Resources for Authors

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.

Disclaimers

  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.

Share the Freedom

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.

Office Suites/Applications

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

ATTENTION: The widely claimed necessity of Microsoft products for industry compatibility is false. Office suites herein are used by staff authors working with professional publishers. The publishers never knew the difference until told.

Work without invasive restrictions and risks in knowing you can create, save to/as, convert and edit any office format needed. This includes DOC, DOCX, RTF, WPS, etc. and the growing international standard ODF (Open Document Format).

Suites

Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice

FOSS

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. The native ODF (Open Document Format) is 200% more versatile than DOC(X). Learn more at Open­Office­.org.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice

FOSS

A derivative of Open­Office popular in the worldwide FOSS community. Learn more at Libre­Office­.org.

Notes / PIMs

CherryTree

CherryTree

(via source compile) FOSS

Import/export from/to many other note-taking file formats. Tree-structured navigation with WYSIWYG edit/view. A bit dated in appearance but easy to use from first launch. Learn more at Giuspen­.com.

Aseman Papyrus

Aseman Papyrus

(iOS soon?) [Free]

Minimal (no WYSIWYG) for simple text content; uses separate record “documents” with multiple “labels” (keywords) for searching all notes. Learn more at Aseman­.com.

Internet Applications

Each personal computer comes with pre-installed internet applications. These do not serve you as much as the company that made/­installed them. Be suspicious of default search engines as well.

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. [See “Extensions” herein.]

Search Engines

IxQuick.com

IxQuick.eu

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. [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at eu­.IxQuick­.eu/­eng/­about­ixquick/.

ATTENTION: IxQuick.COM has merged with StartPage.com for branding; using "Ixquick.COM" now returns Startpage.com results, which are privacy secured Google results. For true global results, use "EU.ixquick.EU."

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

StartPage.com

StartPage.com

Run by IxQuick; if you want nothing but privacy secured Google results, then this is the engine for you. Learn more at StartPage­.com/­eng/­about­startpage/.

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

Web Browser

WARNING: NDAS does not recommend the use of any default browser in a commercial operating system, be it pc or portable device. This includes all variations of Safari or Internet Explorer, plus Android (Google) and or iOS (Apple) devices default browsers.

FireFox

FireFox

FOSS

The most well-known open source browser, many derivatives are built upon its source code, such as the maximum security Tor Browser Bundle (also used at NDAS). Some features are hidden by default. Add ProfileSwitcher (see “Extensions”) to gain expanded options. [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at Mozilla­.org.

ATTENTION: Check auto-update settings to turn off those that overwrite your personal customization, especially search engines.

Tor Browser (FireFox) Bundle

Tor Browser Bundle

FOSS

From the Tor site: “The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.” [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at Tor—Anonymity Online!

Email

Thunderbird

Thunderbird

FOSS

Email, RSS, Newsgroups, Messaging, Tasks, Calender, and more through Mozilla extensions. A communications center rolled into one application with web-enabled functionality. It is the most versatile free email application available. [All NDAS use this with additional extensions.] Learn more at Mozilla­.org­/Thunderbird.

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

Extensions/Plugins

The following may be installable in some web-enabled applications as well as browsers. Browse to this page in the application and select the “Learn more… ” links. If the site identifies supported browser code in your application, then you can install the extension. In this case, you may need to use the web installer presented.

WARNING: If your web-enabled application is not recognized for at least the top 2 security measures below, then do not use it to directly browse the internet.

 

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere

Chromium, Chrome, Firefox & Thunderbird, Opera 15+, etc. FOSS

The two main web connections are HTTP and HTTPS; only the latter is secured and encrypted. Forces use of HTTPS more aggressively than your browser. Created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation [EFF], “Defending Your Rights in the Digital World,” do not use any browser that does not support this extension. [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at EFF­.org­/HTTPS-Everywhere.

Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger

Chromium, Chrome, Firefox & Thunderbird, Firefox for (?), Opera 15+(?) FOSS

Brought to you by the EFF, makers of HTTPS Everywhere; according to their site:

“…stops advertisers and others from secretly tracking where you go and what you do on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. To the advertiser, it's like you suddenly disappeared.”

PB does not use external subscriptions or lists; it analyzes code injections in sites you visit. Do not use any browser that does not support this extension. [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at EFF­.org­/Privacy­Badger.

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin

Chrome, Chromium, Edge (Beta), Firefox, Opera, Safari (Beta). Free

Not a set-and-forget plugin, but at the same time, it does not pander to the growing list of plugin developers taking corporate money for using an "acceptable ads" list. It is capable of using external blocking subscriptions and lists as well, if you wish. [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at en.­wikipedia.org/­wiki/­UBlock_Origin or check your browser's addons repository.

Canvas Defender

Canvas Defender

Chrome, Chromium, Edge (Beta), Firefox, Opera, Safari (Beta) and Tor Browser Bundle. Free

Created by the team at MultLoginApp.com, if you cannot use that system-wide application, then this is the next best thing to hamper the new attempts by sites to track you by finger-printing (screen capturing) your browser/OS/computer. Read the instructions in the plugin to use it as needed in online defense of your privacy. [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more [for Firefox or Tor BB] at the Mozilla Repository.

ProfileSwitcher

ProfileSwitcher

FireFox [Free]

Like some other browsers, FireFox can create/use mutliple profiles for differing users or setups of one user. This feature is an external utility hidden upon install. Profile­Switcher (plus a few changes in FireFox) will solve this. After install, do the following to access profile management from within Firefox.

  1. Click the Menu button at the window's top-right (the triple bars).
  2. Click the “Show/Hide Toolbars” dropdown menu.
  3. Select “Menubar.”
  4. Click the green “Exit Customization” button.

