Open-source Programs Which Are Awesome

As a linux user I always strive to find the most robust and effective programs which are open-source and hence free to download on my box. Below is a brief list of some of my favourite programs with a brief description. Also note – most of the links to these programs are on the right hand side under my blogroll links column.

  • Latex – the best post script document generator out there, uses command line interface and compiler to generate pdf documents. There is a wealth of documentation on Latex and you can do just about anything you can imagine in terms of document creation.
  • JabRef – here is a reason to wake up in the morning – if you enjoy using Latex but hate compiling the tedious bibliographic <name>.bib Latex files used for generating references and a bibliography this is the solution. This program provides a simple but effective GUI to record all of your bibliographic citations. This program is an alternative to EndNote.
  • Fityk – the best peak fitting and deconvolution program I’ve found thus far, reasonable amount of  documentation but after playing around with it one will become proficient at peak deconvolution.
  • bkChem – a python based chemical drawing program which is great for making .svg and .png outputs of your favorite 2-D chemical structures. This is a bare bones replacement for CHEMDraw if you don’t care about 3D structures and QM energy minimization calculations.
  • Decibel – a nice and simple audio player for linux systems, plays just about every type of audio file you can think of.
  • Octave–  a great alternative to MATLAB, octave uses the same syntax, filetypes, and function calls that MATLAB does, and costs an infinitely large amount less than MATLAB does (i.e. it’s free).  Unless you’re using very fancy built in functions from MATLAB, most octave scripts will run in MATLAB and vise-verse.
  • GNUCash – this is my favourite money tracking software, you can keep track of all of your expenditures, income, equity, etc. Budget your spending, and generate cash flow reports. This is a very useful program and a good alternative to some offered on Microsoft systems such as Quicken and others.

To be continued as I find more noteworthy opensource programs.