60 Open Source and Free Mac Apps

We regularly feature commercial software on AppStorm, so decided it was time to bring a roundup of completely free (and often open source) apps to your attention. If you’re on a budget, you’ll be pleased to know that a variety of great OS X software is available free.

Applications are broken down into various categories, with each one containing a ‘featured’ app and several other free solutions. I hope you find something useful, and do let me know if your favorite freeware app isn’t on the list!

Web Browsers

Firefox

Firefox

Firefox

There’s a reason why Firefox has stormed ahead over the past few years to take such a large share of the browser market. It’s fast, completely free, and works on any platform available.

A variety of different extensions are available, taking the functionality of the browser far beyond the basics. Whilst lacking the scorching speed of the latest Safari beta, it offers a brilliant alternative if you’re looking for a free, open source browser.

  • Camino – A good looking Mac-styled browser, built on the Firefox engine.
  • Safari – The default browser included with OS X, with a bunch of new features in the latest release.
  • Opera – A powerful browser with a few new interesting features; speed dial, search shortcuts, and a tab trash can.
  • Omniweb – Taking a different approach, and assisting you with online research
  • Fluid – A site specific browser, allowing you create a separate app for various websites.

Email & Communication

Thunderbird

Thunderbird

Thunderbird

Developed by the same people behind Firefox, Thunderbird is a worthy alternative to Mail.app on the Mac. It has a lovely interface, with in-built junk filtering and anti-phishing support.

With additions in the new version, it’s easier to prioritize and find your important email with tags. Extensions also work well, allowing various extra features to be added.

  • Adium X – The ultimate instant messaging client
  • Skype – For free computer-to-computer calls, and great video conferencing
  • Eudora – A free email client. Great functionality, but a little dated.
  • Colloquy – IRC in Mac style.
  • Revolver – A free business/email package
  • WideMail – Extend mail with a completely different view

RSS

NetNewsWire

NetNewsWire

NetNewsWire

Previously a commercial application, NetNewsWire is now completely free. It offers a bunch of advanced features, and an easy way to keep feeds in sync across different devices.

The app interacts well with a variety of other desktop applications for extra functionality.

  • NewsFire – A stylish RSS reader
  • Vienna – Providing features comparable to commercial newsreaders for free.
  • Shrook – A next-generation news reader
  • RSSOwl – Filtering, labels and completely cross platform
  • Dashboard RSS Reader – Keep RSS information easily accessible via Dashboard

Twitter

Nambu

Nambu

Nambu

A relatively new entrant to the Twitter client market, Nambu offers a mail-like interface for Twitter messages. Easily managing several accounts, it has the makings of a solid client.

It’s completely free, and will soon support its own in-built URL shortening and picture hosting services.

  • TweetDeck – Multi paned browsing, and very popular
  • Twitteriffic – The classic Twitter client, with a great UI
  • Twhirl – Friendly, colorful, and great multiple account support
  • EventBox – For Twitter, and a bunch of other social media networks
  • Tweetr – Easy file sharing and webcam support

Music & Audio

Spotify

Spotify

Spotify

Quickly making a name for itself as a competitor to Last.fm, Spotify allows you to stream almost any song you can imagine via the internet. Access is free, though you’ll need to listen to a short advertisement every few songs.

I’m still fond of owning my own music, but Spotify compliments iTunes excellently.

  • Songbird – A non-proprietary, cross platform, extensible tool with a great interface
  • iTunes – The de-facto music player for OS X, Windows and iPod users
  • Audion 3 – Now discontinued, but worth checking out
  • Juice – A quality app for browsing and downloading podcasts
  • Audacity – For editing and converting audio files

Video

VLC

VLC

VLC

If you need the ability to play absolutely any video format, VLC is for you. It’s as versatile as a swiss army knife, and offers a brilliant alternative to QuickTime.

  • Miro – Aiming to provide easily accessible, fully intergrated internet video
  • Flip4Mac WMV – For enabling WMV videos in QuickTime
  • Handbrake – The ultimate tool for converting video between formats
  • Perian – An open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats
  • DivX Player – A simple, free player for DivX files.

Photography

Picasa

Picasa

Picasa

Recently featured in our photo client roundup, Picasa is designed and owned by Google. It offers a bunch of great features, and is also capable of sharing photos online.

If you’re not a fan of iPhoto, Picasa has an equally impressive interface, a solid way to organize photos, and various editing tools.

  • iPhoto – The in-built photo app on OS X, with face recognition and geo-tagging support.
  • Gimp – A free, cross platform photo editor.
  • Seashore – Built on GIMP, with a slightly different user interface
  • Flickr Uploader – A simple and free solution for uploading Flickr photos
  • JetPhoto – Feature-rich and easy-to-use digital photo software

File Sharing & FTP

Transmission

Transmission

Transmission

Transmission is a fast, easy, and free multi-platform BitTorrent client. It’s fast, incredibly simple, and offers the easiest experience I’ve ever seen for dealing with torrent files.

Not enough? How about encryption, a web-based interface, peer exchange, and UPnP and NAT-PMP port forwarding?

  • Cyberduck – A free alternative to commercial FTP applications
  • Filezilla – Great for accessing FTP servers, and completely cross-platform
  • Acquisition – In-built torrent searching and integration with iTunes
  • Tomato Torrent – A slightly dated but perfectly functional torrent manager

Office & Text Editing

Open Office

Open Office

OpenOffice

OpenOffice is a worthy alternative to Microsoft Office, and comes at a far more attractive price. It supports word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics and databases.

It works on all platforms, and stores files in an international open standard format.

  • TextWrangler – A great, free, code editor for OS X
  • Bean – A small, easy-to-use rich text processor
  • AbiWord – A full featured, open source alternative to Open Office
  • Smultron – Good looking, and great for web programming, script editing, making a to do list etc.
  • jEdit – Aimed at technical users, an editor specifically for programming

Utilities

QuickSilver

QuickSilver

Quicksilver

A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data. Quicksilver is a powerful shortcut tool, which allows you to manipulate files and work with applications – all without needing to open them.

Confused? I was at first! Read more about the app to find out exactly what it’s capable of.

  • Growl – A great system-wide notification system
  • Disk Inventory X – For viewing a graphical representation of what’s eating up your hard drive
  • AppCleaner – Allows you to remove any trace of an application
  • Smart Reporter – Be notified if your hard drive seems likely to fail
  • FuzzyClock – A fun and slightly less formal way to display the time in your menu bar

Please Share!

Whilst 60 applications may sound like a lot, we’ve only touched the surface of what’s available for OS X. If this post has missed a tool which you regularly use, please let me know via the comments. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy a new budget-conscious Mac experience!


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