You can now create/switch profiles under “File >> Open Profile Manager.” [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at the Mozilla Repository.

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 will need to document income and expenses for tax purposes. Doing so should not cost you as well.


Grisbi

Grisbi

(?) 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. Learn more at Grisbi­.org.

GnuCash

GnuCash

FOSS

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. Learn more at Gnu­Cash­.org.

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. Learn more at Code­Lather­.com­/MMEX.

HomeBank

HomeBank

FOSS

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. Learn more at Home­Bank­.Free­.fr.

KMyMoney

KMyMoney

FOSS

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. Learn more at KMy­Money.org and then see its Plugins as well.

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.

Access

KeePassX

KeePassX (Passwords, Other)

[Free]

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. [Some NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at Kee­PassX­.org

AntiVirus

Sophos Free Tools

Sophos (Antivirus, Other)

Other [Free]

What Sophos can offer depends on your OS. For OS X users, it has the best free full-time antivirus application. Barb & J.C. and other staff have used this in the past on OS X based machines.

Some NDAS staff with a background in IT and network security have deployed this for Mac-based firms. If you use another OS, it is still worth a visit to see what they offer. Learn more at Sophos­.com

Comodo AV

Comodo (Antivirus)

[Free]

Lesser known but robust, some NDAS staff during IT careers deployed this for non-profit, public service organizations. Pay attention during install to disable [too many] unneeded trial applications; that should not stop you from trying it. There is little out there that compares in free AV for Windows; Microsoft's default malware utilities do not cover all security needs. Learn more at Comodo­.com

ClamAV

ClamAV (Antivirus)

Other FOSS

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 software repositories or Synaptic.

ATTENTION: Repositories are often out-of-date for the latest version of this software. Get the latest release at Clam­AV­.net. 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

    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. [Some NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at Angry­IP­.org.

    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.

    Files/Folders

    Syncthing

    Syncthing

    Other FOSS

    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.

    Unlike BitTorrent Sync (see below), it does not use a corporate controlled Torrent subnet.

    [Used at NDAS, GLOBALLY.] Learn more at Sync­Thing­.net.

    ATENTION: Syncthing is complicated and not for beginners, though it is being improved continuously in usability. Give it a try, if you can.

    BitTorrent Sync

    BitTorrent Sync

    Backup, sync and/­or mirror between storage devices only you control; your files are never be 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 seek 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.

    Simpler to use versus Syncthing (see above), there are compromises; this is not FOSS software and is corporately owned. Learn more at Bit­Torrent­.com­/Sync.

    FreeFileSync

    FreeFileSync

    Other FOSS

    Your OS may already have the most versatile backup / sync utility called “rsync.” It is command line only and intimidating for the averager 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? Learn more at FreeFileSync­.SourceForge­.net and find a download for your OS at FOSS­Hub­.com/­Free­File­Sync.

    OS/System

    SystemBack

    SystemBack

    FOSS

    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 available at Launchpad; for direct download and install, see the Source­forge­.net repository.

    TimeShift

    TimeShift

    FOSS

    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 some forms of Linux.

    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 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 OS X! Learn more at Tee­Jee­Tech­.in.

    ATTENTION: Sync capability varies by format, OS, and targeted device.

    Utilities

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

    File Packaging (Archives)

    PeaZip

    PeaZip (Extracter, Compressor, Converter)

    Other FOSS

    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. Learn more at PeaZip­.Source­Forge­.net.

    Optical Disk Drives

    ImgBurn

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

    Free

    Learn more at Img­Burn­.com/.

    Burn

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

    FOSS

    Learn more at Burn-OSX­.Source­Forge­.net/.

    Burn

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

    FOSS

    [NDAS Linux environments use this.] Find it in your software repository or through Synaptic.

    Burn

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

    FOSS

    Find it in your software repository or through Synaptic, and learn more at Wiki­.Gnome­.org/­Apps/­Brasero.

    Audio/Video

    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

    Kodi

    Kodi

    iOS Other FOSS

    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. [Most NDAS staff use this at home.] Learn more at Kodi­.tv.

    Audio

    Amarok

    Amarok (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    Learn more at Amarok­.KDE­.org.

    Clementine

    Clementine (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    FOSS

    Learn more at Clementine-­Player­.org.

    Nightingale

    Nightingale (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    FOSS

    [Some NDAS staff use this] Learn more at Get­Nightin­gale­.com.

    Video (and Audio with most)

    VLC

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

    Other FOSS

    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. [All NDAS staff use this as well as others.] Learn more at Video­lan­.org­/VLC.

    JuceVLC

    JuceVLC (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    A wireless mouse enabled media-center integrated with VLC Media Player. [Some NDAS staff use this] Learn more at JuceVLC­.Source­Forger­.net.

    Banshee

    Banshee (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    Learn more at Banshe­.fm.

    UMPlayer

    UMPlayer (Play / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    For those who like minimal. [Some NDAS staff use this] Learn more at UM­Player­.com.

    OS (Operating Systems)

    100% of author professional and/­or personal needs in a notebook or desktop computer 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

    Primary OS used throughout NDAS. Less than 7% of our business, design and/or production software needs require another OS virtualized inside of Linux; you will likely not need the same. Learn more at Linux­Mint­.com.

    VirtualBox

    VirtualBox

    Free

    Used to run other operating systems windowed inside another operating system. In this way, NDAS runs any software needed, regardless of OS required. Primarily used for client services to run Adobe applications inside a Windows 10 virtual machine.

    ATTENTION: we do not allow corporate OSes or software to access the internet; we maintain maximum privacy and security as required by some gov./­bus./­corp. clients. Maintain your privacy from OS corporate intrusions by applying updates and patches manually for any virtualized OS and/­or software.

    Learn more at Virtual­Box­.org.