A few of my favorite free OS X applications

In 2006 I started to work primarily on an Apple Computer desktop and laptop at work. I have used Windows-based PC(s) for many years and my desktop at home is still a PC. While there are lots of great applications developed for Windows by the independent and open source communities — I was and continue to be amazed by the large number and high quality of free applications available for OS X.

I wanted to keep a list of a few of my favorite free OS X applications on my blog — so that when I perform system maintenance or OS reinstalls in the near and distant future it will be easy for me to download and install software that I have come to use on a daily basis.

So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite free OS X applications. Links to the developer’s Web site are included. A description of the application from the developer’s site is also provided as a general overview of what the application does.

  • 7zX – “7zX is a file archiver with high compression ratio. Compression ratio results are very dependent upon the data used for the tests.Usually 7zX compresses to 7z format 30-70% better than to zip format, and 2-10% better than most of other zip compatible programs.7zX currently supports tar, zip, gzip, bzip2, UNIX compress, 7z, s7z and various kinds of segmented archives.”
  • Adium – “A free instant messaging application for Mac OS X that can connect to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more.”
  • AntiRSI – “a program for Mac OS X that helps prevent RSI (repetitive strain injury) and other computer related stress. It does so by forcing you to take regular breaks, yet without getting in the way. It also detects natural breaks so it won’t force too many breaks on you.”
  • Apimac Timer – “a complete and professional stopwatch, alarm clock, countdown and clock utility for Mac OS X. “
  • Blender – “is a free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems”
  • Carbon Copy Cloner – “Clone, synchronize, backup. Schedule and forget it.”
  • Celestia – “a free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions.”
  • Changes Meter – “Do you need to check a web page or a local file frequently, looking for changes in them? You know it’s boring, error prone and a real waste of precious time.Several web sites offer RSS feeds, but they do not necessarily cover the type of information you are looking for and there aren’t many tools to check local files. Changes Meter does this exact job and it will notify you with a colorful, useful and unobtrusive pie chart icon on the menu bar.”
  • Coconut Identity Card – “a small app that reads out where and when your Mac and your iPod were built by Apple.”
  • Cyberduck – “an open source FTP, SFTP, WebDAV and Amazon S3 browser.”
  • Disk Inventory X – “a disk usage utility that shows the sizes of files and folders in a special graphical way called treemaps.”
  • DotMatrix – “easily make pop-art using your web or iSight camera”
  • Electric Sheep – “Electric Sheep is a free, open source screen saver created by Scott Draves. It’s run by thousands of people all over the world, and can be installed on any ordinary PC or Mac. When these computers “sleep”, the screen saver comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as “sheep”. The result is a collective “android dream”, an homage to Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.”
  • FileSync – a free utility for copying files in multiple folders/locations to an external or network drive.
  • GrandPerspective – “a small utility application for Mac OS X that graphically shows the disk usage within a file system.”
  • GridWars – “an extremely fun shoot-em-up game developed by Marco Incitti “
  • Halo Demo – “an online multiplayer demo of the first person shooter many consider to be the best. Hours of fun can be had by playing the demo and mastering the Blood Gulch map.”
  • HandBrake – “an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 converter.”
  • HexEdit – “a hexadecimal file editor for the Macintosh. The most widely used editor of its kind on the platform, HexEdit can handle file sizes of up to four gigabytes with ease, yet has memory requirements of less than a megabyte (with colour turned off). It can also compare files for similarities or differences.”
  • Integrity – “an powerful utility for finding broken links on large Web sites.”
  • Paparaazi! – “a small utility for Mac OS X that makes screenshots of webpages.”
  • Plasma Pong – “a really impressive real-time fluid dynamics version of Pong created by Steve Taylor. Sadly, it is no longer available online.”
  • Quicksilver – “A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data.”
  • Rember – “a front-end GUI to the ‘memtest’ command line memory testing program. This application will allow the user to select the number of test loops, as well as the amount of memory to test. There is a ‘Log’ tab that will allow the user to monitor memory testing. The user can toggle a ‘verbose’ switch to limit the amount of output.The user can choose to quit Finder and other applications.Defective memory can cause computers to malfunction, crash, and behave in a variety of ways which can sometimes baffle end users and computer technicians alike. Apple provides hardware test CDs with most of their products, and there are some third-party utilties for Mac OS X which perform memory testing. In my experience, these tools have not always been able to quickly and efficiently diagnose memory problems. Rember has been designed to simplify the testing, and diagnosis of these problems.This software is free, and is covered under the GNU GPL. Please read accompanying “COPYING” file for more info.”
  • Permanent Eraser – “provides an even stronger level of security by implementing the Gutmann Method. This utility overwrites your data thirty-five times, scrambles the original file name, and truncates the file size to nothing before Permanent Eraser finally unlinks it from the system. Once your data has been erased, it can no longer be read through traditional means. “
  • Pixer – “a little application that helps you to scale (or rotate, add pad and, crop) PNG, JPG, Tiff, PSD , BMP or PICT images in batch.”
  • SiteSucker – “a Macintosh application that automatically downloads Web sites from the Internet. It does this by copying the site’s Web pages, images, backgrounds, movies, and other files to your local hard drive. Just enter a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), press return, and SiteSucker can download an entire Web site.”
  • TextWrangler – “is a powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator’s tool”
  • Think – a small application that lets you focus on one application at a time using an illumination panel and backdrop.
  • ThinkingRock – “a platform independent Java application for Getting Things Done (GTD) – the action management methodology and best-selling book by David Allen.”
  • Time Tracker – “Track the time you spend on projects with this simple and easy-to-use application. Divide your work into projects, and split each into individual tasks.”
  • viJournal – “designed as an analogue of the good old-fashioned page-a-day bound diary – the kind you buy in a stationer’s. You write your entries under dated headers and save them collectively by month and year.”


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