Free and open source Mac software goodies


One of the most common questions I'm asked by people moving over to the Mac (or FreeBSD as the case may be) is what software I use. Truthfully I've been mulling over creating a series of blog posts that I can update with new software as I find it for a while now. For want of a better phrase, my recent wipe and reinstall of Mac OS X Leopard on my MacBook Pro and subsequent reinstalling of software gave me the kick in the arse I needed to get this series of posts rolling!

This first post lists all the graphical free and open source software I use and love on my Macs. Over time I've been slowly replacing proprietary software with these gems and, while I admit I still need to use commercial software at times, this software is what I use to get virtually all my work done. Not only that, but they're free as in beer and speech!

Part two (coming soon) consists of free and open source command line Terminal applications you can automatically install from MacPorts that I swear by and love using.

NOTE: This list is not exhaustive, it’s merely a list of free and open source software that I personally use and am endorsing! If you feel I’m missing something important though, feel free to post a comment.

I also understand there’s some overlap in functionality, i.e. Perian and VLC. This is because I’ve always believed in using the right tool for the job, not just using a particular tool because you happen be using it already.

Free and open source software for Mac
Icon Application Use
Camino Fast, lean Mac native Mozilla web browser
possible replacement for Safari, Firefox
UnifyCamino Makes Camino look more Leopard-ish
possible replacement for Tiger-ish Camino
MacVim Advanced Mac native Gvim text editor
possible replacement for TextEdit, Gvim
TrueCrypt Highly secure disk image encryption, supports AES, Twofish, Serpent
possible replacement for Disk Utility encryption
The GIMP Sophisticated photo and image editing
possible replacement for Preview, Photoshop
Inkscape SVG vector graphics editor
possible replacement for Illustrator… almost!
Juice Receiver More sophisticated and more flexible podcast client
possible replacement for iTunes for podcast downloads
Perian Super duper codec pack for QuickTime
possible replacement for dedicated DivX player
VLC I dub it my anime player ^_^
possible replacement for some QuickTime video
Handbrake Slick tool to rip DVDs
possible replacement for… coasters
MacPorts Easy way to install *nix software
possible replacement for… manually compiling!
Xquartz More current X11 for GIMP etc
possible replacement for default bundled X11

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

The site is powered by Hugo, FreeBSD, and OpenZFS on OrionVM, everyone’s favourite bespoke cloud infrastructure provider.

If you found this post helpful or entertaining, you can shout me a coffee or send a comment. Thanks ☺️.