozilla’s Firefox web browser.
Also high on the list for Mac users is Camino, a very fast web browser based on the same Firefox engine, but designed to look like a Mac application.
What’s browsing with out email? It’s Anna Nicole Smith without a cheeseburger. Tops on the Open Source freebie list is Mozilla’s powerful Thunderbird, which also has multiple accounts, a cross platform interface and spam filtering.
If you’re in to Instant Messaging, whether it be AOL, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, then you’re sure to like Adium X as it does all popular IM in one application. Free.
Finally getting around to figuring out how to spell RSS? Look no further than Safari, or try more detail with RSS Owl. It’s more than worth the price. Free.
You think Peer-to-Peer is dead or dying? Not. Try BitTorrent and learn all about peer-to-peer-to-peer-to-peer at high speed.
How about Open Source TV? Yep. It’s here with DTV for Mac, regular downloads, RSS, and torrents. And free.
Podcasting is all the rage, so much so that Apple’s legal beagles turned to bite the folks that make Juice for podcasting (Apple didn’t like their previous name). Also free.
So, you’ve got a bunch of DVDs and you want to make them play on your brand new iPod with video? That means ripping a DVD to MPEG-4 and convert to iPod’s new video format, right?
Try HandBrake. It’s a bit messy to use, but works, and, yes Virginia, it’s free.
OK, I know Microsoft’s Office is the big seller for Mac OS X, as well as Windows. But what if you’re on a budget? Hey, I’m not the Queen of Low End (my category) for nothing.
Check out Neo Office/J as a Microsoft Office replacement. It’s built on OpenOffice.org, complete with word processing and spreadsheets. And free.
Any Photoshop users among the Mac360 reader group? Sure. Here’s the Open Source community’s answer to Photoshop. It’s called Gimp.app and it’ll do for photos and graphics what the rest of us need done.
Need an Open Source answer to Adobe’s Illustrator? Try Inkscape on for size. Also free.
I’m a big fan of Transmit, the file transfer utility for Mac OS X. No, I won’t trade it for anything, but CyberDuck is nearly as good, and, oh yes, it’s free.
There are plenty of free HTML and CSS editors around, though not all are Open Source. Smultron is, and works well with CyberDuck.
Need a content mangement system that works great on plain old vanilla Mac OS X and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Try dancing to the Mambo beat and save money while building the world’s next great Mac web site.
Here’s two more apps you’ll need to get Mambo to run on OS X. Though Tiger and Panther come with Apache’s excellent Open Source web server, and the PHP scripting language is built in, too, there’s a better choice. And free.
Download Marc Liyanage’s PHP for Apache Module as it contains a bunch of nice touches. Also free.
To finish it off, you’ll need a database. Try the ‘World’s Most Popular Open Source Database.’ It’s called MySQL and is a point and click install on Mac OS X. And free.
Reviews and Comments
It’s tough to beat a list like that. All the applications are excellent, yet Open Source, and they play well with Mac OS X. This is clearly a case of getting more than you pay for. What’s on your list of free or Open Source Mac applications?
The whole Open Source movement has done an excellent job of marginalizing Microsoft. Turnabout is fair play.
Barbara Marie Hambi
Alex does a great job of digging up the best of the Low End applications for Mac OS X. I have my favorite Mac apps that are free, but they’re usually from a single developer, while Open Source is from a community of developers.
Tera Jean Patricks
I tried out the latest versions (1.5) of Firefox and Camino. Wow. Great speed increases for both. Faster than even Safari version 2.0.2 (416.12).
Carol Mary Miller
Alex, you forgot a good one. The excellent word processor, AbiWord, is Open Source.