Have an open source Mac New Year

Try some of these open source apps for Mac to kick start 2010 and use your cash on celebrations

Get a Mac for Christmas? Intending to buy one in the New Year? Or are you a long-time fan? Whatever your situation, be it for the home or office, there are plenty of great open source applications you can use for your Mac.

While there are potentially hundreds we could mention, here is a small selection to get you started:

OpenOffice
Not sure if you want to fork out the cash for Microsoft Office for your Mac? Then try OpenOffice. It’s a highly-functional and stable word processing and office suite that can do most of what you might be used to on the Microsoft products and other similar solutions. And it has had over 100,000,000 people download the software.

NeoOffice
In the same vein as OpenOffice this word processing and office suite has proved to be a highly popular open source solution. It now also comes as a mobile solution: NeoOffice Mobile. The site says anyone can create a free account for the mobile service with 10 megabytes of storage able to be uploaded and viewed for 48 hours.

VirtualBox
If you still have a copy of Windows or another operating system (say Ubuntu or Fedora or any other) and want to continue using it, VirtualBox is a quality virtualisation solution that lets you run them alongside your OSX in a virtual PC. Created by Sun Microsystems, VirtualBox gives you many of the same features that a commercial virtualisation solution offers.

GIMP
If you like Photoshop but not the price that it sells for then GIMP, or the GNU Image Manipulation Program, may just be your answer. Like Photoshop it has a range of plug ins that have been created by designers, photographers and artists.

VLC
VLC is an open source multimedia player that has one of the best reputations for handling all kinds of video and multimedia files. It can play pretty much every video format on most operating systems – even the older varieties. Another good option is to use MPlayer.

Thunderbird
The Thunderbird email reader that includes a handy set up wizard. Instead of providing all the IMAP, SMTP, SSL/TLS settings, with the latest version of Thunderbird you enter your email address, password and name and it does all the work for you. It’s also offers a tabbed interface (similar to most web browsers) and other customizable features.

MacJanitor
MacJanitor is a useful tool for helping you maintain your Mac. While the OS has built in maintenance tasks scheduled, if you turn you Mac on and off it may miss running them. MacJanitor allows you to do it manually.

This list is by no means comprehensive as there is a wonderfully wide range of open source software available for Mac users – all you need to do is work out what you want to do and then search for it. It’s a start though and we welcome any suggestions for other applications – just leave us a message below.

Some other Computerworld articles to help you on your open source way:

5 open source VoIP softphones to watch
5 open source billing systems to watch
5 open source IP telephony projects to watch
5 open source help desk apps to watch
5 enterprise open source wiki apps to watch
5 open source project management apps to watch
5 free project management applications you must try

And some other open source Mac resources on the web:

Opensourcemac.org
Sourceforge.net
Apple’s download page for UNIX & Open Source

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