for Authors and Others

You do not need to pay for great software. Selections herein are industry compatible. Most are cross-platform and multilingual. 99% are free, though we favor FOSS the most.

FOSS: Free Open Source Software

As with “free” software, you should not pay for such, including with personal information. Donate to projects that benefit you, or they may not continue. Watch for the to spot the ones we favor most.

If you know of other software resources for authors (FOSS or free) that fit these categories, then please inform us. Qualified staff review all suggestions for potential inclusion.


  1. NDAS does not financially gain from or take responsibility for your use of any software.

  2. Should you need assistance, see the application's “help” and/­or developer documentation and online support communities.

OS (Operating Systems)

100% of author professional and/­or personal needs can be fulfilled with a FOS (Free Open Source) operating system. For those who need some applications found only in the commercial OS world, there are free options for this as well.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint       

FOSS | Linux­Mint­.com

Primary OS at NDAS. “Cinnamon” desktop edition recommended for those new to Linux. #1 Linux Desktop worldwide as of 2018.



Free | Virtual­Box­.org

Used to run other operating systems windowed inside a primary OS.

ATTENTION: Do not allow corporate OSes or software to access the internet. Maintain your privacy by applying updates and patches manually for any virtualized OS.

Office Suites/Applications

Never succumb to rent/lease paradigms or online requirements. There are better [local] ways to protect your work. [See “Backup” and “Security”.]

ATTENTION: The widely claimed necessity of Microsoft products for publishing industry compatibility is false. Office suites herein are used by staff working with professional publishers.




FOSS | Libre­Office­.org

[All NDAS staff use this.] Word-processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing, Database, Formula. Can open, create, edit, convert and save all Microsoft formats except for MS Access; includes PDF print/export. Its native ODF (Open Document Format) is 200% more versatile than DOC(X). A derivative of Open­Office popular worldwide.

Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice

FOSS | Open­Office­.org

Internet Applications

You, your activities and information are the prime commodities (and currency) of today's internet. The following focus on your privacy and security, though you should enhance them as well. [See “Extensions” herein.]

Search Engines   

All OSes; All Browsers |

[All NDAS staff use this.] The most powerful, no-nonsense, simple and secure (meta)search engine. IxQuick aggregates results from multiple engines planet-wide for true global results while filtering most metadata tricks used to give false results.

ATTENTION: IxQuick.COM has merged with for branding; using “Ixquick.COM” now returns results, which are privacy secured Google results. For true “global” results, use “Ixquick.EU.”

NOTE: Read “Advanced” and “Settings“ to increase security.   

All OSes; All Browsers | Start­Page­.com

Run by IxQuick for privacy secured Google results.

NOTE: Read “Advanced” and “Settings“ to increase security.


All OSes; All Browsers | Wolfram­Alpha­.com

When you need a bit of accurate data for fiction or non-fiction, don't waste time seeking hearsay on a social system.

Web Browser



FOSS | Linux , Windows & OSX & Android

[All NDAS staff use this.] Built on the last stable [and safe] version of open source code for Moxilla Firefox. Waterfox removes all new Mozilla telemetry and tracking code. Other [new] limitations have been removed as well:

WARNING: Turn off auto-update settings that overwrite personal customization such as search engines.

Tor Browser (FireFox) Bundle

Tor Browser Bundle     


[All NDAS staff use this.] Protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of encrypted relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents (1) somebody watching your connection from learning what sites you visit, (2) the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and (3) lets you access sites which are blocked.”

WARNING: Turn off auto-update settings that overwrite personal customization such as search engines.




WARNING: Firefox is no longer recommended for use as of version 57+ due to extensive embedded telemetry and tracking code. It is listed here as a point of reference [only] for better alternatives listed above; use WaterFox instead.





[All NDAS staff use this with additional extensions.] Email, RSS, Newsgroups, Messaging, Tasks, Calender, and more through Mozilla extensions. A communications center in one application with web-enabled functionality.

ATTENTION: Check all settings to turn off auto-updating that may override your personal customization.


The following may be installable in other web-enabled applications as well as browsers. Browse to this page in the application and select the links for these extensions. If the site you visit identifies supported browser code in the application, then you can install the extension.

WARNING: If your web-enabled application is not recognized for at least the top 3 security measures below, then do not use it to directly browse the internet.

ATTENTION: All extensions listed for FireFox work in WaterFox.


HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere       

WaterFox; Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera 15+, etc. FOSS |

[All NDAS staff use this.] Forces use of HTTPS encrypted connections more aggressively than your browser.

Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger       

WaterFox; Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, Firefox for (?), Opera 15+(?) FOSS |

[All NDAS staff use this.] Brought to you by the EFF, makers of HTTPS Everywhere. PB does not use external subscriptions or lists; it analyzes code injections in sites you visit. Stops advertisers and others from secretly tracking where you go and what you do. Do not use any browser that does not support this extension.

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin   

WaterFox; Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, Opera, Safari. [FOSS] | [Check Your Browser's Plugin / Extensions Repository]>

[All NDAS staff use this.] Not a set-and-forget plugin but does not pander corporate money for using an “acceptable ads” list. It is capable of using external blocking subscriptions and lists as well, if you wish. Do not use any browser that does not support this extension.

Canvas Defender

Canvas Defender   

WaterFox; Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Tor Browser Bundle. [Check your browser's Plug-in / Extensions Repository]

[All NDAS staff use this.] Created by, it hampers new attempts to finger-print your browser/­OS/­hardware. Read instructions in the plugin to use it as needed in online defense of your privacy.

User-Agent Switcher

WaterFox; Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, Opera |

UAS can change your browser's User-Agent identified to sites you vist. You can do things like access full features of your Instagram account (select iOS or Android OS before visiting the site) without being restricted to a trackable mobile device.

ATTENTION: there are multiple such add-ons available in repositories, some with deceptively similar names.



WaterFox; Firefox |

Provides in-browser (re)view of unencrypted ePUB (ebook) files. 95+% accurate in presentation of such as designed/­coded. Check your ePUB master file before uploading it to your selected vendors.

Finance / Accounting Applications

For authors, professional and personal finance become complex; a checking registry is not enough. Should you establish yourself as a professional by vocation based on income from authorship, you need to document income and expenses for tax purposes. Doing so should not cost you as well.



(?) FOSS |

Home/office finance Management, checking/savings, etc. Can replace most home accounting programs. One of the top three of its kind in the open source community.




Home/0ffice/small business finance, accounting, checking/savings, etc. More robust than Grisbi, it may be too much for some but has a very friendly layout. If you have stocks or a retirement fund, then that is another reason to look at GnuCash. One of the top three of its kind in the open source community.

Money Manager EX

Money Manager EX

(?) FOSS |

Aimed primarily at home and personal finance. If not yet ready for the other two, then its simpler layout may appeal to those who have never before used financial software.




Personal finance, accounts, transactions, analysis, budget, etc.; multi-lingual. Can import from (export to) Quicken and MS Money as well as other applications supporting the QIF, OFX, QFX, and CSV file formats. Stores its own data in the international XML format for easy export/import to more applications.




Personal finance, accounts, transactions, analysis, budget, etc.; multi-lingual; double-entry accounting. Can import from (and export to) Quicken. Built on KDE support files, it is still installable in all Linux distributions and may be found in many Linux software repositories.

Security Applications

Protect your system effectively for free. Your OS's default security will not adequately do so in all cases. Do not learn this truth the hard way.

While our “Resources” section focuses on free and/­or open source software, NDAS personnel with an IT background recommend Symantec (with Sophos a close second) for commercial security applications.



KeePassX (Passwords, Other)

| Kee­PassX­.org

[Some NDAS staff use this.] Assistance in securely storing login and other critical information used across the internet. It does not integrate with other applications, which is a security risk unto itself. Not as convenient and automated, but your information is thereby more secure within its high AES encryption. Create multiple databases for differing needs.


Sophos Free Tools

Sophos (Antivirus, Other)

| Sophos­.com

Some NDAS staff with a background in IT and network security have deployed this for clients in multiple countries.

Comodo AV

Comodo (Antivirus)

| Comodo­.com

Lesser known but robust, but try Sophos first. Pay attention during install to disable [too many] unneeded trial applications. There is little out there that compares in free AV for Windows; Microsoft's default malware utilities do not cover all security needs.


ClamAV (Antivirus)

Other FOSS | Clam­AV­.net

[All NDAS staff use this.] While Linux is the most robustly defensable OS—bar none—statements about its invulnerability are false. Though not the best AV, ClamAV is long-standing and continuously improves in function. In Linux, install the ClamTK GUI for convenient control vs. the command line. Both are available through most Linux repositories or Synaptic.

ATTENTION: For important options and increased functionality regardless of OS, see GUI+ClamAV.

After installing in Linux, open a terminal and enter: sudo apt-get upgrade. This will update both applications. Then launch “ClamTK” and select in the main menu Advanced > Scheduler; this is where you can set the daily time for a full scan and a virus definitions update.

See Also:
  • Clam­Win­.com [Windows]
  • Clam­Xav­.com [OS X]
  • Network

    Angry IP Scanner

    Angry IP Scanner (Wireless Monitor)

    Other FOSS | Angry­IP­.org

    [Some NDAS staff use this.] You need to know if someone is using bandwidth for which you pay. While AIS will not stop them, it will inform you of the need to do so. You can then take steps to shut out parasites or at least find & plug all IP/­Port holes.

    Backup Applications

    Protecting your system is a must; protecting past, present and future projects is critical. Manual file/folder copies to a USB stick or CD/DVD is a minimum. In system failure or human error, you will still lose on-going work, so take further steps.




    Other FOSS | Sync­Thing­.net

    [Used at NDAS, GLOBALLY.] Backup, sync and/­or mirror between storage devices only you control; your files are never stored in accessible format anywhere else, especially on a “cloud” server. All transfers are via the Torrent network, the toughest encryption on the planet; it also seeks local network connections for faster transfers. You will never be without an automated external backup anywhere you go with an internet connection. And yes, it does file versioning as well.

    ATTENTION: Syncthing is complicated, though it is being improved continuously in usability. Give it a try, if you can.



    Other FOSS | Free­File­Sync­.Source­Forge­.net

    Your OS may already have the most versatile backup / sync utility called “rsync.” It is command line only and intimidating for the average user. This GUI interface gives you convenient access to rsync's most potent features. Some commerical backup applications actually use rsync without telling you, so why pay them for this?




    FOSS | Source­forge­.net/­projects/­systemback/

    A very popular method to backup a whole system and more. Systemback makes it easy to create backups of your system and user configuration files. In case of problems, you can easily restore the previous state of your system. There are extra features like system copying, system installation and “Live” system creation. PPA install also available at Launchpad.



    FOSS | Tee­Jee­Tech­.in

    Some distributions of Linux come with (limited) capability for full system backup. For those that do not, TimeShift is what you need; we consider it better and more convenient than default applications in Linux distributions.

    In comparison—and granting that Linux takes less space (and memory) than Windows or OS X—you will find that TimeShift incrementals also take up [much] less. You might need a back-up space no bigger than 3x times the used (not total) space on your bootable drive. Now if only it were available for Windows and OSX.


    Most file managers now come with extensive features. Sometimes you need something extra. These free utilities are more convenient and/­or powerful than defaults in an operating system.

    File Packaging (Archives)


    PeaZip (Extracter, Compressor, Converter)

    Other FOSS | PeaZip­.Source­Forge­.net

    A free (semi-)cross-platform portable GUI for many Open Source technologies like 7-Zip, FreeArc, PAQ, UPX. It can create 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, *PAQ, PEA, UAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, WIM, XZ, ZIP archves. It can extract nearly 150 others as well.

    Optical Disk Drives


    ImgBurn (Read, Copy, Build, Burn, Verify)

    | Img­Burn­.com


    Burn (Read, Copy, Build, Burn, Verify)

    FOSS | Burn-OSX­.Source­Forge­.net


    XfBurn (Read, Copy, Build, Burn, Verify)

    FOSS | Non­Guru­.org/­synap­tic/


    Basero (Read, Copy, Build, Burn, Verify)

    FOSS | Non­Guru­.org/­synap­tic/


    Unlike applications you know, these do not invade your privacy and/­or force you into proprietary modes. All are (1) FOSS, (2) easy to download/­install/­try and (3) available for Linux, OS X, and Windows as a minimum qualification for cross-platform. Entertain yourself for free!

    Media Center



    iOS Other FOSS | Kodi­.tv

    [Most NDAS staff use this at home.] Kodi® (formerly XBMC™) is an award-winning, free and open source (GPL) software media center. Featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with networked televisions and computing devices. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts and other digital media from local/­network storage and the internet.



    Amarok (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS | Amarok­.KDE­.org


    Clementine (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    FOSS | Cle­men­tine-­Player­.org

    Learn more at .


    Nightingale (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    FOSS | Get­Nightin­gale­.com

    Video (and Audio with most)


    VLC Media Player (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)   

    Other FOSS | Video­lan­.org­/VLC

    [All NDAS staff use this as well as others.] Handles more media formats than almost any other like application on the planet. And yes, it can be used as a full media center if you take time to learn how.


    JuceVLC (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream / Media Center)

    Other FOSS | JuceVLC­.Source­Forger­.net


    Banshee (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS | Banshee­.fm


    UMPlayer (Play / Stream)

    Other FOSS | UM­Player­.com